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The Lagoon of Messolonghi
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The ‘National Park of Messolonghi and Etoliko lagoons’ is located at the southwest tip of Sterea Ellada at the spot where the gulf of Patras meets the Ionian Sea and Evinos and Acheloos Rivers flow into. This lagoon is the biggest in Greece and one of the biggest in the Mediterranean Europe. The wider area includes overlands, lagoon lands, and river lands of the south part of Etoloakarnania Province as well as the complex of Ehinades islands of Kefallinia Prefecture. The diversity of the formations at this coastal ecosystem has favored the development of a variety of different organisms living in the sea and the land.



This is a lake by the sea which contains salty water. It is separated from the open sea of Patras Gulf with a low coastal diazoma created by the rivers Evinos and Acheloos. It is 27.000m long, 14.000m wide and covers an area of about 112000km². Its biggest depth is 5m while the average depth does not exceed 0,5m. Inside the lagoon lie 8 islets (Vasiladi, Klisova, Komma, Plostena, Schinias, Tholi, Marmarou and Prokopanistos).


Flora and Fauna

The substances carried by Evinos River in comparison to the sea water, have created a wetland composed of extended marshes, reed groves, salty marshes, straw lands and narrow stripes of land. The presence of sand dunes that cover a large area is really significant since they constitute natural dam against the salty water and also contribute to prevent the coastal zone’s erosion.

The Lagoon is a wetland that is listed among the 11 most significant wetlands worldwide, protected by the treaty Ramsar. Here have been recorded more than 200 different bird species many of which are rare or under extinction. Moreover, many migratory birds use the lagoon to rest or find food on their way towards the hotter, southern climates. Two of the most characteristic species are the Slender-billed Gull  and the Wild Ducks whose population gets constantly lower due to the lake’s drainage and the illegal hunting.

Moreover many species append the winter here like large populations of the Eurasian Coot and other duck species as well as many Nightingales, Thrushes, rock Blackbirds and the Eagle-owls. Furthermore the area is the natural habitat for many aquatic birds and different gull species like the Little Term, the River Term and the Yellow-legged Gull as well as for one of the rarest species worldwide, the Slender-billed Curlew.

The long list of the area’s bird species complete a number of birds of prey such as the Gyps fulvus, many Hawks, Ravens, Black Vultures, Sea Eagles and Imperial Eagles.

The lagoon is also known for its rich fish species which includes many fish of fresh and salty waters such as eels, basses, trout, catfish and many more.



Locals were mainly engaged in fishing, haunting, raisin and corn crops, activities perfectly matched to the environment’s balance. The residents have created natural fish hatcheries in certain spots, which attract a great number of fish which find food in the lagoon’s waters.



Despite the human activity and the inability of the authorities that are responsible for the lagoon, the waters are in a good condition and fishing consists the main source in the area’s economy. Nevertheless, this rich ecosystem starts being threatened and losing its balance. What worries most is that the lagoon has lost much of what Acheloos River offered because of the artificial dams created in the artificial lakes Kastraki, Stratos and Kremasta. This situation raises questions on the consequences of Acheloos diversion in the future.


The Management Body

The management body aims at protecting, managing and highlighting the area’s nature and landscape. Specifically, it caters for the preservation and the proper management of the rare ecosystems, flora and fauna species as well as the rich bird species that live here and has made the area one of the richest wetlands in Europe (concerning the variety of species and their population).


The management Body of the Lagoon in Messolonghi: +30 2632055094

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