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Greece Travel Destinations: Western Sterea Ellada Page 2

South of the Ambrakian Gulf - Western Sterea Ellada Page 2

Kalamos Island

Kalamos island is the largest of an archipelago to the west or Astakos (which means 'lobster'). Officially it belong to Lefkadha (in the Ionian island group), though it is mostly linked with the mainland opposite in terms of transport. This little island has a population of around three hundred, but is little visited by tourists, and without the usual tourist amenities.

The main village of Hora usually has some yachts moored in its harbor in summer. A kaiki leaves the mainland daily from Mytikas around noon, but doesn't return till 7:30am the next day, though day-trips have also been arranged by groups. By now, perhaps there are some rooms on Kalamos, but you might want to find out, and if not, bring camping gear (though flat ground is also very limited).

Hora is spread out on the south coast, amid gardens and olive orchards. Though it survived the 1953 earthquake that caused serious damage on many of the Ionian islands, that hasn't kept some ugly buildings from going up since. This town is where you'll find most facilities on this island, with a bakery, supermarket, sweetshop, kafenia, tavernas, post office. The best beach is at Merithia about twenty minutes northeast of the harbor, though it's a bit rough going getting to it. The beach is 500 meters of sand and fine gravel, and a perfect place to camp except for lack of shade. You'd have to bring your own water too, as there is none here.

The other settlement on Kalamos, is Kastro at the island's north tip, facing Mytikas, linked to the port by 7km of paved road. The castle here may have been Byzantine. There's a tiny abandoned village farther on which was called Episcopi because it overlooked the straits between the mainland and Kalamos, episkopi in Greek meaning just that-to overlook or survey. There's a spring near the road here and some animals are kept within some of the empty walls; the church of Aghios Nikolaos is there too. There are some very fine small beaches inbetween Hora and Kastro, though visible and reachable only from the sea. Another partly deserted village lies southwest of Hora at the island's southern tip, with a rough track leading to it. This is Kefali (Porto Leone), which surrounds a deep bay which is protected from all bad weather and is popular with yacht owners from the Ionian islands. Since the 1953 earthquake, the lower part of this village has been abandoned. Boat is a preferable way to get to this place, as the walk is long, arduous, hot, and unredeemed by anything of note.

Astakos - ferry to Kefallonia or Ithaki.

Despite the name, which means 'lobster', you won't find any to eat here at any of the six or more tavernas on the waterfront. The most attractive features of this town are its location and a few old preserved buildings. Yachts stop here to get water. There are through buses between here and Athens daily, two or more, which arrive in time for taking the ferry to Kefallonia or Ithaki. Oak covered hills lead from here to Etoliko, present a refreshing contrast to the dry land previously passed through. This town is built on an island connecting by causeway in the lagoon here. There are plenty of facilities here, and some gypsies too.

Messolonghi (click to read)

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