Capital city: Patras
Population: 322.789 (2001)
Distance from Athens: 212 km.
Main areas of the province are: Aegio, Akrata, Aigeira, Araxos, Diakopto, Kalavryta, Patra, Rio, Psathopyrgos.
Patras is the capital of the prefecture. It owes its name to Patreas, chief of the Achaians.
The city is the third city in population in Greece and the largest in Peloponnese. It is very easy to access Patras from Athens. It is connected with a national highway. It combines exceptional natural beauty, a long history and unique sights, never boring its visitors. It is blessed with a mild climate, fertile land, and monuments of great cultural value. Patra attracts a great number of Greek and foreign visitors every year.
Patras is a cosmopolitan city and one of the most significant cities in Greece, with one of the bigger ports in Mesogio, a great development in the art and it's very famous for the Carnival. The protector saint of the city is Agios Andreas – a true gem for the city of Patras- and the church of Agios Andreas (Saint Andrew) is one of the largest in the Balkans with Byzantine pictures and parts of the cross upon which Saint Andrew became a martyr.
The first site to visit should be the Roman castle, the Roman Bridge, the ancient conservatory, the Mycenean cemetery, Dasyllion, Achaia Clauss and the Municipal Theatre. In Patras you can also visit Psila Alonia –the "balcony" of Patras- a lovely spacious square with slender palm trees and a sun dial.
A visit to Patras does not only offer beautiful sites of the past but a lot of beaches for all tastes, with sand or pebbles stretching along the municipality. Therefore, the area is irresistible to summer holiday lovers. Walking by the beautiful cafes and relaxing can be combined with tasting local dishes. There are a lot of picturesque restaurants in and by the city. Visitors are strongly advised to taste the local wine produced by the fertile local land.
The area is a unique tourist attraction area not only in summer but in winter, too. The mountains around it are of unique beauty for those willing to explore them.
Traversing Patras, continue along the old Patras-Pyrgos road. It is in good condition with a view of the sea and passes endless stretches of sandy beach Araxos and charming villages lapped in greenery. This little jaunt ends at Kalogria beach in time for an afternoon dip and a rest on its white sand.
Right before Patras comes Rio, a transportation hub, uniting the Peloponnese with Central Greece and Epirus by ferry boats and the recently constructed bridge, an embellishment of the area and of Greece .
The co-capital of the province, Aégio which during the Turkish occupation was called Vostitsa, is amphitheatrically built with a wonderful view of the Korinthian Gulf . It is an ideal holiday resort, as well as the starting point for nearby trips. It is worth visiting the church of Panagia Tripiti where a lot of pilgrims go. This grand church is located by the coast of Aigio , built high up on an impressive rock. It was built by the famous Schiller who is responsible for many masterpieces that one can see as walking around the city of Aégio. Some of them are: The tower of Psila Alonia , the church of Faneromeni , Panagiotopoulos building and others. The Twelve Springs and the plane tree of Pafsanias make A é gio a special place. In Vostitsa near the end of January 1821 it took place the first official gathering of the priests of Peloponnese in order to start the revolution against Turkish occupation the famous "Secret assembly of Vostitsa" under the guidance of Paleon Patron Germanos.
A little further on, 15km out of the city, there is the Monastery of Taxiarchon built by St. Leontio.
The history of Ancient Eliki is well known. Modern research is on its way to discover the ancient city and reveal to us the hidden treasures of the wonderful culture that lies buried for thousands of years.
Near Aigio you will meet small picturesque villages like Longos , with its pebbly beach, Lambiri , with its lovely shore, Psathopyrgos a pretty hamlet, Selianitika, Akoli and other coastal villages. Each one has its special role to play, its distinguishing feature. And all of them have taverns or a quaint cafe where you can relax for a while or enjoy a delicious dinner.
From Aigio on your way to Korinthos, come Platanos, Trapeza, verdant hamlets, and Diakopto.
There are a lot of areas to visit after Aigio. It is recommended to follow the street in the east of Aigio towards Diakopto so to board on the famous Rack Railway “Odontotos” and enjoy a memorable ride through the natural beauty of Vouraikos Gorge. The ride on the Rack Railway lasts approximately 70 minutes, which is enough time to feel awe. It is certain that you will be impressed even before reaching Kalavryta.
Kalavryta is the town that makes Achaia a very special place since its historical and cultural importance is great. Thousands of tourists go there for skiing during the winter season. The town is famous for the role that played in the revolution of 1821 since it is there that the resistance against the Turks started. There are two historical monesteries one should visit, Agia Lavra and Mega Spilaeo. Also the small church of Panagia Plataniotissa, which is built within a tree trunk created by three plane trees connected side by side and the gorge of Vouraikos, are worth visiting.
Leaving Korinth, you take the coast road all the way to Patras. It's more scenic than the National road, since it's right on the water's edge.
You reach Akrata, a coastal village, set in lush surroundings on a crystal clear sea. This was the site of ancient Aigai. In the hinterland, a sight worth seeing is the post-Byzantine monastery of Agia Triada (1715), which has well-preserved mosaics. Akrata is a vivid village which attracts many tourists every summer period.
How you can get there
By bus: Intercity buses run daily from Athens, Akrata, Aigio, Korinthos, Diakopto and Kalavryta to Patra.
By car: In order to go to Achaia by car
From Athens the distance is 200 km
From Thessaloniki the distance is 459 km
From Ioannina the distance is 245 km
From Korinthos the distance is 141 km
By train: There are time-tables from Athens to Patra.
Coastally: There are daily time-tables from Agios Nikolaos of Fokida to Aigio. There is also connection to Eptanisa and Igoumenitsa.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
(Calling code for Greece 0030)
Patra Municipality2610 966200 Rio Hospital 2610 999111 Agios Andreas Hospital 2610 227000 Karamandanio Hospital 2610 622222 Patra Police Station2610 420716, 2610 623061 Patra Traffic Police 2610 433181 Patra Tourist Police 2610 451833 Patra Port Authority2610 341002 Aigio Port Authority26910 28888 Rio Port Authority2610 991203 Patra Bus Station2610 623886-87, 421205
Athens Bus Station 210 5147310, 210 5136185 Patra Railway Station2610 639108 Athens Railway Station210 5131601 Patra Fire Brigade2610 333211 Patra Post Office 2610 224703 Patra Radio Taxi 2610 450000 Patra Municipal Library2610 277751 Patra Archaeological Musem2610 624013 Patra Folklore Museum2610 334713 Kalavryta Ski Center 26920 22661, 22174, 22415
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