Top Things to Love About the Peloponnese, Greece

Sandy beaches – like Simos Beach on Elafonisos – are just one reason to visit the Peloponnese in Greece
Sandy beaches – like Simos Beach on Elafonisos – are just one reason to visit the Peloponnese in Greece | © Ael / Alamy
Ethel Dilouambaka

Too often, the Peloponnese is overlooked by visitors who prefer to visit the Greek islands or focus on Athens and its surrounding region. Millenia-old architectural marvels like Epidaurus, sweeping golden beaches and rolling vineyards hosting wine tastings are just a handful of the reasons that you’ll fall in love with the Peloponnese peninsula.

Cruise around the Peloponnese by hiring a yacht for the day through SamBoat. Alternatively, Dream Yacht Charter offers week-long rentals – no experience necessary.

1. It boasts a wealth of ancient sites…

Historical Landmark

Tourists walking around the ruined columns at Philippeion in the Altis of Olympia
© Marek / Alamy

The Peloponnese is home to a series of archaeological sites worth visiting, including Olympia, where the ancient Olympic Games were held in classical times; Mycenae, home to the Mycenaean civilisation and the mythical King Agamemnon, located in the Argolid plain; and the ancient city-state of Messene, near Kalamata. An often forgotten sight is the Temple of Apollo Epicurius, a beautiful temple hidden high in the mountains of Arcadia.

2. …including ancient Epidaurus

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Groups of twos sitting on the steps of Asklepios Theatre at Epidaurus, with a view of trees and mountainous countryside
© Jeremy Pembrey / Alamy

Without any doubt, Epidaurus is the highlight of the ancient sites to visit in Peloponnese – enough to warrant its own paragraph. This ancient theatre, part of a sanctuary dedicated to the god Asklepios, was constructed in the fourth century BCE. It has excellent acoustics and still hosts concerts to this day. If you’re lucky, catch a summer performance during the Athens & Epidaurus Festival. Even if you can’t, a visit to this millennia-old ruin is still impressive.

3. The beaches are beautiful

Natural Feature

Waves on the sandy Moon Bay beach in Gialova, with sand dunes and rocky cliffs in the distance
© Em Campos / Alamy

With an extensive coastline, the Peloponnese beaches are just as impressive as those in the Greek islands in terms of beauty. The region boasts some spectacular gems such as Voidokilia in Messinia, the sandy stretch of beach in Kaiafas, and Gialova beach in Navarino Bay. Alternatively, escape the crowds and make a stop at the hidden Vlychada beach, near Kyparissi. The beaches are best explored by boat – hire one for the day through SamBoat, or make a full week of it by booking a sailing holiday through Dream Yacht Charter.

4. You can visit the charming town of Nafplio

Architectural Landmark

An aerial view of Nafplio, with buildings with terracotta rooftops and a peninsula jutting out into the blue sea
© Giannis Katsaros / Alamy Stock Photo

Less than 50km (31mi) away from Epidaurus lies a beautiful gem called Nafplio. The waterfront city, which used to be the country’s capital from 1823 to 1834, is a romantic place to explore, boasting Venetian and Ottoman architecture, the spectacular Palamidi citadel and beautiful neoclassical mansions. Hire a bike and cycle around the winding streets, before stopping at Arvanitia for a swim.

5. There are plenty of trails for hikers to stretch their legs

Hiking Trail

People walking between the trees on the Menalon Trail, next to the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos which is built into the cliff face
© Keval Bharadia / Alamy

With its fair share of rugged mountains, dense forests and verdant valleys covered in olive groves, the Peloponnese is a real haven for outdoor adventurers. Follow the Menalon Trail, a hiking route that covers 75km (47mi) through the centre of Peloponnese. Alternatively, trek sections of the Peloponnese Way, a 225km (140mi) track that cuts through the heart of the peninsula, passing mysterious monasteries and towering gorges.

6. It's home to the dramatic Monemvasia

Architectural Landmark

A stone wall and path looking down at the rooftops of Monemvasia, next to the sea and with hills in the distance
© funkyfood London – Paul Williams / Alamy

Probably one of the most romantic places in Greece, Monemvasia is a medieval castle town, carved on the slopes of a rock off the eastern coast of the Peloponnese. Constructed during the Middle Ages, the fortified city with its cobbled streets and stone houses is still a major attraction today. Stay in one of the traditional guesthouses, explore the medieval castle and take a day trip to other spots around the Peloponnese.

7. Elafonisos Island is just offshore

Natural Feature

Three umbrellas and sun loungers on a white sand beach, with a boat in the blue water
Photo by Nick Panourgias on Unsplash

Plonked between the Peloponnese and Kythira, Elafonisos is a small island paradise, blessed with white sand beaches and a tiny population of just 360 inhabitants. Come summer, however, the island attracts more than 3,000 visitors per day. Spend your morning swimming and snorkelling in the turquoise waters or sunbathing on the wide stretches of sand, before stopping at Ouranía for grilled octopus, doused in white wine.

8. You can go wine tasting through age-old vineyards

Natural Feature

A path through the vineyards of Nemea, on the Peloponnese peninsula
© P Tomlins / Alamy

An interesting way to get more acquainted with the Peloponnese peninsula is by doing a small wine tour while you’re there. Indeed, the region is not only one of the oldest wine-producing areas in the country, but in the world; an early reference to the wine tradition of the region dates back to Homer, who called the region Ampeloessa: “full of vines”.

Navigate your way around the Peloponnese by renting a boat for the day through SamBoat, or booking a multi-day charter through Dream Yacht Charter.

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