Today with our car: Our destination was Astakos at the Ionian Sea, from where the ferries to Ithaca depart, about 45 km from Messolonghi.
The landscape: Aetolia Arcania. Messolonghi is located in the lagoon nature park Messolonghi- Ätoliko.
So first we went along the lagoons, which remind strongly of the Camargue, here salt is also extracted on a large scale. With one difference: the lagoons are bordered on the land side by a wild steep rugged mountain range, where there are vertical rockfalls and which is covered with maquis, if anything grows there.
Ätoloko is a small town completely located on an island, it has two access roads on a narrow arched bridge.
In this area there is agriculture - olives, maize, wine, watermelons…….and there is fishing, namely - because of the shallow water - eels. They are smaller than the ones we know in Germany, they are not smoked, but fried and taste very good. Sometimes, as in Messolonghi, the flat wooden houses of the fishermen stand on stilts like pile dwellings in or near the water.
To the north, the route continues into the mountains, in serpentines and narrow curves. You have to be careful, because behind a curve suddenly a herd of goats can stand. Already here you have wonderful views of the strongly structured coastal landscape of the Ionian Sea, brown-red limestone cliffs and the deep blue sea, partly green between eucalyptus or cork oak trees.
The rock formations are wild and varied: right next to each other there are calcareous layers, volcanic forms like weathered lava rivers and then again huge sloping plates like slates.
Astakos is a tiny beautiful town with a pier where fishing boats, but also sailing boats moor. There are restaurants preferably with fish dishes - we have tried one and can recommend it.
The car ferry to Ithaca drives with its bow flap directly onto the pier, 20 meters further you can swim, an idyll.
On the return trip we made several small detours into the bays and drank a very good espresso freddo in Ätoliko - a completely successful Sunday trip.