Peloponnese

Peloponnese

Peloponnese

Peloponnese is the most popular region of the Greek mainland in terms of tourism. The close distance to Athens, the beautiful resorts and the interesting sightseeing attract many visitors to Peloponnese Greece all year round. Historically, it has been the main field of action for Greece since the prehistoric times. In fact, it hosts the most important archaeological sites of Greece, including Olympia, Epidaurus and Mycenae. Surrounded by sea from all sides, the region provides amazing beaches. The most famous areas include Nafplion, Gythio, Monemvasia and Pylos. 

A region with its own life all year round and not only in tourist months, Peloponnese has many interesting towns and lovely villages to visit. Monemvasia is probably the most impressive town of Peloponnese, as it is actually a castle-town carved entirely against a rock and offering breathtaking view to the sea. Nafplion, Gythio and Pylos are lovely places with Medieval architecture and nice beach resorts.

A drive around will also bring you to secluded villages in Mani or in the inland, attracting visitors with their authentic beauty. As the region is also a nice place for winter breaks, Kalavryta and the mountainous villages of Arkadia are the most popular winter destinations. View our travel guide of Peloponnese villages and find information about some of the most beautiful villages of Greece.

Surrounded by sea from all sides, Peloponnese is a place with fabulous beaches and crystal water. The most impressive beaches are found in Elafonissos, a small island with large sandy coves and exotic water. Nice beaches are also Mavrovouni in Gythio, Tolo in Nafplion and Voidokilia in Pylos. A drive around will also bring you to fabulous secluded places to enjoy your privacy. Very few beaches are extremely organized, the majority of the beaches have only few tourist facilities and an adorable relaxing atmosphere.

There are many hotels in Peloponnese, from self-catering apartments to luxurious resorts and boutique hotels. Very tourist developed places are Kalamata, Nafplion, Gythio and Killini, while great holiday destinations are also Monemvasia, Elafonissos and Porto Heli. Here are the accommodations that we suggest in Peloponnese, including hotels, villas and studios.

Peloponnese history

The peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Its modern name derives from ancient Greek mythology, specifically the legend of the hero Pelops who was said to have conquered the entire region. The name Peloponnesos means “Island of Pelops.”

Mainland Greece’s (and Europe’s) first major civilization, the Aegean (or Mycenaean) civilization, dominated the Peloponnese in the Bronze Age from the stronghold at Mycenae in the north-east of the peninsula. During classical antiquity, the Peloponnese was at the heart of the affairs of ancient Greece, possessed some of its most powerful city-states and saw some of its bloodiest battles. It was the site of the cities of Sparta, Corinth, Argos and Megalopolis, and was the homeland of the Peloponnesian League. The peninsula was involved in the Persian Wars and was the scene of the Peloponnesian War of 431 BC-404 BC. It fell to the expanding Roman Republic in 146 BC and became the province of Achaea. During the Roman period, the peninsula remained prosperous but became a provincial backwater, relatively cut off from the affairs of the wider Roman world.

The PeloponnesePeloponnesos or Peloponnesus (Greek: Πελοποννησος, Pelopónnisos) is a large peninsula (technically an island since the 1893 construction of the Corinth Canal) and region in southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth. During the late Middle Ages and the Ottoman era, the peninsula was known as the Morea (Greek: Μωρεας, colloq. Μωριας), a name still in colloquial use.

It is divided in two administrative parts, the eastern part consisting the Peloponnese Region and the northwestern part, around Patras, partially consisting the Ditiki Ellada Region

As in whole of Greece, almost all speak from some words to quite fluent English, as it is taught in public schools. Since Greeks travel frequently abroad for education or work and also they love foreign languages, there are many speakers of other languages also, usually French, Italian, German, Russian, some less frequently Spanish.

Peloponnese geographic

The Peloponnese covers an area of some 21,549 km² (8,320 miles²) and constitutes the southernmost part of mainland Greece. While technically it may be considered an island since the construction of theCorinth Canal in 1893 – like other peninsulas that have been separated from their mainland by man-made bodies of waters – it is rarely, if ever, referred to as an “island.” It has two land connections with the rest of Greece, a natural one at the Isthmus of Corinth and an artificial one in the shape of the Rio-Antirio bridge (completed 2004).

