Peloponnese is the fastest-growing Greek tourist destination. Timeless scenic villages, ancient monuments, medieval castles, rich history, natural beauty, and spectacular beaches make the Peloponnese a year-round holiday destination.
The name Peloponnese has its roots in ancient Greek mythology, as it comes from the name of the king of Achaia and later of Pisa, Pelops. The Peloponnesian land is indissolubly linked to myths of timeless and insurmountable. Nemea, Stymphalia, Lerna, Tagetes, Tiryns are some of the places that the labors of Hercules come to life. In the Peloponnese, the scene of the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Pylos, Laconia, Mycenae – the palaces of Nestor, Menelaus and Agamemnon, unfolds. The peninsula inhabited since prehistoric times was the center of the Mycenaean civilization, from which it was named after the first archaeological finds in Mycenae. In Ancient Olympia in 776 BC the first Olympic Games were held in honor of god Zeus.
The Peloponnese is a destination for all seasons, with a rich history and a rich landscape. Messinia, Elafonisos, Monemvasia, Mani, Porto Heli, Kalavryta and Nafplio are some wonderful places for someone to visit. It’s the land of ancient Sparta, home of the holy olive grove and Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Here, ancient monuments and impressive attractions are spread throughout the landscape.
You’ll visit the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, and next to it the Asclepius (a Unesco World Heritage Site). The Peloponnese is a celebration of contrasts; majestic mountains embraced by a dramatic, golden coastline of endless beaches and exotic coves. The coastline of the Peloponnese hides magnificent sandy beaches with crystal-clear water. Award-worthy is exotic Elafonisos and Voidokoilia in Messinia. Other notable beaches are those in the Gulf of Messinia, Kardamyli, as well as Old Epidaurus and Porto Heli, a jet-setters meeting point.
The Peloponnese is a paradise for thrill seekers and adventure lovers. There are numerous opportunities for off-roading, driving, hiking and rock climbing in the Taygetos Mountains. The European long-distance hiking trail, E4, passes through here, and there are dozens of other paths in every area. The bravest will want to head to Lagada that has a rock climbing park.
Some of the attractions in the Peloponnese:
The castles of Monemvasia and of Nafplio (Bourtzi, Akronafplia, and Palamidi) are the most famous romantic destinations in Greece, ideal for two-day getaways.
One of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece is Ancient Olympia. Visit the stadium, temples, and settlements of the original Olympic venue. Don’t forget the Temple of Zeus, which once housed the legendary golden Statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World destroyed in the 5th century AD.
Just 30km north of Kalamata, the city of Messene, founded in the 4th century BC, is noteworthy for its outstanding perimeter walls erected in the 3rd century BC, and its massive Arcadian gate and eight surviving towers.
The famous theatre of Epidaurus is one of the most important monuments of ancient Greece. Built around 340-33 BC, it combines perfect acoustics, elegance and symmetrical proportions.
Like the traveler Pausanias in the 2nd century BC, you too will be impressed by the isolated Τemple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, which means ‘little valley in the mountains’. The first ancient monument in Greece to be listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site, in 1986, it’s certain to engrave itself onto your memory.