Region E

Peloponnese, Zakynthos and Kefalonia

Corinth and the Isthmus

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The road Palia Epidavros back to Corinth is one of the most beautiful cornices in Greece. Cut out of the mountainside, it passes through thick pine forests high above the Saronic Gulf; there are so many spectacular views it;s hard to keep your eyes on the road.

On our way we encounter another Epidavros, Nea (New) Epidavros, where the first National Assembly met in 1821, and beyond that the Monastery of the Virgin of Agnounda. Now we're entering the prefecture of Corinthia, and as we reach the seaside we're tempted by the beaches at Almyri and Loutra Oraias Elenis. The Istmus and Corinth are close at hand and we'll take some time off to visit the site of ancient Corinth, whose population were more famous for their business skills than for their philosophical or military expertise.


The Argolid - its ancient sites and contemporary attractions

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On the way north from Sparta, instead of talking the direct route to Tripolis, we'll turn east for Yeraki, a mini - Mystra, with its own beautifully restored Byzantine churches, crenulated walls and medieval castle. Then taking the road (not all of it paved) that winds over Mt. Patnon, we descend to Leonidion, hemmed in between its stunning red cliffs and the sea, and then wend our way up the dramatic west coast of the huge Gulf of Argos as far as Astros. All the way the beaches are stupendous, though nay all are easy to reach. Astros itself is a picturesque town, and Paralio Astros and Agios Andreas nearby are becoming popular resort areas. Continuing up the coast we meet the road which leads to Argos.

Now we're in the Argolid, one of the most important centres of Greece from the Mycenean era on. Now it's one of the areas most visited by and developed for tourists. The first site along the main road is also the oldest: Lerna, near Myli, conjuring up legends of Herakles and the Hydra. The House of the Tiles there is the largest Early Helladic building yet found. (At Myli the road forks and follows the shore to Nafplion). But we'll proceed to Argos to visit the archaeological sites in the area first. You may wish to rush past Argos's ancient agora, sanctuary of Aphrodite, and theatre, one of the three largest in Greece, but don't fail to visit the museum.


Mani, Monemvasia and Mystra

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As we leave Kalamata and skirt the east coast of the bay of Messinia, we pass the beaches near the city and then go through an idyllic lush landscape. But as we penetrate further into the Mani, the surroundings become drier, harsher and wilder; prickly pears and tumbled rocks replace citrus groves and fertile valleys. With the forbidding peaks of Taygetus at our back, we're about to get to know a more austere beauty.

Still by sea, we spy delightful little coves and beaches - serene parentheses among the sea - blasted boulders. Before long we come to Kardamyli, a picturesque village growing ever more popular with tourists. Nearby we catch  our first glimpse of the Mani's famous towers, plus the remains of a castle, some ancient walls and the Tomb of the Dioscuri before pressing southward.


The beaches and castles Messinia

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We're now travelling through Messinia, and it seems as though those extraordinary beaches will go on for ever. Elaia, Ayiannakis, Kalo Nero point the way to recreation possibilities on the southern shores of the big gulf of Kyparissia.

A bit beyond Kalo Nero, the road divides. If you turn left, you'll have the chance to explore the interior of the district of Messinia and in another 35km take the fork that leads east to Megolopolis and Tripolis or south to Kalamata. If you decide to take the latter route, be sure to turn at Mavrommati and take a look at the fascinating ruins of ancient Messinia with their formidable 4th century fortification walls.

But we'll stick to the shore. Our next stop is Kyparissia, and we'll go straight to the harbour to see the remains of the harbour works left from antiquity. Then we'll wander up to the High City (Ano Polis) and its picturesque old houses. The town is watched over by a Franko - Byzantine castle built on top of the ancient acropolis.


A trip round Peloponnese seeing scenic and historic spots

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Stunning scenery at every turn, whether you happen to be along its incredibly varied coastline or in the mountains at its heart. Eons of history imprinted on its soil, monuments to past civilizations springing up at every step. The Peloponnese is an endless source of interest for the visitor. 

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