ILIA - ENDLESS COASTLINE
The prefecture of Ilia is located in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese and has Pyrgos as its capital. The coastal plain of Manolada and the extensive plains of Gastouni, Amaliada and Pyrgos form the largest plain area of the Peloponnese. In the prefecture is the ancient Ilida, one of the most important cultural centers of the Peloponnese and an ancient capital that hosted the Olympic Games of antiquity. According to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is no archeological site like that of Olympia in the world. The importance of the games is perceived by the grandeur of the event as well as the hostilities during the games, and that with the Olympics they counted the time.
Pyrgos is the capital of the prefecture with attractions such as neoclassical buildings, the central paved square, churches and monasteries of great historical importance. The city can be a base for visits to nearby destinations, with monuments of enormous cultural and national value. Ancient Olympia is the most important monument, as it is the birthplace, the altar and the place where in ancient times the Olympic Games were held. In the archeological site there are the sports facilities and the worship buildings of the Ancient World such as the Temple of Zeus, the Philippio, the Temple of Hera, the Stadium and the Palaestra. The place is sacred worldwide, giving humanity the Olympic flame, the message of noble emulation and the world holy truce. The hill of the District with the Holy Temple of Agios Nikolaos is an oasis of coolness with the forest and the playground overlooking the sea.
The Archaeological Museum is a two-storey neoclassical building with a basement and an inner patio built around 1890. Latsio Municipal Palace is a neoclassical building with imposing architecture that adorns the town square where the services of the Municipality of Pyrgos are housed. The Apollo Theater in the city center functions as a venue for theater and cultural events. The famous springs of Kyllini from antiquity are a pole of attraction of thermal tourism known for its thermal properties. At the site were the sanctuary of Asclepius and Aphrodite where the Romans chose to build their baths. It has healing waters, mud and fumes to treat asthma through inhalation therapy and other ailments such as rheumatism, gynecological problems, arthritis, and dermatitis. There is also a modern clinic with inhalation therapy, positherapy, private baths, etc.
Katakolo is a coastal town in western Ilia that combines mountain and sea, and is the current port of the capital of the prefecture. It is built near the ruins of Ancient Feia, with the old raisin warehouses adorning the entrance of the town. The port was built in the 19th century for the export of raisins to Europe as well as the railway line to Pyrgos which was the first railway line to operate in Greece. It is a tourist resort and the most important gateway to Greece from the Western Mediterranean. Above Katakolo is the location of Agios Andreas and Pontikokastro which are reminiscent of the rich history of the place. Feia or Fea in the present bay of Agios Andreas was in antiquity an important port.
Kyllini is a port that connects the prefecture of Ilia with Zakynthos and Kefalonia, which was originally called Glarentza. The wall, that has been saved, stands imposingly making its presence felt by visitors. One can make many excursions starting from Kyllini. The endless blue of the Ionian Sea, the green hills and the age-old olive trees make the area of Kastro one of the most popular destinations just 3 km from the port of Kyllini at the western end of the Peloponnese at the highest point of the hill at 24 m. foothills of the Frankish Castle Chlumoutsi or Chlemoutsi. Chlemoutsi or Chloumoutsi or Clermont or Castel Tornese was the most important castle of the Principality of Achaia.
Chlemoutsi is built on the top of Chelonata hill in a strategic position, overlooking the plain of Ilia and the Ionian Sea. The Chlemoutsi Castle Museum in the precinct of the archeological site completes the museum and archeological map of the area. Near Kyllini, is the Monastery of Genesis of the Virgin in memory of the famous homonymous monastery of Constantinople with great historical tradition. The monastery has a rich library with heirlooms and relics, and the tombs of Frankish lords. A little further from Kyllini with the background of Mount Ainos of Kefalonia is the islet of Kafkalida which according to tradition was connected to the mainland by a strip of land. On the island there are Roman tombs and the ruins of an early Christian temple. The lighthouse on the island of Kafkalida was built in 1906 with a tower height of 15 meters and a focal height of 19 meters.
Amaliada is a city with good roads and a plain with olive trees, vineyards, citrus and greenhouses. It is characterized as the cultural capital of the prefecture with a prominent place in the cultural life of the place. There are many nearby routes that connect it both with the mountains of the Peloponnese and with the beautiful beaches of the Ionian. From the city the visitor has a view of the top of Erymanthos, Portovouni of Achaia, the volume of Zakynthos and Kefalonia. Nearby is the dam of Pinios, with the homonymous lake, which is offered for canoeing and kayaking and the only oak forest of Kapelli, the largest of its kind in Greece. In Amaliada one can enjoy the beautiful and large beaches of Kourouta, Marathia and Palouki beach.
