Last Updated on 2023-01-24
Peloponnese is a region in southern Greece full of history, culture, and natural beauty.
It is often overlooked by tourists in favor of more well-known destinations like Athens and the islands, but that is precisely what makes it such a hidden gem.
As you explore the winding streets of ancient cities like Nafplio and Mycenae, you’ll be struck by the sense of awe and wonder that comes from being surrounded by so much history.
The region is home to countless ancient ruins, including the Atreu Treasury and Lion Gate at Mycenae. These monuments are a testament to the rich and complex history of the region, which has been shaped by the influence of various cultures over the centuries.
But it’s not just the ancient ruins that make Peloponnese so special. The region is also home to stunning natural beauty, with rolling hills, crystal clear waters, and picturesque beaches that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
There are also plenty of hiking and cycling trails to explore, giving you the chance to get out and experience the great outdoors.
Overall, Peloponnese is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or nature, you’ll find plenty to love in this hidden gem of a region.
So, don’t miss the opportunity to discover Peloponnese! Read this article until the end and take the initiative to book your next trip to Greece. It will certainly be an unforgettable experience.
Where is Peloponnese located?
The Peloponnese is a peninsula located in southern Greece. It is separated from the rest of the country by the Corinth Canal, which connects the Gulf of Corinth in the northwest with the Saronic Gulf in the southeast.
It’s home to several important cities such as Nafplio, Tripoli, the capital of the Peloponnese region, the ancient city of Corinth, legendary Sparta, mythical Argos, the port city of Patras and Kalamata (Calamata), among others.
The Peloponnese is also a great destination for beaches lovers, and has mountains and national parks, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Best things to do in Peloponnese (must see experiences)
The Peloponnese is a region in southern Greece that is home to a rich history and a diverse range of attractions.
These are just a few of the many things to see and do in the Peloponnese.
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or natural beauty, the Peloponnese has something for everyone.
Discover the first capital of Modern Greece (Nafplio)
Did you know that Nafplio was the first capital of modern Greece? And that the revolution that ended the Turkish occupation of Greece began in this seaside town?
There is so much to see and do in the charming town of Nafplio, Greece. Some of the main attractions include:
Bourtzi Castle: Located on a small island in the port of Nafplio, the Bourtzi Castle or Fortress of Bourtzi is a beautifully preserved medieval castle that can be seen from Nafplio’s promenade or, depending on the time of year, by taking a short boat trip, although at the moment the interior of the monument is being recovered, so it is only possible to see the outside
Old Town: The Old Town of Nafplio is full of charming narrow streets, historic buildings and lively squares. Take a stroll through the streets, look closely at the buildings and discover the city’s rich history and culture. Also, don’t forget to include a walk to the Bavarian Lion.
Arvanitia Promenade: This beautiful promenade is located along the shore of the Argolic Gulf and offers stunning views of the water and the surrounding area. It’s a great place to take a leisurely walk or sit and relax.
Archaeological Museum: This museum is home to a wide range of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the rich history of the region. It’s a great place to learn about the ancient past of Nafplio and the surrounding area.
Beaches: Nafplio is located near a number of beautiful beaches, such as Arvanitia and Karathonas, where you can swim, sunbathe, and relax.
Shopping and dining: There are many charming shops and restaurants in the town of Nafplio where you can try the delicious local cuisine and browse for souvenirs.
Climb 999 steps to Palamidi Fortress (Nafplio)
The Fortress of Palamidi (Palamidi Castle) is an imposing fortress located on a hill of 216 meters, overlooking the city of Nafplio.
It is a must visit attraction you should include on your list of places to visit in Peloponnese, and to make the experience even more interesting, try walking up the 999 steps to the top of the hill.
For those who suffer from vertigo or don’t want to walk up the steps, there are taxis that make this route.
The taxi ride from the city center to Palamidi has a fixed cost.
So it’s like this: the taxi ride costs €10 each way, and the driver gives you a business card with the mobile phone number to call back when the visit is over. The other option is for the taxi driver wait for you for 30 minutes, in which case the total amount to be paid is €30.
As I walked through the winding halls of the castle, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder.
Palamidi was built by the Venetians between 1711 and 1714, conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1715 and remained under its rule until 1822.
