Peloponnese Travel Guide: 25 Things to do
Start your journey in Greece from the Peloponnese peninsula. Rich natural beauty, mountains, rivers, caves, wonderful shores, and beaches — sandy and smooth on the west coast, more rocky and lacy in the east — make the Peloponnese a part of the Greek mainland ideal for holidays and fun, contact with history and culture. Moving counter-clockwise on the map, we will explore together all the amazing sights the Peloponnesian coast has to offer!
Where to Stay in the Peloponnese?
There are plenty of options to stay as you travel around this beautiful region but no trip is complete without a good rest and some Luxury getaway.
During our trip we stayed at a truly memorable 5 star property that we would highly recommend on your trip to the Peloponnese region.
The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino
The resort opened in 2010 and features two stunning properties, the Romanos and the Westin. We spent 3 days relaxing at The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino staying in a very beautiful room with its own plunge pool. The hotel style is inspired by local Messinian architecture, with low-level stone buildings spread out across the resort.
The resort offers a wide selection of restaurants, bars, outdoor pools, a health club, bowling alley, a spa and an incredible range of sporting facilities, including several golf courses and a diving center.
The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino is one of the most unique luxury hotels in Greece area and we look forward to visit again.
More Details and Booking
1. Visit the cosmopolitan seaside resort town of Loutraki and its famous Casino.
Loutraki is a one-hour drive from Greece’s Capital city, Athens, and the first worth-visiting city you’ll meet on your way to the Peloponnese peninsula. Loutraki literally translates as “little bath” and that’s because the municipality offers natural, therapeutic thermal springs. Because of its position near Athens, as well as its… casino, Loutraki became fast the all-time favorite destination of the Athenians and various celebrities. On the coast, you will find an abundance of modern and retro hotels, beach bars, and cafeterias, as well as traditional Greek taverns.
2. Swim in Trapeza (aka Punta), a beach with a blue flag, proof of the purity of the beach.
Trapeza is one of these beaches that the locals wish tourists will never discover. Also known as Punta, the beach wins every year the blue flag rightfully. Its crystal-clear waters and calm atmosphere attract many locals from nearby cities, who are looking for a cooldown or… excellent food! After diving and enjoying the sun and the sea, our suggestion is to head uphill, to the Trapeza village! There you can find various traditional taverns, offering local food and an unforgettable view of the Corinthian gulf.
3. Eat the freshest seafood in Psathopyrgos by the beach.
If you want to experience the Greek summer as it is portrayed in old, retro films, then Psathopyrgos is a village worth exploring. You can walk around the picturesque alleys, have a dive on the beach nearby, and eat directly there at various fish taverns. The village is the preferred Clean Monday destination of all locals nearby, as it is a tradition to eat seafood on this day. So if you want to avoid big crowds, try not to be there on this special day.
4. Walk or cross by car the famous Rio-Antirrio Bridge, one of the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges.
What do Vladivostok and Rio have in common, you asked? A cable-stayed bridge! You don’t have to be an engineer to appreciate the awe of such a structure (although, if you are, you will enjoy this stop a bit more than the rest of us). The bridge was ready in 2004 and has a historical significance, as it was used only one day after its opening, for the Olympic flame to be transported! Whether you walk across, drive with your car, or simply enjoy its magnificence from far away, Rio-Antirrio Bridge needs at least to make it to your photo album.
5. Reconnect with nature at the National Park of Kotychi and swim in the golden sandy beach nearby, Kalogria.
The world is changing, the planet is heating up, so maybe it’s worth paying a visit to a National park with a huge biodiversity. There is a number of activities someone could find themselves doing in the park, such as hiking, cycling, bird watching, photographing, or, of course, swimming. Sandy beaches with virgin beauty can be found nearby and a day of snorkeling, tanning, or just diving, is something you must add to your schedule.
6. Visit the Archaeological Site of Olympia, the place where the Olympic Games were originally hosted.
Despite its isolated location near the west coast of the Peloponnese, Olympia was chosen by the Ancient Greeks to be the most important athletic center. The Olympics were born there and took place every four years in honor of Zeus. The Olympic Games are an institution with international radiance and brilliance from ancient times till today. Whether you are a sports fan or not, this is a must-see location, that you can’t simply ignore.
7. Bathe in the thermal springs of Kaiafas and feel alive again.
In the forest, by the lake, near a stunning sandy beach. This is a place that combines the forest and the beach, the green and the blue but also the shade of the trees with the stunning golden sand and of course, the thermal springs. The water gushes from the ground, in some places hot and some others cold, and mixes. It is a suitable place for people who are suffering from musculoskeletal conditions or simply those who crave relaxation and peace of mind.