Famous lordly village is Andritsaina, with its stone houses, traditional cafes and the wonderful view of the neighboring villages of Gortynia. In the historic stone city under the plane trees, one can enjoy the wonderful view and visit the Folklore Museum which hosts exhibits from socio-economic life. The Nikolopouleios Library houses old books, manuscripts and copies of the pediments of the Epicurean Apollo of Alkamenis. Andritsaina is offered for canoeing, kayaking on the river Lucio, hiking in the gorge of Neda and the waterfalls, cycling, 4x4 routes, etc. The so-called "Parthenon of the Peloponnese'' temple built in honor of the god Apollo is the first of the Greek monuments in the UNESCO network.
The gorge of Neda is also an area of rare natural beauty with a variety of vegetation, waterfalls, verdant slopes, but also with very rich fauna. The descent to it offers a unique experience with the spectacle of one of the most impressive waterfalls in Greece, 50 meters high. From Andritsaina you can reach Karytaina and the other villages of Arcadia, following a beautiful route on the slopes of Mount Lycao. The area of Caiaphas is a tourist settlement on the islet of Agia Aikaterini with a unique landscape, while the wider area is considered an important wetland. The Caiaphas forest, of particular natural beauty, is included in the National Catalog NATURA 2000. The Thermal Springs are famous baths that include two springs and gushing in caves at the foot of Mount Lapitha. The water gushes from the ground elsewhere hot and elsewhere cold and mixes creating a natural bath and is suitable for many ailments.
Zacharo is a beautiful city built in a fertile area, of exceptional natural beauty, and with great archaeological interest. It combines countless options for activities and water sports such as surfing. Lampeia or Divris, with its mansions, stone fountains, fir forest and Divriotiko river is a picturesque mountain village near the prefecture of Arcadia. Around it there are many springs, famous for their clean water while in the area there was in ancient times the ancient village of Lampeia. A short distance away is the unique oak forest of Foloi. The springs and the river Erymanthos, rushing, beautiful and "fishy", is a natural border between Ilia and Arcadia in the waters of which trout are fished, while many parts of it are ideal for kayaking and rafting.
The beaches of the prefecture stretch for hundreds of kilometers, offering innumerable options even unexplored. Kourouta is known as the "Mykonos'' of the Peloponnese with kilometers of golden sand that has been honored with the blue flag while it is a spawning ground of the sea turtle Caretta - Caretta. The settlement of Arkoudi is amphitheatrically and ends at the beach inside a creek that closes on a rocky hill reminiscent of an island, awarded the Blue Flag. Glyfa beach is less "cosmopolitan" than the beaches of the area and is just as beautiful as the golden sand, the clear waters and the beautiful forest. Kounoupeli & Kounoupelaki Manolada are two wonderful beaches nearby. Kounoupelaki stands out with the forest and the sand that end up on a small island.
Behind the marina of Katakolo extends the sandy beach that reaches Kyparissia and differs for the depth of its waters. It even includes the holiday settlements such as Alkyona, Kyani Akti, Asteria, Kavouri. Kaiafas - Zacharo beach is located in the eastern part of Kyparissia gulf and is about 2.5 km from the settlement of Zacharo, a large and clean beach, but without organization with canteens and sunbeds. It is also a popular destination for nudists in the area who choose their own piece from such a large beach. Zacharo wins the Blue Flag every year as one of the cleanest and most beautiful beaches and is a pole of attraction while its characteristics are the sand, its vastness and its organization.
Basic products of Ilia are olives, vines, cereals, and vegetables. The crown was the raisin during the boom period of exports that led to the development of the place. The prefecture is famous for the excellent quality of olive oil due to the file that favors virgin and extra virgin olive oil. There is also a large production of citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines and lemons of excellent quality. One of the most important crops of the prefecture is the watermelon of Ilia with great exportability in Italy and all over Europe due to its excellent quality. The strawberry, also produced in the region of Vuprasia, is of excellent quality with certification for international markets. Autumn or spring potatoes also have a prominent place in the crop. The tomato paste produced is one of the best quality in the world.