Peloponnese Greece: A Comprehensive Travel Guide
Looking for a new travel destination that combines beautiful scenery, historical significance, delicious cuisine, and endless opportunities for exploration? Discover the stunning landscapes, rich history, and delicious cuisine of the Peloponnese in Greece. Are you ready to discover the magic of Greece? Our Peloponnese Travel Guide is your ticket to discovering the most iconic sights, hidden gems, and cultural experiences that this captivating destination has to offer. Let’s dive in!
Important monuments and archaeological sites, unique settlements, picturesque towns and charming castles, as well as natural beauties such as mountains and forests, rivers and caves, beautiful beaches with rocky and lacy coast make the Peloponnese an ideal holiday destination.
Wander. Journey. Inspire.
Seize the moment, pick your route, and let the exploration start!
About Peloponnese - Facts and Figures
Peloponnese is the largest peninsula in Greece. It is located south of the continental part of the country and is connected to Central Greece through a narrow strip of land, the Corinth Canal. The region has been the heart of Ancient Greece for over 3,000 years, and you can visit some of the country’s most historic sites like Ancient Olympia, Epidavros Theater, and the fortified stone village of Monemvasia.
In addition, since 2004 the Rio-Antirrio Bridge connects the Peloponnese with Central Greece and the rest of the mainland. It is a historic cradle of Hellenism and has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It was the theater of most of the war conflicts that took place in the Greek world with top examples of the Peloponnesian War and the Greek Revolution and experienced various conquerors such as Romans, Franks, Ottomans, and others.
Monuments from every period of its rich history, great archaeological sites such as ancient Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Tiryns, Byzantine churches, unique settlements, and charming castles, along with natural beauties, magnetize a number of tourists from all over the world by any means to make an excursion around the Peloponnese peninsula.
The Peloponnese region is less touristy than Athens or the islands, but it’s the spot where local Greeks vacation, giving it an authentic feel. Whether you prefer relaxing by the seaside, exploring mysterious ruins, or partaking in Greece’s vivacious and compelling culture, you will find something here that will leave a lasting impression.
Let’s make a lightning trip to the most interesting parts of the magnificent coastline of the Peloponnese…
Popular Destinations in Peloponnese
Discover the Hidden Gems of Greece’s Peloponnese Region
Mystras is an ancient fortified town that’s located on the slopes of Mount Taygetus. Mystras, a former Byzantine capital and fortified city, is a must-see attraction in Peloponnese. Mystras is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is spread over a steep mountainside and is surrounded by verdant olive and orange trees. It was once a fortified Byzantine city and served as the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea. Visit the fortress and the impressive monastery of Pantanassa, and take
in the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. The Palace of the Despots, the Cathedral of Saint Dimitrios, and the Monastery of Peribleptos are some of the top attractions in Mystras. Mystras is an ideal place for visitors who are interested in Byzantine history and architecture.
Mycenae: The Hub of Ancient Civilization
Start your Peloponnese adventure by visiting Mycenae, the hub of a civilization that dominated Greece a thousand years before the Golden Age of ancient Athens. Mycenae is a historical town located in the region of Argolis, between Argos and Nafplion. Discover the Ruins of Mycenae. On a hilltop backed by powerful mountains stand the somber and mighty ruins of Ancient Mycenae, home of Agamemnon, the legendary king who commanded the Greek army during the Trojan War.
Mycenae was once a powerful kingdom that flourished from the 16th to the 12th century BC. According to Greek mythology, Perseus—son of the Greek god Zeus and Danae, who was the daughter of Acricio, the king of Argos—founded Mycenae. Perseus left Argos for Tiryns and instructed Cyclopes (one-eyed giants) to build the walls of Mycenae with stones no human could lift. Perseus named the city Mycenae after the cap (myces) fell off his scabbard at the site, which he saw as a sign of good omen, or after finding a water spring to quench his thirst when he picked up a mushroom (myces) from the ground. The succeeding dynasty was the Atreids, whose first king, Atreus, is traditionally believed to have reigned around 1250 BCE. Atreus’ son Agamemnon was not only the king of Mycenae but also of all the Achaean Bronze Age Greeks, and he led their expedition to Troy to recapture Helen. You can also visit the Tomb of Agamemnon and the Archaeological Museum of Mycenae to see fascinating artifacts such as gold masks and swords.
There are many exciting things to do and see in Mycenae. One of the most popular attractions is the Lion Gate, which is the entrance to the town and features two female stone lions above it. The gate is an impressive piece of Mycenaean sculpture and the largest surviving sculpture in the prehistoric Aegean. The gate dates back to the 13th century BC and is an iconic landmark of the town.
The gate, which is about 10 feet wide and high, features two lions under a triangle inscribed on a stone above the entrance. The gate is formed by two great monoliths topped by a lintel, above which is a triangular block of stone with the relief of two rampant lions. The gate served as the main entrance to the citadel of Mycenae, and its imposing structure still inspires awe in visitors today.
Mycenae: The Hub of Ancient Civilization
Start your Peloponnese adventure by visiting Mycenae, the hub of a civilization that dominated Greece a thousand years before the Golden Age of ancient Athens. Mycenae is a historical town located in the region of Argolis, between Argos and Nafplion. Discover the Ruins of Mycenae. On a hilltop backed by powerful mountains stand the somber and mighty ruins of Ancient Mycenae, home of Agamemnon, the legendary king who
commanded the Greek army during the Trojan War. Mycenae was once a powerful kingdom that flourished from the 16th to the 12th century BC. According to Greek mythology, Perseus—son of the Greek god Zeus and Danae, who was the daughter of Acricio, the king of Argos—founded Mycenae. Perseus left Argos for Tiryns and instructed Cyclopes (one-eyed giants) to build the walls of Mycenae with stones no human could lift. Perseus named the city Mycenae after the cap (myces) fell off his scabbard at the site, which he saw as a sign of good omen, or after finding a water spring to quench his thirst when he picked up a mushroom (myces) from the ground. The succeeding dynasty was the Atreids, whose first king, Atreus, is traditionally believed to have reigned around 1250 BCE. Atreus’ son Agamemnon was not only the king of Mycenae but also of all the Achaean Bronze Age Greeks, and he led their expedition to Troy to recapture Helen. You can also visit the Tomb of Agamemnon and the Archaeological Museum of Mycenae to see fascinating artifacts such as gold masks and swords.
The largest town in Northern Peloponnese and the third largest town in Greece is the port town that serves ferries to Italy and the Ionian islands. Patras is famous for its busy port that serves ferry schedules to the Ionian islands and Italy all year round, and also for its lively nightlife, picturesque streets, and stunning views of the Ionian Sea.
If you’re driving, you can take the Athens-Corinth National Road and then continue onto the Corinth-Patra National Road. There are also regular buses that connect Patra to Athens and other cities in Greece.
The train is another option and offers a comfortable and scenic journey from Athens. If you’re looking for more adventure, you can take a day trip to the nearby towns of Olympia, Nafpaktos, and Delphi. From archaeological sites and museums to wineries and carnival events, Patras has something to offer everyone.
The famous cable bridge of Rio-Antirio
The Rio-Antirrio Bridge, also known as the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge, is one of the most impressive feats of engineering in the world. It connects the Peloponnese to the rest of Greece, and is located in Rio, close to Patra. The construction of the Rio-Antirrio Bridge was a massive undertaking that required the expertise of some of the world’s best engineers.
According to ancient legend, Epidaurus was the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asklepios, the famous healer of antiquity, and was known for his sanctuary situated nearby (this Asclepieion was the most respected healing center of the Classical world), as well as its theater, which is once again in use today to host mainly performances of ancient drama, since it is considered a miracle of both architecture and acoustics.
The Archaeological Museum hosts many interesting exhibits from excavations on this site. If you want to explore more of Epidaurus Greece, you can visit the seaside village of Ancient Epidaurus, which is a charming fishing place with a couple of small beaches, fish taverns, and studios. You can also take a road trip to Nafplion, Mycenae, and Porto Heli. Epidavros is located about two hours southwest of Athens, and the easiest way to get there is by car or taxi. If you are flying into Athens, you can rent a car at the airport, or take a taxi to Epidavros. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Athens to Nafplio, a nearby town, and then take a taxi or local bus to Epidavros. If you prefer to travel by sea, you can take a ferry from Piraeus port to nearby islands like Aegina, Poros, or Hydra, and then take a taxi or bus to Epidavros.
Methoni is a picturesque seaside town that is famous for its impressive fortress, which dates back to the 13th century. It has been identified as the city of Pedasus, which Homer mentions under the name “ampeloessa” (of vine leaves), as the last of the seven well-populated cities that Agamemnon offers Achilles in order to subdue his rage. The town gained its independence from the Spartans in 369 BC, along with the rest of Messenia.
During the Byzantine era, Methoni was known as Mothone and was named either after the daughter of Oeneus or after the rock Mothon, which protects the harbor. Pausanias mentioned the temple to Athena Anemotis there. The Venetians occupied Methoni in 1209, during the Fourth Crusade, and it became an important trading and commercial center in the eastern Mediterranean. In 1500, the Ottomans captured Methoni from the Venetians, and the town became an important center for the local Ottoman administration. Methoni’s economy is dominated by tourism, which is attracted by its beaches and historical castle. The town has several beaches, including Tapia, Kokkinia, and Kritika, which are popular with tourists.
Kastro-Kyllini: A Jewel of Western Greece
The municipality of Kastro-Kyllini is located 12 kilometers west of Andravida and about 40 kilometers northwest of Pyrgos. Between the northernmost point, Cape Kyllini, and the town of Kyllini, the ruins of the medieval town of Glarentza have been excavated. The fortified medieval village of Monemvasia is a unique and stunning attraction in Peloponnese. Almost wholly surrounded by the ocean, the village is divided into the lower
town, bisected by a main cobbled street lined with cafes and shops, and the upper town, which is dominated by the imposing 13th-century fortress, one of Greece’s most significant historical landmarks, the Medieval Chlemoutsi Castle, also known as Clermont Castle. In the 13th century, the region was captured by the Franks, who built the impressive Chlemoutsi fortress that still stands today. During the Ottoman occupation, Kastro-Kyllini was part of the Morea Eyalet, and it was liberated in the Greek War of Independence in 1821. It served as a strategic fortress during the period of Frankish rule in Greece, and its imposing structure still stands tall and proud today, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich history. Kastro is easily accessible by car, and visitors can make a day trip from nearby towns such as Kyllini-Andravida. Visitors can explore the narrow alleys, ancient buildings, and medieval walls.
Another important highlight of Kastro is the Cathedral of Christos Elkomenos, located in the lower town.
The Monastery of Blachernae, located southeast of Kato Panagia, is another historic landmark in the area.
Beaches in Kastro-Kyllini
Kastro-Kyllini has several popular beaches on its coastline.
