Messolonghi is a fascinating harbour with a long and illustrious history but none of it is really capitalised on! However, its well sheltered harbour, accessed by a long, narrow and interesting canal, makes it an excellent overnight stop for any yacht and it does have some hidden charm.
While it could be argued that Messolonghi is somewhat less than appealing from the seafront, (usually a shambles of works in progress and wind farm bits) the town itself has made a big effort in recent years to put a new face on things. The old town, with its pedestrianised cobbled streets, has some interesting bars and restaurants if you are willing to walk to 15 minutes or so to get there and poke about a bit. At night Messolonghi can become quite lively with a large percentage of university students choosing to while away a few hours over a coffee or beer here. This is not a tourist town and as such has some interesting dishes on offer in the restaurants and some unusual shops.
For history buffs: Messolonghi is where Lord Byron succumbed to a fever during the Greek war of independence but don’t expect much hoopla to be made of that. Likewise don’t expect too much from the “Byron” museum (Slightly out of town. Open 10-12) as it contains little about Lord Byron but it does have a large selection of lithographs depicting the Turks being defeated.
I don’t know what type of fever Lord Byron caught but be warned the mosquito population is very large and fierce here during the summer, so don’t forget your mossie repellent!
There are three options for overnighting in Messolonghi depending on your needs and how the port police are feeling on any given day.
The Marina is located on the west side of the bay. It is the standard fare of pontoons and lazy lines. Power and water is available once you have purchased a card to operate the metered system. A card is also needed for operating the showers. It is possible to moor on the outside of the marina wave breaker pontoons but power and water is not available here. The marina has a small chandlery and grocery shop but for all your other provisioning needs you will have to take a walk to town. There is a good self-service laundry located near the office.
Anchoring is and is not permitted in the bay(!?!). Depending on the day, anchoring may be allowed. Best bet is to follow the lead of other yachts. If someone else is anchored, do so. If not, don’t. The port police are very polite here and will come and tell you if they want you to move.
Finally there is the Messolonghi town quay located on northeast side of the harbour. A section of this has been painted green and this is where they expect visiting yachts to moor. You can go stern or bows to here or, if it is not too busy, alongside is acceptable. There is water here but no electricity. A small overnight charge is sometimes collected (approximately 7 euros for a 13m boat 2014). This is a fairly noisy place to be with the fishermen and commercial craft coming and going and, very unusually for Greece, there have been reports of thefts from boats so it might pay to be a bit more vigilant here.
If you fancy a swim I suggest you follow the locals lead and walk out to the mouth of the canal by following the road on the east side of the bay. There is a good sand beach or you can swim off the rocks. Typically for Greece, there are bars and restaurants situated out here as well.