The peninsula has a mountainous interior and deeply indented coasts, with Mount Taygetus its highest point at 2407 m. It possesses four south-pointing peninsulas, the Messenian peninsula, the Mani Peninsula, the Cape Malea peninsula (also known as Epidaurus Limera), and the Argolid in the far northeast of the Peloponnese.

Two groups of islands lie off the Peloponnesian coast: the Argo-Saronic Islands to the east, and theIonian Islands to the west. The island of Kythira, off the Epidaurus Limera peninsula to the south of the Peloponnese, is considered to be part of the Ionian Islands.

Peloponnese get it around

From Athens, by car or bus; having a car allows occasional stops along the way to most parts of Peloponnese. To get to Sparta takes around 3 hours. Patras is around 5. Kalamata is around 4.5 hours.

From Athens, by train, using a Proastiakos train, running from Athens International Airport all along the north route to Kiato and even Patras through a local train correspondence.

From Athens International Airport, by plane, to Kalamata

From Western Greece / Ipeiros to Patras through the Trikoupis bridge (Rio – Antirio).

You can also take a ferry from Piraeus to the Saronic island of Poros. Then it’s just a 5 minute boat ride from Poros Town to Galatas on the mainland of the Peloponnese. There is a car rental agency there.

From / To the port of Patras there many ferries daily from / to Italy

Peloponnese attractions

Corinth, or Korinth in antiquity was a city-state, on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece. To the west of the isthmus lies the Gulf of Corinth, to the east lies the Saronic Gulf. Corinth is about 78 kilometers (48 mi) southwest of Athens. The isthmus, which was in ancient times traversed by hauling ships over the rocky ridge on sledges, is now cut by a canal.

Corinth is now the capital of the prefecture of Corinthia. The city is surrounded by the coastal townlets of (clockwise) Lechaio, Isthmia, Kechries, and the inland townlets of Examilia and the archaeological site. Geophysically the city is likewise surrounded by the narrow coastal plain of Vocha, Corinthian Gulf,Corinth Canal, Saronic Gulf, Oneia Mountains, and the monolithic rock of Acrocorinth where the medieval acropolis was built.

It is important to know that there is new Corinth and the Ancient one. If you go to “Corinth” that usually means you are going to the new one, i.e. all the archaelogical sites are not there, but a little outside the city (5 km).

The Temple of Apollo in Ancient Corinth

The Temple of Apollo in Ancient Corinth

Corinth Canal

Corinth Canal


The Corinth Canal (Greek: Διωρυγα της Κορινθου) is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The canal is 6.3 kilometers in length and was built between 1881 and 1893.

A preserved portion of the wall with the base of a tower.

Hexamilion wall

Hexamilion wall


The Hexamilion wall (Greek: Εξα�ιλιον τειχος, “six-mile wall”) is a defensive wall constructed across the Isthmus of Corinth guarding the only land route into the Peloponnese peninsula from mainland Greece.

Mycenae

Mycenae


Mycenae (Greek Μυκηνη Mykene), is an archaeological site located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north. From the hill on which the palace was located one can see across the Argolid to the Saronic Gulf.

In the second millennium BC Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae.

The reconstructed Mycenaean Greek name of the site is Mukanai, which has the form of a plural, like Athanai. The change of a to e is a development of later Attic-Ionic.

Although the citadel was built by Greeks, the name is not thought to be Greek, but is rather one of the many pre-Greek place names inherited by the immigrant Hellenes.

The archeological sites and Mycenae Archaeology Museum are located 1.9km northeast from the center of the town.
Tel: +(30 27510 76585.
Open: 08:30-15:00 all days except public holidays.
Admission: €8

Epidaurus (Modern Greek: Eπιδαυρος, Epidavros) was a small city (polis) in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. The modern town Epidavros (Επιδαυρος), part of the prefecture of Argolis, was built near the ancient site.

Tiryns

Tiryns


Tiryns is a Mycenaean archeological site in the Greek nomos of Argolis in the Peloponnese peninsula, 4km north of Nauplion.

Tiryns was a hill fort with occupation ranging back seven thousand years, from the beginning of the Bronze Age. It reached its height between 1400 and 1200 BC. Its most notable features were its palace, its cyclopean tunnels and especially its walls, which gave the city its Homeric epithet of “mighty walled Tiryns.” In ancient times, the city was linked to the myths surrounding Heracles, with some sources citing it as his birthplace.

