Off the Beaten Track in the Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, set against a dramatic backdrop of soaring mountains, rugged peninsulas and charming hilltop towns, is arguably Greece’s mythical heartland. Separated from the body of the country by the narrow slither of the Corinth Canal, this historical land is an undiscovered gem on mainland Greece. Home to a cornucopia of classical landmarks; the birthplace of the Olympics, the origins of the Spartans, the fortified citadel of Mycenae, and running a gamut of landscapes, the Peloponnese is an exhibition of natural and architectural wonder. Step back in time on an odyssey of your very own through the timeless relics of Ancient Greece.
The Peloponnese is vast and although its wild and beautiful scenery confirm it as a bewitching destination to explore, meticulous planning is essential to make the most of your Greek adventure. Inland, the sacred spot of Olympia, the ancient city of Sparta and the UNESCO site of Epidaurus sit top of the bill, whilst the deserted beaches and secluded bays of the Peloponnese’s coastline are arguably Poseidon’s best-kept secret. From the sleepy fishing village of Stoupa to the picturesque harbor of Pylos, the Peloponnese is bound to lull you into a deliciously slow pace of life on the ultimate Grecian getaway.
The east of the Peloponnese is considered a destination for the cognoscenti. Overlooking the cosmopolitan town of Porto Heli, is the luxurious bolthole, Amanzoe, perfectly located to visit the ancient city of Mycenae, indulge in seafood at Nafplion Port or explore the idyllic islands of Hydra and Spetses. For a truly authentic stay, the historic Kinsterna Hotel is a unique hideaway, and situated only a stone’s throw away from the medieval fortress of Monemvasia. On this rocky outcrop, discover the tangible traces of the rich history of Greece, the Byzantine, the Venetian and the Ottoman, all seamlessly woven into the fabric of the area.
Four spiny peninsulas jut into the ocean from the main body of the Peloponnese; yet it is the Mani which steals the show. Taking a coastal drive along this central headland showcases the breath taking scenery of the Peloponnese. Along the coastline, clusters of gravity defying villages cling to the edge of jagged cliff faces, secluded coves meet wild scrub land and lofty snow-capped peaks cast shadows over the brilliant blue waters of the Aegean. Whilst there, settle into one of the seven rooms of the Citta dei Nicliani for a real dose of authentic Grecian charm, or, choose the Kyrimai Hotel, at the peninsula’s southernmost tip for a stay which is unequivocally off the beaten track.
After having unravelled the ancient myths of the region, retire under the shade of an orange tree, tuck into a delicious meze board, a hunk of crusty bread, and lashings of olive oil, safe in the knowledge that the Peloponnese isn’t all Greek to you after all.