· Day 1: Athens → Epidavros
· Day 2: Epidavros → Hydra
· Day 3: Hydra → Spetses
· Day 4: Spetses → Nafplion
· Day 5: Nafplion → Porto Heli
· Day 6: Porto Heli → Monemvasia
· Day 7: Monemvasia → Poros → Athens
*The itinerary can change due to weather conditions and personal preferences
Ancient Epidavros Theater
The Ancient Theater of Epidavros is a UNESCO world heritage site and known worldwide as a cradle of ancient Greek civilization. It is still used today, with superb productions of ancient Greek dramas being planned there every summer. It can be found only 16km (10mi) away from the Palaia Epidavros marina. If you visit the place, do not miss the chance of such a spectacle. Even if you do not know the Greek language, you will still have the opportunity to touch upon the phenomenon of ancient Greek civilization!
The Epidavros Asclepion
Another UNESCO world heritage site, the Epidavros Asclepion was built in honor of ancient Greek god Asclepius –father of medicine. This archaeological site is situated among the Peloponnese’s lush verdure, healing sunlight, and thermal springs, and is believed to have been a healing temple and the place of origin of medicinal practice and research in Greece. At the Archaeological Museum in town, visitors can take a real look at the magnificent artifacts that were unearthed at the site of Epidavros, which -let’s not forget, was a healing sanctuary, entirely dedicated to god Asclepius, where even the theater was considered a way of healing.
The Epidavros Festival
Also known as Greek Hollywood, this Festival is held every summer at the ancient Greek Theater of Epidavros, hosting a variety of dramatic and musical performances. From June until August. Lygourio, the settlement next to the theater and the center of New Epidavros, floods with tourists and celebrities who come together to celebrate the culture of ancient Greek drama. If you decide to visit Lygourio, you will also have a chance to appreciate the twelve Byzantine churches and the countless chapels as well as its natural beauty and gentle hosts!
Found right next to the Palaia Epidavros port, this beach is coated in lush green with a rocky and sandy shore. You will be amazed by the freshness of the blue waters but make sure to take a sun-umbrella with you as you might not find one there!
Following the path through the pine-trees from Vagionia, you will reach this calm and secluded beach of Palaia Epidavros. Here, the waters are crystal clear, the beach is rocky and sandy, and the sun is hot, so don’t forget to pack lots of sun-protection!
South of the Palaia Epidavros harbor, you should be able to easily spot the beach of Panagitsa with its characteristic white-washed chapel right next to the shore. Growing all the more popular every year, this beach is a haven of natural beauty and a must-visit destination for those looking for some idleness and a bit of relaxation.
Having been a filming location of “A girl in black” and “Boy on a dolphin” movies, as well as a holiday destination for Leonard Cohen, Hydra stands out for its classy beauty! In Hydra island, you won’t see any cars! Everyone uses their foot, boats or donkeys to get around the island. The cars ban, along with the elegant stone mansions of the island, create a charming atmosphere and make the island one of the most serene destinations near Athens.
Hiking is very popular in Hydra as there are no motor vehicles and old footpaths cross the island, leading to old monasteries, secluded beaches, and hilltops with breathtaking view to the Saronic Sea. Another activity that is gradually developing in Hydra island over the last years is diving. The sea bottom around Hydra has many interesting reefs and underwater caves, ideal for scuba divers. Diving trips are also organized in close islands, like Dokos and Spetses, and in the neighboring coasts of Peloponnese.
Most beaches in Hydra are pebbled and have picturesque, green surroundings. Most popular Hydra beaches are Vlichos, Kaminia, Bisti, Mandraki and Agios Nikolaos.
Spetses Town, the picturesque capital of the island is perfect for endless strolls, while there’s luscious swimming to be had at the secluded Spetses beaches.
Spetses is an island with a long history and naval tradition. Today it has developed its cosmopolitan character and attracts lots of visitors every summer. The most interesting sightseeing in Spetses is the Museum of Bouboulina, which is actually the home of the legendary heroine of the Greek Revolution originating from Spetses. The large town is a nice place to stroll around, especially the beach promenade that starts from Anargyrios School, crosses Dapia port and continues to the old port.
