Step into a world of wonder and experience the myths and legends of ancient Greece like never before! With Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat as your basecamp, explore the prefecture of the Argolis—a region steeped in larger-than-life characters and mythical stories from ancient times.
Read on as we take you on a journey through seven unforgettable day-trips in the area, where you will explore ancient cities, unique landmarks, traditional villages, and ever-changing scenery. To jump directly to a specific day-tour, use the short links below.
Everyone has heard of some of the ancient Greek playwrights, like Aristophanes and Sophocles, but did you know that you can still see some of their works performed in actual open-air theaters dating back to the 4th century BC? In Epidaurus, you can visit two of these remarkable venues: The larger Ancient Theater of Epidaurus which holds up to 14,000 spectators, and the smaller Little Theater of Ancient Epidaurus with its capacity of 2,000.
Imagine taking your seat to watch a modern-day version of plays that have been performed throughout the world for over two thousand years in the place where they were originally presented! Not only that, but each play will give you an insight into what life may have been like all those years ago, and how little has changed in some ways. The legendary acoustics at Ancient Epidaurus are a result of its perfect geometrical design—you can really hear the proverbial pin drop there. This is where great works by Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles and Aristophanes can still be seen today.
Life was either a comedy or a tragedy according to these ancient Greek playwrights and fantastic plots, extravagant costumes and lewdness were all part of the fun in the former. Criticism of the politicians and those in power was normal and that concept of satire is still a very popular comedic expression today. Tragedies were inspired by stories from mythology and dealt with serious issues, moral dilemmas and human nature. Who hasn't heard of or been touched by fictional characters of the era like the ill-fated Oedipus, the doomed Antigone or the betrayed Medea?
Since 1955, the Epidaurus Festival has been treating audiences to well-known theatrical performances during the summer months and many international stars have taken part in the productions, including Maria Callas and Kevin Spacey.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Epidaurus is also the place where Asclepius, the father of healing and wellbeing, was worshipped. Said to have possessed divine powers, which he inherited from his father Apollo, his sanctuary was once the most important healing center of the ancient world.
Laid-back vibes, gorgeous beaches, picturesque country lanes and sweeping Aegean Sea vistas framed by aromatic pines—the Peloponnese region is rich in seaside gems and idyllic isles. Immerse yourself in rustic beauty by visiting the off-the-beaten-track destinations Poros and Galatas.
Begin your journey at Galatas, in the Troizinia-Methana municipality and just an hour's drive from Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat. This coastal town provides a nostalgic glimpse of the Greece which many have forgotten, with its authentic cafes, bakeries and tavernas open year-round. It is most well-known for the nearby Lemon Forest, unique in the entire country. A refreshing walk through its shady groves reveals old watermills and a waterfall, which lend it its ethereal character. Driving east leads to a handful of sandy beaches, the most popular being Aliki, with shallow, calm waters and a water-sport center nearby. It's easy to while the day away waterskiing, but the Galatas waterfront is inviting as well. Spend the afternoon here to watch the lights of Poros, the welcoming neighboring island, come alive as evening falls.
Reach this scenic destination by taxi boat, which runs every ten minutes or so all hours of the day. There is always something going on in Poros Town, its bustling center of activity. Pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum to peruse relics from the entire Peloponnese area, as well as the nearby Temple of Poseidon. The remnants of this Grecian place of worship can be found in the center of the island, surrounded by olive trees and covered in flowers during spring. For a bit of exercise, climb to the Clock Tower, a defining landmark which was built in 1927 and attracts photographers year-round for its enchanting Aegean Sea views.
If you're craving a refreshing dip, you're in luck: The beaches here are magnificent. Love Bay is covered in soft sand and tiny pebbles, with its calm waters sparkling in a stunning emerald green. For fans of beach volleyball, Askeli Beach is organized with a beach bar, umbrellas and lounge chairs, as well as a court with a net for hours of fun in the sun. Vayiona Beach is more secluded, with intriguing underwater ruins of an ancient city just a few meters from the shore.
Apart from the aforementioned gems of the region, the beautiful shoreline of the Argolis is not to be missed. Head towards the coast and enjoy clear blue waters and magnificent beaches that offer something for every interest.
Beaches south of Nafplio
Closest to Nafplio, you will find Arvanitia, a pebbled beach in the southern part of the town. Aside from its sheltered aspect, you will enjoy the magnificent views of the Palamidi Fortress and Nafplio's oldest castle, Acronafplia. One of the most popular beaches in the region is Karathona, which you can reach by taking a pleasant stroll from Arvanitia. This sandy spot has a number of irresistible aspects, including the exotic feel of the groves of palm trees and the wonderful scents of eucalyptus and olive trees. Next on the coastline is a favorite among visitors and locals. The well-organized, sandy beach at Tolo owes its popularity to its crystalline waters. Take full advantage with a morning visit and you'll see the reflection of the sun's rays transform the bay. For those curious about what is beneath the surface, try snorkeling or diving to catch a glimpse of the fish at Kastraki. One of the best ways to explore the unique richness of the region is to combine a trip to Ancient Asini with an exploration of the rich underwater flora found in the deeper waters that can be accessed from the quiet beach.