It functioned as a prison and had as its occupant the famous Theodoros Kolokotronis, one of the heroes of the Greek Revolution.
Still regarding the number of steps, they say there are 913 and not 999, but it must be fun to count them to see who’s right, don’t you think? Anyway, if you come to any conclusions, please let me know!
The Stalactites of Kapsia Cave in Arcadia: A World Heritage UNESCO Site
Nestled in the heart of the Arcadian mountains in Greece, the Stalactites of Kapsia Cave is a true natural wonder.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this cave system is home to some of the most breathtaking stalactites in the world. It’s the most important cave in Greece!
As you explore the winding passageways and chambers of the cave, you’ll be mesmerized by the intricate patterns and shapes of the stalactites.
From delicate, needle-like formations to massive columns of stone, each stalactite is unique and awe-inspiring in its own way.
But the beauty of the Stalactites of Kapsia Cave isn’t just skin deep.
These geological formations are also a testament to the incredible power of nature and the wonders it can create over time, as the stalactites are thought to have formed over the course of hundreds of thousands of years.
Visiting the Stalactites of Kapsia Cave is an experience you’ll never forget. From the moment you set foot in the cave, you’ll be struck by the sense of awe and wonder that comes from being surrounded by such an incredible natural wonder.
So don’t miss out on the opportunity to discover this World Heritage site for yourself – it’s sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.
Cruising to the Fortress of Bourtzi: A Historic Landmark in Napflio
Fortress of Bourtzi is a historic landmark located in the port town of Napflio in Greece.
Built in the 15th century, this fortress stands as a testament to the rich and complex history of the region.
The interior of the monument is undergoing renovations, but if you want to see it up close, you can take a boat trip from the port of Nafplio.
Or, do like me and enjoy the view from the port, while the works are not finished and it is possible to visit the interior of the castle…
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try renting a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and exploring the harbor on your own. This is a great way to get up close to the castle and see it from a different angle.
In any case, the Fortress of Bourtzi is not just a place of history – it is also a place of outstanding natural beauty, a little gem practically unknown and located on a small island off the coast of Nafplio.
Archeological Safari in Mycenae: An Unforgettable Journey Through History
Mycenae is an ancient city in Greece that is known for its rich history and cultural significance.
If you’re interested in archaeology and ancient history, a tour of the Mycenaean ruins is an experience you won’t want to miss.
There are several tour companies that offer guided tours of the Mycenaean ruins, often referred to as an “archeological safari.”
These tours typically include a guided walk through the ruins, with a knowledgeable guide providing information about the history and significance of the various structures.
During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see some of the most iconic landmarks of ancient Mycenae, including the Lion’s Gate, the Royal Tombs, and the Palace of Agamemnon.
You’ll also learn about the Mycenaean civilization and how it shaped the history of Greece and the wider world.
The Archaeological Museum of Mycenae houses an incredible collection of artifacts and artifacts that offer a window into the past.
As you explore the museum, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide range of exhibits that cover the history of the region from the Neolithic period to the Roman era.
Some of the highlights of the museum include the famous Mask of Agamemnon, a gold funerary mask that is thought to have belonged to the ruler of Mycenae, as well as a collection of ancient weapons, pottery, and jewelry.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Archaeological Museum of Mycenae is the way it tells the story of the Mycenaean civilization and its impact on the history of Greece and the wider world. It is, without a doubt, a place to include in your list of what to visit in Peloponnese.
Honey tasting in Vytina
Tasting honey in Vytina was an experience I will never forget.
Vytina is a town full of charm, with a small square, the Vytina Folklore Museum and a church. In addition, it is surrounded by lush mountains and forests, and several traditional shops with local products such as different types of pasta, cheese, honey and olive oil.
In the honey tasting, I had the opportunity to try different types of honey and, without a doubt, I left with a new appreciation for the work and dedication of beekeepers.
Vytina honey has been granted the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, and this means that it is a product with a specific geographic origin.
The Vytina honey is made from the nectar of the thyme plant, which grows in abundance in the region. It has a unique flavor and aroma that is distinct from other types of honey, and is prized for its medicinal properties.