The famous megaron of the palace of Tiryns has a large reception hall, the main room of which had a throne placed against the right wall and a central hearth bordered by four Minoan-style wooden columns that served as supports for the roof. Two of the three walls of the megaron were incorporated into an archaic temple of Hera.

The site went into decline at the end of the Mycenaean period, and was completely deserted by the time Pausanias visited in the 2nd century AD. This site was excavated by Heinrich Schliemann in 1884-1885, and is the subject of ongoing excavations by the German Archaeological Institute at Athens and the University of Heidelberg.

Tiryns was recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites in 1999.

Argos

Argos

Argos (Greek: Ἄργος, Árgos) is a city 11 kilometers from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour. A settlement of great antiquity, Argos has been continuously inhabited for the past 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in Greece and Europe. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network. At a strategic location on the fertile plain of Argolis, Argos was a major stronghold during the Mycenaean era. In classical times Argos was a powerful rival of Sparta for dominance over the Peloponnese, but was eventually shunned by other Greek city-states after remaining neutral during the Greco-Persian Wars. Numerous ancient monuments can be found in the city today, the most famous of which is the renowned Heraion of Argos, though agriculture (particularly citrus production) is the mainstay of the local economy.

View of the old part of the city of Nafplion from Palamidi castle

Nafplion

Nafplion

Nafplion on the Peloponnese was the capital of Greece from 1829 to 1834 and is the place where Capodistria, the first president of the modern Greek republic was assassinated. It is an historical city due to its meaning to the Greek Revolution.

Often Nafplion is also referenced as Nauplio, Nauplia or Nafplia. The name is the remnant of the old venetian name Napoli di Romania, from the greek “nea poli”=”new town” of Romania, the name of the area during the late byzantine times.

Nafplion has a fantastic centre with small neoclassical historical houses, squares and churches, a lovely romantic downtown with cozy streets, a great place to stay for radial travelling around Peloponnese. Many Greeks come here for weekends from Athens.

Nafplion is situated on the Argolic Gulf in the northeast Peloponnese. Most of the old town is on a peninsula jutting into the gulf; this peninsula forms a naturally protected bay that is enhanced by the addition of man-made moles. Originally almost isolated by marshes, deliberate landfill projects, primarily since the 1970s, have nearly doubled the land area of the city.

The area surrounding Nafplion has been inhabited since ancient times though little sign of this remains within the town. The town has been a stronghold at several times in history. It seems to be mentioned on an Egyptian funerary inscription of Amenophis III as ‘Nuplija’.

Byzantine/Venetian Era

The Acronauplia has walls dating from pre-classical times. Subsequently, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, and Ottomans added to the fortifications. Nafplion was taken in 1212 by the French crusaders of the Principality of Achaea, then in 1388 was sold to the Venetians. During the subsequent 150 years, the lower city was expanded and fortified, and new fortifications added to Acronauplia. The city was surrendered to the Ottomans in 1540. Ottomans renamed her as “Mora Yenisehri” (“New City of Peloponnese”). It was a sanjak centre during Ottoman rule. At that period, Nafplion looked very much like the 16th century image shown below to the right. The Venetians retook Nafplion in 1685, and strengthened the city by building the castle of Palamidi, which was in fact the last major construction of the Venetian empire overseas. However, only 80 soldiers were assigned to defend the city and it was easily retaken by the Ottomans in 1715.

Palamidi is a castle constructed by Venetians during the 17th century. It is located on a hill north of the old town. During the Greek War of Independence it played a major role. It has been captured by Staikos Staikopoulos (Σταικος Σταικοπουλος) on 31 November 1821

Greek War of Independence

During the Greek War of Independence, Nafplion was a major Ottoman stronghold and was besieged for more than a year. The town finally surrendered because of starvation. After its capture, because of its strong fortifications, it became the seat of the provisional governments of Greece.

Count Ioannis Kapodistrias, first head of state of newly-liberated Greece, set foot on the Greek mainland for the first time in Nafplio on 7 January 1828 and made it the official capital of Greece in 1829. He was subsequently assassinated by members of the Mavromichalis family on the steps of the church of Saint Spyridon in Nafplio on 9 October 1831. After his assassination a period of anarchy followed, until the arrival of King Otto and the establishment of the new Kingdom of Greece. Nafplion remained the capital of the kingdom until 1834, when King Otto decided to move the capital to Athens.