One of the most popular beach facilities in the western Peloponnese is the thermal springs of Kyllini, also known as Loutra Kyllinis. Kato Panagia Beach is another popular spot for visitors.
The town also has several museums, including the Kyllini Archaeological Museum, which houses artifacts from the ancient city of Glarentza.
Geography and Climate
Kastro-Kyllini is situated on the Kyllini peninsula, which juts into the Ionian Sea.
The region is characterized by hills and forests, and there are several beaches along the coastline.
The climate is Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers, and the region receives ample rainfall during the winter months.
Transportation and Accommodation
Kastro-Kyllini is easily accessible by car, and there are several secondary roads that connect the villages.
The nearest airport is the Araxos Airport, which is located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Kastro-Kyllini.
There are several accommodation options in Kastro-Kyllini, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury hotels.
Some popular hotels include the Grecotel Olympia Riviera Resort, the Kyllini Beach Resort, and the Ionian Islands Beach Villas.
Theatre of Epidavros
The Theatre of Epidavros is one of the most well-preserved ancient Greek structures in existence. The Asclepieion of Epidaurus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the best-preserved ancient theaters in Greece. Built on limestone, yet one of the best-preserved ancient Greek structures in existence, this late-4th-century-BC theatre is the undisputed highlight of the ancient city of Epidavros.
This enchanting city offers visitors a glimpse into the world of the ancient Greeks who once lived here. The city got its name from the mythical early Doric queen of the country, who was the daughter of King Triopas of Argos and the wife of Laconian Polykaonas. According to Pausanias, Messini became a goddess around the 10th century BC and eventually became one of the
principal deities of the city. Ancient Messene” refers to the ruins of a city located on the Greek mainland. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the ancient city saw several periods of construction and destruction until it was finally abandoned sometime around the 14th century AD. Historical records begin with the arrival of the Dorians, a group hailing from northwestern Greece who settled in the late Bronze Age. They founded the city of Messene in the early 9th century BCE, and it quickly grew in importance thanks to its strategic location between the Gulf of Messenia and the Taygetus mountain range. In the decades leading up to the end of the 8th century BCE, Messene played a critical role in alliances formed against Sparta. Ancient Messene provides insight into life during the Hellenistic period of Greece. The remains of this ancient city are as extensive as those of Olympia and Epidavros, yet Ancient Messene receives only a fraction of its visitors. The city is famous for its impressive fortifications, the ruins of the stadium, the theatre, and the agora. The city also offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. A region of olive groves, vineyards, and coastal towns, Messinia is perfect for those looking for a relaxing holiday.
Getting to Ancient Messene
Ancient Messene is easily accessible by car from Athens, just 230km (2hr50min) away.
Alternatively, you can take a car or taxi from Kalamata Airport, just 23km (30min) away.
Discovering Ancient Games and Wine in Nemea
Ancient Nemea is a fascinating archaeological site located in an upland valley in the Greek province of Korinthia. Ancient Nemea was once the venue for the biennial Nemean Games, held in honor of Zeus. These games were one of the four Panhellenic games of ancient Greece, and they attracted athletes from all over the Mediterranean world.
Today, you can visit the restored stadium that once seated 50,000 spectators and marvel at the Temple of Zeus, one of the most impressive ancient temples in the Peloponnese. The city is famous for its impressive Doric temple, the stadium, and the museum. The most prominent feature of the modern archaeological site at Ancient Nemea is the Temple of Zeus. The Temple of Zeus that we see on site today dates to the fourth century B.C. (around 330 B.C.). Nemea was one of four sites in ancient Greece that celebrated athletic and religious festivals on a four-year cycle. Several athletic competitions were held in the stadium, including running and wrestling events. Winners were awarded olive wreaths, which symbolized the connection between the athletic competitions and the god Zeus.
Wine Tasting in Nemea
After exploring the ancient history of Nemea, it’s time to indulge in its wine culture.
Nemea is famous for its red wines, made from the Agiorgitiko grape variety, which is unique to this region.
The soil and climate of Nemea create the perfect conditions for the Agiorgitiko grape to thrive, resulting in rich, full-bodied wines with a distinctive taste.
The wine roads of Nemea are well worth exploring, but we recommend renting a car or hiring a driver to take you from one winery to another.
The wineries in Nemea are relatively small and family-owned, making for a more personal and intimate wine-tasting experience.
The Archaeological Museum is located within the site, where a wide variety of significant exhibits are on display. The most important of which is “the Aidonia treasure”, an amazing collection of 312 seals and pieces of jewelry unearthed from the Mycenaean necropolis of Aidonia (16th – 15th c.BC).
The Nemean Lion was a legendary creature in Greek mythology that ravaged the area of Nemea. Its fur was impenetrable by the weapons of humans and hence, was unstoppable. It was considered to be the child of Typhon and Echidna, the father and mother of all monsters.
Within a modern village loom the extensive yet compact ruins of this ancient (mostly Roman) city. Home to legendary Jason of the Argonauts, stealer of the Golden Fleece, the site is a must-see attraction for history enthusiasts. The Temple of Apollo is a masterpiece of ancient Greek architecture, and the Acrocorinth,
a hilltop fortress, is a testament to the ancient Greeks’ engineering skills. Visitors can also explore the nearby Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth, which houses artifacts from various excavations.
Explore the Corinth Canal
The Corinth Canal is an impressive engineering marvel that spans many centuries of history. The canal was first conceived by a ruler of Ancient Corinth and was later begun by the Roman Emperor Nero but was not completed until the late 19th century. Severing Peloponnese from the rest of the Greek mainland, this
canal creates a visual spectacle with its sheer rock walls plunging into a chasm of blue water that you can best enjoy from a sturdy footbridge that spans the canal. While ancient Greeks first attempted to create a canal more than two thousand years ago, it was not completed until 1893. Visitors can take a tour boat or try bungee jumping for an entirely different perspective of the canal.
Kardamyli is a popular destination for tourists seeking relaxation, beautiful beaches, and a taste of authentic Greek culture. It features historic buildings, such as the atmospheric church of Saint Spyridon, and pretty, pebble-strewn beaches. Kardamyli’s history dates back to ancient Greece when it served as the main port for the city-state of Sparta.
In Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, Kardamyli was offered to Achilles by Agamemnon to tempt him back to the siege of Troy. Over time, Kardamyli became a center for commerce and culture in the region, with the Niklian clans building tower houses and the Venetians leaving their mark on the village’s architecture. In more modern times, Kardamyli played a role in the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire. Strolling through town, sampling the area’s delicious cuisine, and enjoying the spectacular sea views offer visitors a feel for what drew people to this delightful place so long ago. On March 23, 1821, Kolokotroni and other captains from the Mani region marched towards Kalamata, using Kardamyli as a base.
Location of Kardamyli, Greece
Kardamyli is located 35km south of Kalamata, which has a small airport and is one of the main towns in the Mani Peninsula.
What to Do in Kardamyli
Kardamyli’s charm lies in its simplicity and authenticity. The village has managed to maintain its traditional character, despite growing popularity among tourists.
Kardamyli’s beaches are some of the best in the region, with crystal-clear waters and breathtaking views of the Taygetus mountain range. One of the best beaches in Kardamyli is Ritsa Beach, located at the end of the high street. The beach has several cafes and tavernas, making it an ideal spot to spend a lazy afternoon.
Kardamyli is also a great destination for hiking enthusiasts. The Taygetus mountain range is also nearby, with hiking trails ranging from easy to challenging. The best time to hike in Kardamyli is during the spring and fall when the weather is milder.
For those interested in history, Kardamyli has several landmarks worth visiting. The old town, or “upper village,” has buildings dating back to the Venetian era and tower houses built by the Niklian clans. The Byzantine church of St Spiridon is also located in the old town and has a tiny museum. The tombs of the twin gods Castor and Pollux can be found at the back of the old town.
Legendary Tower Houses
A short walk from the town center will lead you to the fortified cluster of tower houses that rise around the 18th-century church of Agios Spyridon.
These tower houses are a testament to Mani’s history and the elders who created this stone village had a powerful influence on the modern history of Greece.
As you walk through the main gate, try to puzzle out the marble inscriptions and stop to admire the relief sculpture of the two-headed eagle of Byzantium, the empire’s emblem.
The tower houses have been beautifully preserved and are a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Kardamyli.
Cosmopolitan, Lively Stoupa
Just 8km from Kardamyli lies the cosmopolitan village of Stoupa, which is quite a contrast to the stern and stony image of Mani.
Stoupa boasts an organized golden sandy beach facing green-blue water, along with plenty of hotels, restaurants, and shops.
Patrick Leigh Fermor
Kardamyli was made internationally famous by Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, one of Britain’s best-loved authors.
Paddy, or Kyrie Michalis, as he was affectionately known, lived and wrote in Kardamyli until the ripe old age of 96.
His works include the novels ‘A Time of Gifts and ‘The Traveller’s Tree’, which helped to popularize the area and bring attention to its natural beauty.
Where to Stay in Kardamyli
Kardamyli has several hotels and guest houses that blend in with the local architecture, making for a unique and authentic experience.
There are no high-rise or large-scale tourist developments in Kardamyli, ensuring that the village’s traditional character is preserved.
Some of the best hotels in Kardamyli include Kardamili Suites, a boutique hotel located in the heart of the village, and Villa Ritsa, a family-run guest house located close to Ritsa Beach.
For those looking for a more luxurious experience, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino is located nearby in the Messinia region.
Where to Eat in Kardamyli
Kardamyli is known for its fresh seafood and traditional Greek cuisine. The village has several tavernas and restaurants, with most located along the seafront.
Visit the Ancient Olympia
This area held the first Olympic games nearly three thousand years ago in the shadow of the stately Mount Kronos. The remains of temples honoring both Zeus and Hera can be found here, with graceful columns offering a picturesque ruin where you can wander freely. The flame for the modern Olympic Games is still lit in front of the Temple of Hera.
The site’s centerpiece is the 200-meter track of the stadium itself, entered by way of a long arched tunnel. Visitors can explore the vast sanctuary complex built to house competitors thousands of years ago, with artifacts exhibited at the on-site Olympia Archaeological Museum. Visitors can also see the ruins of the Gymnasium, the Palaestra, and the Philippeion, a circular memorial dedicated to Philip II of Macedon.
Museum of the Kalavryta Holocaust
At the Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust, we honor and remember the victims of one of the most tragic events in Greek history. The museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of the innocent lives lost during the German military operation Kalavrita in 1943.
The museum is a powerful tribute to the residents of Kalavryta who perished in the 13 December 1943 slaughter perpetrated by the German army. German forces descended upon the town of Kalavryta and systematically rounded up and executed nearly all of its male population.
The museum provides a dignified, understated, yet extremely evocative account of the struggle between the occupying forces and partisan fighters in the area, and the events running up to the massacre.
