The picturesque Palairos
Embraced by the waters of the Ionian Gulf, the village of Palairos is part of the municipality Aktio-Vonitsa. Until the year 1928, Palairos was known as “Zaverda”. It is situated between Vonitsa and Mytikas and in half an hour distance from the island of Lefkada.
This charming town is famous for its many beaches which have become tourist attractions throughout the summer months. Thousands of visitors treasure the many different beaches such as Vathiavali, Varko, Potamaki or Pogonia.
Archaeological Sites – Monuments
- The following are the most significant and well-preserved monuments that are still present today:
- The castle of Kechropoula, which includes the remains of the reinforced fortification and a well-preserved gate to this ancient Acarnanian city.
- The archaeological site of Sternas, which is near the ruins of the old village Plagia.
- The little castles of Plagia, which most likely formed the fortification of ancient Sternas.
- The Castle of Grivas in Peratia.
- The venetian castle of Plagia, known as Agios Georgios which was built at the end of the 17th century. It has been under protection of historical monuments since 1998. Dorpfeld believed the site to be the location of ancient Nirikos.
- The manor house of “Grivas” in the village of Peratia.
- The manor house of “Rangos” in Palairos.
- The abandoned villages of Paliochori, Pogonia and Plagia with remaining buildings of those old settlements.
There are numerous churches and chapels in the area of which the following stand out:
- The monastery of the holy Agios Dimitrios which was built in the 16th century and is located in Palairos.
- The monastery of the holy mother god of Romvos, located in Vatos with a monoclinic basilica and woodland. It is assumed that the monastery was built approximately 100 years after the capture of the settlement.
- The quality of Palairos is unambiguously sealed by its beaches. During the summer season they are an appealing magnet for tourists as well as fertile source of income for local inhabitants. Among the beaches of the region, Vathiavali is certainly one of the most spectacular in Acarnania and quality label for Greek beaches. The following beaches are remarkable:
- Palairos Beach
- Agios Dimitrios
- Agios Ioannis
- Palairos is located in immediate and close range to the famous islands Lefkada, Kalamos and Meganissi. The geographical position fulfils all wishes a visitor may have in regard of activities at the sea, the country side or the mountains. Near Palairos, the 1171 metres high Mountain Serekas forms one peak of the three cornerstones of the Acarnanian mountain range. The landscape is shaped with a variety of smaller mountains and hills as well. The areas coastal region stands out with long stretches of sandy beaches, spectacular cliffs and rocky shores. A lagoon not far from Palairos, as well as the lake Voulkaria and a salt marsh between Vonitsa and the island of Lefkada are remarkable points of interest. Palairos truly is paradise and invites to extensive strolls along the shores with views of the magic colours of the Ionian Sea. There are plenty of cafeterias by the sea and visitors may enjoy authentic traditional cuisine in one of the numerous taverns of the area.
- The surrounding area of Palairos is renowned among hiking fans for its heavenly landscape. Numerous trails and paths along the hillsides, mountains, churches and monuments or other attractions provide memorable Experiences during the holidays. One can find various organised hiking trips offered in Palairos. We advise the visitor to bring along the appropriate equipment and discover the hidden trails in the area far off the influences of tourism and amidst the unspoilt beauty of nature. In particular when following those seemingly almost impassable paths one may find that the use of modern technology is in controversy with our mythical Centaurs. The following places are recommended for hikes: – Agios Dimitrios – Agios Nikolaos – Katasantoni Cave – old Palairos with its harbour – Ancient Kechropoula.The early morning hours are ideal to set out on a hiking excursion.We suggest the visitor to have the following equipment: Hiking boots or athletic shoes, Sunglasses, headgear, drinking water and a photo camera.
- An alternative and easy way of exploring the many trails and paths, sights and places can be experienced by using a bicycle. Quite a few visitors of Palairos have discovered the bicycle as a method of transportation to explore the secluded beaches, hidden monuments and attractions or less crowded treasures of the area. The use of bicycles has made it possible to visitors even within the high season to experience places and people within close range and feel the peace and tranquillity of the region which else would only be possible on foot.Bicycle Excursions:
- Harbour of Palairos to Pogonia
- Palairos to Mytikas
- Palairos to Vonitsa
- Excursion to the manor of “Gerokostopoulos”
- A local diving centre will help all friends and fans of underwater recreational sports and make it possible to enjoy the depths of the Ionian Sea. The interested visitor of Palairos will be provided with all the necessary equipment and presented with experienced diving instructors to acquire the basics of this kind of sport.
- Dive Site “Gulf of Agia Paraskevi”
This preserved and protected bay is suitable for beginners. The dive excursions sets out in shallow waters and leads towards giant fields of marine sponges, numerous species of fish, molluscs and algae.
- Dive site “Adelfonisia”
Visitors of Palairos are enchanted by the dive excursions to this group of small islets as this region is protected from commercial fishing and the sheer amount of fish takes is almost breath-taking
- Dive site “Agios Ioannis – Pogonia”
The name of this bay and the diving site derives from the Greek church and religion. Here, absolute beginners will find the safest and most stable environment in shallow waters to practice and learn diving.
- Dive site “Agios Nikolaos”
The more experienced diver with the need for depth will find the best wall dive site of the whole bay here, at “Agios Nikolaos”. The peak of this underwater island begins at a depth of 5 metres and descends to a depth of 20 metres. Numerous ledges, overhangs and corners provide shelter and nests for all kinds of underwater wildlife species.
- Dive site “Pirgiskos”
Invisible from the surface, a summit rises from the depths of the Ionian Sea and reaches a height of 10 Metres below sea level. The rocky walls of this underwater island are inhabited by rich underwater wildlife and surrounded by tremendous shoals of fish, red mullets and white groupers.
