TOP 10 SITES TO VISIT IN THE PELOPONNESE WITH A MOTORHOME
There are monuments from every period of the eventful history of the Peloponnese: archaeological sites such as ancient Olympia, Epidaurus, and Mycenae; Byzantine churches, towns and castles; and more modern wonders such as the Corinth Canal and the bridge at Rion. Dramatic mountains with forests, rivers and caves meet the sea in the east and south, while beautiful beaches line the west coast. This part of Greece is ideal for a motorhome touring holiday, taking in the local history and culture while providing opportunities for more activity-based trips.
1. ANCIENT CORINTH
The archaeological site of Ancient Corinth is 9 km northwest of the modern city. It contains the ruins of the Pirini fountain, the courtyard of Apollo, the foundations of a significant Roman basilica, the temple of the goddess Tyche (Fortune) or Apollo Klarios, the stores in the agora, the temple of Apollo, the ruins of the theatre and the Lerna fountain. At Acrocorinth (home of the Sun God Helios!), 3.5km S of ancient Corinth, on top of a mountain 575m in height, stands the largest, most ancient and imposing castle in the Peloponnese, which has always been the fortified citadel of Corinth.
The "golden" city of Mycenae, the city of the legendary kings Atreus and Agamemnon, cited by Homer and excavated by Eric Schliemann, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Greece. The rich finds from the area (including the golden death mask (supposedly of Agamemnon) are on display in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Mycenae is 24 km north of Nafplion, one of the most beautiful towns in Greece.
The ancient theatre of Epidaurus is situated at the sacred sanctuary of the demigod-physician Asklepios, which was the most famous healing centre of the Greek and Roman world. Today it forms an important archaeological site and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nowadays there are theatrical performances at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus every Friday and Saturday evening during the months of July and August. In the town of Old (Palaia) Epidaurus at the coast nearby, you can also attend musical performances every Friday and Saturday in July at the ancient Little Theatre. Another very interesting site to see is the Sunken City of Epidaurus. It is a remarkable sight that attracts lots of people and is easily accessible either by boat or swimming.
Take the opportunity to explore this mystical stone-built settlement and immerse yourself in a unique medieval atmosphere! Monemvasia, founded by the Byzantines in the sixth century, is a breathtaking medieval fortified town located on the south-eastern coast of the Peloponnese, under a rocky peninsula.
5. DIROS CAVES
A breathtaking cave lies in waiting for visitors to discover in the heart of Greece's beautiful Mani region. Pure white stalactites and stalagmites will impress, plus insight into the organisms living inside.
6. THE MANI
Welcome to the mountainous Mani peninsula, where you can see stone built houses and impressive tower villages, tremendous caves, Byzantine churches, beautiful beaches - and a unique local gastronomy. You'll be overwhelmed by wild beauty of the mountains plunging into the sea.
Be the knight or princess of your childhood fairytales... The Byzantine town of Mystras, 6km NW of Sparta, has a rich history. In the 14th Century it was the capital of the Byzantines fighting the Franks, and in 1448 the last emperor of Byzantium, Constantine XI Palaeologos, was crowned here. A visit to the Archaeological Museum will help you get a deep insight into the rich history of the area.
8. THE CASTLES OF METHONI & KORONI
Known as "The Eyes of Venice”, these castles in Messenia are in two beautiful little towns: picturesque Methoni overlooking the Ionian Sea and the island of Sapienza and colourful Koroni, a place with insular atmosphere. Thanks to their strategic position, they have been important trade and marine centres.
In the western Peloponnese, in the "Valley of Gods", lies the most celebrated sanctuary of ancient Greece, and the birthplace of the most important athletic mega-event of all times; the Olympic Games. The stadium of Olympia, the massive temple of Zeus and the museum where you can see some unbelievable sculptures such as the sculpted decoration of the temple of Zeus, (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) the famous Hermis of Praxiteles and the statue of Nike of Paionios.
In the northwestern part of Peloponnese lies a land blessed by the gods, the Strofilia forest, an exquisite natural environment, a national park of 2,200 hectares protected under the Ramsar Convention and the Natura 2000 network. This unique ecosystem of unprecedented beauty and high ecological importance incorporates the essence of Greece's countryside: pines, sand and the eternal blue of the sea.