Peloponnese travel guide

Peloponnese travel guide


2 MINUTE SUMMARY

The Peloponnese is known as a peninsula but actually over time it has become almost separated from mainland Greece and is now only joined by an isthmus. Although only an hour and a half by road from Athens, once you cross its vast bridge you enter a different world. On the map, the Peloponnese looks like a hand outstretched to the ever blue Ionian, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas that envelop it. As if to say – we belong to the water, not to the land. Or that everything we have here is influenced by the waves. Indeed, Peloponnese archaeology evolved from its geographical vulnerability, be it from Venetians, Ottomans or even French crusaders. And yet it is also said to be the birthplace of medicine. In fact, it is such a restorative place, be it on the coast or in the mountains that, in our view, it should all just be available on prescription.
Read our Peloponnese travel guide for more details.
The Peloponnese is…

Hellenic, heavenly, historic and an adventurer’s Arcadia. Oh, yes. It is Arcadia.
The Peloponnese isn’t…

just about archaeology. Go rafting, mountain biking, gorge walking and kayaking if ruins don’t rock your boat. Or, just go on a boat.

Peloponnese map & highlights


MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME

It’s seems odd that word laconic comes from the Peloponnese region of Laconia, where the ancient Spartans were known for their lack of words, or terse manner. These are, after all, the landscapes linked to myths, storytelling and poetry. Maybe it is because when you live in the Peloponnese you don’t need to speak. The myriad beaches of Messinia take your breath away. The ancient amphitheatre at Epidaurus has always been place for listening and learning. The Taygetos mountain range invites silent solace. And in Arkadia’s Lousios Gorge, just let the sound of the gushing river and bells of ancient monasteries that cling to the cliffs soothe your soul.
Arcadia Epidaurus Laconia Messinia Mycenae Nafplion

Arcadia

Few places give their name to dream visions but this mountain-ringed enclave inspired the poetic term ‘Arcadia’, meaning unspoiled wilderness. And you still find plenty of wilderness in this region. Whether you are hiking in the foothills of Mt. Mainalo, or gorge walking through Lousios, where ancient monasteries cling to the cliff walls. And the coast always beckons, with 100km of exquisite beaches and bays.

Epidaurus

If you can catch a production in this 2,300-year-old theatre, your vacation will be complete. In its day, it could seat 14,000 audience members, all in search not only of artistic therapy but also natural therapy. Because in ancient times, theatre was considered a real tonic and, indeed, Epidaurus is said to be the birthplace of medicine. The coastal town of the same name is pretty much a cure all as well.

Laconia

The Laconia region has Sparta as its heritage hub. A town with famed Spartan military history and an acropolis should be enough really, but it is also overlooked by Mount Taygetos, the Peloponnese’s highest peak at 2,404m. After absorbing the Byzantine beauties Mystras and Monemvassia, go cycling to fishing towns such as Gythio and Elia or fully immerse yourself and take part in an unforgettable experience on a sea turtle conservation vacation.

Messinia

The name given to the southwest region, with the main seaside hub of Kalamata, from where you can head out along the coast. By bike ideally, to stunning beaches such as the sandy one at Petalidi, or the ridiculously beautiful ones in and around ancient town of Pylos. Ancient is everywhere and castles such as Methoni and Koroni are musts. In the latter you can even stay in a cottage within its grounds.

Mycenae

These 3,500-year-old citadel ruins are said to be Greek mythological King Agamemnon’ home, who led the way in the Trojan War in Homer’s famous poem, The Iliad. Myth or no myth, these are ruins of epic proportions. Walk through the famous Lion Gate dating back to 13 BCE, see ancient tombs and palace remains, and enjoy superb views across the orange and olive groves of Argolis and beyond to the Aegean.

Nafplion

This stunning seaside town was once a port on all cylinders, fighting off everyone from the French crusaders to the Venetians and Ottomans. Their influences can still be seen, such as the Venetian Palamidi fortress. Nafplio is a great base for cycling vacations, with beach bliss such as Karathona or Aghios Nikolas, or the nearby town of Tolo where you can get a small boat out to the uninhabited island of Koronissi.

Photo Credits: [Epidaurus Theatre: Konstantin Malanchev] [Arcadia: Roman Klementschitz] [Epidaurus: Andy Hay] [Laconia: Pavel69] [Messinia : Ronny Siegel] [Mycenae : Andreas Trepte ] [Nafplion: Discover Peloponnese] [Helpdesk: Daniel Enchev]
Written by Catherine Mack
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