When it comes to summer in Greece, everyone thinks of the turquoise waters and dazzling, sandy beaches of the Aegean or the Ionian Seas, right?
What would you think if we told you that a river in the very heart of the Greek mainland has its own beautiful, pristine sandy beaches which resemble exotic destinations and attract thousands of people every year?
As if Greece doesn’t have enough spectacular beaches on which to cavort during the summers, it also boasts one of the most beautiful river beaches to be found anywhere in the world. We’re talking about the sandy valley of the Acheloos River, in Western Greece.
The Valley of the Acheloos River
Surrounded by high mountain peaks, in an area which forms the natural border between four Greek counties, the Acheloos Valley creates an amazing and completely unique natural landscape which must be seen to be believed.
The current of the river there slows down as it enters the flat valley, and its waters also become shallow due to the lack of rain during the summer. This causes the sandy banks of the river to turn into proper beaches, where people can go and enjoy their holidays just as if they were on an island somewhere in the Aegean or the Ionian Sea.
A landscape with jaw-dropping white-sand beaches and light blue, crystal clear waters suddenly emerges after the Acheloos River descends from the higher land of the Agrafa, Baltos and Frousia mountains, where the regional units of Aetolia-Acarnania, Arta, Evrytania and Karditsa meet.
Traditional villages, verdant forests, mountain paths, religious monuments and several white-cobbled river beaches offer a range of opportunities for exploration, adventure and relaxation for vacationers in the Acheloos area.
Some areas of the valley even have proper beach bars, water sports facilities, and other amenities, offering the unique opportunity to feel like you’re on the ocean, while you’re completely surrounded by high peaks and thick forests!
The Acheloos River, or as it is alternatively known, the Achelous, is an approximately 140-mile long river which empties into the Ionian Sea on the west coast of Greece.
The pristine river was even venerated by ancient Greeks as the river god “Achelous.”
The Acheloos crosses most of Western Greece, commencing its journey at magnificent Mount Pindus, 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) above sea level, and forming smaller and larger waterfalls along its meandering way to the Ionian Sea.
The river has its source in the Pindo mountain range, near Mount Lakmos, in Trikala prefecture, at an altitude of approximately 2,295 m. It is one of the longest rivers in Greece.
It is confused with the administrative border between the prefecture of Arta in Epirus and that of Trikala, and then that of Karditsa, in Thessaly. It empties into the Ionian Sea and partly into the Gulf of Patras, via the Messolonghi lagoon, west of the city of the same name.