The best way to get a more complete feel of the mountain range of the area is to get in touch with nature, to walk the trails of the mountain, to talk to the shepherds, to satisfy your thirst at the cold fountains, to spend a night in the shelters.
The routes mentioned below are suitable for mountain hiking, climbing & mountain biking for those who love nature and the mountains..
Hiking on Varasova
The top is more easily accessible from the west side and the journey lasts approximately 2.5 hours. Interesting elements include the amazing view and the existence of many caves. The Climbing Club of Mesolonghi has opened and signposted the tracks:
- Forest road - Agioi Pateres (caves), distance in hours 1:30.
- Caves - Well, distance in hours 1.
- Well - Peak, distance in hours 1.
- End of forest road - Well, distance in hours 2.
Climbing on Varasova
Varasova could justifiably be characterized as one of the best climbing terrains in Greece. There is a climbing terrain from the side facing Kryoneri (southern side), one of the best in Europe, where climbers from all over the world can be found almost every day. Its main feature is the opportunity it offers the climber to climb using imagination and various changes of moves. The weather conditions are almost perfect and the number of journeys combined with their diversity can satisfy climbers of any mentality and skill level.
Approximately 90 climbing journeys of graduated difficulty and an altitude difference from 25 and 400 meters have been set out so far. Varasova can easily be used by schools both for training and for climbing with a high degree of difficulty and elevation. The "Batman" journey on Varasova is considered as the most difficult and technically demanding terrain in Greece, suitable for very experienced & reckless climbers. Due to the warm and dry climate of the area, Varasova may also be climbed in the winter..
HIking on Arakynthos
Arakynthos is a low mountain with altitude 982m to the north of the town of Mesolonghi, acting as a natural boundary between Patraikos Gulf and the lake Trichonida, which is found to the north of the mountain. Due to his texture, Arakynthos is especially significant for the birds of the area from an ecology point of view. In
Arakynthos one can come across interesting canyons & extensive oak and chestnut forests.
A network of trails has been detected, mapped and signed in Arakynthos. These trails constitute parts of a wider network of trails used since the ancient times. Although their age has not been accurately determined, archaeological findings indicate that the area has been inhabited since 2,500 AD and that the morphology of the terrain has not changed to such as extent as to justify new opening of trails. On these trails you can hike & mountain bike..
The trail of the "Exodus"
History: in Mesolonghi, the situation for those besieged by the Ottomans, had been extremely difficult ever since February 1826. The battles were man-to-man, while the town was constantly cannonaded. There was no food left and the besieged (women, children, the injured, the elderly and the warriors) were fed with seaweed, skins, mice and cats! Under these circumstances, which made effective defense of the town impossible, a council of captains and headmen decided the "exodus" on 6 April, and the night of Lazarus Saturday to Palm Sunday (9 to 10 April) was set as the date. According to the plan, at midnight the population was divided into three groups, under orders of Dimitrios Makris, Notis Botsaris and Kitsos Tzavelas, hoping to break the enemy lines by catching the enemy off-guard. Earlier they had killed their Ottoman prisoners whereas the injured and the elderly stayed in town. According to the plan, the inhabitants would exit the town from three different spots and they would meet at the monastery of Agios (St.) Symeon. At the moment of the exodus, panic was the prominent emotion. Several armed warriors managed to make their way through the enemy soldiers fighting and to reach the monastery of Agios (St.) Symeon in Arakynthos (Zygos) under pursuit. Most of them, mainly women and children, but several warriors as well, did not manage to come across the besiegers' lines, went back to the city and perished with it. During the battles (in the course of which thousands died) only 1,300 men, 7 women and 3-4 children were saved, according to the writings of Sp. Trikoupis. The survivors, who were assembled in Agios (St.) Symeon, walked all night to reach the peak of the mountain in a bad state due to suffering, hunger and fatigue and then went to Amfissa, planning to get to Nafplio, where they were received as heroes. The legend of the "Mesolonghi Guard" had already been made up.
Following the wariors steps:Starting from Mesolonghi and heading SW, we exit from the gate of the exodus and though the vineyard of Pazikotsikas; after approximately 9km (2 hours of walking) we reach St. Symeon (altitude 200 meters).
From there, heading NW we follow a forest road, go past a small grove and a cross of huge dimensions and then the road splits to three; taking the one to the right we come to view to the lagoon and in approximately 20 minutes, at an altitude of 300m, on a plateau, we come across the first red signs on our right and follow the path which leaves the road and takes us deep into Mediterranean maquis. We climb an uphill and in 20 minutes we reach the piles of stone of 2 historical fortresses.
From now on our hearts beats faster. All around us, we feel the invisible presence of the dead people who fled the town guide our steps. The path is not just any path; it is the path on which the people who fled Mesolonghi shed their blood and courage and these were the fortresses used by "outside assistance" to attack the Ottoman conquerors and save the Greeks.
Its discovery is an important historic one, made by Fanis Voreinakis, who with his personal hard work and enthusiasm managed to find the missing link of the heroic exodus.
After fifteen more minutes of walking we are at the peak of Arakynthos and have 360-degree view around it.
To the south we can see Mesolonghi, to the east Varasova, to the north Dervekista, where the people went down to save themselves.
It is honestly one of the most beautiful places you will have come across and walked in your life.
The path is not a simple path, but a stone-paved one, one of those used by the ancient inhabitants of Aitolia.
The "Carlo e figli" gun, the renowned "liaros" of general Dimitrakis Makris, who led the phalanx of the inhabitants to salvation is now exhibited in the Museum of Mesolonghi and waits for you to stand in front of it and shiver remembering the Free Besieged of the lagoon town, after your walk.
Signing of the path: The trail is set out and well signposted by the Professor of TEI of Mesolonghi Fanis Voreinakis, the man who discovered the trail of the exodus!
Difficulty: An easy hiking track, but with a great historical and ecological value..
Climbing on Arakyntos (Agios Georgios CHounitsas - Greveno Peak).
You can climb to the peak using a well-preserved path from the monastery of Agios Cheorgios Chounistas, which is built on a 140-m altitude and at a 10-km distance from Mesolonghi. The entire area is lush and throughout the journey you will enjoy the amazing view to Mesolongi and its lagoon. The journey to the top lasts 1-2 hours. The path crosses a Mediterranean shrub (Arbutus, holm oaks, streams with platani etc.) and ends in a dense forest of wide-leaf oaks (Qupteus frainffo) up to the Greveno peak, where the shelter of the Climbing Club of Mesolonghi is also found. At the peak, Trichonida lake and Patraikos Gulf are added to the wonderful view.
The path has been opened and signposted by the Climbing Club of Mesolonghi..
- Agios Georgios Chounistas - fountain of Kleftes – Afchenas (Zygouroderko), distance in hours 0:45.
- Agios Georgios Chounistas - Portes, distance in hours 0:45.
- Agios Symeon - Forest road, 4km, Kantounia, distance in hours 1:30.
- Kantounia - Agia Moni - Agia Paraskevi - Portes, Afchenas (Zygouroderko) - Fire look out - Well, distance in hours 4.
- Fire look out of Profitis Ilias (Kerasovou) - Agios Petros - Agios Georgios Sivistas, distance in hours 2:30.