Salt has played a crucial role in the history of civilization and in Greece. In fact, in ancient Greece it was used as a commodity for trading slaves. It is said that the time held expression of “not worth his salt” came from this practice. Also, in ancient times, most civilizations were accompanied by myths, religious and magic rites involving salt and Greece was no exception. With tales of its usage during sacrifices and religious rituals, the history of salt is as exotic as is the amazing alykes, or salt marsh gardens that extend for miles on end in Messolonghi, Greece.
The unique landscape of Messolonghi Lagoon is the largest lagoon in the country and the region is said to produce 60 percent of the country’s salt. In fact, the Messolonghi–Aetoliko lagoon system is considered to be one of the most important Mediterranean lagoons.
Along the costal road from Messolonghi towards Aetoliko sits salt lakes known as Alykes of Messolonghi. They are eye-catching as there are plots of squared-off fields filled with sea water where, once the water evaporates, the sea salt is left behind to collect. The phenomenon provides an amazing view along the way to the small town of Aetoliko, with flocks of flamingos basking and feeding in the nutrient rich marshes and bright white salt pyramids lining the drive.
The fantastic eco-system of the region is evident upon arrival in Aetoliko which encompasses the small island that separates the two lagoons. Famous for having rare birds and fish species the lagoons are breathtaking, and are dotted with traditional fishing huts built over the water on piles of wood. The drive to the Troulida islet is one of the most sought-after trips in the area, as the sun sets and reflects off the still waters of the lagoon.