Mesolongi: Famous for its lagoons, caviar and history…
Mesolongi, the picturesque capital of the county of Aetoloakarnia, is known as the sacred town of immortal heroes and a town of freedom due to its important role in the Greek Revolution. The lagoon backed by the Mountains gives the town its uniquely beautiful setting while making it the fish-producing center of Greece.
Here you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, the natural Spa, the best fish and extraordinary caviar (Bottarga or Avgotaraho).
Experience it yourself: let’s sail along the lagoon to watch the low flying sea birds and see the turtles that clamber from the water. Step ashore and enjoy the real hospitality. Discover the true Greek live in the city and in the surround areas and take a rejuvenating healthy mud or salt bath – just like the ancient and the contemporary Greek.
Mesolongi is the perfect spot for families, for business or leisure to enjoy the nature and history…….the best place to stay and found excellent family friendly options at all budget levels.
The town itself is very picturesque but also modern with functional, regular urban planning.
Some very interesting buildings, representative of traditional architecture can be seen here. People whose names were related to Modern Greek history once lived in some of them. The mansion of the Trikoupis family, Palamas’ House, Valvios Library, Christos and Sophia Moschandreou Gallery of Modern Art emphasizes the fact that Mesolongi has always been a city of grandeur and intellectuality. Additionally, the Center of Culture and Art, Diexodos, which hosts cultural events and exhibitions as well as the Museum of History and Art, which is housed in a neo-classical building in M. Botsaris Square and hosts a collection of paintings indicative of the struggle of Mesolongi, further boost the city’s cultural and artistic profile.
Today, the Entrance Gate remains intact and so does part of the fortification of the Free Besieged which was rebuilt by King Otto. Past the Gate is the Garden of Heroes where were buried several famous and anonymous heroes who fought during the Heroic Exodus. The Garden of Heroes is equivalent to the Elysian Fields for modern Greeks.
It is undoubtedly the most impressive park in the country.
Every year the Memorial Day of the Exodus is celebrated on Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter). It is the most important local festivity in which the Greek State is represented by high rank officials and foreign countries by their ambassadors. As the poet and academic Nikeforus Vretakos said: “Everyone from around the nation must fervently and wholeheartedly congregate in Mesolongi with faith”. It should be essential for the children of all schools in the country to orientate themselves towards Mesolongi for a moment of silence and remembrance. Like the Parthenon of Athens and St. Sophia of Constantinople, Mesolongi is considered a sacred place in Greek culture.
Green parks, recreation areas, the lagoon, its history but also local pubs, taverns and fishmonger’s shops make Mesolongi an attractive place to its visitors as well as to the thousand students who decide to study here, giving a new life to the city.
As the regional cultural and entertainment centre, the city sparkles the whole year around. Eat and dance with the locals in a local restaurant, ouzo tavern or bar…..
Mesolongi is an ideal “starting point” for the individual or organized visitors to meet the religious concerns and move around on Christian monuments of special architectural and painterly beauty. Indicative only, as that number is too large, we report the following sites: Saint Simeon, Saint George Chounistas, Saint George Greek, Virgin Foinikas, Saint Eleousa, Panaxiotissa Gavrolimnis, and Epitaphios Aetolos.
If you are a history buff, then you will want to visit Ancient Kalidon, Ancient Pleuron, “the castle of Kira Rhini”, as the locals call it and the Windmill, a Revolutionary monument.
If you love bikes… Mesolongi is for you….
Located almost to sea level, Mesolongi is the ideal destination to “explore”, using a bicycle. Here the words uphill and downhill are almost unknown, so if you are a bike lover you have the unique opportunity to make round the city without too much trouble….
Get a ride along the lagoon from Mesolongi to the beach of Tourlida at the sunset……the colors of the water and the traditional fishing cabins create an amazing picture…….
Do you want to experience the real lagoon? Get in to a local fishing boat and visit the traditional fishing cabins built on wooden piles….
The Mesolongi lagoon is one the most important wetlands in the Mediterranean.
It is made up of six lagoons that are part of the Natura 2000 network, set up by the Ramsar Convention. As the lagoon is a protected natural resort, fishing is mainly done with traditional methods by local fishermen, both professionals and amateur, in fish-pools called «divaria». This produces the best fish of Greece.
No visitor should leave without tasting the traditional Avgotaraho Mesolongiou.
The best-kept natural spa secrets….Agia Triada and Alikies
Every summer, thousands of Greeks submerge themselves in the waters at Agia Triada near the small island of Klisovas and cover themselves with the dark, healing mineral mud that is found in the shallow waters. This has been going on for centuries but for some reason, mass tourism never developed in the area and the skin-soothing properties of the mineral mud have never been publicized.
The sea-salt as well-being…..a white, virgin world indicating purity of nature…..
Solar sea-salt, a present that nature creates by its great powers, the sun and the sea….
It is known that life without salt is not possible!
Obviously seawater contains vital elements for the creation of a new life and after birth salt plays a vital role in life.
Salt was always important for mankind and was called “The white gold”, while today it is considered to be as important as oil.
On an opposite shore of the lagoon, Alikies, an area extremely rich in salt, where nearly 50% of all salt production in Greece originates, is another favorite natural spa destination for locals. These extremely saline waters are particularly known for their healing properties and are recommended for those with arthritis and muscle pain among other ailments.
For the majority, Agia Triada and Alikies are two of Greece’s best-kept natural spa secrets, for locals however, they are a daily ritual.
It is best to arrive early in the morning to beat the heat, and keep in mind that these areas are not ‘organized’ with umbrellas and lounge chairs, and are free to the public.
Tourlida beach: swim and bird watching
The beach of Tourlida is one of the most beautiful locations of Mesolongi.
In fact it is an islet connected to Mesolongi by a causeway stretching 5 kilometers long.
The name ‘Tourlida’ was given after the marine bird species that were found in this area, the tourlides. Another value of this beach is the black salt marsh. The area hosts one of the biggest salt factories.
The white herons give a nice spectacle, as they come in flocks of 20 or 30. Apart from bird-watching, the waters of Tourlida invite visitors to swim and relax.
The whole environment of the beach is ideal for fishing, not only because of the geographic advantages that in this case make it very productive, but also because of the predominating peace, and the surrounding picturesque landscape. One of the best times of the day for appreciating such environment is the sunset, when orange reflections dye the sky and the tranquil water.
– 248 km from Athens
– 523 km from Thessaloniki
– 198 km from Ioannina
– 49 km from Patras