ELAS, the Greek resistance movement, was very active in the Kalavryta region during WWII. On 17 October 1943, partisans captured 80 soldiers from a German battalion. Negotiations stalled when the Nazis launched ‘Operation Kalavryta,’ designed to crush the resistance. The partisans killed the German prisoners and, in retaliation, on 13 December 1943, the Nazis herded nearly 500 men and teenage boys to the nearby Kappi Ridge and gunned them down. Thirteen survived; 465 were killed. The women and children who managed to break out of the burning schoolhouse were left with the task of gathering and burying the dead, as commemorated by the statues behind the schoolhouse. They then had to find food and shelter in freezing winter conditions, as the Germans had burned down the village.
Located inside the restored old schoolhouse that was set on fire with women, children, and the elderly inside, the museum depicts the history of 19th- and 20th-century Kalavryta, the advent of the rack-and-pinion railway, and the region’s suffering during WWII through evocative photographs and personal effects. The Museum of the Kalavryta Holocaust provides a comprehensive and moving experience that immerses visitors in the history and tragedy of the region.
The museum’s website (www.dmko.gr) provides additional information, including opening hours and a virtual tour.
Monemvasia: A Jewel of Medieval Greece
Monemvasia is a well-preserved medieval castle town located on the southeastern side of Peloponnese. It was entirely carved on the backside of a sea rock in Medieval times, and it is not visible from the mainland so that the locals could avoid enemy attacks. This is how the name Monemvasia came out, meaning a single
passage. It can be reached only by boat, while later on, a paved pathway was constructed to connect the castle entrance to the mainland. Monemvasia was constructed in the Medieval Ages, and it has been continuously inhabited since then.
Location & Strategic Scope
Monemvasia is built on a rock that is connected to the mainland via a narrow and unique road, making it impregnable against the raids of barbarians. The name “Monemvasia” means “one-way” in Greek, alluding to the fact that the castle was only accessible by sea or through a single, well-defended land entrance.
The town and fortress were founded in 583 AD, during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Mauricius, by people seeking refuge from the Slavic and Avaric invasions of Greece. A history of the invasion and occupation of the Peloponnese was recorded in the medieval Chronicle of Monemvasia. From the 10th century AD, the town developed into an important trade and maritime center. The fortress withstood the Arab and Norman invasions in 1147, and the cornfields that fed up to 30 men were tilled inside the fortress. William II of Villehardouin took Monemvasia Castle in 1248, on honorable terms, after three years of siege; in 1259, William was captured by the Greeks after the Battle of Pelagonia, and in 1262 it was retroceded to Michael VIII Palaiologos as part of William’s ransom. It remained part of the Byzantine Empire until 1460, becoming the seat of an imperial governor, a landing place for Byzantine operations against the Franks, the main port of shipment (if not always production) for Malmsey wine, and one of the most dangerous lairs of corsairs in the Levant.
The Emperors gave it valuable privileges, attracting Roger de Lluria who sacked the lower town in 1292. The town welcomed the Catalan Company on its way eastward in 1302. In 1397, the Despot of the Morea, Theodore I Palaiologos, deposed the local dynast of Monemvasia, who appealed to Sultan Bayezid I and was reinstated by Turkish troops. In 1419, the rock appears to have come into the possession of Venice, though it soon returned to the Despot. About 1401, the historian George Sphrantzes was born in the town.
Things to Do in Monemvasia
There are many sightseeing opportunities in Monemvasia that are worth exploring. A walk around the paved streets of the castle town is like a trip back in time. The elegant stone mansions and the Byzantine churches, such as the church of Agia Sofia and Christ Elkomenos, are among the most popular attractions in the region. Swimming in the calm beaches is another popular activity in the area. You can choose among different beaches, including Ampelakia, Pori, and Xifias.
Holidays in Monemvasia can be combined with day trips to Gythio, Mystras, Neapolis, and other regions of southern Peloponnese.
Restaurants and Cafes
Monemvasia offers a variety of restaurants and cafes that cater to different tastes and preferences. You can choose among traditional taverns, seafood restaurants, and modern cafes. Some of the most popular dining options include Matoula, To Kanoni, and Goulas, which serve local specialties and delicious seafood dishes. For dessert or coffee, you can visit Cafe Babis, which has a beautiful view of the sea.
Hotels and Accommodation
Monemvasia offers a wide range of accommodation options, including guesthouses, boutique hotels, and luxury resorts. Some of the most popular hotels include Kinsterna Hotel, Byzantino Boutique Hotel, and Malvasia Traditional Hotel. These hotels offer excellent facilities, comfortable rooms, and stunning views of the sea.
How to Get to Monemvasia
The best way to get to Monemvasia is by car, as it is a remote location.
The nearest airport is Kalamata Airport, which is located about 250 km away from Monemvasia.
From the airport, you can rent a car and drive to Monemvasia, which takes about 3 hours.
Alternatively, you can take a bus from Kalamata to Monemvasia, which takes about 5 hours.
Explore the Town of Nafplio
Nafplio, a beautiful seaside city, offers visitors some of the best experiences in the Peloponnese. Its Venetian architecture, narrow streets, and alleyways evoke a sense of timelessness. Visitors can explore the nearby Archaeological Museum, which houses collections from ancient civilizations.
Visitors can also explore the impressive Palamidi Fortress, wander around Bourtzi Castle on a small island in the harbor, or simply relax on one of the many beaches in the area. Nafplio is also known for its delicious cuisine, and you can sample some of the freshest seafood at one of the many seaside tavernas.
Voidokilia Beach’s shape resembles the Greek letter omega (Ω), and its sand forms a semicircular strip of dunes, which makes it a unique and breathtaking sight to behold. The beach is situated next to Petrohori in Messinia, Greece, and is part of a Natura 2000 protected area.
One of the many things that make Voidokilia Beach special is the Gialova Lagoon, located on the land-facing side of the strip of dunes. This lagoon is an important bird habitat and has been declared the southernmost Habitat of National Importance in the Balkans. It is considered a protected area hosting 258 species of birds out of which the 79 are included in the “Red Book” (species under threat of extinction).
If you are an adventurer at heart and love hiking, you can start a hiking route from Voidokilia that leads to Nestor’s Cave. The climb towards the cave begins at the southwest end of the beach, and after the cave, the route continues towards Paliokastro. You will find the ruins of a thirteenth-century Frankish castle (Old Navarino or Palaiokastro) above the beach.
The beach overlooks the tomb of Nestor’s son, Thrasymedes, which dates back to the Mycenaean period (1680–1060 BC). Archaeologists have also found Neolithic finds at the same site, showing occupation as early as 4000 BC. According to Greek mythology, the beach is presumed to be Homer’s “sandy Pylos,” where Telemachus was welcomed by King Nestor when searching for his father, Odysseus. It is also believed that Nestor’s Cave is where Hermes hid the cattle stolen from Apollo. To the south of the beach stretches Cape Koryphasion, the classical city of Pylos.
Nowadays, very few remains of the city are still extant, as, in the 13th century, Nicholas de Saint’Omer built a castle on the top of the cape using the extant building material consisting of the ancient stones. The beach is considered friendly for naturists and gay tourists, and parking for the beach is reached by sand tracks either from the Gialova Lagoon parking area (also used by bird-watchers) or by following the Northside route from Petrochori.
In conclusion, Voidokilia Beach is a natural wonder that is worth visiting if you find yourself in Messinia, Greece. Its unique shape, breathtaking views, and its surrounding areas’ archaeological significance make it a destination that is perfect
The Glyfada (or Vlychada) Cave in Diros is one of the most beautiful sea caves in the world, located on the west coast of the Laconian peninsula, on the southeastern part of the Peloponnese. Diros Cave is a complex of three caves; Vlychada, Alepotrypa, and Katafygi, covering an area of around 33,000 square meters, of which only half has been explored.
The cave was first explored in 1949, and by 1960, 1,600 meters had been explored and mapped. Today, this number has increased to 14,700 meters. The cave is rich in history, and visitors can see significant anthropological findings from the Neolithic era, the largest deposit of hippopotamus bones in Europe, and ceramics that are indicative of human presence. The cave opened to visitors in 1967 and visitors can go through dry and wet areas with a plethora of arcades and chambers. The tour is 1,500 meters in length and lasts about 25 minutes. The wet area takes place solely by boat. It is strictly forbidden to detach any stones or rocks from the cave, and any such action will be prosecuted. Diros Cave is located one hour from Gythion and 15 minutes from Areopolis.
Cave of the Lakes: A Geological Masterpiece
Kastria Cave of the Lakes is a geological wonder located in the Achaea Region of West Greece. It is mentioned in the writings of the ancient traveler Pausanias and features in Greek mythology. According to legend, the cave was the home of the nymphs who bathed in its lakes. The Cave of the Lakes, formerly known as Troupisio, is an old subterranean river that consists of three
levels. During the summer months, the water dries up, leaving behind 13 lakes. Legend has it that the Cave of the Lakes was where Melampus cured two of the three daughters of Proetus, king of Tiryns, Lysippe, and Iphianassa. The third daughter, Iphinoe, had died on the way. The Cave of the Lakes has been in use since the Neolithic Age and was continuously used throughout the Bronze Age.The Cave of the Lakes is located 17 km (11 miles) from Kalavryta and 9 km (6 miles) from Kleitoria, making it easily accessible to visitors.
The cave’s explored length is 1,980 meters, and you can enter through an artificial tunnel that leads you directly to the second floor, whose sight is truly awe-inspiring. The Cave of the Lakes is home to a variety of animal fossils, including human fossils and even a hippopotamus. The first level is the dry level, which is the entrance to the cave. The second level is the active level, where visitors can see the magnificent underground lakes and waterfalls. The third and last level is the fossil level, where visitors can observe the ancient formations of the cave.
The Archaeological Museum of Patras
Located on the new Patras-Athens Motorway, the museum boasts a modern and spacious design that is in keeping with the surrounding area. The exhibitions include 1300 exhibits that depict all areas of human life, from daily life and public administration to death. The external appearance of the building is notable for its spherical dome covered with sheets of
titanium, which stands in an artificial pool and represents Patras’s relationship with the water element. Here, visitors can explore items of everyday life, working tools, cosmetics, and jewelry from Mycenaean, Ancient, Hellenistic, and Roman Greece, with the oldest being from the 30th century BC.
The museum has four thematic sections, three of which are permanent and one is periodic. In all sections of the museum, there are projectors showing optical informative material, depending on the items exhibited.
The first and largest section is dedicated to the private life of the people of Patras. Here, visitors can explore items of everyday life, working tools, cosmetics, and jewelry from Mycenaean, Ancient, Hellenistic, and Roman Greece, with the oldest being from the 17th century BC. In addition to these items, this section includes partly reconstructed Roman residences, in natural size, using the original materials. The same section also features part of one of the biggest mosaic collections in Greece, consisting of 14 Roman mosaics covering a total of 250 square meters, the vast majority of which are vertically placed. Most of these mosaics were discovered in ruins of luxurious urban residences in the city of Patras.