8. Pitch a tent and camp like a hippie in Elia beach, known as the best free camping spot in Greece.
Elia is a vast golden sandy beach in Ileia. With its crystal clear waters and wonderful nature, as well as a pristine and impressive pine forest surrounding it, it can mesmerize even the most experienced traveler. Neda river flows there, while in the forest you can even find springs. It is very popular with those who love free camping and secluded beaches. Apart from a beautiful beach, Elia also hosts loggerhead turtles that come to its hospitable places to lay their eggs. Even if camping is not your cup of tea, a night spend in such a naturally beautiful place will be an unforgettable experience.
9. Confuse your friends with a picture of an Eiffel Tower replica in Filiatra.
The original one may be in France, but you do not have to go all the way to Paris to admire it. A walk around Messinia is enough to get the first idea. Specifically, in Filiatra, west of Messinia, there is the Eiffel Tower made-in-Greece, which is essentially a copy of the famous tower located in Paris. Although in March 2012 the mayor of Paris made a report to UNESCO on the Eiffel Tower in Filiatra, calling for the “immediate removal of the Eiffel Tower, which is a caricature of shameful form and the highest aesthetic insult to French culture and world culture”, the answer of the representative of the Greek Embassy in Paris at that time was simple, saying that “this is the personal opinion of the mayor of Paris and has no legal significance and substance”. You can decide for yourself if it’s a good enough copy, or you can ask your friends on… Instagram!
10. Walk around Pylos, like Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy did, in Before Midnight.
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy starred in “Before Midnight”, the last part of Richard Linklate’s trilogy. The shooting of the film took place in a beautiful Greek town, Pylos, and the cinematic lens “captures” the beauties of the area and transports them all over the world. So grab a popcorn bowl and watch the film if you feel like it. And if not, well, be the star! Grab your camera and walk around the movie set!
11. Experience Game of Thrones vibes in Methoni and Koroni, Messinia’s Charming Castle Towns.
Enough with the movies, let’s move on to… series? Just kidding. About 50 minutes from the city of Kalamata, the towns of Methoni and Koroni are found, one being half an hour away from the other. While they look so much alike and have parallel stories, each has its own unique beauty. Starting from Koroni, the first thing one sees is the castle, standing solidly through the centuries. Specifically, the Venetian castle of Koroni was built in the 13th century, on a former Byzantine fortress. You may struggle to reach it, but the unique view (let alone the sunset) will make up for your troubles. In Methoni, the show is stolen by the imposing Venetian castle of 93 acres. A rocky sea tower, that gathers visitors from all over the world!
12. Become a local in Kalamata, the second-largest city in the Peloponnese.
A lively city, with its greatest asset the privileged position on the big beach, is located in the innards of the Messinian Gulf. Kalamata stands out for its natural beauty. Its 5 km beach with turquoise waters invites the visitor to its embrace. The Messinian capital offers a variety of entertainment options for all tastes. Worth mentioning is the Dance Festival of Kalamata, which was founded in 1995 with the aim of promoting the art of dance. Kalamata, however, is particularly known for its vivid nightlife.
13. Lunch or dine in a traditional fishing village, Kardamyli.
Marcel Proust used to say that the only true paradises are the ones that have been lost, but he probably said that because he had not passed through Kardamyli. The architecture of the buildings in Kardamyli comes mainly from the end of the 19th century, but the designs remain faithful to the traditional forms. There you will see old houses and tower houses, picturesque alleys and beautiful corners. The village began to prosper about a hundred years ago, relying on the local olive oil production, an old soap factory, and the intense mobility of the small port.
14. Retire in the sun in Stoupa and its golden beaches.
Stoupa is a beautiful seaside village, combining mountain and sea, built under the shadow of Taygetos mountain, just 45 km east of the city of Kalamata. It is an ideal destination for the summer and winter holidays. The changes in the landscape will enchant you. The imposing Taygetos, the traditional Mani architecture, the harbours, the picturesque Byzantine churches, the caves, the traditional villages with the wonderful cobbled streets, and the stunning sandy beaches, compose a beautiful setting that charms every visitor.
15. Feel like a modern Rapunzel in a stone- and wood-made hotel in Areopoli.
One of the most touristic villages in the area of Mani is a well-preserved settlement with stone alleys that bear the traces of the glory of the past, well-preserved tower houses, and stone-built guest houses. The centre of the village is the large square, where on Saturdays, local producers set up their stalls and sell local products. Around the square, you will find many shops, taverns, cafés, and the municipal library. Walk in the traditional part of the settlement and admire the towers!
