Achaia prefecture is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. Its area covers 3,274 square kilometers, the population is 310,580 (2011) and it is the basic gate which connects Greece to the other countries of the European Union via the port of Patras. Achaia prefecture is part of the region of West Greece along with the Aetolia-Acarnania and Ilia prefectures.
It is the geographical center of gravity of the region, as it possesses 29% of the total land and 46% of its total population. It is subdivided into 5 municipalities: Patras, Aigialeia, West Achaia, Kalavryta and Erymanthos. The capital of the prefecture is Patras, which is the third largest city of the country. Achaia combines natural beauty and cultural growth. It is part of the Greek land which brings out the country's historic heritage and modern civilization.
Patras, the ancient city of the mythical man Patreas, is the port connecting Greece to West Europe and is prominent for its architecture and street layout. The rich historic and cultural heritage of Patras, as well as its lively and modern lifestyle, create a special city character. The Patras Carnival, the International Festival which hosts remarkable samples of artistic expression every summer, and the Municipal and Regional Theater of the city with its active presence express the profound artistic traditions of the city's residents.
Achaia prefecture is the west gate of Greece to Europe which offers easy access to the most significant archaeological sites of the country: Ancient Olympia, Delphi, Epidaurus, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius, Mykines and Athens.
The total are of Achaia prefecture is 3,274 km2 and shows intense soil contrast. 60% of the soil is mountainous and is crossed by relatively small rivers (Vouraikos, Selinountas and Peiros) and by smaller streams which flow into the Gulf of Patras and the Gulf of Corinth. The heart of economic life of the prefecture and the region is the city of Patras.