Modern Era

Tourism emerged slowly in the 1960s, but not to the same degree as around other areas of Greece; nevertheless, it tends to attact a number of tourists from Germany and the Scandinavian countries in particular. Nafplion enjoys a very sunny and mild climate, even by Greek standards, and as a consequence has become a popular day- or weekend road trip destination for Athenians in wintertime.

Nafplion is a port, with fishing and transport ongoing, although the primary source of local employment currently is tourism, with two beaches on the other side of the peninsula from the main body of the town and a large amount of local accommodation. There are frequent bus services from/to Athens (KTEL).

By car

From Athens the trip is 1.5~2 hours by car (147km).

By bus

Buses connect the town with Athens, Salonica and all the major cities of Peloponessos.

From Athens, there are 12 to 14 daily buses (from the Eleftherios Venizelos airport take the X93 bus till the last stop). The buses of KTEL leave Athens from Terminal A in Kifissos central bus station. The journey takes about 2 hours and the price is 11.8e one way, 18e return (June 2010). You can buy tickets online.

There are buses from the Corinth-Channel Bus Terminal to Nafplio via Argos (June 2010), priced 5.8e one way, but not from Proastiakos Corinth Train station, due to their competition.

By sea

The town has a good protected port which can host several yachts providing them with all facilities.

By train

The trains station is at the port, served for tickets info etc in an old wagon. Including a change for “proastiakos” train in Corinth the total time from Athens is 2h 10′. If you find the departure time convenient it will provide you a more comfortable cheap and accurate journey. 17e for a two way ticket (in two parts, one till Korinthos, one for the rest). Stops also at Argos and Mycenae. Presently (Jan2011) canceled till further notice.

Getting around within the town, recently, has been a lot easier, for those that love bicycles. The municipality is giving free bicycles for a day, just in front of the Town Hall, by the KTEL bus station.

If you plan to stroll around, Nafplio is a good base to head out to the numerous archeological sites surrounding it. Epidaurus, Mycenae, Tiryns are just some of them. Nearly all towns villages and tourist spots are serviced by local buses at all times.

The bus station is at the end of the park, just before the old town, at Sygrou str 8. For tickets/schedules check the link. It is here you may catch the bus to the ancient (but still servicing) theater of Epidaurus, the ancient town of Mycenae.

Very close it is Argos, the most ancient town of Europe, now a quiet agricultural town. It has a castle overlooking the town, the ruins of its theater and the remainders of ancient settlements, and some interesting nearby monasteries.

It is also worth exploring the quiet nearby fisher-villages such as Vivari (with its lagoon and its wonderful sandy beach Kondyli), Hermioni town, Porto Heli with the ancient port of Aliis, the small fisher port of Koilada with its adjucent prehistoric Frahthi cave and the miniature churches in the doline wells near Didyma.

Orientation

The town is built in two parts, the old, covering all the peninsula and the new, expanding to the north and the east. Upon your arrival you will probably drop off at the central bus station, which is at the east end of the old town, or at the port, hosting a large parking area, at the north seaside of the town.

It is sometimes confusing to some that the hill overlooking the town is on the south of the town and the sea on the north. But once you notice it is easy to walk around the orderly shaped blocks.

The major reference point of the old town is Syntagma sq., a very large square, where the Venetians held their headquarters at old times. Just two blocks north and west is the Philelinnon sq., by the sea and at the end of the seaside part of the road. Here lies also the old Customs building.

The reference point for the whole town, new and old, is the conjunction of the road coming from athens (Argous str) and the one going east to Epidavros and Porto Heli (Asklepeou str). It is named “endekate”, meaning eleventh, after the bus-stop numbering system of old times. It is from here that a large park starts, covering the old train route, leading to the beginning of the old town.

The fortress of Palamidi

The fortress of Palamidi

Open: Monday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Admission: € 4

Palamidi is a military fortress to the east of the Acronauplia in the town of Nafplion in the Peloponneseregion of southern Greece. Nestled on the crest of a 216-metre high hill, the fortress was built by the Venetians during their second occupation of the area (1686-1715).