Further south, you will encounter a succession of pretty beaches with calm seas including Plaka Drepano, named after the large pieces of plaque found in some parts of the seabed. Neighboring Drepano is the pebble beach of Vivari, where you'll be enchanted by the series of coves, whose waters are known for their intriguing mix of blues and greens. The majority of those stunning beaches are in walking distance of local taverns, so as the day draws to a close, be sure to sample the excellent fresh fish and appreciate the breathtaking colors of the setting sun. For stunning scenery in a peaceful spot, you can head to two of the larger beaches in the area: At Kondyli beach, include a visit to the picturesque church of St. Nikolaos or seek pleasure in the castle and seafood taverns near Kantia beach.
Beaches west of Nafplio
Traveling west from Nafplio, you are certain to encounter the inimitable charm of the region in quaint ports, villages and harbors. Near the village of Argolida, Nea Kios beach is popular with surfers and those who seek out the shallows for the therapeutic properties of the mud and algae. Satisfy your culture craving and travel back in time in Lerna, where you can mix a visit to The House of Tiles, a terracotta palace from around 2,500 BC, with a relaxing afternoon at the lovely pebble beach and harbor at Myloi. Alternatively, find out what the region's east coast has to offer by combining a visit to the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, with a trip to the beach at Paralia Neas Epidavrou for spectacular views and the tranquil sea.
The region of the Peloponnese is steeped in vibrant history, much of which is centered around the ancient city of Corinth, where the ancient Greek city-state dating back to the 8th century BC can still be found. Back then it was a superpower, and today it is a coastal gem which sparks awe and delight in its beholders. Less than an hour's drive west from Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat and near the spectacular Corinth Canal, this reminder of antiquity in the West Peloponnese region is absolutely worth a day-trip.
The ruins of Corinth surround the Temple of Apollo, which was once one of the largest temples in Greece's mainland and received visitors from far and wide. This imposing structure signified the growth and prosperity of the city. Some artefacts found there are over 6,500 years old, so this is one of the most ancient settlements in the entire world. Always drawing the attention of its era's most prominent civilizations, it was even taken over by Julius Caesar in 44 BC, and his influence shines through in its Roman architecture. The city was also blessed by a visit from Paul the Apostle in 51 AD.
Overlooking these ruins is Acrocorinth, the acropolis of Ancient Corinth, a structural smorgasbord of various time periods of Corinth's history. It is surrounded by reinforced walls to this day, built thousands of years ago to keep attacks from pirates and unfriendly neighbors at bay. Many civilizations of old have conquered and been conquered here: Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, Ottomans and more have left their mark on this fortress. Before you walk to the top, make sure to pay a visit to the ruins of the ancient Corinthian Agora and the Theater of Corinth, built by the Romans, where various tragedies and plays were reenacted hundreds of years ago.
Learn more about every phase of Corinth's history by participating in a guided tour of the area, during which talented historians can share in-depth knowledge on the adventures that took place there.
Clustered amphitheatrically against the hillside of Mount Taygetos in Laconia, the castlestate of Mystras took center stage in Greece during the Middle Ages, passing through the hands of multiple empires and becoming a meeting point for great minds of the era. Take a stroll on its cobbled paths to observe striking Byzantine architecture and an unrivalled collection of churches hand-painted with dramatic frescoes. Just under two hours away from Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat is a precious bit of Peloponnesian history that you simply shouldn't miss.
Upon your arrival through the Upper Entrance, following the path to your right labeled with Castle signs will lead to an imposing stone fortress which has passed through the hands of the Franks and the Ottomans, and provides a vantage point for jaw-dropping views of the Laconian plain. Though an amazing example of architecture, this is only one of the many buildings which have granted Mystras its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A short walk downhill will lead to Agia Sofia. Enter for a glimpse of the Birth of the Virgin Mary painted over the doorway, which has inspired piousness in royalty. This is the main palace church, after all, which was visited by great leaders of the past, and its verdant gardens are said to be the place where emperors' wives were laid to rest.
To explore the second most important center of the Byzantine world, take in the Palace of Despots. This was where visionaries converged during the Middle Ages. Notable among them was Georgios Gemistos Plethon, a philosopher who brought previously undiscovered works of Plato to light. When threats of Ottoman occupation began to rise, most artists fled the palace in Mystras for Italy, in order to partake in the creative rebirth of the Renaissance.
If you wish to view the only part of Mystras that has been kept alive to this day, pay a visit to the Convent of Pantanassa. Though it was built during the 14th century, it is remarkably maintained by the nuns who inhabit it, all the more for visitors to revel in the aesthetic soundness of its original architecture. Its beauty is breathtaking, yet not overpowering, existing in harmony with its natural surroundings.
