The Peloponnese

The Peloponnese is that part of the mainland of Greece which helps give the country its distinctive shape. Its three southern peninsulas stick out like three fingers, as if warming themselves in the Mediterranean Sea. The Peloponnese is strictly speaking not even part of the mainland at all. Today it is severed from the rest of Greece by the Corinth Canal, and the road bridge at the top of the canal is the only thing that keeps the two parts connected.

Bourtzi Castle in NafplionBourtzi Castle in Nafplion

Even before the Corinth Canal was built the very name of the place shows that it was regarded as almost an island, as the name means the island of Pelops, Pelops being the grandson of Zeus. It contains some of the most famous archaeological sites in the country, such as Mycenae, Tiryns, the theatre at Epidavros, and ancient Olympia, the magnificent location of the original Olympic Games.

There are many other attractions too, some of them well-known and some of them not so well-known. It has one of the loveliest towns in the whole country, Nafplion, the former Greek capital.

The Mani region of GreeceThe Mani

The Peloponnese also has the rugged Mani peninsula, home once to bandits but now of beach resorts, and old tower houses restored as traditional-style hotels. 

Here too is Greece's third city, Patras, and Kalamata, whose tasty olives are exported all over the world. Here's ancient Pylos, and Sparta, Tiryns and Argos, mountain villages like Andritsaina, and the unique and lovely little town of Monemvasia, hiding away on its offshore rock: the Gibraltar of Greece. 

MonemvasiaMonemvasia

The Peloponnese has dramatic mountains, good areas for walking, little-known archaeological sites for visitors to find for themselves, some fabulous beaches – and even the entrance to Hades. It's got everything, one of the very special parts of Greece.

You might like these

  • Monemvasia Book Review

    Greece Travel Secrets reviews the photography book Monemvasia with extracts from works by Yiannis Ritsos and Nikos Kazantzakis.

  • Monemvasia

    Monemvasia in the Peloponnese is the Greek Rock of Gibraltar and is a huge offshore rock which conceals a tiny town connected to the mainland by a single road.

  • Ancient Olympia

    Travel guide to Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese of mainland Greece, home to the original Olympic Games.

  • Mycenae

    Mycenae in the Greek Peloponnese was a royal palace and is famous for the royal tombs, Lion Gate, and was excavated by archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann.

  • Nafplion

    Nafplion in the Peloponnese was the Greek capital before Athens and today is a charming waterfront town with good restaurants, museums, shopping, beaches, old fortresses and a delightful atmosphere.

  • Epidavros

    The ancient theatre at Epidavros is one of Greece's greatest attractions, ranking alongside the Acropolis and the Palace at Knossos in Crete, and it is easily the finest theatre in Greece.

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