The second section of the museum is dedicated to public life and covers the period from 1500 B.C. until the 4th century A.D. There are maps of the Roman territory that frame the information material for the monumental topography of the city. The exhibitions include 1300 exhibits that depict all areas of human life, from daily life and public administration to death. The exhibits from the Roman period mainly related to commercial activities, social and administrative organization, cults, and entertainment of the inhabitants.
The third section of the museum is the necropolis section, dedicated to tombs and items discovered in Patras and the greater region of Achaia. The section presents the burial architecture and its evolution from prehistoric till Roman times, not only through the items found but also through the reconstruction of various types of tombs. Visitors can explore three totally reconstructed tombs, gaining insight into the burial customs of the time.
The museum also has video walls with optical informative material that offers fascinating information on the exhibits. At the end of your visit, you can visit the gift shop of the Museum, where you can find interesting souvenirs, copies of, or pertaining to the museum’s exhibits.
The Open Air Water-Power Museum
The Open-Air Water Power Museum in Dimitsana, Peloponnese, Greece, is a must-visit for anyone interested in exploring the importance of water power in traditional societies. In a lush area covering 1,000m2, amidst abundant streams and vegetation, a complex of water-powered installations and machinery has been restored and integrated into a museum on waterpower.
The museum showcases the main pre-industrial techniques used to produce a variety of goods, linking them to the history and daily life of the local society over the ages.
Discovering the Open-Air Water Power Museum
The Open-Air Water Power Museum has restored traditional installations and water-powered mechanisms. Walking through the workshops surrounded by thick vegetation and abundant running water, visitors can experience the magic of the past.
The museum’s permanent equipment has been repaired, so it is now in working order. Visitors can explore the first building which houses a fulling mill and a flour mill with a horizontal paddle wheel.
Adjacent to the mill is a small room with a fireplace, which was the miller’s home, where he lived with his – usually large – family.
Outside the mill, you will see the still, which was set up out of doors after the grape harvest for the production of tsipouro (a kind of schnapps or eau-de-vie) made from the skins of the pressed grapes.
Exactly opposite, a two-story building housed the tanner’s home (upstairs) and the tannery (ground floor).
The workshop’s interior is divided into “zones” corresponding to the different stages of processing animal hides.
Visitors can walk down the stone-paved path leading to a flat area, where a natural reservoir is formed and ends at the gunpowder mill. Gunpowder, a vibrant element of the region’s cultural identity, remains alive in the memory and tales of Dimitsana’s inhabitants. During the 1821 Greek War of Independence against Ottoman rule, their forefathers supplied the insurgents with this necessary ammunition material. In his memoirs, Kolokotronis, chief of the irregular troops in the Peloponnese, wrote: «Gunpowder we had, Dimitzana made it».
Here, visitors can see the moving mechanism of a gunpowder mill with pestles (or pounders), extinct in Europe since the 18th century, while in Dimitsana it was used during the 1821 Revolution and up to the early 20th century.
The Importance of Water-Powered Techniques
Water-powered techniques have been used for centuries in societies across the world. In Greece, these techniques were an essential part of pre-industrial society and helped to produce a wide range of goods. The Open-Air Water Power Museum is a testimony to the country’s rich history and the importance of water power in traditional societies.
The use of water-powered techniques has many benefits. For one, water is a renewable resource and does not produce emissions like other power sources. Additionally, water-powered techniques require less maintenance than other power sources, making them more cost-effective in the long run.
At the museum, visitors can learn about the various water-powered techniques used in pre-industrial Greece. These techniques range from the fulling mill and flour mill to the tannery and gunpowder mill. Visitors can also learn about the process of making tsipouro, a popular Greek liquor made from the skins of pressed grapes.
The Kastania Cave
Kastania Cave is a truly amazing natural wonder, and nature took three million years to create this fantasyscape with its unparalleled decor and numerous impressive formations. The cave is classified as second of its kind in Europe, with density and variety of shapes, colors, and figures, making it an unforgettable experience.
The geological rarities, such as discs, flat stalagmites, eccentrites, and elictites, are standing out among the numerous attractions of the cave. The enormous red and white “waterfalls,” gigantic columns, “curtains,” and “sheets” overflowing like waxwork from the roof, “octopuses” and “corals” nests, “elephants” and “mushrooms,” “birds” and caricatures, “exotic plants,” and monumental creatures are just some of the breathtaking formations that visitors will encounter.The cave’s surface covers 1,500 square meters into two levels, and the visitor is guided along a 500-meter route. With a little luck, visitors may meet the cave’s noble resident insect, the deaf and blind dolichopoda.
The cave was formed from limestones of Jurassic age (195-145 million years old) as a result of geological turmoil and chemical reaction. The stone decor owes its seven-color palette to crystalline carbonated lime enriched with several metal oxides. As visitors exit the cave, they can enjoy a cup of coffee in the cafe that operates just outside the cave.
Near the cave is the old church of St. Andrew, scarred by pirates and conquerors, is worth a visit.
If you’re visiting the Kastania Cave, it is highly recommended to plan a visit to the nearby attractions.
You can explore the picturesque village of Kastania, which offers breathtaking views of the Laconian Gulf and the nearby mountains.
Palamidi Fortress: The Jewel of Nafplio
Located in Nafplio, the vast and spectacular Palamidi Fortress is an impressive citadel that stands on a 216-meter-high outcrop of rock. Visitors can reach the fortress either by a steep ascent on foot or a short drive. The Palamidi Fortress is a magnificent piece of architecture built during the Venetian occupation in the early 19th century.
The fort consists of eight bastions, each self-contained and interconnected by one wall. The Venetians named each bastion after ancient Greek names such as Leonidas, Miltiades, Achilles, and Themistocles, to emphasize the strength of the castle. The central bastion, the best-equipped of all the bastions, houses the beautiful chapel of Agios Andreas. During the Turkish occupation, Christians were forbidden from entering the fort, but it later became a pivotal point in the Greek War of Independence against the Turks. In November 29, 1822, Greek rebels led by Staikos Staikopoulos seized the Palamidi fort. The first Greek to enter the fort was Dimitrios Moschonisiotis, from the Bastion of Achilles. The next day, the abandoned chapel was cleared and prepared for service. The chapel has since been consecrated at Apostle Andreas, and the 30th of November is celebrated as his feast day. Besides being a significant location for the Greek Revolution, Palamidi was also used as a prison. One of the leaders of the revolution, Theodoros Kolokotronis, was imprisoned here in 1833, charged with high treason.
The prisoners were made to do physical labor, and the 999 steps leading up to the fort were built by them under the supervision of the Bavarian army.
Visiting Palamidi Fortress is an experience you’ll never forget. The stunning views of Nafplion, the surrounding mountains, and the Argolic Gulf from the top are breathtaking. You can take a guided tour to learn about the history of the fort and explore the bastions, including the chapel of Agios Andreas. Climbing the 999 steps to reach the fort is an adventure in itself, and you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent panoramic view once you reach the top.
Nafplion is a beautiful town with many other sites to visit besides Palamidi Fortress. Syntagma Square is a historic landmark that is perfect for a relaxing walk. The Church of Agios Spyridon, located in the heart of the town, is another must-see attraction. The beach promenade offers a great opportunity to enjoy the sea breeze and the stunning view of the Argolic Gulf.
Sanctuary of Asclepius, Epidaurus
The Sanctuary of Asclepius was a significant center for healing in ancient Greece dedicated to the god of healing. This holy site dates back to the Classical and Hellenistic periods and was the main holy site of Asclepius, rivaling other major cult sites such as the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia and Apollo at Delphi.
The temple was part of an ambitious building program for enlarging and reconstructing monumental buildings in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. The sanctuary flourished throughout the Hellenistic period, with fame and prosperity.
One Isyllus established a new procession to celebrate the birthday of Asclepius in the third century BC, which included a new sacred hymn inscribed in the sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas on Kynortion hill, believed to be Asclepius’ birthplace.
During the Achaean War in 146 BC, the Achaians converted the sanctuary into a stronghold.
After Lucius Mummius defeated the Achaians and destroyed Corinth in 146 BC, he visited the sanctuary and left two dedications there.
In 87 BC, the sanctuary was looted by the Roman general Sulla.
Marcus Antonius Creticus installed a garrison in the city, causing a lack of grain in 74 BC.
Sometime before 67 BC, the sanctuary was plundered by pirates, and archaeological evidence reveals extensive damage in the first half of the first century BC.
The guest house, gymnasium, and water supply system required for most of the sanctuary’s important rituals were abandoned, and the sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas was destroyed.
In the early first century AD, Livy spoke of “Epidaurus…
was once rich with gifts for the gods, which are now vestiges of wrecked dedications.” Inscriptions claim that the town was rescued from total destruction by a series of gifts from a rich benefactor, Euanthes, son of Eunomus, who was honored with at least six monuments.
In the first century AD, the town was dominated by the wealthy Statilius and Claudius-Cornelius families, who dominated the main priestly offices, sponsored some construction work, and funded celebrations of the Apolloneia Asclapieia Caesarea Games.
Despite the 426 AD official ban on ancient pagan religions, worship continued in the sanctuary until it was abandoned following the destructive earthquakes of 522 and 551 AD.
In 1988, the temple was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its importance in the development and spread of healing sanctuaries (asclepeion) throughout Classical Antiquity.
The temple was a Doric peripteral temple with six columns on the short sides and eleven columns on the long sides.
The temple is also known for its unique features, such as the ramp used for animal sacrifices and the Tholos, a circular building located to the south of the temple.
Lousios Gorge: The Enchanting Greek Trail
The Lousios Gorge is a stunning natural wonder located in the heart of the Peloponnese. Visitors can hike along the river and see the stunning monasteries built into the cliffs, including the Monastery of Prodromos and the Monastery of Philosophos. This spectacular scenic monastery trail follows the trails parallel
and through the Lousios river gorge, also known as the “Mount Athos of the Peloponnese”. Pausanias, the historian, described the gorge as the place where Zeus was bathed as an infant, and the name Lousios means “wash” in Greek.
The gorge features red limestone cliffs, towering up to 100 meters (328 feet) above the river. It is home to lush plant life, particularly in early spring. Hiking in Lousios Gorge is an opportunity to explore the region’s rich history.
The monastery of St. John Prodromos is a highlight of the hike, built on the cliffs of the gorge and offering stunning views of the surrounding area.
Discover the Best Beaches in Kalamata
Kalamata, located on the Peloponnese peninsula on the Messian Gulf, is famous for its stunning beaches that offer crystal clear water, warm sand, and breathtaking views.
Considered one of the most beautiful seashores in Greece, Voidokoilia Beach is a must-visit destination for beach lovers. Surrounded by sand dunes, this almost untouched coastline offers warm, shallow, and crystal-clear water embraced by light brown sand.