The fortress was a very large and ambitious project, but was finished within a relatively short period from 1711 until 1714. It is a typical baroque fortress based on the plans of the engineers Giaxich and Lasalle. In 1715 it was captured by the Turks and remained under their control until 1822, when it was captured by the Greeks.

The bastions of the fortress were originally named after the Greek Proveditori. However, when the Ottoman Empire came around, they captured the castle and town and the bastions were given Turkish names. Lastly, when the Greeks overthrew the Turks the bastions were renamed after Greek saints. One of the bastions, called the “Miltiades,” was used as the prison cell of Theodoros Kolokotronis, a hero of the Greek Revolution.

The fortress commands an impressive view over the Argolic Gulf, the city of Náfplio and the surrounding country. There are 857 steps in the winding stair from the town to the fortress. However, to reach the top of the fortress there are over one thousand. You will see many historical monuments, such as the small cave-prisons (also prison of the national hero Kolokotronis) and the church of Saint Andreas.

After visiting the fortress you can take the paved road down to the crossing and go right down to “Karathona Beach.” From “Karathona Beach” there is a walking path along the coast-line back to “Arvanithia Beach” and Nafplio. Its a nice scenic walk and takes about 1 hour.

At night, drive back there to enjoy a scenic view of Nafplio under the moonlight, as well as a big part of the Argolic gulf and plain, the lighted castle of Argos to the north, and the lights of small villages along the road to the neighboring prefecture of Arcadia and the town of Astros, at the north-west.

Bourtzi

Bourtzi

The first part of the Venetian fortress of Bourtzi was built around 1400, on top of a rock-island at the entrance of the port. The architect was the venetian Antonio Gambell. During its history it has been used as a fort, as a shelter for the Greek government, as a home for unwelcome executioners, even as a hotel. Occupied by the Turks from 1715 to 1822 Today, it only takes 5 minutes to visit Bourtzi with the small boats available at the port and observe the town from the opposite side. Don’ t miss it (4e round-trip).

Old town fortifications

All of the town used to be fortified, with two parts, the seaside merchant quarter, being the present old town, and the uphill, the barracks quarter, now an open archeological site, partly hosting a hotel. At the old town fortifications only remain in the east limit, just in front of the central bus station. The large protecting trench now has been covered and it is part of the city’s park.

Strolling in the old city

One of the best characteristics of Nafplio is that everything in the Old Town is within walking distance. In fact you can walk from one end to another in less than 15 minutes, and that’s why you can see couples in love, happy kids, and large groups of friends everywhere in the town, at the port, in the alleys, always walking around and enjoying every part of the town. Because of the small distances and the paved ways, there are few areas cars are allowed to pass, and there is no bus service in the old part of town, only the central station that takes you to the new part of the town and the rest of the prefecture. So, leave the car in the parking and enjoy walking around Nafplio all year round. Alternatively, you can take the horse carriage or the small train for a tour in the town.

To an uneducated traveler, Nafplio looks like an Italian city because of its architecture and the colourful houses. More fundamentally, Nafplio has a quite an interesting architecture, with many traces of eighteenth century european towns, byzantine and ottoman influences. Many of the old town’s buildings are traced back a hundred or two hundred years ago.

  • Vouleftikon, the first parliament of the Greek Nation, right south of the Syntagma sq, earlier used as an ottoman Jami.
  • Venetian Headquarters on the same sq, now an archeological museum
  • St Spyridon church, (1702) where the first governor of Greece was killed, with traces of the killing bullet, on the mid of Kapodistriou str, named after him.
  • St George, (17th century), the metropolis of the town, on Plapouta str
  • St Nicolaus, (18th century), on Philellinon sq, by the port
  • Small Jami, on the east of Syntagma sq, now used as a theater
  • Frangokklisia, the oldest church in the town, built on several periods, still having traces of the old Catholic (Franc) Monastery. On Fotomara str, by the foot of the Akronafplia castle, on the south east of the old town.

Psaromachalas

During your strolls in Nafplio, it is worth adding 15 minutes to your schedule to walk around Psaromachala (meaning fishermonger’s), the area under the rocky hill of Acronafplia. In contrast with the large, classical style mansions and open spaces of the main parts of the old town, here you will see small, white houses, with yards filled by flowers, narrow alleys and stairways, cats lurking and mewing, and in general the feeling of a small, traditional neighborhood, reminding to many the Greek islands. Add to the picture some larger mansions that have been renovated and turned to guesthouses and hotels and you have a unique part of Nafplio, with great view and good hospitality.

