What Else To See in Greece Beside Santorini and Mykonos
A Guide to The Peloponnese - Byzantine Castles, Greek Mythology, and Monemvasia

 

Byzantine castle of Mystras, Kinsterna hotel, the town in the Peloponnese, Greek mythology, the Castle of Monemvasia

Undoubtedly, when thinking of the beauty of Greece, often, ancient Olympia, the Acropolis, and the islands of Santorini and Mykonos come to mind.

Greece has over 6,000 islands with lots to offer in each region. However, and unfortunately, many of the islands and regions are not widely explored.

Looking for natural beauty, Greek mythology, inexpensive locally sourced wines, incredible sunsets, the friendliest locals in the world?  Then, you must visit the Peloponnese.

The Peloponnese is in the southern region of Greece. The name is derived from Greek Mythology, from the hero Pelops, meaning “The Islands of Pelops.” The Peloponnese is associated with lots of “firsts” including, the first Olympic games held in the region in 776BC.

This guide will show you have traverse and enjoy the sacred, untapped beauty of The Peloponnese.

Athens

When arriving in Greece, you will likely arrive in Athens. Make sure to spend a few days in this bustling city and stay in the amazing is King George Athens. This five-star hotel is in the heart of the city and you will enjoy stunning views of the Acropolis.

A Suite View in King George Athens

 

After your time in Athens, spend at least a week exploring The Peloponnese.

 

There are several ways to get here from Athens. However, renting a car is highly recommended. Not only does a rental give you a bit of flexibility; you will have the opportunity to truly enjoy the small, quaint towns, the beautiful sunsets, and stop for spontaneous photos.
If more on a budget, you can go by bus. Take a bus to Terminal A/Stathmos Kiffisos, the primary bus terminal in Athens.  From here, take another bus directly to Nafplio.
Lastly, there is an option to hire a private taxi. Note this is the most expensive option, where one-way from Athens is approximately 150 Euros.

Nafplio

From Athens, your first stop should be Nafplio.

Nafplio is a seaport town in the Peloponnese that has expanded up the hillsides near the north end of the Argolida Gulf. It was an important seaport held at the succession of royal houses in the middle ages as part of the lordship of Argos and Nauplic.

Sunset in Nafplios

What To Enjoy In Nafplio :

Go wine tasting at Skouras.

No matter if you’re a novice or a sommelier, have a tour and tasting at Skouras.

Founded in 1986, Domaine Skouras winery is an ultra-modern winemaking facility. Domaine Skouras offers guided tours and tasting of their wines to their visitors.  Make sure to try one of the most elegant Moscofilero in the world; the Skouras ‘Salto’ 2011.

One of Skouras most popular varieties Moscofilero.

Visit the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus:

Said to be named after the hero, Epidaurus, son of Apollo, the Epidaurus theatre is one of the most important archeological findings in Greece. It is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved amphitheaters from Ancient Greece.

Located on the Argolid plain of east Peloponnese, the Epidaurus is a fantastic relic of architectural excellence. Still in use today, it is prevalent for its acoustics. During the summer, you can catch many plays and concerts. Some have even testified that one can hear coin drops in the middle of the theatre from 40 rows up high!

Explore the Archaeological Site of Mycenae:

Mycenae will take you back centuries. The Mycenae has a lot of essential features from The Lion Gate, The Palace, majestic cyclops walls to the tombs of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus but one of the most striking and significant features is the Grave Circle A.

Where to Enjoy Authentic Greek Cuisine

The Sofos Georgios restaurant, located in Nemea, offers delicious Greek cuisine and a fantastic wine menu.

Monemvasia

Monemvasia is a beautiful medieval town featuring architectural excellence and is an excellent autumn getaway spot. It will easily become one of  your favorite Greek towns in The Peloponnese.

What To See

If you’re leaving Nafplio and headed to Monemvasia, you must have a stop along the route to take stunning photos from the mountainous and seaside views!