- Dive site “Cave of Lefkas”
This overwhelming dive site begins in approximately 30 metres of depth with a wall dive that leads divers to an underwater cave and further along a ascending corridor. This adventurous dive excursion can be experienced as part of the diving course “Advanced Open Water Diver” organised by the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors).
- Dive Site “Gulf of Agia Paraskevi”
Watersports / Sailing
- Palairos certainly is the ideal place for people who intend to tame the waters of the Ionian Sea. The area is renowned among surfers as unique blend of strong winds and shallow waters. Beginners and Experts in water sport activities will find perfect conditions to improve their skills. The areas climate, its beauty, the crystal-clear calm waters and the wind provide an ideal environment for anyone who is dedicated to water sports activities.
The area of Palairos is dominated by mild Mediterranean climate with heavy rainfall throughout the months from November until January. The sun shines predominantly the whole year through. Ever since it has been a region with fertile vegetation and rich agricultural income. The following products are to be recommended:
The Eden of Palairos consists of very large grounds of vineyards and production of a variety of different types of wine. Traditionally, local residents and families of Palairos have been producing their own wine which they consume on a daily basis as part of their meals and dishes. There are numerous different types of wine grown in the region of which each and every one of them have their own distinguished taste, colour and aroma.
The whole area in and around Palairos is decorated with fertile olive trees which describe the main source for various local products. There are many oil mills in the area still producing olive oil by means of old traditional methods which guarantee the quality and purity of the olive oil without any admixtures at all. Olive oil, another typical product of Palairos, exported worldwide and known for its acquired taste and exceptional quality.
The hillside and mountainous region of Palairos stands for its traditional and natural production of honey. The honey of Palairos impresses by its outstanding taste and unique quality. Visitors of Palairos are all in favour of trying the honey directly and immediate from the honeycombs which is known for its positive effects on digestion and healing powers.
This traditional sweet has been home made since generations using the same procedure. Yet, only a few are granted the secret that it needs to successfully prepare and master it. This sweet dish comes in light or dark colour. The secret in succeeding making it is hidden in its ingredients, which consist of local honey, olive oil from Palairos and a certain technique preparing it with ones hands.
The exquisite local olive oil as well as almonds from Palairos are the main ingredients of this sweet dish which is served on each festivity and on many occasions on the dining tables of local families. It is said by the elderly grandmothers of the region to be a simple dish in regard of the ingredients but most difficult in preparing. A distinct characteristic of this dish is its preservation of taste and aroma for up to 20 days after making.
The Sweet Spoon
The “Sweet Spoon” and other sweet dishes originate from traditional recipes and original sources. In Palairos, the local people consider those desserts as important completion to their delicious meals. One of the most favoured traditional sweets in the region of Palairos is the dessert made of pumpkin which is prepared using local white pumpkin. This special dessert contains a small amount of a local alcoholic drink and is traditionally served with ice cream made from sheep milk. Among the variety of “Sweet Spoons” served in every house in Palairos that stand out are the ones made from plum, aubergine, quince, orange, fig, grape, almond or cherry.
- In the westernmost area of the region of Acarnania, opposite the Ionian island of Lefkada, the ancient city of Palairos rises at a height of 272 meters on rocky ground. In the immediate vicinity of the town with the same name, Palairos (formerly called Zaverda) and about 15 kilometers from the village of Vonitsa, the ruins of “Kechropoula” have been preserved to this day.
- The fortification wall of this ancient settlement is about 2 kilometers long and, in all its splendor, is one of the most impressive examples of Acarnanian fortification walls.
- The identification of this site with the ancient Palairos is based on information from the historian Strabos, as well as through written records, and is in agreement with science today.
- The location of ancient Palairos dominates the surrounding plains together with the large Voulkaria lake (the ancient site of Myrtountion after Strabo) in the northwest, which indicates the strategic importance of the place in terms of antiquity, as the colonies of Corinth on the island of Lefkada, Souli and Anaktorio are nearby.
- First evidence of the existence of ancient Palairos is based on the descriptions of Thucydes, when in 431 BC the Athenians conquered Corinthian colony of Souli, which was located on the Acarnanian coast opposite Lefkada.
- Furthermore, there are written records of Xenofon from the years 389-388 BC, when Aghisileus came to Acarnania at the request of the Archaeans and forced Acarnania to dissolve their alliance with the Athenians and Boetotians and to conclude a peace alliance with the Spartans.
- Outside the city there are the remarkable ruins of the housing infrastructure, which was organized according to the hippodrome system.
- As can be seen from the visible ruins, this was based on universal urban planning, which is similar to many well-known, ancient cities.
- In the southeast of the fortress, on the flat plains, the foundations of an old market (agora) have been preserved.
- On the northern flank of the complex are the remains of an elongated building, which is probably a pillared hall.
- In front of that building and to the west of its southeast corner are the ruins of a semicircular base that leads to a staircase carved in the natural rocks.
- The Agora is connected to the rest of the structure by a gate (called N. gate or S.T. gate).
- At the highest point of the fortress, there is a naturally fortified citadel in the northeast with a small water reservoir.
- In addition to the remarkable fortification of the ancient city, there are also numerous foundations of houses and other buildings.
- The cemeteries of ancient Palairos are located in the west and north of the city.
- The port of the ancient city is located about 4.5 kilometers in the north of the Bay of Palairos and south of the village of Pogonia.
- On the beach of the village and underwater, an approx. 220-meter-longmole was found.
- In the immediate vicinity of the ancient city, there is a hill on which the sanctuary of the prophet Elias is located, which probably belongs to the complex.
- Located in the southeast of the sanctuary and about 1 km northeast of the modern town of Palairos, is the location of Kastri Castle (above the Agios Athanasios monastery). The tower of Sklavena is located about 1 km northwest of the castle.