Museums

Archeological Museum

Address: 13 Sofroni Street, between Staikopoulou Square and Panagia Church, in a Venetian building of 1714 with impressive stone arches
Open: Monday, 1:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Admission: € 4, Free under 18 and EU students

Recently renovated and restored internally and externally, it includes new showcases and exhibits, accessibility and facilities for people with disabilities, and air-conditioning. In the new multimedia hall you can see documentary films, whereas children can take part in the regular programs that take place. The most important exhibit of the museum is the impressive bronze armor suit dating back to the 13th century B.C. and once worn by a Mycenaean soldier. Get the full story in the multimedia hall and travel through time to the era of ancient Greece.

The War Museum

Address: 22 Amalias Avenue, Nafplion
Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Sunday and national days, 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Admission: € 4, Free under 18 and EU students

Hosting war relics, guns, maps, paintings and photographs from the Greek revolution till the Second World War. The museum is located in a beautiful historic building that served as the first military school in Greece.

The Komboloi Museum

Address: 25 Staikopoulou St., Nafplion; Tel: 003 27520 21618.
Open: Monday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Admission: €3
www.komboloi.gr/index2e.html

The first Komboloi (or worry-beads) Museum – said to be the only one worldwide – was founded in Nafplio in 1998 by Aris and Rallou Evangelinos, who have been collecting and studying the history of komboloi since 1958. The museum has had more than 55.000 visitors so far and the unique collection consists of approximately 1500 kombolois (from Asia Minor, Greece, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Persia etc) that date from 1700 to 1950 and are made of various precious and rare materials. On the ground floor there is the workshop where old kombolois are repaired and new, either original or copies of the old ones, are produced.

The Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation Museum (PFF or PLI in Greek)

Open: Wednesday to Monday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Admission: € 4 (morning)/ € 3 (afternoon)

The permanent exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the “Greek town – Nafplio 1822-1922.” On the ground floor, miscellaneous museum items are presented in a daring and free arrangement in order to emphasize on the multiformity of the collections, while one can also visit the new expanded museum shop.

The Ouzo museum

Belonging to Karonis distilleries, it is located at Ag. Paraskevi area

Cultural Centers

National Gallery

Address: 23 Sidiras Merarchias str, just opposite of “alevri+zahari.” Annex of the National Greek Gallery
Open: Monday, Thursday, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Wednesday, Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Admission: Free

Located in a building that a century ago served as the hospital of the town. Hosting paintings of famous Greek painters.

Municipal Art Gallery

Located on Vasileos Konstantinou str in old town

hosting various seasonal exhibitions

Nafplion Art Gallery

Address: Vas ALexandrou 5
Open: Monday to Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Alpha Bank Cultural Center

Address: Kolletti 4, Nafplion
Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sunday and holidays, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Palamedes Public Library

Address: Koletti and Amalias street, Nafplion; In an ex girls school building
Open: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Do

Daily Cruises in the Argolic Gulf

If you have time you can try this cruise, giving you the pleasure to enjoy the sea and the seaside attractions of the area, including a bath stop. On the promenade where the boats for Bourtzi depart, usually once a day in summertime.

Entertainment

In the town there are two cinemas, both on 25 Martiou Str,

  • One serving during wintertime, by the fire brigade, near the bus station and
  • One serving during summertime, a must go open air, well in the greek open air cinema tradition. Usually it hosts all latest productions. It is located at the other end of the 25th Martiou str, at the east end of the park, just underneath Palamede castle. Usually starting on 9p.m. Tel 2751068855.

There is also a theater, the Trianon, on Syntagma sq., serving various plays during all year long.

Festivities

Around Holy Easter (moving fiest) there are several local festivities:

  • 50 days before, Apokria fiest (the Greek Carnibal), with masqueraded parades, music and events around the town
  • 49 days before, the Kathari Monday (the Greek Mardi Gras), with outdoor picknicking, kite flying, music
  • 7 days before, start of the Holy Week, having on of its most beautiful moment on
  • 2 days before, Holy Friday, a large parade out of each of the trhee main churches of the town, leading to
  • day 1, the Holy Easter Sunday
  • 7 days after, Sunday, the burning of Judas, at the nearby Asini Village
  • 50 days after, the Monday of the Holy Spirit, a celebration of two days (starting on Sunday) in the nearby village of Lygourio and of Agia Triada.