Incredible Views

 

Visit Mystras Monastery: Founded in 1249, the Byzantine Castle of Mystras is an old town that is surrounded by walls and has a transcendent palace on top of the hill.  Even under the bright sun, the ruins of the Byzantine sun emits a mystical vibe that other places can only achieve under the sunlight.

A Glimpse Inside Byzantine Castle of Mystras

One could never go to Greece and not visit a beach. In Monemvasia, get in a bit of sunbathing and a cocktail at Ampelakia Beach.

The Castle of Monemvasia: Also known as The Castle of The Violet, this has to be the place where time has completely stopped. The castle sits on a steep rocky islet with breathtaking views of the sea. Every step taken once you pass the ‘sole’ gateway, which is also the main entrance to the castle, comes with a feel of time travel as you bask in the aura, majesty, and charms of its medieval history.

Where to Stay

 Kinsterna Hotel:

The only place that you must stay is the Kinsterna Hotel. Named the ‘Most Popular Mansion’ by the “Reader’s Choice Awards”, 2010 of Conde Nast Traveler, the Kinsterna Hotel is set within a restored Byzantine mansion with suites and rooms furnished to reflect the building’s history.

The hotel is close to the Castle of Monemvasia and the famous beach of Simos at Elafonisos.

The hotel’s food selection and service are superior, as most of the food is grown and cultivated on the same acreage.

Sunset Views From Kinsterna Hotel
Related: Hotel Elysée

Oitilon

Another town in the Peloponnese is Oitilon. Have a stop through this quaint area for a step back in time!

Things To Do:

Visit the ancient city of Sparta: If you know anything about Greek mythology, then undoubtedly, you have heard of Sparta. While there is not much to see here (remember Sparta was destroyed), make sure you make your way through the area. You can, however, stop at the Archaeological Museum of Sparta to view some of the artifacts that were discovered in the area.

Diros Cave: The Glyfada cave, also known as the Vlychada cave is located just south of Aeropolis at Diros Bay. Diros cave is considered one of the best of the three most beautiful sea caves in the world! This is because of its colorful mineral decor of column-shaped stalactites and stalagmites.

A guided tour into the Vlychada cave takes place by boat. It is incredible and one thing that must not be missed while in The Peloponnese.

Where to Eat

Ktima Skreka Traditional Restaurant: This quaint and cozy traditional Greek restaurant is located in Mystras. This hidden beauty will easily be one of your favorite restaurants in all of Greece. It is surrounded by an beautiful environment dotted with olive trees!  The food is delicious and the the views are stunning!

Kalamata

This city is popularly known for being the central port city for Greek olives and olive oil. It worth it to stay a few days in Kalamata. Very much a popular destination for those on holiday, it offers stunning beaches, a lively nightlife, and great shopping to end of your trip in the Peloponnese.

Things To Do:

Take a drive to the village Kastraki: Kastraki (meaning small castle) is a small village located in the western part of Meteora, Greece. The town is theatrically built among high rocks and is a great place for climbers to enjoy the beautiful scenery that very high rocks create.

See the Archaeological Site of Ancient Messene: Noted as one of Greece’s most impressive archeological sites, you must take a step back in time to Ancient Messini. One of the best preserved ancient sites in the world, you will have the opportunity to explore barely disturbed antiquity.

Note: Go early in the morning to avoid crowds in the scorching heat (if you’re there in the summer).

Related: 4 Off-the-Grid Places to Consider

Where to Eat:

Ithomi: A fantastic cafe-restaurant built at the foot of mountain Ithomi. It is opposite the historic gurgling waters of fountain Klepsydras’kai, and the old stone wall surfaces of the patio and old utensils in the interior space give it a special medieval touch. Not only does Ithomi offer a spectacular view, but the food is also equally as amazing.

Where to Stay:

Elite City Resort: This is a beautiful hotel located in one of the most beautiful cities in Peloponnese, Kalamata. Overlooking the fantastic Messinian Bay, the Elite City Resort boasts of luxury and modern architecture, facility and decor to ensure your visit is pleasurable.

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