The production of Vytina honey is tightly controlled and regulated to ensure that it meets the high standards set by the PDO. Only honey produced in the region of Vytina can be labeled as Vytina honey, and it must be made from the nectar of the thyme plant.
The Vytina honey has a deep amber color and a thick, creamy texture. It has a strong, herbal flavor with hints of thyme, and a long-lasting aftertaste. It is often used in cooking and as a natural sweetener in drinks and desserts.
In addition to its delicious taste, the Vytina honey is believed to have numerous health benefits. It is said to have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, and is often used to treat respiratory and digestive issues.
Step Back in Time and Discover the Traditions of Ancient Greece at the Vytina Folklore Museum
The Vytina Folklore Museum is a great place to learn about ancient Greek practices and customs.
Located in the town of Vytina in the Peloponnese region of Greece, the museum is housed in a traditional Greek stone house and features a variety of exhibits and displays on the local culture and way of life.
One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of traditional Greek costumes and textiles, which showcase the intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into creating these beautiful garments.
The museum also has a variety of exhibits on traditional Greek crafts, such as pottery and weaving, and the tools and techniques used to create them.
In addition to the exhibits, the Vytina Folklore Museum also offers a variety of events and programs, such as traditional dance performances and demonstrations of traditional Greek crafts. These events give visitors the opportunity to experience the local culture firsthand and get a sense of what life was like in ancient Greece.
Unfortunately at the moment visits are only in greek (no english translation), but I believe that this museum is still a great place to learn about traditional Greek crafts and costumes.
Horse Riding in Elati, Greece
If you’re looking for an exciting and unique way to explore the stunning countryside of Elati, Greece, horse riding is an excellent option.
With its rugged terrain, beautiful forests, and breathtaking views, Elati is a perfect destination for horseback riding enthusiasts.
There are several stables in Elati that offer horseback riding tours for riders of all skill levels. These tours typically last a few hours and take you on a guided ride through the stunning landscapes of the region.
If you’re a beginner rider, don’t worry – most stables offer lessons for those who are new to horseback riding. These lessons are usually led by experienced instructors who can help you get comfortable on a horse and teach you the basic skills you’ll need to ride safely.
Regardless of your skill level, horse riding in Elati is an experience you won’t forget. The feeling of freedom and exhilaration that comes from riding through the beautiful countryside is truly unmatched. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore Elati on horseback – it’s sure to be an adventure you’ll never forget.
Nemea Vineyards Wine Tour: An Unforgettable Tasting Experience
Nemea is a region in southern Greece known for its delicious wines and beautiful vineyards. If you’re a fan of wine, a tour of the Nemea Vineyards is an experience you won’t want to miss.
I found the colorful terraces a bit similar to the Douro region, in Portugal, and instead of the Douro River you can see the Corinto Canal in the distance.
There are several wineries in the region that offer wine tastings and tours to visitors. These tours typically include a guided tour of the winery, a discussion of the winemaking process, and, of course, a tasting of a selection of the winery’s finest wines.
During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the different grape varietals that are grown in the region and how they contribute to the unique flavors and aromas of the wines. You’ll also learn about the history of winemaking in Nemea and how the region’s terroir – the combination of climate, soil, and other factors – influences the character of the wines.
Overall, a wine tour of the Nemea Vineyards is an unforgettable experience.
Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or just starting to discover the world of wine, you’ll find plenty to enjoy and learn in this beautiful region of Greece.
Explore beautiful Dimitsana and the Open Air Museum of Waterpower
Dimitsana is a small town located in the region of Arcadia in the Peloponnese, Greece. It is known for its rich history and beautiful natural surroundings, making it a popular destination for tourists. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Dimitsana:
- Explore the Old Town: Dimitsana’s Old Town is filled with narrow streets, charming houses, and historic churches. Take a leisurely stroll through the town and discover its hidden gems.
- Hike the Lousios Gorge: The Lousios Gorge is a stunning natural wonder located just outside of Dimitsana. It offers a variety of hiking trails with breathtaking views of the gorge and the surrounding countryside.
- Visit the Monastery of the Holy Trinity: The Monastery of the Holy Trinity is a beautiful, historic monastery located in the Lousios Gorge. It is known for its impressive architecture and peaceful setting.
