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Peloponessos
Achaia

The region of Achaia in the middle northwestern section of the Peloponessos is named for the Argolid settlers who came here after the fall of Myceneae. It was the first region in Greece to embrace Christianity and was occupied in succession by the Franks, the Paliologues, the Turks and the Venetians before it was liberated in 1828. There is evidence of all these powers in the cities towns and mountains of Achaia.

Patras

Ferry to Italy from Patras, GreecePatras, the capital of the region is Greeceís most important sea link with the rest of Europe with ferries sailing to Brindisi, Bari, Ancona, Venice and Trieste in Italy. It is also an embarkation point to the Ionian Islands of Kefalonia, Ithaki, and Corfu, (Zakynthos is connected to Kilini in the region of Eleia). The city is the largest in the Peleponisos and is divided into two districts. The upper, which is at the foot of the castle, is the old city and has a great many neo-classical houses. The castle itself has been turned into a park with a view of the entire city and the Ionian Sea. The lower city contains many old mansions, the Odeon, cafes, restaurants and lively shopping areas. During the Carnival season Patras is known for its lively celebration with costumes and partying in the streets like New Orleans. There is a fine archeological museum, an art gallery and the municipal theatre, a replica of Milanís La Scala. Though Patras is more of a place where travelers go through rather then go to, the upper square of Ypsila Alonia, with its cafes and pine trees, is a popular place for the locals to spend their days and evenings. It is worth the trip if you have time to kill while waiting for a ferry. For food steer clear of the waterfront and walk the streets until you find something that looks working class rather then touristy. The Osteria Taverna at 5 Aratou Street, specializes in delicious mezedes and is recommended by Lonely Planet Guide. You can get to Athens by bus or train. Believe it or not the bus is faster but in my opinion the train is more scenic and enjoyable. There is a fast and a slow train. The slow one takes five hours compared to three and half-hours for the fast and three for the bus. The train takes you to a couple blocks from Omonia and the city bus takes you to the bus station out in the middle of nowhere. But if you arrive by ferry you ship may have its own bus, which may get you as close as Syntagma square near the Plaka, so ask on board. If you are going straight to the Aegean islands and don't plan to stay overnight in Athens then take the train because the last stop is actually in the port of Pireaus.

The coast of Achaia from Corinth to Patras is best traveled on the small old coastal road rather then the new National road. Some of the small villages on the way will be so tempting that you will want to stop for a swim or a bite to eat if you are able. The town of Rio is where you catch the ferry to Antirio on the mainland, a twenty minute crossing. By the time you read this there may be a bridge.

If you are looking for a nice hotel in the Patras area try the Florida Blue Bay Resort and Spa which is listed as being in Patras but is actually in the seaside village of Psathopyrgos, fifteen minutes away from the city and is highly recommended by Fantasy Travel. If you are looking for other hotels in Patra see Booking.com's Patra Hotel Page where you can find rates, availability, photos and more information.

Kalavrita

In the village of Diakofto the small Diakofto-Kalavrita railway makes itís way through the Vouraikos Gorge alongside of the river of the same name in what must certainly be one of the most amazing train trips you will ever take, or at least the most impressive one hour train ride you will ever take, especially in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom and the mountains are a fountain of color. The mountain village of Kalavrita is where the Revolution of 1821 began, leading to Greeceís independence from the Ottoman Empire when Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the flag of revolution over the monastery of Lavra. In December of 1943 the Nazis burned the town and murdered all the males over the age of 15 in an act of reprisal considered to be one of the worst atrocities of the war. The hands of the old cathedral clock are stopped at 2:34 when the massacre began.  On a cypress covered hillside east of town is a white cross commemorating the dead at the site where the killing took place. See my Kalavrita Page at www.greecetravel.com/kalavrita

If you travel by car any of the side roads you take in the mountains of Achaia should lead you somewhere interesting, either a traditional village, an impressive gorge or waterfall, a monastery or a Byzantine church. In winter there is skiing from the main peak of Mount Helmos. A half-hour from Kalavrita is the cave of the lakes, an enormous cavern 2 kilometers long with 15 miniature lakes formed by natural dams.

For Hotels in or around Kalavrita see Booking.com's Kalavrita page

More Helpful Sites

Helpful Sites: Swift Car Rentals, George's Taxi Tours, Hotels, Athens Guide, Travel Agents, Mainland Guides

You can find hotels in Achaia by location, price, whether or not it has a swimming pool, and see photos and reviews by using this link to Booking.com. Excellent prices and many hotels you can book and then cancel with no cancellation fee. For those who want to book without using a travel agency this is the best way to do it.

  

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