16. Don’t miss the Diros caves, inhabited since Neolithic times.
The so-called Vlychada cave of Diros in Mani is one of the most distinguished and scenic lake caves in the world. The visit takes place through boats, and the visitor can admire the successive “Rooms” bearing corresponding names, given by the first explorers of the cave. These names correspond to the form of the stalagmite formations of each room and to the natural colours. After disembarking from the lake section, there is a second route that covers the land section. It is especially interesting to look during the tour for the places where the fossils of animals were found, and especially of an animal that you would never have imagined could be discovered in Greece.
17. Escape civilization in Porto Kagio.
Porto Kagio of Laconia is the last port of eastern Mani, as we descend to Cape Tainaro. This picturesque settlement highlights to the maximum the quintessence of the Mani area, which is none other than the crystal clear and deep blue, almost transparent waters that fuse harmoniously with the strict and majestic lines of Mani.
18. Hike till Cape Matapan (aka Tainaro), the southernmost point of mainland Greece.
It is located between two bays and is the southernmost tip of the Balkan Peninsula. The steep cliffs and the raging waves create a wild and at the same time beautiful landscape. The ancients called believed that there was the gate to Hades. A path (35 minutes) leads to the large stone lighthouse of Tainaro and the view of the sea and passing ships are wonderful. Welcome to the southernmost point of mainland Europe!
19. Visit Gythio, the largest and most important town in Mani
Gytheio is a small town in Laconia, but the largest in Mani. In Gythio, as well as on its lacy shores, which stretch for many kilometres, you will find taverns for fresh fish, restaurants, cafés, and bars. You can take also a walk in the narrow uphill alleys with the stone stairs. After the last houses, the path that leads to the top begins, where there is a beautiful small church, from where the view is unrestricted and magical.
20. Hop on the ferry and get to swim in the Greek Paradise, Elafonisos
Elafonisos, a paradise with turquoise colour! This unknown to most tourists island, part of Natura 2000, invites you to get lost in its amazing waters and to explore its rich plant life. It belongs to the Peloponnese and more specifically to the prefecture of Laconia and is the ideal destination for your summer holidays. Although not one of the biggest or most glamorous islands, Elafonisos will win you over with its simplicity, tranquillity, and of course its magical beaches. Furthermore, the award-winning beach of Simos, whose waters are simply indescribable, will make this, a trip to remember.
21. Discover the medieval Castle town of Monemvasia
In Monemvasia, no one needs a map! Follow the cobbled streets and indulge in the magic of the history of a settlement that once “hosted” all the emperors of Byzantium! Take a tour of the castle town, which is divided into Ano- (Upper) and Kato (Lower) -Poli and admire the well-preserved stone buildings. Most of them now are hotels and restaurants. This means that in Monemvasia you have the unique opportunity to spend the night in a medieval tower or to enjoy a romantic dinner on the roof of a tower house!
22. Visit the sanctuary of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, in Kyparrisi
At a time when we are all looking for an isolated paradise for our summer holidays, there is a place in Laconia that can “counterattack” in beauty the most popular islands. This is probably what princess Diana and Dodi thought when they chose Kyparissi in Laconia to live their illicit love for a weekend. The village of Laconia is 4 hours away from Athens but access, however, is not easy. This graceful place of course will make up for it, and you will forget everything by the time you arrive, so do not judge it by all the initial hassle.
23. Spend a day in the first Greek Capital (Nafplio)
Probably the most charming city of the Peloponnese and one of the favorite weekend destinations for all seasons. In the old town of Nafplio, the preserved architectural physiognomy rules and the two Venetian castles crown the city. The aura of the first capital of the Greek state is apparent. Admire the city from above by climbing the 999 according to tradition — 857 according to others — steps that lead to the impressive Palamidi, which stands on a huge grey rock and overlooks the sea.
24. Hop once more on the ferry, and visit Spetses, sometimes dubbed the Monaco of Greece
Spetses, the jewel of the Saronic Gulf, is a popular tourist destination for both Greek and foreign tourists, as it combines abundant natural beauty, beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters, and a historic port city full of finesse and picturesqueness. The island, overgrown with pines and aromatic plants, was named by the Venetians “Isola di Spezzie”, meaning “fragrant island”, and thus gave birth to its current name.
25. Enjoy a theatre play, as the Ancient Greeks did in Epidaurus
Of all the ancient theatres, the theatre of Epidaurus is the most aesthetic and the best preserved. Its magnificent acoustics, but also the immaculate condition of this theatre, contributed to the creation of the Epidaurus Festival, a tradition that honors the history of ancient theatre and provides the opportunity to visitors from all over the world to enjoy a play like the Ancients did. Apart from the greatest Greek actors that have appeared in Epidaurus, the famous Greek soprano Maria Callas was also there for a show!