Mention Greece and many family travelers think of the ancient capital of Athens or the numerous islands surrounding the country. But if you really want to get a feel for the “real” Greece and give the family a chance to learn about the country’s past, head to the Peloponnese for an authentic experience filled with beauty, culture and history.
The Peloponnese consists of a large peninsula making up the southern part of the country. It is connected to the rest of Greece by the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, just south of Athens, and is packed with ancient sites to see, many historically significant to the country and blending history with mythology.
Once you cross the canal coming from Athens, where you’ll want to stop and look at this engineering marvel, you’ll soon find yourself in the city of Corinth. While passing through, you won’t want to miss the site of the ancient city of Corinthos (not to be confused with Akrocorinthos, the ancient city that sits atop a mountain overlooking the city). This well-preserved site sits quietly in the midst of the modern-day city, and it is where the apostle Paul spent a year and a half giving sermons and selling goods from the local market.
Not far from Corinth are the ancient sites of Nemea and Mycenae. Both are just a short drive from the canal, and you can see incredible pieces of ancient history such as the Lion Gate at the site of Mycenae, once the capital of the Mycenean civilization, and Archaeological Museum of Nemea, which houses significant artifacts found in the region. The site of Nemea itself is one of the most beautiful in Greece, as it lies in a quiet valley dotted with vineyards, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere for exploring ancient ruins.
Epidaurus is also located in the area and home to many interesting sites like an ancient marble amphitheater designed to provide perfect acoustics for every seat. In fact, it’s still used today for performances. Although the surrounding grounds of the site have little remaining structures to see, they span a large area that makes for a lovely walk. There’s also a small museum reflecting the history of the site, which, in addition to the amphitheater, was used for medical treatment.
On the opposite side of the Peloponnese is Olympia, the largest archaeological site in Greece. This UNESCO World Heritage site, home of the ancient Olympics, is one of the nicest to visit in all of Greece. Spend half a day wandering the widespread site, exploring the ruins which include remains of buildings, statues, thermal baths and training grounds, along with a massive track field where events were once held.
You could explore the Peloponnese for days, perhaps weeks, never running out of impressive sites to explore, all while enjoying the incredible natural beauty of the area. Mostly rural, the peninsula is a wonderful getaway from the chaos of Athens and the chance to get a glimpse of the laidback, easygoing lifestyle Greece is known for.
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Make Best Western your hotel of choice during spring family travels for a sweet reward. This spring, BWH Hotels offers members of its Best Western Rewards loyalty program the opportunity to earn a free night stay.
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Parents, it’s time to ditch family travel and embark on a romantic vacation at Solmar Hotels and Resorts in Los Cabos. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches and unparalleled hospitality, Los Cabos sets the stage for couples looking for a romantic escape away from the kids. At Solmar Hotels and Resorts, guests are invited to take advantage of the romantic accommodations, spa experiences, gastronomic delights and more.