Top Archaeological Sites in the Peloponnese

The top archaeological sites in the Peloponnese in Greece include Epidavros, Olympia, Mycenae, Mystras, Tiryns, and Argos.


The Peloponnese has some of the best archaeological sites in Greece, so many that you would need to spend a few weeks there in order to visit them all. Mystras alone could easily take up a day of your time, so sprawling is the site and with a lot of climbing up and down.

These are the top archaeological sites in the Peloponnese, in alphabetical order. 


Argos’s claim to fame is that it is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the whole of Europe, and one of the oldest in the world. It has a lovely setting at the foot of Mount Chaon, and although it’s not really a major name on the tourist trail it has plenty to see and reward a day or two’s visit. 

There is no one single archaeological site, but the various archaeological remains are spread throughout the modern city. This makes it unusual, seeing the different layers of life in the same place. Most archaeological sites in Greece are slightly away from the modern cities which grew up nearby. 

Argos has some Roman baths, and a theater that is actually bigger than the more famous one at Epidavros, which is about a 40-minute drive to the east. There’s also an acropolis, an ancient agora, and the very unusual Pyramid of Hellinikon. There are several of these in Greece, and although no-one knows for sure what they were used for, it’s thought they may have been inspired by the pyramids in Egypt.


Bassae is a remote site, set up high, just south of the lovely mountain village of Andritsaina, Andritsaina is well worth a stop, either for lunch or overnight, to get to Bassae early in the morning. The site is remarkable for the stunning 5th-century Temple of Apollo Epicurius (‘Apollo the helper’), which is so precious it has to be covered with a protective tent.

In 1986 Bassae was the first archaeological site in Greece to be placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It was noted for the Bassae Frieze, which is now on display in the British Museum in London, and its remote location means that it has been spared the damage and destruction received by other monuments in major towns and cities.


There are actually two archaeological sites to see at Corinth. If you’re visiting the Peloponnese from Athens, Ancient Corinth might well be your first stop, once you’re over the Corinth Canal, and it has various parts to it which are in and around the modern town. These include a Roman amphitheatre and a cemetery, and it’s worth visiting the archaeological museum as at one time Ancient Corinth was one of the most important cities in Greece, with an estimated population of about 90,000 in 400 BC.

Ancient Corinth with Acrocorinth in the Background, two of the top archaeological sites in the Peloponnese of GreeceAncient Corinth with Acrocorinth in the Background

A 5-minute drive away in a spectacular hilltop location overlooking the modern town is the site of Acrocorinth (‘Upper Corinth’). This sprawls across the hilltop and with its own water supply this was an impressive fortress until the 19th century, though no-one knows for certain when it was founded. It goes back to Mycenean times at least.


Ancient Epidavros (or Epidaurus) is definitely a must-see archaeological site in the Peloponnese. It’s most famous for its remarkable theatre, which was built in the 4th century BC and the 14,000-seater is still in use today for the annual Athens and Epidavros Festival. However, there is much more to the site than this. It was used as a healing centre, as the whole site was dedicated to Asclepius, the God of Medicine.

The Ancient Theatre at Epidavros in the Peloponnese in GreeceThe Ancient Theatre at Epidavros

The Sanctuary of Asclepius was founded in the 6th century BC and had many shrines and several hospitals. It’s about a 30-minute drive east of Nafplion, which makes a good base for seeing several of the top archaeological sites in the Peloponnese, including Argos, Mycenae and Tiryns, as well as Epidavros. See our Epidavros page for more details.


A 15-minute drive from Corinth, modern Isthmia straddles the Corinth Canal but archaeological remains including the Temple of Poseidon are in the Peloponnese on the western side of the canal. The temple, also known as the Temple of Isthmia, is thought to date from about the 7th century BC. Isthmia also has a bath house with well-preserved mosaic floors, and was the site of the Isthmian Games, and you can see the remains of several stadiums.


Ancient Messene, to give it its full name, is a 40-minute drive north of Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese. The site was only excavated in the 1980s and it is one of the most comprehensive archaeological sites in the Peloponnese, if not the whole of Greece. Here you can see temples, a stadium, a gymnasium, and a theatre that held 10,000 people, amongst other remains.


Mycenae is about a 30-minute drive north of Nafplion, and is probably the top archaeological site in the Peloponnese. It was so important that it gave its name to a whole period of Greek history. There’s evidence that this particular site was first occupied as early as 5000 BC, but by the 2nd millennium BC it was known as the City of Golf and housed the royal palace of the Trojan War hero, King Agamemnon.

The Lion Gate entrance to the Peloponnese archaeological site of MycenaeThe Lion Gate Entrance to Mycenae

Much of the site was excavated by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, and though he made some mistakes in his over-enthusiasm for what he was finding, we owe him a debt of gratitude for what he uncovered. See our separate Mycenae page for more details.


The view from the top Peloponnese archaeological site of Mystras in GreeceThe View from Mystras

Mystras is one of the most remarkable places in Greece. It isn’t a conventional archaeological site but the remains of an entire town built on a hill, and which was inhabited till the 1830s. It is another of the must-see sites in the Peloponnese. A few nuns still live in one of the town’s convents, and in addition you can see churches, the remains of palaces, and the remains of the huge hilltop fortress. See more on our Mystras page.


The Modern-Day Nemean Games in the Peloponnese in GreeceThe Modern-Day Nemean Games

The site of Ancient Nemea is about a 30-minute drive southwest from Corinth, a 20-minute drive north of Mycenae, and just to the east of the modern town of Nemea. It makes this northeast corner of the Peloponnese rich in archaeological sites, with Tiryns, Argos and Epidavros all being fairly close by. The area around here has been inhabited since at least 6,000 BC, and by 573 BC this was the site of the Nemean Games. These were held every two years until 271 BC, after which they were moved to Argos, 25 km (16 miles) due south.


Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese in GreeceAncient Olympia in the Peloponnese in Greece

The archaeological site of Ancient Olympia, original home of the Olympic Games, is something not to be missed when visiting the Peloponnese. The games were first held here in 776 BC and continued to run every four years for over 1,000 years. It’s quite a thrill to walk out onto the original running track, and you can also see the archaeological equivalent of the Olympic Village. The nearby modern town of Olympia also has an archaeological museum and a museum devoted to the Olympic Games. See our page on Ancient Olympia for more information.


Few places see their names enter the language, but the former city-state of Sparta is where we get the word ‘spartan’ from. They were a formidable military power, mainly responsible for Greece’s victory in the Greco-Persian Wars, and even defeated their rivals Athens in the Peloponnesian Wars. The site is just to the north of the modern city limits, with the ruins of a theatre, a temple, and other remains. There's more information on our Sparta page.


A 5-minute drive north from Nafplion, going towards Mycenae, brings you to another Peloponnese archaeological site worth seeing. Tiryns was a hilltop fortress and has been inhabited for several thousand years before becoming a significant Mycenean city, to rival Mycenae itself. Today's ruins can’t rival those at Mycenae, which is a 20-minute drive north, but they’re still worth seeing and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

Click on the map to see an interactive Google Map in a new window.

Other Peloponnese pages

  • Mystras

    The ruined Byzantine city of Mystras sits on the top and the slopes of a hill that juts out from the plain and is one of the most remarkable places in Greece.

  • Peloponnese: Travel Information about the Peloponnese in Greece

    The Peloponnese in Greece has such sights as Olympia, Mycenae, the Mani, Nafplion, Corinth and Epidavros.

  • Sparta

    Sparta (or Sparti) in the Peloponnese of Greece was one of the most important city-states of ancient Greece and has significant archaeological remains.

  • The Mani

    The Mani in the south of the Peloponnese is the most southerly part of the Greek mainland and famous for its rugged landscape, feuds, and tower houses.

  • 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.

  • The Nemean Games

    The Nemean Games, like the Olympic Games, take place every four years but, unlike the Olympics, anyone can apply to take part and run in the original stadium.

  • Patras

    Patras, or Patra, in the Peloponnese is Greece's third-largest city, home to Greece's largest Carnival, with many Roman and Greek remains, museums and churches.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Monemvasia Book Review

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

  • Kalamata

    Kalamata in the Peloponnese is the area's second-biggest city and is world-famous for the quality of its olives and for the nearby site of Ancient Messene.

  • 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.

  • Corinth

    Corinth has four aspects to it, which are the Corinth canal, the modern town of Corinth, nearby Ancient Corinth, and above that Akrokorinthos or Upper Corinth.

  • Ancient Olympia

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

  • Bradt Guide to the Peloponnese

    The Bradt Guide to the Peloponnese is the best book on the Greek region which includes attractions like Mycenae, Epidavros, Olympia, Monemvasia and Nafplion.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Nobel Foundation Returns Mycenaean Gold Ring to Greece

    An ancient gold ring dating back to Mycenaean times was recently returned to Greece by Sweden’s Nobel Foundation, according to an announcement of the Greek Culture Ministry. The Mycenaean signet ring…

    Read More

  2. Greece’s Kastellorizo to Host 1st Rock Solid Trail Race in June

    Kastellorizo, one of Greece’s smallest islands located in the Dodecanese, is getting ready to host the 1st Rock Solid island trail race, scheduled to take place during June 11-12.

    Read More

  3. EU: Greece Among Winners of Natura 2000 Awards for Nature Protection

    Greece is among the six winners of the 2022 edition of the Natura 2000 Awards, an event that recognises conservation success stories across the EU and raises awareness on the Natura 2000 protected are…

    Read More

  4. Greece Takes First Step to Create Museum of Underwater Antiquities in Piraeus

    The Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) has handed over under a concession deal a 1934 silo on the port of Piraeus and the surrounding space to the Greek Culture Ministry so that it may be converted into a M…

    Read More

  5. Hydra Travel Writing Classic

    Peel Me a Lotus by Charmian Clift is a Hydra travel writing classic, describing her family’s life on this tiny Greek island near Athens in the 1950s.

    Read More

  6. The Churches of Thessaloniki

    The churches of Thessaloniki are remarkable and include UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, Byzantine masterpieces, and a church dating from the 5th century.

    Read More

  7. Blue Flag: Greece 2nd in the World for its Clean Beaches

    Greece’s beaches are among the world’s cleanest with the region of Halkidiki and the island of Rhodes in the lead this year, according to the 2022 Blue Flag quality award list for beaches, marinas and…

    Read More

  8. Lipsi Municipality Says No to Sunbeds on Island’s Beaches

    The Municipality of Lipsi is saying “no” to sunbeds on the island’s beaches and is encouraging travelers to enjoy eco-conscious summer holidays this year in order to live authentic experiences. “We ar…

    Read More

  9. Ioannina to Launch Food Council to Define its Gastronomic Identity

    The Municipality of Ioannina, the capital of the Region of Epirus, northwestern Greece, has launched action to associate the city’s gastronomy with the destination’s brand-name and identity. “Adding t…

    Read More

  10. Athens National Garden Refurbishment is Underway

    The Athens Municipality recently completed the first phase of a 4.2-million-euro refurbishment project aiming to upgrade the National Garden, one of the Greek capital’s landmark sites. The refurbished…

    Read More