- Try local cuisine: Dimitsana is home to a variety of traditional tavernas and cafes serving delicious, locally-sourced food. Be sure to try some of the town’s famous cheese and honey, as well as other local specialties.
If you are planning a visit to Dimitsana, be sure to add the Open Air Museum of Waterpower to your list of things to see and do.
The museum is a unique attraction that offers a fascinating look at the history and cultural significance of watermills in the region.
Located in the heart of Dimitsana, the museum is housed in a series of renovated watermills that were once used to power the local gunpowder factory during the Ottoman occupation.
One of the highlights of the museum is the opportunity to see the watermills in action, as well as a variety of exhibits on the history of Dimitsana, showcasing traditional Greek crafts and artifacts.
The Foodie’s Guide to Peloponnese: Discovering the Best Restaurants and Local Specialties
Examples of dishes popular in Peloponnese are “spanakopita” (pasta stuffed with spinach and feta), “moussaka” (aubergine, minced meat and bechamel sauce) and Tzaziki.
Lesser known, Trahana soup is made with dried dough called “trahana”, from a mixture of fermented flour and yogurt.
The pasta is then cooked in a chicken, meat or vegetable broth and flavored with spices and herbs.
It is often served as a starter or as a light meal on its own and is a popular dish during the colder months as it is comforting and warm.
In addition to these dishes, Peloponnese also has fish and shellfish. The extensive coastline gives access to a variety of fresh fish, including sardines, tuna and octopus. Grilled or fried, these dishes are part of the local cuisine, usually accompanied by french fries.
One of the most famous ingredients in Peloponnese cuisine is the “kalamata” olive, named after the city of Kalamata.
The Peloponnese also has a variety of cheeses, such as feta cheese, as well as “manouri”, a soft white cheese, and “kefalotyri”, a hard, salty cheese used for grating.
If you have a sweet tooth, then try the Greek karydopita, also known as “nut cake”.
The cake has chopped nuts, flour, sugar and eggs and after being baked, it is soaked in a syrup made with honey, sugar and water.
Karydopita is usually served as a dessert, alone or with whipped cream or ice cream.
No Peloponnese meal is complete without a glass of “ouzo”, which can be enjoyed alone or mixed with water or ice.
Ultimately, Peloponnese cuisine is a delicious mix of fresh ingredients, bold flavors and rich culinary traditions.
Finding Your Perfect Peloponnese Accommodation: From Boutique Hotels to Luxurious Villas
When choosing an hotel in the Peloponnese, there are a few things you may want to consider:
Location: Consider the location of the hotel and whether it is convenient for the activities and attractions you want to visit. You may also want to think about whether you prefer to stay in the city center or in a more quiet, residential area.
Amenities: Think about what amenities and services are important to you. Do you want a hotel with a pool, a gym, or a spa? Do you need a hotel with a restaurant or bar? Make a list of your must-have amenities to help you narrow down your choices.
Price: Consider your budget and look for a hotel that offers good value for money. Don’t forget to check for any special deals or discounts that may be available.
Reviews: Read reviews from other travelers to get an idea of what to expect from the hotel. Look for reviews that mention the location, amenities, service, and overall quality of the hotel.
By considering these factors, you can find a hotel in the Peloponnese that meets your needs and preferences.
Discovering the Best Places to Stay in Nafplio
For me, Nafplio is a great base for exploring the Peloponnese region, as it is a vibrant and lively city with many restaurants, cafes and bars and is conveniently located, making it easy to get around.
So, in Nafplio I stayed at Hotel Ippoliti, a charming and luxurious hotel with a great location.
The hotel is situated in a restored 19th century mansion, and features a mix of traditional and modern design elements.
Guests at Hotel Ippoliti can choose from a variety of beautifully appointed rooms and suites, each featuring comfortable beds, high-quality linens, and modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi.
Some rooms even have private balconies overlooking the city or the sea, but this was not my case.
In addition, the hotel also has a concierge service that can help guests plan activities and excursions in the area.
If you are not convinced, check out other alternatives for Hotels in Nafplio.
Transportation in the Peloponnese
Although there are several options for public transportation in the Peloponnese region of Greece, it’s a good idea to rent a car.
