© P. Merakos
Escape to the Peloponnese, where Myth meets history. Monuments from every period of the eventful history, great archeological sites; ancient Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Tiryns, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius, Byzantine churches and Monasteries.
Enjoy sightseeing and sports; explore unique villages and alluring castles amidst stunning natural beauty, mountains and forests, rivers and caves. Not to mention that the Peloponnese is surrounded by the Greek sea, with lovely beaches, sandy and smooth coasts on the western part – rocky and lacy on its easternmost side. It is no coincidences that the tour of the Peloponnese is very popular among travellers.
Go ahead and plan your next adventure here!
One of the most beautiful towns in the area of Argolis (in eastern Peloponnese) as well as one of the most romantic cities all over Greece, Nafplio was the first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1834.
According to mythology, the town was founded by Nafplios, the son of god Poseidon and the daughter of Danaus (Danaida) Anymone. The town’s history traces back to the prehistoric era when soldiers from here participated in the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War alike. The town declined during the Roman times and flourished again during the Byzantine times. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their mark in the town and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the centuries. Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and Venetian or neoclassical buildings mesmerize the visitor with their unique architecture and beauty.
Among the steep slopes of Mt. Mainalo in the Peloponnese nestles the mountain village of Dimitsana. Get a deeper insight into Greek history by visiting the places where the Greek Revolution of 1821 against the Ottoman occupation actually began; a place synonymous with legendary heroes, fierce battles and glorious achievements. Today thanks to its proximity to Athens and its striking beauty Dimitsana is one of the most popular all year round destinations in Greece along with the nearby Stemnitsa and Vytina, in the heart of Arcadia.
Dimitsana is built like an amphitheatre overlooking Lousios River, Lousios valley and the plains of Megalopoli. The village is nicely surrounded by snow covered mountain tops and lush pine tree forests. Some of its most famous sights are the six remaining legendary Gunpowder Mills that used to produce gunpowder for the Revolutionary War, the Philosophou and Timiou Prodromou Monasteries; the archaeological site of Gortyna and the houses of heroes of the Revolution.
Monemvasia, founded by the Byzantines in the sixth century, is a breathtaking medieval tower town located on the south-eastern coast of the Peloponnese. Take the opportunity to explore this mystical stone-built settlement, nestled at the edge of a big rock by the sea, and immerse yourself in a unique medieval atmosphere!
Upon entering the castle, your journey through time begins. Peer into the history of the fortress –the so-called “Gibraltar of the East”–, which was occupied by the Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Venetians, and the Turks in the past. Wander around its narrow cobbled streets, and admire the beautifully restored stone buildings. Taste culinary delights at a fine restaurant on the roof of a tower house, and spend a romantic night at a stone-built tower. The “Kastro” (castle) is divided into two parts, the lower and upper town.
Elafonissos, just 300 m from Pounta in the shore of Peloponnesus, has a history of about 5,000 years, since it was inhabited from the Third and Second Millenium B.C., as evidenced by prehistoric findings. During the Peloponnesian War it was a battle field between the Athenians and the Spartans, as the former had fortified the isthmus that connected at that time the island with Pounta. From 1839 until 1850 belonged to the British, which considered it part of the Eptanisa. It is connected with Pounta or Neapolis, Lakonia through local ferry boat routes. It extends over 9000 sq. m and has a population of 750 inhabitants.
Epidaurus: for many people, this word brings to mind the town’s Ancient Theatre (c. 340-330 B.C.), a renowned monument included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list as part of the Sanctuary of Asclepius, the god of medicine for the ancient Greeks. The dramatic performances staged in this theatre were watched by the god’s patients, during their stay at the healing centre.
Since the 1950s, ancient theatre plays have been performed here every summer, as per the Athens & Epidaurus Festival programme.
The Epidaurus area is in the Argolida region, in East Peloponnese, where you’ll find beautiful seaside destinations with great beaches shaded by pine trees. Dive in crystal clear waters, go snorkelling & scuba diving, and discover a sunken ancient city; go hiking in the country and follow the paths that pass through ancient ruins, orange and olive groves; and visit traditional tavernas serving fresh fish & seafood from the nearby Saronic Gulf area, as well as other local dishes.
