Foreign visitors are slowly discovering the delights of Achaïa (Αχαΐα). The spectacular region hides a string of coastal resorts, some high and skiable mountain country (reached on a fantastic rack-and-pinion railway) and a bustling capital, Patra.
Achaïa owes its name to the Achaeans, an Indo-European branch of migrants who settled on mainland Greece and established what is more commonly known as the Mycenaean civilisation. When the Dorians arrived, the Achaeans were pushed into this northwestern corner of the Peloponnese, displacing the original Ionians.
Legend has it that the Achaeans founded 12 cities, which later developed into the powerful Achaean Federation that survived until Roman times. Principal among these cities were the ports of Patra and Egio (on the coast of the Gulf of Corinth).