Renting a car is a convenient option if you want to explore the region at your own pace, and it is best to rent a car online in advance.
Also, Taxis are widely available in the region and can be hailed on the street or ordered by phone.
Bicycling is another way to go from one place to another, especially in small distances. The Peloponnese region is home to many beautiful cycling routes, and there are several companies that offer bicycle rentals.
No matter which mode of transportation you choose, it’s important to be mindful of traffic laws and local customs, and to plan your route in advance to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Be aware of speed limits (50 in towns, 90/110 on normal roads and 130 on motorways), as well as parking bans.
So speeding fines can range from €40-700, prohibited parking from €40-80 and running a red light can mean paying a fine of up to €700.
This is enough to spoil the trip, don’t you think?
How to get to Peloponnese in Greece
The quickest way to get to Peloponnese from the major european cities is to fly to Athens International Airport.
There are several airlines that operate flights between several european contries and Greece, including Aegean Airlines, Lufthansa and Ryanair.
Once you arrive in Athens, you can take a domestic flight to one of the airports in the Peloponnese region, such as Kalamata Airport or Araxos Airport.
Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive from Athens to the Peloponnese region.
Tips for organizing a Peloponnese itinerary
Here are some tips for organizing a Peloponnese itinerary:
Plan ahead: It’s a good idea to do some research and plan your itinerary in advance. This will help you make the most of your time in the Peloponnese region and ensure that you don’t miss any of the must-see attractions.
Decide on your mode of transportation: The Peloponnese region is quite large, so you will need to decide on the best way to get around. If you prefer to have more flexibility, you might want to rent a car.
Choose your accommodations: The Peloponnese region has a wide range of accommodations to choose from, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. Consider your budget and preferences when deciding on your accommodations.
Make a list of the attractions you want to visit: The Peloponnese region is home to many ancient ruins, beaches, forests, and mountains. Make a list of the attractions you want to visit and consider how much time you want to spend at each one.
Consider the weather: The weather in the Peloponnese region can vary depending on the time of year. Be sure to check the forecast and pack accordingly.
Don’t forget to budget for meals and souvenirs: Make sure to budget for meals and souvenirs as you plan your itinerary. The Peloponnese region is known for its delicious food, so be sure to try some local specialties.
Consider hiring a guide or join organized tours: If you want to learn more about the history and culture of the Peloponnese region, you might want to consider hiring a guide or joining a tour. A guide can provide insight and context that you might not get on your own.
Best time to visit the Peloponnese
The best time to visit the Peloponnese region in Greece depends on your personal preferences and the type of experience you are looking for. Here are a few things to consider:
Weather: The Peloponnese region has a Mediterranean climate, which means it has hot, dry summers and mild winters. The best time to visit if you want to spend time at the beach is from May to October, when the weather is warm and sunny. If you prefer cooler temperatures, you might want to visit in the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and pleasant.
Crowds: The Peloponnese region is a popular tourist destination, so you can expect to see more crowds in the summer months. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you might want to visit in the shoulder season (April, May, September, and October) when the weather is still pleasant and the crowds are smaller.
Prices: Prices for accommodations and flights tend to be higher in the summer months, when demand is higher. If you are looking to save money, you might want to visit in the off-season (November to March) when prices are lower.
Events and festivals: The Peloponnese region is home to many festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Corinthian Carnival in February and the Epidaurus Festival in July and August. If you are interested in experiencing local culture and traditions, you might want to plan your trip around one of these events.
I went to the Peloponnese in November and it was great. Climate was ok, entrances to monuments were half price and it was easy to find a suitable restaurant, as there were few people in restaurants.
You May Also Like:
- Discover the Charm of Nafplio: A Guide to the Top Attractions and Activities
- Kapsia Cave: Explore the wonders and fascinating geology of Kapsia Cave
- Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH)
*I traveled to Peloponnese at the invitation of Turismo do Peloponnese, and in the context of TBEX Europe 2023, which will take place in Kalamata between May 8th and 11th, 2023. Stavroula Gkeka from Penguin Travels and Tours accompanied me on this trip and It was an essential help. Of course, there is still a lot to see, so I plan to return to the region soon.
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