Achaia is home to the largest city in the Peloponnese – and third largest in all of Greece – the port city of Patra, gateway to the island of Corfu, and to the east coast of Italy. Achaia has a long coastline along the sparkling Corinthian Gulf, but venture inland from the coast to the mountains and, a short drive from the bustling shore, you will discover some of the most unexplored parts of the entire Peloponnese. You will find lakes and lush meadows, and come upon still unexcavated ancient sites. Achaia may be the most underappreciated part of the Peloponnese, but this serves to preserve its beauty from development. Achaia is also the gateway to mainland Greece – a newly built suspension bridge (the longest in the world) crosses the Corinthian Gulf at Rio and Antirrio: perfect for a trip along the winding coast to the popular and mysterious site of Delphi.
Most visitors to Achaia come in order to get out: Patra, the third-largest city in Greece, is Greece’s gateway to Italy, as well as Corfu and other Ionian islands. However, the prefecture has interesting sites in its own right which should not be overlooked.
Situated in the northwest area of Peloponnese , the region is very popular with Greek tourists. The landscape varies between coastal resorts to high mountains. The port of Patra , offers easy connections to Italy and the Ionioan islands. Mountain villages offer the tourist superb views and an insight into the daily lives of the residents. The prefecture of Achaia borders with the prefectures of Corinth , Arcadia and Elia as well as the Gulf of Corinth and Gulf of Patra .
Patra: is the regions capital and is one of the most important cities in Greece , with its transportation links to the Ionian Islands and Italy . The city comprises of the upper and the lower parts, with its design, parks and squares the city feels very unique. The Cathedral of St. Andrew, with its magnificent dome in the lower town is a majestic sight. Walking up the Trion Navarchon street you will come to Psila Alonia, (the balcony), a large square which offers views over the city. Over the city stands the remains of an old Ventian castle, here the grounds have been made into park. Patras Carnival which is held in the early in the spring attracts thousands. The city has the usual array of tavernas, cafes and pastry shops where you can take a rest, and enjoy the watching the locals and visitors going about their daily lives. Taking the coastal road from Corinth to Patra, you drive through one quaint village after another each offers something for tourist, whether that is an ancient ruin, church, or a sandy beach. Take time to stop and explore.
Kalavrita: From the fertile fields below to rugged mountains the area has a host of charming villages. From Halandritsa with its old castle, churches and bell towers, to the hamlets of Kalanos, Kalanistra and Mihas, the area is a popular tourist destination. At the monastery in Flamboura, there is a Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary, with a rather special feature; wherever you stand you get the feeling that the Virgins eyes are following you, (spooky!!). Take a trip on the funicular railway the runs from Diakofto to Helmos, it runs through deep gorge and then up the steep mountain with spectacular nature. With stops along the way at Trekilla and Zahlorou, you reach Helmos at an altitude of 750m. On the main peak of Helmos lies the ski centre; with two runs one from 1,800m.one from 2,440m. From the ridge Naraidorachi you get wonderful views over the most of Peloponnese , from her you descend to the River Styx, and according to legend, is the gateway to Hades, known by the locals as “Mavroneri” (Black Water) because of the colour in the depths of the ravine where it flows.
Mega Spelio: From the villages of Trapeza or Zahlorou you come to the fantastic monastery of Mega Spileo, at 1,000m. The monastery is one of best known in Greece , with a backdrop of towering cliffs, the monastery rises up eight storeys. Many fires at the monastery have destroyed the original buildings along with priceless documents stored in the centuries old library. The buildings have been rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1934. The wonderful icon of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Christ, said to be painted by St. Luke escaped damage and can be seen in the cave behind the church where it was discovered in 342 AD. The museum has many fine Holy relics and artefacts. The monastery has an atmosphere of tranquillity, so different from our bustling life in the modern world.
Kastria: Near the village is the cave of the lakes, entering through a narrow passage that brings you out into a cavern 2km. long. Small lakes formed by natural dams, small waterfalls, stalagmites and stalactites along with the colours and huge boulders, fire the imagination.