Other festivities are:

  • 25 March, National day celebration and religious fiest
  • The first Sunday of May is the fiest of artichoke, in the nearby village of Iria
  • On the last week of June, the Nafplio Festival, a week of classic music concerts in the historic sites and castles of the place, very much worth attending. For 2010 it will take place during 18-27 of June.
  • On the 15th of August, the day of Madonna, a large fiest with religious parade around the town.

Go to Peloponnese Attractions

Tolo (Greek: Τολο, also known as Tolon) is a village on the Peloponnese peninsula. Although it is a relatively new addition to the map by Greek standards, its modern history starting in 1830, the area where it is situated and its surroundings go back much further. The bay of Tolon was first written about by Homer, as was Asini in the Iliad, named as one of the cities whose fleet took part in the Trojan War. In the centuries to come the bay of Tolon gave refuge to battle ships at various times and then during the Byzantine period was revived as an auxiliary port to Nafplio and became the place to come for a summer stroll. From the middle of the 20th century, with its natural beauty and situation allowing easy access to the neighbouring archaeological sites, Tolon saw the beginning of the tourist industry and evolved into the popular summer resort that it now is, offering hospitality to tourists from all over the world. Tolo features some of the best beaches in Peloponnese – Tolo Beach.

It is part of the municipal unit Asini, in Argolis. Although it is a relatively new addition to the map by Greek standards, its modern history starting in 1830, the area where it is situated and its surroundings go back much further. The bay of Tolon was first written about by Homer, as was Asini in the Iliad, named as one of the cities whose fleet took part in the Trojan War. In the centuries to come the bay of Tolon gave refuge to battle ships at various times and then during the Byzantine period was revived as an auxiliary port to Nafplio and became the place to come for a summer stroll.

During the Crusades Era and the break-up of the Byzantine Empire (1204 AD), along with the rest of the Peloponnese, the area came under Frankish rule until 1389 AD, when it was then taken over by the Venetians, and in 1540 AD to the Ottomans. Following that and the alliance between the Venetians, the Germans, and the Polish against the Ottoman Empire, the chief of the allied forces, Vice-admiral Francesco Morosini was ordered to capture the capital of the Peloponnese, Nafplio at that time, and the bay of Tolon was chosen as a place suitable as a base of operations for his expedition as it was the safest place in the region, while the shore was used for the army to camp. After the success of his expedition and until 1718 AD, when the area again was occupied by the Turkish, Tolon was used as a secondary naval station for the Venetian fleet.

A monument of this time is the small church named Zoodhohos Pigi, built in 1688, and the ruins of the fortress on the island of Daskaleio in the bay of Tolon. Fortifications, ruins of houses and reservoirs can also be found on Romvi island. Following the Greek Revolution, a number of ethnic-Greek refugees from Crete were resettled in Tolon. In 1834, by Royal Decree, a city was founded at the Port of Tolon and named Minoa after Minos the legendary king of Crete. After the liberation of Crete the remaining refugees in the area formed the picturesque fishing village which eventually became known as Tolon in 1916. From the middle of the 20th century, with its natural beauty and situation allowing easy access to the neighbouring archaeological sites, Tolon saw the beginning of the tourist industry and evolved into the popular summer resort that it now is, offering hospitality to tourists from all over the world.

Religious Sanctuaries

The Peloponnese possesses many important archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages. Among the most notable are:

  • Bassae (ancient town and the temple of Epikourios Apollo)
  • Corinth (ancient city)
  • Epidaurus (ancient religious and healing centre)
  • Heraion of Perachora (was a sanctuary of the goddess Hera situated in a small cove of the Corinthian gulf at the end of the Perachora peninsula)
  • Messene (ancient city)
  • Monemvasia (medieval fortress-town)
  • Mycenae (fortress-town of the Aegean civilization)
  • Olympia (site of the Olympic Games)
  • Pylos (the palace of Nestor)
  • Sparta 
  • Tegea (ancient religious centre)
  • Tiryns (ancient fortified settlement)

Cities

The principal modern cities of the Peloponnese are (2001 census):