If you are looking for a secluded and lesser-known beach, Foneas Beach is the perfect spot. Surrounded by dark grey rocks covered in greenery, the white pebbled shores and crystalline waters of Foneas Beach are great for swimming, snorkeling, and cliff jumping. The beach club offers a limited variety of food and drinks, and sunshades must be brought along, as the beach is not organized.
Delfinia Beach is nearby, should you get restless.
Mikri Mantinia Beach provides photo opportunities with a bucket load. The white, pebbly-shell beach boasts a Blue Flag certification, and the water is as clear as can be.
The nearby Almyros Beach is also worth your attention, especially if you’re into water sports.
Beach of Analipsi
A favorite of both locals and visitors alike, the Beach of Analipsi is a large and organized strand that offers a variety of activities. With fine sand and see-through water, this beach is great for swimming, windsurfing, and kiting. The coastline is framed by coffee houses and bars and is equipped with a playground. It is recommended to visit the beach in the morning when there are less waves.
The 2.5km stretch of fine, pebbly sand slopes into warm and shallow waters, making it perfect for swimming. The pebbled beach is easily accessible on foot or by car and offers everything from sunshades and beds to toilets and showers. This almost windless and clean strand gets busier the further east you get. You can sunbathe, snorkel, or explore King Nestor’s Cave below Paleokastro Castle.
Divari Beach is another long, sandy stretch on the other side of the
lagoon, which is organized with facilities at one end and remote at the
Almyros Beach is a beautiful destination that is easily accessible from Kalamata.
One of Messinia’s real coastal wonders is the “exotic” beach of Peroulia. The olive groves cover the fertile ground, greenery creeps up the small cliffs, and the sun plays with the sea colors and the smooth golden sand, creating a picturesque view. The beach is rocky with very clean water, and there are several fish restaurants by the shore.
Santova Beach is one of the best sandy beaches in the Kalamata area, and it’s ideal for youth, thanks to its many beach bars.
Romanos Beach is located near the village of western Messinia and is visited by a lot of people during the summer months.
Foinikounda Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area. With its sandy coastline, it’s ideal for summer holidaymakers who enjoy quick dips into crystal-clear waters.
Pylos is a charming town situated on a natural harbor. It’s home to a beautiful castle, Paleokastro, which offers stunning views of Navarino Bay.
Pylos is situated in a large bay called Navarino Bay, which is almost enclosed by the long and narrow islet of Sfaktiria and a smaller rock called Tsichli Baba.
The town is built amphitheatrically, offering stunning views of the bay and rock formations from almost all buildings.
In this article, we will explore Pylos, its rich history, attractions, and accommodation options, helping you plan an unforgettable trip to this charming destination.
A Rich History Dating Back to Mycenean Period
Pylos boasts a rich history dating back to the Mycenean period when it was the kingdom of Nestor.
Ruins of Nestor’s palace, which is open to visitors, can be found near Pylos.
The town was also ruled by Byzantine, Frank, Venetian, and Ottoman powers, finally gaining its liberation in 1827 after the Battle of Navarino.
The presence of the conquerors is still felt in the neoclassical architecture of many buildings and the two castles of Pylos, Neokastro (new fortress) and Paleokastro (old fortress).
Explore Two Castles and Rich Heritage
The new fortress, situated in the south part of the town on an elevation, offers stunning views of Pylos, its port, and the entire bay of Navarino.
The old fortress, also known as Navarino castle, is located in the north part of the bay, above the famous Voidokillia beach.
Both castles are magnificent, and visiting them will give you an insight into the town’s rich heritage.
The town’s small square, located next to the harbor, is where you’ll find all cafes, grill houses, and tavernas, serving delicious local cuisine.
Stunning Beaches and Lagoons to Explore
Although there are no beaches in Pylos, except for a tiny spot of sand next to the harbor, the area is surrounded by beautiful, long sandy beaches, such as Gialova, located just 7 km away.
Some of the interesting places to see near Pylos are Voidokillia Beach and Gialova Lagoon to the north and Methoni Castle to the south.
Boat trips around Sfaktiria and Navarino Bay are also organized daily.
Accommodation Options in Pylos
Pylos offers a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference.
Did you know that in ancient times, Cape Matapan was believed to be the entrance to the underworld? The ancient city of Tainaron was located here, and over the centuries, Cape Matapan has been the site of many battles. Cape Matapan, also known as Cape Tainaron, is the southernmost point of mainland
Greece. It’s a rocky promontory that offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding cliffs. Top attractions around are: the Cape Matapan Lighthouse, a famous landmark that has stood tall since 1897. From the lighthouse, you can soak in breathtaking views of the sea and coastline.Another must-see attraction near Cape Matapan is the Caves of Diros. And for those interested in military history, the Fortress of Kelefa is a must-visit attraction.
Gytheio used to be an important port until it was destroyed in the 4th century AD, possibly by an earthquake. Even thereafter, its strategic location gave Gytheio a significant role in Maniot’s history. Today, it is the largest and most important town in Mani. It is also the seat of the municipality of East Mani.
Gytheio is the site of ancient Cranae, a tiny island where according to legend, Paris of Troy and Helen from Sparta spent their first night together before departing for Troy, thus igniting the Trojan War.
Geography of Gytheio
Gytheio is located in the northeastern corner of the Mani Peninsula and lies on the northwestern end of the Laconian Gulf. Gytheio was built on a hill called Koumaros or Laryssio in one of the most fertile areas in Mani, near the mouth of the Gythium River, which is usually dry and has been nicknamed Xerias “dry river”; today, most of the Xerias is covered by Ermou Avenue.
Directly north and visible from the harbor is Profitis Ilias, the ultra-prominent peak of Taygetus, the mountain range whose spine juts southward into the Mediterranean Sea and forms the Mani Peninsula. On the ridgeline running south from Profitis Ilias sits the Monastery of Panayia Yiatrissa overlooking the valley toward Gytheio.
The E4 hiking path connects the three, running south from Profitis Ilias, passing by the monastery, and leading to Gytheio. Northeast of Gytheio is the delta of the Evrotas River.
Offshore are several small islands; the most important of these islands is Cranae, on which sits the Tzannetakis Tower (now the Historical and Cultural Museum of Mani) and a lighthouse built of solid marble. Today, Cranae is connected to the mainland by a causeway.
What to Do in Gytheio
Visit the Museum of Mani
The Museum of Mani, located in the Tzannetakis Tower, is a must-visit for those interested in the history and culture of Gytheio. The museum contains exhibits on the history of the area, including the ancient city of Gytheio and the Mani region.
Explore the Ancient City of Gytheio
The ancient city of Gytheio is an important archaeological site that is open to visitors.
Arcadia’s legacy is filled with tales of its brave warriors, and Hercules, a legendary figure, was believed to have been born in this region. With notable cities like Megalopolis and Tegea, the region was also a hub for Greek civilization and culture.
Here are some of the must-see natural attractions of the region: Mount Mainalo: Rising to an elevation of 1,981 meters, Mount Mainalo is the highest peak of Arcadia and a paradise for hikers and mountaineers.
Lousios Gorge: Carved by the Lousios River, the Lousios Gorge is a deep canyon that offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into the region’s history and mythology. Along the gorge, you can visit the Monastery of Prodromos, the ancient city of Gortys, and the Cave of the Lakes, a natural wonder with underground lakes and waterfalls. Lake Stymphalia. The castles of Karitena, Karytaina, and Andritsaina are among the most impressive and well-preserved examples of medieval architecture in Greece.
Loutraki is located about 80 kilometers from Athens, and visitors can get there by car, bus, or train. One of the most popular attractions in Loutraki is the thermal springs, which are known for their healing properties.
As the birthplace of Greek thermalism, Loutraki has a deep connection to the therapeutic properties of its springs and bathhouses, which have been known since ancient times as the “water of life”.
Today, Loutraki is a popular holiday destination, offering visitors a chance to relax in charming cafes, explore natural and historic surroundings, and indulge in the healing power of its thermal spas.
Visitors can relax in the warm waters and enjoy the benefits of the minerals in the springs. Loutraki also boasts several beaches, including the Blue Flag-awarded Loutraki beach, which is perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
The magnesium-rich waters of Loutraki are used for drinking therapies at the Neoclassical buvette, where you can see the healing springs flowing out from the rock.
These waters are known to reduce blood pressure, assist kidney, bladder, and bile functions, and improve the skin.
At Loutraki Thermal Spa, water is used to reduce cellulite and promote relaxation.
The modern facilities include two indoor heated pools with waterfalls and jets, a cold indoor swimming pool, and one big outdoor heated pool, plus individual and dual bath cabins, a sauna, hammam, sprinklers, rain showers, massage rooms, a beauty area, and a yoga room.
Visitors can explore archaeological sites such as Ancient Corinth and Heraion of Perachora, which offer a glimpse into the town’s past.
Sparta - The Land of Ancient Legends
Nestled in the valley of the Eurotas River and surrounded by Mounts Taygetos and Parnon, Sparta is a land of beauty, culture, and history. Once a military city-state, the inhabitants of Ancient Sparta believed that their only purpose in life was to become strong soldiers and protect their homeland, even with their lives.
Discover the Ancient Site of Sparta
The ancient site of Sparta is located close to the modern city center, and it is one of the few Greek towns built with architectural urban space.
Best Things to Do in Sparta
Visit the Archaeological Museum
The small but interesting Archaeological Museum of Sparta hosts exhibits from excavations at the ancient town, the sanctuary of Apollo in Amykles, and other sites in the region. You can learn about the ancient Spartan lifestyle and the role of Spartan women in society.
To learn more about the culture and technology of Greek and Mediterranean identity, visit the Museum of Olive and Greek Olive Oil.
Sparta is also an excellent base for excursions to nearby destinations.
The mystical tower town of Mystras, located just six kilometers northwest of Sparta, is a must-visit destination. The castle city boasts medieval splendor, including the Palace of the Despots (Anaktora), the Houses of Laskaris and Frangopoulos, the beautiful Cathedral of Saint Dimitrios, and the impressive Monasteries of Our Lady Pantánassa and Our Lady Perivleptos.
For a unique medieval atmosphere, immerse yourself in the breathtaking tower town of Monemvasia.
If you’re an adventure seeker, take a trip to the hillsides of Mount Taygetos and explore the villages of Ksirokampi, Koumousta, and Anavryti. These villages offer traditional stone houses and old stone fountains that are worth exploring.
In Ksirokampi, visit the church of Agios Nikonas, which boasts frescoes from the 14th century.
For a stimulating trip into the eternal magic of shapes and colors, visit the Diros Caves. This cave system consists of several halls, each with a name that has a poetic flair, such as the Hall of Apotheosis.
During your boat tour in the cave, which lasts no less than 45 minutes, you’ll enjoy marvelous acoustics. Anthropologists will enjoy visiting the nearby Alepotrypa Cave, which has proven to have housed a community of people in the late Neolithic age
Where to Stay in Sparta
There are numerous accommodation options in Sparti, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels.
