Achaia or Achaea, sometimes even written Akhaia, is the translitteration of Αχαΐα in Greek. Achaia is a region in the Northwest of the Peloponnese, though administratively a part of the region of Western Greece, and its capital is Patras, one of the main cities of Greece and a large port on the Gulf of Patras. Other major cities are Kiato, Aigio, Kato Achaia, Kalavryta. Patras cityscape is dominated by mount Panaichaiko (1926m). Chelmos (2355m) and Erymanthos (2224m) are the highest mountains in Achaia.
Eastern Part – Chelmos
Visit mount Chelmos or Helmos (Aroania oroi), the highes peak in Achaia (2355 m.). There are many trails on mount Chelmos, but the nicest path goes from Kalavrita to Diakopto, along the Vouraikos gorge. Start early at Diakopto, take the Odontotos, the funicular railway, to Kalavrita, and walk back to Diakopto. The most impressive sight on mount Chelmos is the Styx waterfall, on Neraidoraxi's steep cliffs. In Greek mythology, Styx (or Stix) is the chtonian river that flows forth from the Underworld. On mount Chelmos, don't miss the Cave of the Lakes (Spilaio ton Limnon), an impressive system of lakes inside a big cave. Visit the mountain villages of Kalavrita, Planitero and Peristera.
In winter, try the ski resort near Kalavrita, where the ski-runs have mythological names.
Visit Mega Spilaio. Located in a large cave,on the steep cliffs of Vouraikos gorge in Chelmos. According to tradition this is one of the oldest monasteries in Greece, it was destroyed during WW2 and rebuilt after the war.
Western you will find Lake Tsivlou, a water paradise created after a landslide. On March 24, 1913, the village of Sylivaina will be lost forever after the catastrophic landslide that left 4 dead. Then a lake will be created located between the course of the river Krathi. It is worth walking around the lake between the dense sycamore and fir forest. Continuing south of the lake you will find Zarouchla, a picturesque village with stone-built houses, built between Helmos and Dourdouvana.
Patras & Western Achaia
Visit Patras, especially the old part of the city, called the Upper Town and at the top of the Upper Town, the Castle of Patras, built in the 6th century over the ruins of the ancient acropolis. It has a view of the city and the bay of Patras. It is also worth visiting the Roman Theater, a work of the 2nd century AD, the New Archaeological Museum of Patras, the church of Agios Andreas, which is the third largest church in the Balkans. Just outside of Patras you will find Rio, a leisure town with its homonymous castle that gathers many tourists. It was built in 1499 by Bayazit and was for many years a fortress of the area.
From above begins the Antirrio Rio bridge or Charilaos Trikoupis bridge, which was opened in 2004, connecting Central Greece with the Peloponnese. In the summer months, the natives visit neighboring settlements for swimming such as Psathopyrgos, Vrachnaiika, Monodendri, Kaminia and Logos. Finally, it is worth visiting Achaia Claus, a winery built by Gustavus Claus in the area of Saravali.
Hiking in Erymanthos (2,224 metres) which is the second highest mountain in Achaia. Ideal places to visit in the area areTaxiarches Waterfalls in Ano Vlasia, the new lake of Asteriou in Farrae and Kalentzi, the brithplace of the president of Greece, George Papandreou.
Strofilia & Cape Araxos
The protected area of Strofilia Forest is at the north west top of the Peloponnese. Strophilia forest and Kotychi Lagoon are situated west of Patras . The national park has a length of up to 22 km and extends from the Gulf of Patras to Kyllini. The national park starts in the north at Cape Araxos, with the lagoon of Kalogria, and above the lagoon the limestone hills of Mavra Litharia (240m), then the lagoon Prokopos, the swamp Lamia and at the southern end the lagoon Kotychi.
The area can be described as a coastal plain with sandy beaches and sand dunes scattered with sand plants and dwarf pine trees, a landscape of exceptional natural beauty. Coastal sand dunes prevent water from flowing into the sea and have created a system of stagnant water, with wet meadows and salt marshes.
The forest of Strofilia you can find pine cones (Pinus pinea) and pines (Pinus halepensis) that extend along the shores and protect the pine forests from the salty and strong winds. In the eastern part of the forest grow day oaks (Quercus macrolepis).