We first came to the Peloponnese in 2004 and have been living here part of each year since then. Over the years we have explored many places in the Peloponnese and this guide has developed out of our travels.
The Peloponnese Guide contains pages on the best places we have discovered to visit in the Peloponnese linked to a google map. Athens, Athens Airport and Delphi are also included as a trip to the Peloponnese will often encompass them. We have also searched out and included the most concise and informative links we could find for each place.
To look at the places to visit see the map page or click from the list to the right, and we’ve also included a travel advice page, which has some essential information on traveling in Greece and visiting the ancient sites. If you’re not familiar with Greece take a few moments to read this page as the suggestions might make a significant difference to your holiday.
Olympia, Epidaurus and Mycenae are all world class ancient sites, and there are many unknown smaller sites that have few visitors – which would be considered major attractions in their own right in other countries. The long coastline has sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, venetian ports and traditional Greek seaside resorts. The interior is mountainous, snow topped in winter, interweaved with beautiful gorges and small villages. The vast majority of the Peloponnese is untouched by package tourism, it’s an exceptional place to visit for independent travelers of all ages. Here are a few of our own particular favourite places:
The huge size and acoustics of the famous amphitheater at Epidaurus are extraordinary. It seats 15,000 people and it’s a common anecdote how you can hear a match being struck at the centre of the stage when sitting on the very top row. The ruins of the Asclepion, an ancient center of healing that existed for 1000 years, also have a very magical quality. The coach tours usually only go to the amphitheater, often leaving the Asclepion a quiet and tranquil place to visit.
Nafplio is a lovely Venetian town and port overlooked by a Byzantine castle. It’s narrow streets have many cafes, bars and restaurants, and the harbour front has cafes with comfortable sofas from which you can watch the sun setting behind the Bourtzi, a small island fortress.
It’s the perfect base for exploring Epidaurus, Mycenae and other lesser ancient sites close by.
The monasteries in the stunning Lousios Gorge are all individual and captivating, living religious communities. The Prodromos Monastery, clinging part way up a sheer cliff wall is a memorable sight, and the local town of Dimitsana is a lovely place to stay. Because it’s high in the mountains the area is primarily a winter snow resort and is relatively quiet in the summer months.
Monemvasia is a small island joined to the mainland by a causeway. There are no cars in the town itself, the cobbled streets of stone houses are far too narrow, even building materials are brought in by donkeys.
There are a few hotels in restored buildings in the town itself. It gets very busy there in the peak season, but at other times it a special and unique place to visit.
Excavation at Ancient Messini only began 30 years ago but it is on the road to becoming a major site. It is in a pleasant mountain setting North of Kalamata and has temples, an Asclepion, theaters and a very impressive stadium.
Each time we go back there we find more things have come to light. This year there were exquisite Roman mosaic floors previously hidden under a 2 metre layerof soil which were partly uncovered.
It is this sense of work-in-progress, that there is so much more underneath yet to be discovered that makes the place so fascinating.