The Ideal Destination
Considered to be the most mountainous region in the country, with a long cost line, Central Greece lies in the heart of the mainland, consisting of fine prefectures: Aetoloakarnania, Evritania, Fokida, Fthiotida, Viotia and the second largest island of Greece Evia. Its geographical position, geological diversity and proximity to Athens, make Central Greece an ideal and popular destination for all year round tourism. The contours of its landscape, too, are very diverse; thickly wooded green slopes, hills with pines, oaks, poplars and fast-moving streams separated by flat lands, plateaus and lakes, alternating harmoniously with the countless bays, intricate network of coves and picturesque islands decorating the southwest coast. The central mountain range, the rugged Pindos mountains, form the backbone of Central Greece, deeply dissected by winding rivers. The northern Pindos range has some of the wildest country and most striking limestone scenery found in southern Europe. This is a fascinating land that can be discovered by choosing from several itineraries.
Aetoloakarnania is the largest prefecture across the country, washed by the Ionian Sea and the Patran Gulf to connect with Peloponnese through the Rio –Andirio Bridge. The region has beautiful scenery of dreamy lakes and gurgling rivers, lush greenery and ancient civilizations, curvaceous shorelines and hidden subcultures. At Acheloos River, Trichonida Lake and the Ambracian Gulf, rare flora and fauna find rescue, while the mountainous areas of Nafpaktia with thick forests are ideal for short escapes close to nature. The town of Nafpaktos is one of the most important landmarks of the area with its perfectly maintained Venetian castle situated at the edge of the port to reveal its significant role during the Greek liberation from the Turks, also featuring old churches and mosques. The strongest reminder of the glorious days of the prefecture is Mesolongi town, situated at the banks of a lagoon, featuring impressive walls in which locals besieged themselves during the Turkish occupation for a whole year before finally escaping in a bittersweet exodus. Although not being the capital city of Aetoloakarnania, Agrinio is the greatest city of the region to house several monuments such as the archaeological museum, a folk art museum, an old train station, an ancient theatre of stratus and an early Christian church. The summer destinations of the region are Mytikas, Paleros and Astakos that spread to the west facing the Ionian Sea with marvellous sandy beaches and crustal clear blue waters, where several summer resorts offer warm hospitality to the visitors.
The prefecture of Evrytania set deep in the heart of the Greek mainland is a mountainous area designated by UNESCO as one of the five purest ecosystems across the planet and the Alpine Greece, a unique eco touristic destination. The prefecture’s capital Karpenisi is a very popular destination especially during the winter period as the neighboring Mount Velouchi features a ski center. West of Karpenisi, built on the foothills of Mount Timfristos, surrounded by gorges, mountains, and sycamores are the picturesque mountain villages of Frangista, Granitsa and Agrafa, covered with snow during the winter. Other traditional hamlets with stone built houses are Mikro and Megalo Horio, Agios Nikolaos, Myriki, Fidakia, the village of Episkopi with many Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches, the historic and protected area of Koryschades, among numerous others. Beyond history, tradition and culture, Evritania is a paradise for eco-friendly outdoor activities, such as hiking, trekking, mountain climbing, canoeing, rafting, paragliding and horseback riding, offering opportunities for exploration of the forests, gorges, rivers, lakes and mountains along with the wonderful old stone bridges speckled around the area. Numerous luxury hotels and spas have boosted the local touristic activity providing high quality services in scenic landscapes along with conference facilities.
Fokida is the region that hosts the ancient “Navel of the World”, the archaeological site and museum of Delphi. This unique site declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site hosted the famous Oracle, where rulers of ancient Greece used to seek for her political and moral guidance. Here the land forms a natural stone amphitheatre that houses a gymnasium, a stadium, treasures of Greece and the Sanctuary of Apollo, one of the most famous archaeological sites in Greece. Ideal for year round tourism, Fokida features mountainous areas, a man made lake and the largest olive grove around Greece, while being washed by the Corinthian gulf. Its capital city Amfissa is a traditional settlement with stone paved little streets and a Frankish fortress overlooking the area, while the seaside villages of Itea, Eratini, Tolophon, Glyufada and Galaxidi are ideal for summer escapes, where the latter has a long maritime history since the Ottoman occupation, marinating features of traditional architecture at the several mansions, also reflected at the local Naval Museum. The only inhabited island across the Corinthian Gulf is the small islet of Trizonia with intense vegetation. The highlands of Fokida feature numerous traditional villages scattered around the region with strong historical importance during the Greek revolution against the Turks such as Vardoussia, Pentagiou and Artotina. Several hotels to accommodate the visitors of archaeological interest heading to Delphi are available, as well as at the summer seaside resorts, to also offer conference facilities.
At the prefecture of Fthiotida, the area of Thermopylae lies where the famous battle of the 300 brave Spartans fought against Persians is a region with significant agricultural economy. Being untouched by tourism, visitors can find several areas of pure natural beauty to discovery, such as the numerous natural spas and medicinal springs and two rivers. The capital city of Lamia is the commercial centre of the area with an archaeological museum and an wonderful fortress, while the traditional village of Amfiklia with its medieval museum is well worth a visit. The municipalities of Tithorea and Gorgopotamos feature serene villages and verdant forests. By the seaside of Fthiotida there are some summer resorts like Kammena Vourla and Stylida, where several luxury hotels and resorts accommodate the visitors of the area. The village of Agios Constantinos is the main ferry gateway from the mainland to the islands of Sporades, thus and ideal destination for island hopping.
Viotia is a region of natural beauty, remarkable touristic infrastructure and of archaeological interest, reinforced by its proximity from Athens, are all elements that make the prefecture a popular destination. The region is surrounded by mountains, with Parnassos being the most renowned one for its highly visited Ski Centre to include all the necessary modern ski and touristic facilities. The traditional village of Arachova is a beautiful picturesque settlement that has retained its stone based traditional architecture, harmonically combined with its intense touristic development, offering great opportunities for walks through the stone paved narrow streets and an amazing view of olive groves and shimmering sea. In Arachova visitors can find some of the most exquisite luxury hotels and traditional villas in Greece. Livadia, built on the foothills of a mountain where the springs of Erkina flow, was famous in ancient times for the Oracle of Trophonios Zeus, its ancient springs and the castle. The areas of Orchomenos, Chaironeia, Plataies and Thiva house interesting archaeological sites that constitute the landmarks of this prefecture. The latter was the birthplace of Hercules and is nowadays a modern city with an interesting archaeological museum. Other wonderful villages worth a visit are Distomo, Zemeno and Davlia, while the Byzantine monastery of Osios Loukas declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage site is a must see.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Aetoloakarnania Bus Services: +30 210 5129293
Agrinio Bus Services: +30 26410 22538
Mesologi Police: +30 26310 55710
Mesologi Hospital: +30 26310 25911
Evritania Bus Services: +30 22370 80013
Karpenisi Police: +30 22370 89150
Karpenisi Hospital: +30 22370 80680-3
Fthhiotida Railway Services: +30 22310 61061
Fthiotida Bus Services: +30 22310 51345
Lamia Police: +30 22310 56800
Lamia Hospital: +30 22310 30121
Fokida Bus Services: +30 22650 32336
Amfissa Police: +30 22650 28222
Amfissa Tourist Police: +30 22650 33333
Amfissa Hospital: +30 22650 22222
Delphi Archaeological Museum +30 22650 82313, +30 22650 82346
Viotia Railway Services: +30 22610 28661
Viotia Bus Services: +30 22620 27512
Livadia Police: +30 22610 88880
Livadia Hospital: +30 22620 28111
Parnassos Ski Center: +30 223 402 2695