Some of the best places to stay in Sparta include: Byzantion Hotel.
Hiking trails in Peloponnese
While islands like Crete and Corfu may offer breathtaking views of the sea and mountains, the true essence of Greece can only be discovered on foot deep within the country’s interior. The Peloponnese peninsula is a nature lover’s paradise and is characterized by its wide mountain ranges, picturesque valley landscapes, and typical Mediterranean vegetation; ideal
conditions for extended hiking tours!
Menalon Trail, Location: central Peloponnese.
The Menalon Trail is a well-known mountain path in the Peloponnese that has everything you need for an adventure in nature. The path was developed by locals and connects nine mountain villages in the area. With traditional villages, lush forests, waterfalls, monasteries, and old bridges, the Menalon Trail is a paradise for hikers of all levels.
Skiritida Forest Trail, Location: central Peloponnese, south of Tripoli.
This 14-kilometer loop starts from the village of Vlackokerasia and takes you on a journey through a lush landscape that you won’t forget. With various local trees, including pines, plain trees, and oaks, you’ll be shaded by the sun, making it an ideal hike for late morning or afternoon.
The beautiful Arkoudorema is situated at an altitude of 1,200 meters in the heart of the fir forest of Mainalo. The dirt paths that cross it are currently at their best and are ideal for beginners. The route starts from the cute village of Piana and crosses Arkoudorema to reach the homonymous church of Panagia Arkoudorematos after about three hours. The most experienced hikers can continue for two more hours on the moderately difficult route to the village of Limbovisi, where the house of Greek war hero, Theodoros Kolokotronis, operates as a museum.
Monk’s Cowl, Location: northeast of Sparta.
The Monk’s Cowl path connects the quiet settlement of Polydroso with the local monastery of Agioi Anargyroi for a total of four kilometers. The path is surrounded by hundreds of beautiful flowers and bushes, and the Tsintzina stream will escort you on your way to the monastery. Although the stream may run out of water in the summer, the landscape remains captivating.
Alikos Ampelonas, Nemea
The Alikos Ampelonas is one of the five fantastic trails that start from the Psari of Corinth, very close to Ancient Nemea, and cross its wonderful vineyards, plateaus, shores of lakes, and enchanted forests. The three-kilometer circular route is ideal for beginners and takes less than an hour to cross it. Walk on paths covered with oaks that generously give you shade, and pass by chapels, springs with running water, green vineyards, and Corinthian estates.
Path of Persephone, Argolida
One of the two paths of the Municipality of Ermionida, the path of Persephone, is one of the most spectacular routes that you can cross on foot or by bike in the entire prefecture of Argolida. The 10 km long route passes through postcard landscapes, crosses the mythical Katafiki gorge, and passes through a small village that looks like it came from an island, to end up back in the gorge.
Gorge of Castor, North Taygetus
The gorge of Castor is a one-hour walk that follows the course of the river Kastora in its green gorge from the village of Kastori to the Marble Bridge. The route is ideal for beginners as it is mostly flat
Piana to Limbovisi Hike, Location: central Peloponnese.
This 13-kilometer path from the traditional village of Piana to the settlement of Limbovisi is full of history. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the house of Greek war hero Kolokotronis, who significantly contributed to the liberation of Greece from the Ottomans. Halfway through the hike, you’ll also be able to visit the beautiful church of Panagia Arkoudorematos.
Polylimnio Waterfalls Hike, Location: western Peloponnese, near Pylos.
This hike offers a unique experience that you cannot miss. The area is called Polylimnio, which means many lakes, and you will understand why once you reach your destination. The Polylimnio Waterfalls are a series of small and big waterfalls, turquoise lagoons, and other natural pools. Apart from the natural beauty of the area, the Polylimnio waterfall hike is also an excellent opportunity to have a refreshing swim in crystal clear waters.
Talanta to Charakia Beach, Location: southern Peloponnese.
If you are looking for a relaxing walk with a view, the Talanta to Charakia Beach hike is for you.
Pteri to Klokos Hike, Location: western Peloponnese, near Kyparissia.
It is a 7-kilometer trail that takes you from the village of Pteri to the abandoned village of Klokos.
With its ancient wonders, breathtaking landscapes, and a rich tapestry of wines crafted with utmost dedication from local grape varieties, this dramatic region in southern mainland Greece offers an unforgettable journey for wine enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Peloponnese boasts the largest number of Greek wine Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) areas and its
strategic location and diverse terroirs have fostered a rich tradition of winemaking since ancient times.
From the versatile red Agiorgitiko to the best-selling white Moschofilero, the Peloponnese region offers a rich tapestry of flavors and aromas that will delight both wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.
Agiorgitiko: A Symphony of Flavors
As Greece’s best-known red variety, Agiorgitiko captivates the senses with its remarkable diversity.
Whether you seek a fresh and easy-to-drink wine or a complex aged masterpiece, Agiorgitiko delivers an extraordinary range of options in terms of colors, styles, and prices.
Grown predominantly in Corinthia and neighboring Nemea, as well as other parts of the Peloponnese, Agiorgitiko showcases its versatility through various vinification methods.
The grape yields lively, aromatic rosés, fresh reds bursting with cherry flavors, and smooth textured roundness.
For those seeking a bolder experience, the oak-aged, velvety wines provide a sensory delight.
Known as the “super Nemeans,” these carefully blended wines matured in new barrels boast a marvelously full body, high acidity, smooth fruitiness, and strong tannins.
The complex bouquet reveals notes of sour cherries, sage, thyme, minerals, licorice, violet, and smoky sweetness from the new oak.
An ideal companion to a wide range of culinary delights, Agiorgitiko pairs harmoniously with pasta, various meat dishes, tomato-based ragouts, stews, and casseroles.
It even surprises by complementing grilled, oil-rich fish—a rarity among Greek reds.
Moschofilero: The Essence of Spring
Greece’s most popular white grape variety, Moschofilero, is celebrated for its ability to bring the essence of spring to your glass.
With its white and blanc de gris wines, Moschofilero delights both as an aperitif and as a perfect accompaniment to a wide array of appetizers.
Cultivated across many wine-growing areas in the Peloponnese, Moschofilero finds its true expression in the cool Arcadian plateau of Mantineia.
The slow maturation and late harvest in this region give the variety exceptional aroma and a certain elegance.
Moschofilero effortlessly complements simple green salads, croquettes, small pies, fresh white cheeses, and pasta with pesto or other light yet lively sauces.
MALVASIA: Reviving Ancient Elegance
Step into the world of Malvasia, a grape variety that showcases Greece’s dedication to preserving its vinicultural heritage. Believed to have ancient origins, Malvasia has been revived and reimagined by passionate winemakers in the Peloponnese Malvasia unfolds in a diverse range of expressions, from dry and aromatic to sweet and luscious. Its white wines are characterized by a seductive bouquet of ripe fruits, flowers, and honey, with a notable mineral undertone. The palate reveals a harmonious balance between acidity and sweetness, creating a delightful and refreshing experience.
OTHER PELOPONNESIAN DELIGHTS
While Agiorgitiko, Moschofilero, and Malvasia take center stage, the Peloponnese region is home to a wealth of other remarkable wine varieties that deserve recognition.
Here are a few additional gems awaiting your discovery:
Assyrtiko: Although primarily associated with Santorini, Assyrtiko finds its place in the Peloponnese as well. Experience its crisp acidity, citrus flavors, and volcanic minerality as you explore the coastal vineyards of this majestic region.
Mavrodaphne: Sip on the velvety richness of Mavrodaphne, a red grape variety renowned for producing Greece’s famously fortified sweet wines. Its luscious and complex character, with hints of dried fruits and spices, is best savored after a meal or alongside rich desserts.
Roditis: Embrace the light-heartedness of Roditis, a versatile white grape that gives birth to refreshing and easy-drinking wines. With its delicate aromas and lively acidity, it’s the perfect choice for casual gatherings and warm summer evenings.
Kidonitsa: Discover the hidden treasure of Kidonitsa, an indigenous white grape variety that has recently gained recognition for its exceptional quality. Elegant and aromatic, Kidonitsa wines captivate with their notes of citrus, pear, and jasmine, offering a unique and delightful drinking experience.
Navigating the Region
To embark on an unforgettable journey, fly to Athens, rent a car, and set forth on an exhilarating drive that takes you from the capital, through the awe-inspiring Isthmus of Corinth, and onwards to Nafplio.
This picturesque seaport town, perched over the Mediterranean on the north side of the Argolic Gulf, captivates visitors with its blend of ancient and modern historical cues.
During your stay in Nafplio, we recommend setting aside two or three nights to explore the eastern Peloponnese.
A must-visit destination during your exploration is the city of Nemea, located just a 40-minute drive from Nafplio.
Nemea serves as the epicenter of the wine appellation bearing the same name—an appellation renowned for producing intense red wines made exclusively from the local Agiorgitiko variety.
Here, you’ll find a plethora of esteemed wineries that offer tastings and tours, including Seméli, Gaia, and Lafazanis.
While the Ktima Papaioannou winery may not regularly offer tours, it is worth trying to arrange a visit, as it holds historical significance as a pioneer of Nemea, Agiorgitiko, and organic farming in Greece.
Continuing your wine-focused adventure, make your way to Mantinia, a charming town nestled in the mountainous core of the Peloponnese.
This captivating region boasts an interesting wine appellation and is known for producing aromatic, vibrant wines made primarily from the indigenous pink-skinned Moschofilero grape variety, grown at high altitudes.
During your visit to Mantinia, we highly recommend exploring Domaine Spiropoulos and Troupis Winery, two prominent estates that showcase the true essence of this appellation.
Domaine Skouras: Unveiling Modern Greek Winemaking
Step into the modern reception hall of Domaine Skouras and embark on an enlightening Wine Tasting and Tour. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the meticulous grape farming practices that form the foundation of their exceptional wines. Allow knowledgeable hosts to guide you through a sensory exploration of their wine collection and savor the delightful harmony of flavors and textures that await.
Acheon Winery: A Picnic Amidst the Grape Plants
Escape to the tranquil landscapes of Acheon Winery, nestled in the Patras region, and experience a ravishing Wine Tasting and Tour. Delight in the unique combination of a wine-tasting session, a picnic amidst the sprawling grape plants, and a refreshing trek through the picturesque vineyards. This immersive experience will awaken your senses and leave you with lasting memories of Peloponnese’s remarkable wine culture.
Journey into the Heart of Giannikos Winery
Prepare to challenge your taste buds with a Wine Tasting and Tour at Giannikos Winery, a true haven for Greek wine aficionados. Located in the picturesque Corinthia region, this winery offers a sensory adventure like no other. Under the guidance of passionate wine experts, you’ll embark on a captivating journey through the vineyards, where you’ll witness the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into cultivating the finest Greek grapes.
Koroniotis Winery: Where Winemaking Becomes an Art
Discover the artistry of winemaking at Koroniotis Winery, nestled in the enchanting region of Nemea.
