It takes only one and a half hour with the ferryboat to cross the 18 nautical miles from the port of Kyllini to the beautiful island of Zakynthos. The frequency of this communication is rather high so, if you have the time, don’t hesitate to jump on one of the five ships that leave daily the port of Kyllini during winter –seven during summertime- to visit this wonderful destination. Deep forests, fabulous beaches with amazing turquoise waters, special openhearted people, colourful villages with paved streets and Italian architecture are only a few of the reasons to indulge to this trip.
KARYTENA – DIMITSANA
Karytena is one of the most historical and picturesque villages of Arcadia. It is an impressive little town that looks completely made of stone and is considered a preservable settlement. Enjoy your walk in the beautiful cobbled streets, among the old Byzantine churches and the colourful two-store buildings, most of which belong to the 19th century. The castle built on the top of the steep and imposing rock, at the southern side, was considered one of the most important fortresses during the Frank and Turkish occupation. During the Revolution of 1821, the Greek chieftain Theodoros Kolokotronis fortified the walls and built his house and a church, using the castle as a military base for his operations.
Dimitsana is another typical Arcadian village of 400 inhabitants that still holds vivid the signs of a dynamic social and economic past. Its position offers a wonderful view on Mt. Taygetos and the settlement is considered preservable for its special and charming architectural features. A beautiful picture of tall stone houses, old churches and cobbled streets, perched like an amphitheatre over river Lousios, at 1.000 m altitude. Still standing are the houses of Patriarch Gregory E΄ and Paleon Patron Germanos – two religious figures connected with the Greek Revolution of 1821.
Mesolonghi is one of the towns that can be righteously proud for their priceless contribution –in both national and international level- in the history of human sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. It is the capital of Aetolia-Acarnania Prefecture with 18.121 inhabitants. Among the sights worth visiting in the town of Mesolonghi are the Gate of the Exodus, the Garden of Heroes –where you can see the graves of many fighters of the Revolution as well as the cenotaph containing the heart of the great English poet George Gordon Byron [Lord Byron]- and the walls of the city. Also interesting is the Picture Gallery of Mesolonghi, where you can admire paintings of Greek and foreign artists, inspired by the Exodus of Mesolonghi, portraits of politicians and chieftains of the Revolution and also a special show-room dedicated to Lord Byron. It is considered imperative to visit Anemomylos as well as St. Symeon Monastery, two more sites of historical importance.
KALAVRYTA – CAVE OF THE LAKES – PLANETERO
The historical little town of Kalavryta is built on a small high plateau of Mt. Helmos, among the snow-covered peaks of the mountains Panahaiko and Erymanthos. With its 2.500 inhabitants, is considered the main settlement in the whole area, while lately it has become a favorite tourist destination. Unfortunately, the old houses have been razed to the ground by the German troops, in 1943, at the Massacre of Kalavryta. However, the new town is still charming with tile roofs, nice and comfortable streets and a main pedestrian artery that gathers the biggest part of commercial activity. In Kalavryta you can enjoy many different activities, from the long lazy walks under the shade of huge plane-trees, to the more demanding crossing of the beautiful Vouraikos Canyon. Pay a visit to Agia Lavra and the Monastery of Mega Spilaion. The Kalavryta Ski Center is the tallest in Achaia Prefecture (2.341 m) and is located on a slope of Mt. Helmos at the east of the city. Don’t hesitate to pay a visit to the Cave of the Lakes with its marvelous natural decorations. Finally, in a short distance from the town of Kalavryta, you will find the wonderful village Planetero. Under the shade of the plane-trees, listening to the calming sound of the running waters of river Aroanios, you can enjoy trout or salmon at the colourful stone tavern, by the fish farm.
The name Lousios derives from the Greek verb “λούζω”, because according to the myth, the nymphs chose this river to bathe the new born Zeus in its crystal clear waters. It is a rather short river (26 km) that springs from Karkalou plateau, north from Dimitsana, meets with river Alfios at the west of Karytena and gathers impressive quantities of water during its course, creating a gorgeous canyon, one of the prettiest in Peloponnese.