Touring in Western Greece: Vonitsa

 

 

View of Vonitsa from the airVonitsa is a town in the northwestern part of Aetolia-Acarnania in Greece, seat of the municipality of Aktio-Vonitsa. Vonitsa has a population of more than 4,000 (2001). The picturesque beach town (3 beaches) is situated on the south coast of the Ambracian Gulf, and is dominated by a Venetian fortress on a hill. Vonitsa is 13 km southeast of Preveza and 18 km northeast of Lefkada (city). The Greek National Road 42 (Lefkada – Amfilochia) passes through Vonitsa.

The town is set in a lush, green environment overlooking the Ambracian Gulf, which is one of the few places in Greece where you still get a peek of the endangered bottlenosed dolphins. This is mainly because of the rich stock of sardines in the Ambracian Gulf, where industrial fishing is impossible.

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Panoramic view of Vonitsa and the fortress

Vonitsa is built near the site of ancient Anactorium, an important city of Acarnania, founded by Corinthians in 630 BC. Like the other cities of Acarnania, it went into decline when the Romans founded Nicopolis on the other side of the Ambracian Gulf after the Battle of Actium, and forced its inhabitants to move to that city.

The Ambracian Gulf is quite shallow, and its shore is broken by numerous marshes, large parts of which form an estuary system.
The Louros and Arachthos rivers drain into it; for this reason it is warmer and less salty than the Ionian, and a current flows from the gulf into the sea. It is rich in grey mullet, sole, and eel.

Veiw of Vonitsa, seen from the castle

Vonitsa was founded during Byzantine rule. Vonitsa was controlled by the Republic of Venice between 1684 and 1797. After the Greek War of Independence, the town became a part of Greece in 1832.

Vonitsa with its beautiful natural environment is a perfect setting for a break of a couple of days if you are on your way to Preveza or Lefkada island. The medieval castle and the ancient site nearby will give you plenty of opportunity for sightseeing.

 

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