Luxury resorts/spas in Peloponnese
Peloponnese is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a relaxing getaway, romantic escape, empowering weight loss retreat or family vacation. With its stunning historical monuments and serene views of the canals, Peloponnese promises to offer you unforgettable moments of relaxation, rejuvenation, and fun.
Greek Cuisine in the Peloponnese
Cuisine in Peloponnese varies greatly depending on where you go. Each village has its own specialties based on fresh produce grown nearby. Foodies should not miss trying grilled octopus, locally produced Kalamata olives, stuffed grape leaves, tomato keftedes (meatballs), eggplant imams (slow-cooked slices),
kitchidi (warm chickpea soup) and Greek salad variations are made with unique ingredients like caper flowers, fried zucchini blossoms, and sheep or cheese. In mountainous areas, hearty dishes based upon locally raised pork, lamb, and wild game feature prominently. Coastal towns focus their culinary efforts on fresh fish and shellfish caught daily by small independent boats.
As part of the Mediterranean diet tradition, dishes usually incorporate plenty of fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, and olive oil.
A meze style eating system encourages trying multiple plates and sharing with others over lengthy, leisurely lunches and evening feasts.
Some restaurants even allow customers to pick their ingredients directly from farm plots before having them prepared into a fresh dish.
Joining local “fiesta” celebrations provides opportunities to sample regional specialties without needing to search far beyond nearby village squares.
During Easter weekend, lamb roasted whole in a pit is a highlight, particularly served alongside thick-cut potato chips known as “fries.” Don’t forget to order a bottle of retsina wine grown near vines planted among the famous ancient temples of Nemea.
Local specialties include: • Souvlaki (grilled meat skewers) often made using traditional wood-burning BBQs called souvlakia.
The Peloponnese is famous for its delicious cuisine, which includes local specialties like grilled octopus, soutzoukakia (meatballs), and spanakopita (spinach pie).
Don’t miss out on trying the region’s excellent wines and visiting the many traditional tavernas and restaurants that serve authentic Greek food.
Indulge in traditional dishes like moussaka, dolmades, and grilled octopus, and sample local products like olives, olive oil, and honey.
For seafood lovers, the Peloponnese is a paradise.
Try local specialties like “kalamata” olives, “feta” cheese, “dolmades” (stuffed vine leaves), and “kokoretsi” (grilled offal).
Don’t forget to try the local wine and olive oil, which are also famous for their quality.
Peloponnese Region – The Best Activities
Are you planning a vacation that combines a beach holiday with great food and visits to some of the highlights of Classical Greece? Then the Peloponnese is the perfect destination for you! This rich and hospitable land all year long gave birth to Greek mythology and to glorious cities.
Visit Ancient Nemea and the Stadium where the Nemean Games took place in antiquity and meet Nemea, one of the most significant wine-producing regions in Greece.
Visit local wineries, where you have the chance to taste grapes and the Corinthian currant, grape must cookies, grape juice, and moustalevria, a traditional dessert, while parents taste the local wine variety of Agiorgitiko.
Listen to myths related to God Dionysus and learn about the process of winemaking; picking, crushing, and fermenting the grapes into wine, and to play drama games in the land where the ancient God of the grape harvest and theater is praised.
Boat trip in the Corinthian Gulf
Enjoy a boat trip in the Corinthian Gulf to watch the dolphins, swim in pristine bays, and visit Lake Vouliagmeni and Heraion, the Temple of Goddess Hera.
You can embark on a sailing or a motor boat from various places on the Peloponnesian coast and relish your day at an unexpected scenery so close to Athens, yet unexplored.
Swim on “Sandy Pylos” & the Best Messenia Beaches
Travel along the west coast of Messenia, dressed in the silver color of the olive trees, the land of Ancient Pylos and Nestor.
Visit the King’s Palace and enjoy the kid-friendly beaches of “Pylos, the Sandy” as Homer refers to it in his “Odyssey”.
You have the chance to swim in two of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, Divari and Voidokilia, as well as cherish the views from up the medieval Castle, Paleokastro that overlooks the Gulf of Navarino, the Gialova lagoon, and the island of Sfaktiria.
Live an Epic Journey to the Castles of the South
On a road trip or during your beach holidays, you have the chance to explore some of the most magnificent castles and forts in Greece.
Visit the medieval castle of Monemvasia
Monemvasia is a stunning medieval fortress town located on a rocky island off the southeastern coast of the Peloponnese.
Rail Bike Adventure in Megara
How about cycling on abandoned rail tracks, enjoying the scenery, the unique view of the Saronic Gulf, and stories about the mythical Skiron and the German machine guns of World War II in the famous Kakia Skala near Megara?
Sailing Cruise in Nafplio
If you’re looking for a unique way to explore the stunning coastline of Peloponnese Region, then a Sailing Cruise in Nafplio is just what you need.
How to Easily Reach the Peloponnese Region
Upon arrival in Athens, you have several transportation options to reach your desired destination within the peninsula. While Kalamata and Patras have their own airports, serving limited European destinations, flying into Athens and traveling by road offers greater accessibility. The drive from Athens to Nafplio, for instance, takes approximately two hours, covering a distance of 140 kilometers. Create a detailed itinerary that allows you to explore the diversity of the region while considering transportation logistics between destinations.
Safety and Respect
As with any travel destination, it’s important to prioritize safety and respect local customs and regulations. Stay informed about your current travel advisories, carry essential documents, and ensure you have travel insurance that covers your needs. Respect historical and cultural sites by following guidelines and preserving the integrity of these treasures for future generations.
By Plane: Seamless Access to the Peloponnese
The easiest and most time-efficient way to access Peloponnese is by plane. The region boasts two airports: the Araxos Airport of Patra and the Kalamata International Airport. During the summer months, these airports receive numerous international flights from various European cities, providing convenient connections for travelers. However, if you are arriving from abroad, Athens International Airport is also within close proximity to many regions of the Peloponnese, offering additional options for seamless travel.
By Rail: Scenic Journeys and Historic Connections
For those who enjoy scenic train rides, the railway network in Greece offers an alternative route to reach the Peloponnese. Although there isn’t a direct train connection between Athens and Patras, you can embark on an exciting journey by taking the Suburban Railway from Athens to Kiato. From Kiato, you can seamlessly switch to the inter-city train that will take you to Patras. Additionally, you have the option to stop at Korinthos or Kiato, both of which are excellent starting points to explore cities such as Kalamata and Nafplio.
The Proastiakos Train departs from Athens Airport and arrives in Corinth in approximately one hour, making it a convenient option for those seeking a seamless journey. The train route from Diakofto to Kalabryta is particularly enchanting and should not be missed. This picturesque rail journey takes a little over an hour and immerses you in the stunning landscapes of the Greek countryside.
Car Rentals: Your Gateway to Freedom
One of the most popular and convenient options for exploring Peloponnese is renting a car. With the development of a direct motorway from Athens Airport to Corinth, reaching your destination has never been easier. The well-maintained roads allow for smooth and scenic drives, granting you the freedom to explore at your own pace.
Pointgreece provides hassle-free car rental services, ensuring that you have the freedom and flexibility to explore the region at your own pace. Our extensive fleet of well-maintained vehicles and competitive prices make car rental a convenient and enjoyable option for independent travelers. Car rental services are available at key locations such as Kalamata Airport, Loutraki, Olympia, and other smaller cities.
By the Sea: Embrace the Maritime Charm
For those who prefer a more scenic and leisurely mode of transportation, Peloponnese offers several ports that cater to different ferry routes. The Port of Patras, the largest port in the region, serves ferries to and from Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, Trieste, and Venice, offering convenient access for travelers arriving from Italy. From Patras, you can also embark on frequent ferry trips to the enchanting Greek Ionian Islands, including Corfu, Kefalonia, and Ithaca.
Another bustling port in Peloponnese is Kyllini, which provides ferry services to Kefalonia and Zakynthos. If you wish to explore Kythira, Antikythira, and Kissamos (Chania), the port of Gytheio is your gateway. Neapoli is another port that connects travelers to Elafonisos and Kythira, offering more options to explore the wonders of the region.
Additionally, smaller ports such as Ermioni and Porto Heli connect with Piraeus port, as well as the charming islands of Spetses and Hydra. From these smaller ports, you can easily take a taxi or bus to Nafplio, a captivating city just over an hour away.
By Road: Embrace the Freedom of Exploration
To truly experience the wonders of the Peloponnese, traveling by road is undoubtedly the most rewarding option. The region’s well-connected road network and excellent bus services offer convenient and affordable transportation. The Kifissos KTEL Station in Athens serves as a major hub for buses departing from various cities within the Peloponnese.
Whether you plan to visit Kalamata, Patras, or any other captivating destination in the region, you can find frequent and reliable bus connections from Athens. A comfortable coach trip from Athens to Kalamata, for example, takes approximately three hours and costs a mere 25 euros.
Buses: Connectivity from Various Regions
Thanks to its strategic location, Peloponnese enjoys excellent connectivity with mainland Greece, making it easily accessible from various regions. If you are in Athens, you can conveniently reach many areas of the Peloponnese by bus, offering a hassle-free journey. Moreover, frequent bus services are available from other places across Greece, ensuring seamless connections for travelers. Based in Athens, these bus companies offer convenient routes that cover various destinations within Peloponnese, including Corinth, Argos, Pyrgos, Epidauros, and Nafplio. To gather more information on bus routes and schedules, we recommend visiting the KTEL information page.
Getting Around Peloponnese: Tips and Information
Getting around Peloponnese is easy and convenient.
By Bus : Taking the bus is the most affordable way to get around Macedonia. There is a bus company that operate in the region, KTEL. The company offers regular services to all the major cities and towns in Peloponnese.
By Taxi : Taxis are a convenient way to get around Peloponnese, especially if you’re traveling with a group of people. You can hail a taxi on the street or book one in advance. Taxis in the Peloponnese are metered, and the fares are regulated by the government.
By Rental Car : Consider renting a car to explore the region at your own pace, and don’t worry about weather conditions as the Peloponnese are predictably pleasant throughout the year.
By Train : The train network in Peloponnese is operated by TrainOSE. From Athens, you can take a train to other cities in Peloponnese. The ticket prices for trains in Greece are affordable, making them a popular choice for travelers on a budget.
Got a Question?
From ancient ruins and mythical legends to picturesque towns and pristine beaches, Peloponnese has it all. The peninsula in southern Greece offers an array of experiences that transcend any typical holiday vacation, making it a must-visit place for those seeking authenticity, adventure, and respite.
Delve into Ancient Greek History
One cannot talk about Peloponnese without delving into its fascinating ancient Greek history. The region was once the heart of powerful city-states, including Sparta, Corinth, and Olympia.
