A first choice would be to visit the Monastery of Kato Panagia, which is not far from the center of the town. It is dedicated to the birth of Saint Mary and it was built upon the order of the Governor of the region – Michael II Komnenos Doukas. Today it is a well preserved convent and the beauty of its interior can hardly be described in words.
We suggest you continue your day with a trip to the hilly area of Arta and the Amvrakikos Gulf. One of the largest and most productive hilly areas in Greece, the Hills of Arta are the main trigger for the development of the region. Indicative of the importance it always had is the fact that during the Ottoman occupation it belonged to Valide Sultan, the mother of the Sultan and it was called “ the sweet field”.
On your way to the Amvracian Gulf you will meet quite a few colourful villages with beautiful churches and monuments, hidden in the bosom of nature. If you are not afraid of going off track we suggest you take the country road that goes along the seaside, from the village of Vigla to the village of Strongili, parallel to the lagoon and get to the Panagia Rodias and the Hermitage of Agios Vlasios of Sevastia. The scenery is unique and if you are lucky you might even see water buffaloes, a species that is almost extinct in this area, but there is still a small herd in the lagoon of Rodia.
All those who still have some energy left can visit the Roman Court and the oil mill with the millstones that were brought to light by archaeological digs in the village of Strongili.
MADE UP YOUR MIND TO STAY ONE MORE DAY IN ARTA? ALL FOR THE BEST ! TODAY YOU’D BETTER NOT SPEND THE DAY IN CITY, BUT EXPLORE THE NEARBY AREA INSTEAD!
The journey continues with a visit to Koronisia. This picturesque village, was an island until recently and nowadays is connected to the shore opposite by a strip of land. Crossing it is a unique experience, as on the one side lies the Amvracian Gulf, and on the other a lagoon with traditional fishing facilities (“ivaria”). Here you can find traditional tavernas and restaurants to enjoy fresh sea food such as the famous prawns and the sardines of the Amvracian Gulf.
You can swim in the sea here or enjoy the show offered by the kite and windsurf competitions –sports for which Koronisia is well known all over Greece. If you are into alternative activities you can get to know the Amvracian Gulf by sea kayak and discover the beautiful hidden spots of this idyllic place.
Climbing a few meters to the hill of Koronisia will get you to Panagia Koronisia, one of the oldest Byzantine churches in Arta, dating back to the 10th century B.C. Close to it is Koulia, a small castle, a “twin” of the fortress of Lascara in Preveza.
They say the best things in life are free: it sure suits here, as in Koronisia you can see one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life, by looking down on the calm waters of the Amvracian Gulf which is one of the most important wetlands in Europe and makes the best spot for bird watching.
It is time to return to the city of Arta. What could be better, after such a full day, than finding a place to relax? We suggest the lakeside park of Arta, a multi-purpose space for cultural events that is also used by the locals for a walk or exercise, having a cup of coffee or even eating and relaxing.
As an alternative, 5 km out of the city, at Chanopoulo village, one can find the Chanopoulo Baths. Their thermal spring has a rare kind of healing water, the kind that can be found only abroad (namely in Nenndorf, Germany and in Haute Savoie, France). In this calm environment the visitor can wind down and wash away the exhaustion of the day, enjoy the therapeutic properties of this natural spa, see around this place which has a history of more than half a century and enjoy the hospitality of the locals at its best.
Taking a slight detour you can see the oldest example of Ottoman architecture in Epirus – the Faik Pasha Mosque. The mosque used to be part of a larger cluster of buildings with a charitable purpose called Imaret. It included a madrassa (religious school), a hammam, a poorhouse and an inn.