In western Peloponnese, in the so-called "valley of the gods", Ancient Olympia grew to be the most celebrated sacred site of Ancient Greece, and the birthplace of the Olympic Games, the most important sports events in all antiquity: starting from 776 B.C., all Greeks – across the then known world – would be united every four years and all hostilities would be suspended so that everyone could take part in these games in the true spirit of sportsmanship. Olympia is now, as it used to be in the past, a famed destination, a powerful landmark known the world over.
Kalavryta town welcomes you as one of the hot winter destinations in the Peloponnese. This beautiful town lies at the foot of Mt. Chelmos and it is a must-visit buzzing place during the cold months of the year on account of its ski centre.
In this dreamlike setting you will see stone-built houses, small squares, charming alleys, picturesque cafés and tavernas right next to shady plane trees: it’s a destination ideal for those aiming to combine their love for nature with their romantic mood.
Kalavryta is famous for Odontotos, the rack railway service (inaugurated in 1896) which covers the 22km Kalavryta – Diakopto route. The train takes passengers on a tour around Vouraikos Gorge and the route is considered as one of the most scenic in Greece. The train is now one of the area’s features, in harmony with the surrounding nature. The ride ends at the Corinthian Gulf shores.
In the province of Kynouria and at just 3 hours from Athens by car, there is the township of Leonidio, built between the sea and the foot of the mount Parnon.Completely devastated by Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt in 1826, the place brags about the Frankish-styled stone mansions,and the gardens of geraniums, honeysuckles and lemon trees giving off a scent of nostalgia.
The peninsula of Methana with its two steep volcanic slopes is actually a volcano that emerged from the sea! Welcome the opportunity to explore a stunning volcanic landscape with dense vegetation, coastal villages and diverse flora and fauna. The establishment of the spa complex in 1870 made it a popular spa town attracting mainly senior citizens from many European countries.
Follow a fascinating route to the fishing village of Agios Georgios and on to the Baths of Pausanias, one of the peninsula’s hot springs, or follow the footsteps of the ancient historian Pausanias to the ancient city of Méthana. In the village of Paleókastro stand the remains of the classical walls and gates of an acropolis, the rest of which fell into the sea due to a volcanic eruption.
The peninsula boasts approximately 32 volcanoes. Climbing to the largest crater is a truly challenging experience. Start from Kameni Hora and follow the path on a 25-minute climb to the lip of the volcano. Step on now solid red lava flows and take in views of a different world of savage black, red and green crags and sharp abysses… Last but not least, soak up the atmosphere along the island’s volcanic beaches (Nissaki Agion Anargiron, Limnionas and Vathy).
Nemea is one of the popular destinations in the Peloponnese, a significant winemaking region that is of great archaeological interest, too. Next to Korinthos and Loutraki, Nemea is surrounded by fertile plains that have contributed to the area’s well-being with their yields for many a century. This is where you will find the largest single vineyard in Greece producing wines that are renowned the world over, producing the famous worldwide Agiorgitiko wine.
The archaeological site of Nemea is where a top local event has been taking place for the last twenty-odd years: this is the revival of ‘Nemeia’ i.e. the sports games that used to take place in ancient Nemea since 573 BC and every two years in turns with the Olympic Games and the games in Delphi and Isthmia. The Modern Nemeia Games were revived in 1996, 2300 years later, and they take place every four years, with many athletes and spectators coming and participating from across the world.
The traditional settlement of Stemnitsa is built by the gorge of Loussios River and in the fir forest of Mainalo.
Apart from the natural beauty and the fascinating history, the area is well-known for its silversmiths and goldsmiths too, who make rings, crosses, brooches, kitchenware for domestic use, silver icons and candlesticks for the churches.
A story of two thriving centuries of fine art (1700-1900) is told by the Folklore Museum of Stemnitsa, the source of inspiration for the students of the School of Silversmithery and Goldsmithery of the village. Here, the knowledge and the artistry of the old come to an artful wedding with the fresh ideas and the imagination of the young to dynamically boost hand-made jewellery into the 21st century.
Vytina, is the renowned village of mountainous Arcadia, an ideal base for your winter excursions around the area. This hospitable village will heal your body and soul; it is literally covered by trees, has a traditional architectural character and is endowed with a rare climate.