  • Patras (169,242 inhabitants) – the city hosts the country’s greatest European-style carnival that takes place every spring. The main features of the Patras Carnival include the mamoth-sized satirical floats and the extravagant balls and parades.
  • Kalamata (54,065 inhabitants) – Capital and chief port of the prefecture of Messinia, built in the heart of the Messinian Gulf near the ancient city of Farai mentioned by Homer, 238 km from Athens, the land of Kalamatianos dance and the silk kerchief; of succulent dark olives, honey eyed figs and the honey covered sesame sweet called “pastelli.”
  • Corinth (30,434 inhabitants) – According to myth, the city was founded by Corinthos, a descendant of the god Helios (the Sun), while other myths suggest that it was founded by the goddess Ephyra, a daughter of the titan Oceanus, thus the ancient name of the city (also Ephyra). There is evidence that the city was destroyed around 2000 BC.
  • Tripoli (28,976 inhabitants) – The city is surrounded by pine trees in the south and west, mount Mainalo (Maenalus) in the west while another mountain is 5 km E and fertile lands elsewhere.
  • Argos (25,068 inhabitants) was a major stronghold of Mycenaean times, and along with the neighboring acropoleis of Mycenae and Tiryns became very early settlements because of their commanding positions in the midst of the fertile plain of Argolis.
  • Pyrgos (24,765 inhabitants) has one of the biggest squares in Greece with loads of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, supermarkets, hospital, hotels, and a large orthodox church.
  • Aigion / Egio (21,966 inhabitants) has quite a few squares, a bus terminal and a fountain downtown.
  • Sparta (16,473 inhabitants) – This historic city has a population of 10,000. It has two main arteries which make navigation really easy. To the west of the City is the beautiful, rugged Mt. Taygetos. The byzantine city of Mystras is a short 15 minute ride away. This has relics worthy of a visit. There is a museum in Sparta housing some artifacts.
  • Nafplion (13,124 inhabitants) – A good base to explore surrounding area which includes Epidaurusthe largest outdoor amphitheatre with PERFECT acoustics. If you sit at the top sit, you can hear a pin drop on the stage, literally. Catch an ancient play in the summertime. Also a good base for exploring Mycenae.
  • Gytheio – long known as the seaport of Sparta some 40 km away. Gytheio used to be an important port for many centuries until it was destroyed by an earthquake. Today it is a small fishing village with nice seafood restaurants and plenty of beaches in the area mostly frequented by locals. Visit nearby Diros Caves and an underground river near the town in Mani.

Peloponnese Beaches

Tolo beach

Tolo beach

A long sandy beach with tourist facilities.

Plepi beach

Plepi beach

A quiet beach with no tourist facilities.

Kosta beach

Kosta beach

A sandy beach with tourist facilities.

Karathona beach

Karathona beach

Karathona beach is very close to the town of Nafplion. This quiet sandy clean beach is located just south of Palamede castle hill. At the back of the castles, 10 minutes walk just south of the town, is also the Arvanitia beach. Even more south, approachable by local bus or car, there is a series of marvelous beaches, very popular during the summer.

Paralio Astros beach

Paralio Astros beach

A long sandy beach with tourist facilities.

Neapoli Voion

Neapoli Voion

A long sandy beach with tourist facilities.

Plytra beach

Plytra beach

A quiet beach with no tourist facilities.

Mavrovouni beach

Mavrovouni beach

A 2km long beach with tourist facilities.

Divari beach

Divari beach

A 1.5 km long sandy beach, signposted “Golden Beach” but known as Divari (Greek: διβαρι meaning “hatchery”) to local people, starts at Gialova and continues west to Old Navarino castle. The beach is actually a narrow bar separating the sea waters of the Bay from the brackish waters of Gialova Lagoon, a natural site of major importance. It is the only location in Europe where the African chameleon is found.

Zacharo beach

Zacharo beach

A vast sandy beach which attracts a lot of bathers, both Greeks and tourists. The beach boasts almost 3 metre waves which covers the beach with an abundant supply of large and small rocks. This is where the giant Sea turtles Caretta-Caretta are nesting every summer, from May to September.

Kourouta Beach

Kourouta Beach

A very long sandy beach with tourist facilities.

Kalamia Beach

Kalamia Beach

A 5km long sandy beach with tourist facilities.

Kalogria Beach

Kalogria Beach
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