Following the cobblestoned path will lead to a pine grove, awash with refreshing, cool shade. Tucked within and built onto a rock is the marble-floored Monastery of Peribleptos, with frescoes that have stood the test of time, filling their beholders with awe to this day. Nothing could quite compare to a visit to Mystras—every visitor to the Peloponnese should experience this best-preserved reminder of the Byzantine Empire.
If you want to discover more about the area of the Argolis including some of its other towns on a single day, then this XXL road trip may just be the answer! Your journey will lead you to ancient cities, unique landmarks, traditional villages and ever-changing scenery.
The first stop is Tiryns. Explore the majestic Citadel of Tiryns and walk through its ruined alleyways, with stone walls that were once 10 meters thick made of boulders weighing up to 13 tons. Said to have been built by the mighty Cyclops himself, this is the place where Heracles set off on his twelve labors.
Continue further north to the ancient city of Mycenae. This mythical town of the Atrides was founded by Perseus and later ruled by King Atreus and then Agamemnon, who set sail with his brother Menelaus and 1,000 ships to bring back the beautiful Helen of Troy alongside Achilles and Odysseus. Discover the unique Lions Gate, the cemetery of the Mycenaean period with the royal burial monuments, the Cyclopean walls and countless finds that will take you back thousands of years to the golden age of Mycenae.
Next up is Corinth. Drive over the spectacular Corinth Canal, which separates the Peloponnese from the mainland, and hug the coastline southwards, passing natural springs, secluded little beaches and tiny hamlets. Stop at Epidaurus, with its Ancient Theater, and the archaeological remains of Asclepion, birthplace of modern medicine.
Head south to reach the graphic port of Ermioni, a popular celebrity getaway destination, and follow the sandy beaches of the sea road until you reach Porto Heli, an unassuming little coastal town known for its exclusive mansions hidden amongst thick pine forests. If you have time, park at the tiny harbor of Kosta and hop on one of the busy water taxis that carry visitors back and forth to the cosmopolitan island of Spetses just opposite.
Back on the road, drive north, cutting through the mainland via the picturesque terracotta-tiled town of Kranidi. Take the opportunity to visit the incredible twin caves of Didyma, both of which house little Byzantine chapels within. From there, follow the road that leads to the bay of Tolo, a popular tourist town, and then on to Asine, the ancient city of Argolis mentioned by Homer himself in the Iliad. The romantic, historical town of Nafplio is only a few kilometers away and by the time you return to Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat, you will have collected a treasure trove of memories!
Teeming with character and quaint tradition, the villages of Argolis never fail to fascinate and charm their visitors. It's easy to while the day away touring these picturesque communities, as they each have a distinctive way of life, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. Expand your cultural horizons by discovering the many wonderful destinations near Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat.
Driving west for a little under half an hour will lead to Kefalari, a village of great historic significance. Follow the emerald-green Erasinus River which flows leisurely through this small town of 600 residents up to its springs at the foot of Mount Chaon. Within a cave right above is Panagia Kefalariotissa, a very impressive church which was built during the 17th century and is still open to visitors. To learn more about its past, visit the Folk Art Museum in Kefalari before continuing your journey to the enigmatic Pyramid of the Hellinikon, only 2 kilometers away. Historians have yet to decipher the use of this prehistoric landmark, which is one of Greece's intriguing archaeological mysteries and dates back to around 2000 BC.
Nestled at the foot of Mount Artemision, Karya is the perfect immersion into a life of pure simplicity, and its 50-minute distance from Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat makes it a must-see. Locals mostly work in agriculture, especially the production of wine and olive oil by using authentic means, so this is the perfect place to gain first-hand knowledge about practices which have stood the test of time.
If you are seeking a break by the sea, drive down to Vivari, a captivating fishing village 15 minutes from the hotel. Take in the hand-painted wooden fishing boats which are moored in Vivari Bay, a natural harbor protected from the wind with crystal-clear waters that are calm year-round, and enjoy a refreshing swim at the gorgeous Plaka Beach nearby.
With a landscape dotted with olive and orange groves, as well as archaeological sites that tell of brave heroes, powerful kings, miraculous demigods, and magical stories, a trip to the Argolis region is an absolute must for any traveler seeking to immerse themselves in history and myth.
The name Argolida itself has legendary origins, harkening back to the ancient city of Argos, established by the son of a river god. It was from Argos that Homer tells of men going off to fight in the Trojan War.
With its rich heritage and awe-inspiring natural wonders, this corner of Greece is sure to leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul. From the ancient marvels of Epidaurus to the breathtaking beauty of Poros and Galatas, there's something for everyone in this incredible corner of the world.
And if you're planning a stay at Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat, we're here to help make your trip truly unforgettable. Our knowledgeable staff is always on hand to offer advice and recommendations, ensuring that you get the most out of your visit to this stunning region.
Start planning your trip today and get ready to discover the magic of Argolis. With Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat as your base, you're sure to have an experience that you'll never forget.