Discover Natural Wonders
The rugged mountains of Taygetos and Parnon offer thrilling hiking trails, rewarding adventurers with panoramic views of the region. The mystical caves of Diros, adorned with stunning stalactites and stalagmites, will leave you mesmerized. And for those seeking tranquility, the pristine beaches of Voidokilia and Elafonisos await, inviting you to unwind and soak up the Mediterranean sun.
Indulge in Culinary Delights
Immerse yourself in the Mediterranean diet, known for its health benefits and flavorful dishes.
Sample authentic Greek cuisine, such as mousaka, souvlaki, and fresh seafood, paired with local wines and spirits. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the world-renowned Kalamata olives and olive oil, a true delight for the senses. Visit local markets and tavernas to experience the vibrant culinary scene firsthand and savor the warm hospitality of the locals.
Experience Festivals and Traditions
Peloponnese is a land of festivals and traditions, where the spirit of Greek culture comes alive. Witness the captivating Holy Week processions in the town of Leonidio, where locals reenact the Passion of Christ with great devotion. Join in the lively festivities of the Carnival of Patras, one of the largest carnivals in Greece, featuring colorful parades and joyful celebrations.
The Peloponnese is situated in the southern part of Greece, extending as a peninsula. It is connected to the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth.
Bordered by the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas, as well as the Corinth Gulf, this land is a tapestry of natural wonders and historical significance.
It is connected to the Sterea region by the Corinth Canal, a narrow sea line that enhances its accessibility and allure.
The bridge Rio-Antirio, completed in 2004, further strengthens the connection between the Peloponnese and the rest of the mainland.
Peloponnese is comprised of seven prefectures: Achaia, Ilia, Messenia, Arkadia, Lakonia, Argolida, and Corinthia.
Peloponnese is famous for its Ancient Greek History: The Peloponnese holds immense historical importance as it was home to several ancient Greek city-states, including Sparta, Corinth, and Olympia.
Other notable sites include Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Corinth, which offer fascinating insights into ancient Greek culture. It played a central role in the development of ancient Greek civilization, democracy, and philosophy
Byzantine and Medieval Heritage: The Peloponnese has a rich Byzantine and medieval heritage.
The fortified town of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcases impressive Byzantine architecture and frescoes.
Monemvasia, a medieval fortress town, is another must-visit destination.
Natural Beauty: The Peloponnese is renowned for its diverse and captivating landscapes.
From the rugged mountains of the Taygetus range to the picturesque coastlines and pristine beaches, the region offers a wide range of natural attractions.
The Mani Peninsula, with its unique stone tower houses, and the rugged beauty of the Messinian Mani are particularly notable.
Olive Oil and Viticulture:
Olive groves can be found throughout the region, and the local olive oil is celebrated for its flavor and health benefits.
Additionally, the Peloponnese is home to vineyards that produce excellent wines, particularly in areas like Nemea and Mantinia.
Gastronomy: The Peloponnese is a culinary haven, offering a rich tapestry of traditional Greek dishes.
From locally produced cheeses and honey to fresh seafood and traditional meat dishes, the region’s gastronomy reflects its agricultural abundance and cultural heritage.
The Peloponnese is a large land island in southern Greece.
It has an area of approximately 21,549 square kilometers (8,320 sq mi).
Get ready for an epic adventure!
Explore Ancient Olympia: Begin your journey by visiting the birthplace of the Olympic Games.
Walk among the ruins of ancient temples, stadiums, and the iconic Philippeion.
Feel the spirit of the Games come alive as you imagine the athletes competing for glory in this historic site.
Discover Mystras: Head to the fortified town of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage site that will transport you back to the Byzantine era.
Visit Monemvasia: Prepare to be enchanted by the magical fortress town of Monemvasia. This hidden gem is nestled on a rock, connected to the mainland by a causeway. Explore the cobbled streets, admire medieval architecture, and savor delicious local cuisine in the cozy tavernas.
Relax on Voidokilia Beach: Take a break from historical sites and unwind on the pristine shores of Voidokilia Beach. With its turquoise waters, golden sand, and a backdrop of lush green hills, this beach is a true paradise.
Hike the Menalon Trail: Lace up your hiking boots and embark on the Menalon Trail, a network of scenic paths that traverse the Arcadian mountains.The trail offers a range of difficulty levels, catering to both casual walkers and seasoned hikers.The region is brimming with historical sites, stunning beaches, charming towns, and natural wonders.
Here’s a list of the top 10 places to visit in the Peloponnese, each offering its own unique charm and attractions: Ancient Olympia: Discover the birthplace of the Olympic Games and explore the ruins of this ancient sanctuary that held great significance in Greek history.
Mycenae: Step back in time and explore the archaeological site of Mycenae, known for its impressive Lion Gate and ancient tombs.
Monemvasia: Get lost in the enchanting fortress town of Monemvasia, perched on a rock island and brimming with medieval charm.
Nafplio: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Nafplio, a picturesque town with cobblestone streets, vibrant squares, and a stunning waterfront.
Epidaurus: Visit the ancient theater of Epidaurus, renowned for its exceptional acoustics, and explore the archaeological site and museum.
Mystras: Wander through the captivating ruins of Mystras, a Byzantine fortress town with well-preserved churches and breathtaking views.
Mani Peninsula: Experience the rugged beauty of the Mani Peninsula, dotted with traditional stone tower houses, quaint villages, and dramatic coastal landscapes.
Diros Caves: Explore the fascinating Diros Caves, an underground marvel with stunning stalactite formations and crystal-clear turquoise waters.
Pylos: Enjoy the scenic coastal town of Pylos, boasting a charming harbor, a Venetian castle, and proximity to the beautiful Voidokilia Beach.
Costa Navarino: Indulge in luxury and relaxation at the Costa Navarino resort, known for its pristine beaches, world-class golf courses, and luxurious amenities.
From its ancient roots to Byzantine and Ottoman times, and finally, to the struggles for independence, Peloponnese has played a central role in shaping Greek civilization.
The constant war conflicts between cities like Sparta, Argos, Corinth, and Ancient Messini led to the colonization of other parts of the Mediterranean, including southern Italy and Sicily.
Peloponnese was home to significant athletic events in ancient times, including the Olympic Games, Nemea, and Isthmia, which played a crucial role in Greek civilization and the athletic spirit.
Peloponnese played a major role in the existence of Christianity, with important cities like Corinth and Patra being significant centers, including the martyrdom of Apostle Andrew.
Peloponnese, the island of Pelops, has been inhabited since the paleolithic years.
Descendants of Pelops reigned in Mycenae and Sparta, along with Tiryntha and Pylos, during the Mycenaean civilization.
Many cities developed in Peloponnese, including Sparta, Argos, Corinth, and Ancient Messini.
War conflicts between cities and internal issues led to colonization in the Mediterranean, particularly in southern Italy and Sicily.
Peloponnese hosted important athletic events like the Olympic Games, Nemea, and Isthmia, which marked Greek civilization and the athletic spirit.
Peloponnese played a significant role in the Persian Wars, with Sparta’s strong army leading to a victorious confrontation against the Athenians.
Corinth and Patra were crucial cities during the existence of Christianity, with Apostle Andrew’s martyrdom.
The area faced invasions and raids between the 3rd and 6th centuries AC, including a notable battle in Patra that contributed to the destruction of a major threat.
After the fall of the Byzantine state, Peloponnese established the Principality of Achaia and later the Despotate of the Morea with Mystras as the headquarters.
The Ottomans conquered the Despotate in 1460 after the Frankish rule and the presence of the Venetians.
In 1821, Peloponnese became the center of the Greek Revolution, hosting important battles for liberation and serving as the first capital of the new Greek state in Nafplion.
Highlights: Ancient Greek civilization: Peloponnese was a center of the Mycenaean civilization.
Colonization: Peloponnese played a significant role in Mediterranean colonization, particularly in southern Italy and Sicily.
Athletic events: Peloponnese hosted important athletic events like the Olympic Games, Nemea, and Isthmia.
Persian Wars: Peloponnese, led by Sparta, had a victorious confrontation against the Athenians.
Christianity: Corinth and Patra played a crucial role in the early years of Christianity.
Peloponnese became the cradle of the Greek Revolution and the first capital of the new Greek state.
- Fokiano Beach in the Prefecture of Arcadia, with a semi-circular cove, turquoise waters, and large white pebbles.
- Voidokoilia Beach in Messenia is known for its crystal clear turquoise waters, white dunes, and historical landmarks.
- Agia Varvara Beach in (laconic) Mani, offers golden sand, clear waters, and a charming little church.
- Elea Beach in Messenia features golden sand, ionic waters, and a pine forest for shade.
- Mavrovouni Beach in Messenia, with velvety golden sand, light blue waters, and close proximity to Methoni and Koroni castles.
- Foneas Beach in Messenia is known for its white pebbles, blue-green waters, and nearby traditional settlement of Kardamyli.
- Petrochori Beach near Pylos, with impressive dunes, white sand lilies, and serene atmosphere.
Spring (March to May) has temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C and attracts tourists with good weather and moderate climate.
Summer (June to August) offers warm, sunny days, with temperatures averaging 26°C, and hosts various festivals and cultural events.
Autumn (September to November) has beautiful weather with temperatures ranging from 23°C to 15°C, making it ideal for exploring the hilly terrain and participating in the Spartathlon.
Winter (December to February) is colder, with temperatures between 9°C and 13°C, offering opportunities for hiking and visiting historical sites, although some attractions may have limited opening hours.
Rainfall is expected throughout the year, but the chances are lower during the summer months.
Highlights: Varying weather conditions in Peloponnese, Greece based on altitude and region
Typical Mediterranean climate with mild and hot temperatures along the coast
Cooler but healthier temperatures in central areas
High temperatures were recorded in Patra, Kalamata, and Argolida
Mountainous regions experience lower temperatures, frost, and frequent snowfall in winter
Rainfall primarily occurs in the west, while the east has weaker weather and limited vegetation
The average temperature ranges from 18 to 19 degrees Celsius
Winter brings snow-covered mountain peaks to Peloponnese
There is a variety of delicious Greek foods typical of the Peloponnese.
For example in Arcadia there are local specialties including “aligotika” , which involves boiling wheat grains with lamb or goat meat; “lagostifto”, meaning roasted rabbit, traditionally cooked in earthenware vessels; “giros arvanitis” or spiced lamb innards wrapped in caul fat; pork and vegetable sausage called ‘Soumada’; cheeses like kefalograviera or myzithra; olives and olive oil, eggs, honey, wine and tsipuro spirits, aniseed-based liqueur served water-clear and chilled after meals.
In Laconia some dishes could be tyropita (cheese pie), ravani (sponge cake), bourekia (mince/ spinach pastries) and syglino avgolemono (a sour sauced dish featuring smoked pork jowls).
Finally, there are various kinds of bread and rusks, fresh fish and shellfish depending on the season and source of supply.
Each area in fact has many distinctive plates to taste whether you prefer savory pastries or sweets, grilled meat dishes or heartier stews.