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The Peloponnese Tourism And Travel Guide
10.3° C / 50.5° F
April to October
4 to 6 Days
Kalamata International Airport (77 kms)
Corinth Railway Station (77 kms)
Tourism in the Peloponnese is thriving because this is a region full of legends, from Hercules to Helen of Troy, Palaces to Temples and Byzantine cities to Venetian Fortresses. It is all here- just one big adventure waiting for you. With over 1 million people living here, it is filled with both locals and tourists alike. Modern cities like Patras and Kalamata are the beating heart while quaint old villages and desolate islands make up for its entire length and breadth – making the Peloponnese a charming, traditional and lively region. To know more about this large island, read our travel guide of the Peloponnese.
How To Reach
To reach the Peloponnese, you can fly into Athens from most Indian metro cities and then take a charter flight – available mainly in the summer – to Patras or Kalamata. Alternatively, you can just take a private vehicle or a taxi from Athens. Athens to Nafplion is about 2 hours, Patras can take 3 hours.
From Athens, there is only one route that connects to Patras via Kiato. Alternatively, you can get off at Kiato or Korinthos and start a road trip from there to visit other places in the Peloponnese.
Getting into the Peloponnese is easiest by road. You could either hire a private vehicle or if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option then the buses in Greece offer great service and comfort too. From Athens, there are plenty of buses that function every day and take you to most of the main towns including Patras, Kalamata, Nafplio and more. The journey to Patras could take around 3 hours.
Not the most used option, but you can get into the Peloponnese by boat through its different ports in the east, north and west side. From Athens’s Piraeus Port, you can reach the east side ports of Ermioni or Porto Cheli and then take a taxi into Nafplio or any other town in the Peloponnese.
A road trip around the Peloponnese is the best way to experience it. Since the region is quite large, you will need a vehicle to get to different towns and tourist spots. Hiring your own private vehicle will make the trip easy, however, buses are also available for most popular sites and towns. Buses are also more budget friendly.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
Spring (March to May):
Spring has great weather which makes it a great time to visit a place like the Peloponnese. The average temperature is around 20°C, cooler in March and warmer by May. Few days of rain can be experienced, but nothing too heavy. You can enjoy all the sites and activities. 25th March is also the Greek Independence day and is celebrated in Kalamata.
Summer (June to August):
Summertime has its ups and downs. For a place filled with beaches, summer is the best season to visit as the average temperature is a warm but pleasant 26°C, but the downside is that these months can get quite crowded and a lot of the historical sites can be filled with tourists. On the upside, there are a lot of festivities due to the large crowds and you can catch many dramas, musical concerts and dance performances in many of the villages and towns like Epidaurus and Nafplio.
Autumn (September to November):
Fall is summer without the summer crowds. September still has beach-friendly weather and some festivities spillover up to October. The temperature averages 20°C. It’s the perfect time to explore the hilly regions of the city, as hikes are easier in a cooling climate. Spartathlon is held every year towards the end of September.
Winter (December to February):
The Peloponnese has a lot of hilly mountainous regions as well as low lying areas. Come winter, the hilly towns can get quite chilly with some snow expected. In fact, the slopes here are quite popular for skiing activities. But on an average, the temperature is between 9°C and 13°C. There is still enough daylight to be able to do a lot of sightseeing, though some of the museums and sites may close slightly early. The Patras Carnival is enjoyed during January and February.
Things To Do
Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus:
Even centuries ago, people knew that Performing Arts brought a person a lot of joy. In the ancient city of Epidaurus, a healing centre was built and the Ancient Theatre was built specifically for the purpose of healing its patients. The theatre is renowned for its perfect acoustics – even today there is a spot in the centre of the stage from which if you whisper, people can hear you loud and clear. Don’t forget to try it out for yourself when you are there.
The city of Mystras is as mysterious as its name. An entire city built on the hilltop with a castle at the very top. Make sure you have almost an entire day to visit this place as it is quite a climb. There are many building ruins along the way and a few side paths. The view from the top is quite spectacular! You can have a small picnic lunch at the top as long as you ensure you keep things clean up there!
King Agamemnon, known by all today through the Troy movies, was the ruler of the city of Mycenae – a very powerful kingdom in the 2nd millennium BCE. He had the advantage of a great location as he built his kingdom upon a hill, surrounded by mountains – so it was difficult for his enemies to make their way to it and even if they did, he could spot them miles away. Today, little remains of his city, but it is well worth the trouble to visit. Beautiful views, a small museum with artefacts and stories of the kingdom and a few interesting architectural ruins (especially the lions head entrance). Nearby also lies what is believed to be the king’s tomb.
Temple of Apollo Epicurius:
A very well restored and preserved temple in all of Greece, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius was always special because Bassae, where the temple is located, was a sacred place where many temples were built and people would make the arduous journey over mountain ranges to worship their gods. This particular temple sits atop a hill. It is a UNESCO heritage site and is kept covered at all times to protect it from further deterioration due to the weather.
If you are looking for retail outlets and high fashion brands, Patras will keep you satisfied enough. But once you get into the interiors, you will find many interesting local products from all over the Peloponnese. You can pick up some lovely ceramics from Kilix Ceramic Shop in Corinth, Genesis Ceramic Workshop in Nafplio, Atelier Exekias in Olympia or Local Moods in Kalamata.
If you are visiting Monemvasia, stop by Edodimopolio Honey shop for some delicious honey. Also, visit Kelari Olive Oil and Wine shop for more delights. Another place to stop by for local wines and alcohol is Karonis in Nafplion. Stop by the Olive Tree Boutique if you’re at Tolon for some unique handcrafted items.
When in the Peloponnese, people generally pick up Olives and Olive based products, Local alcohol, Jewellery, Cottons & Silks, Ceramics and Pottery and of course a whole bunch of artefact replicas from a museum or other gift shops.
The Peloponnese region is famous for its Olives, Oranges and many herbs and spices. And Greek cuisine is undoubtedly famous the world over. So here are a few dishes you must try when you visit –
Dolmadakia – meat or rice stuffed in grape leaves.
Feta Me Meli – a cheese & honey delicacy
Moussaka – Usually made with meat, but some restaurants offer a vegetarian Moussaka as well
Greek Salad – vegetables and feta cheese
Gyros – Similar to chicken shawarma.
Keftethes – Meatballs
Cheese Saganaki – Simply Fried cheese
Spanikopita – A cheese and Spinach pie
Yemista – Tomato or Peppers stuffed with Rice