The most important festival in Spetses is Armata Festival and it is held to commemorate a naval battle between Greek and Ottoman ships during the Greek War of Independence. The celebrations last for a week but the peak are the representation of the “burning of the Ottoman flagship” that takes place the first weekend after September 8th.
Apart from the main beach in the town, there are many organized beaches in Spetses to swim and enjoy a day in the sun. All Spetses beaches provide picturesque spots and relaxing family atmosphere.
Most popular Spetses beaches are: Agia Paraskevi, Agia Marina, Agioi Anargiri, Kaiki, Xilokeriza, Zogeria.
On the Saronic Gulf is the beautiful town of Nafplio, often dubbed the most romantic destination in Greece. The original capital of the modern State of Greece (1823–1834) boasts stunning Venetian architecture and Ottoman structures and offers a perfect romantic getaway from Athens.
It’s a stunning place to learn about Greek history
Nafplio is home to an Archaeological Museum, housed in a splendid Venetian building on Syntagma Square. The permanent exhibition features some of the oldest vestiges of the Paleolithic Era and includes figurines, jewellery, clothing, sculptures, ceramics and rare artefacts from the Neolithic Period.
It’s a walker’s paradise
Nafplio is an excellent destination for walking enthusiasts. The Old Town’s heart, with its maze of narrow streets, hidden squares and stunning neoclassical mansions, is as enchanting as one could imagine – even climbing up a dozen steps to the hotel will be worth the effort.
A variety of beaches and secluded coves
Nafplio has it all for a perfect summer getaway: picturesque restaurants and cafés, dynamic town centres and nearby beaches. Stroll along the waterfront promenade and stumble across a succession of beaches, including Arvanitia, Neraki and Karathona, a long sandy beach. Further out, from Nafplio, Tolos is another popular beach destination, but for something more quiet, nearby Kastraki is definitely the place to be.
It’s full of castles and fortresses
With its characteristic houses and mansions, bougainvillea-bordered streets and charm, there is no denying Nafplio is a combination of brilliant colors, thanks to its well-preserved historic center. But the town also boasts impressive vestiges from its interesting past with three fortresses. The spectacular Palamidi castle, perched above Nafplio, was built by the Venetians in 1711–1714; climbing the steps (far fewer than the traditional 999) to the top yields the reward of stunning views over the whole area. Admire gates dating back to the Bronze Age at the Acronauplia fortress standing tall behind the Old Town. Used as a prison until 1950s, the site is now in ruins but still worth the visit. The Bourtzi, located on a tiny island off the harbour, was also built by Venetians in the 15th century and has known a long history as a castle, a prison, a hotel, an office for tourism and housing for the Greek government. Reachable by boat, the Bourtzi is now used to host events and concerts in the summer.
Located on the eastern side of Peloponnese, Porto Heli is a small seaside town with large port. This port is a frequent mooring place for fishing boats and yachts in summer, giving to Porto Heli in Greece a cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are a couple of organized beaches in Porto Heli, but the majority are small secluded coves with relaxing atmosphere. A frequent family destination.
There are a few water sports centers in the most popular beaches of Porto Heli with fun games and waterski. The region is ideal for total relaxation at the beach or in the countryside. Swimming in the calm beaches of Porto Heli is a delight. Enjoy a day under the hot sun and in the afternoon have lunch in the seaside taverns. In the evenings, have a drink in a lounge cafe-bar under the stars. Another enjoyable activity in Porto Heli is hiking. Many old footpaths cross the region and lead to tiny chapels, small settlements, secluded beaches and hilltops with breathtaking view to the sea.
Monemvasia means “one entrance” and in fact the only access to this castle is via a causeway. This uniquely preserved mediaeval town is carved into the majestic grey rock like a sculpture. The “Gibraltar of the East” or a “stone ship” about to set sail, as the famous Greek poet Yannis Ristos described his birthplace, is calling you for immediate boarding for a journey through time. Wander around the vaulted alleyways, churches and aristocratic mansions. Take a swim in its crystal-clear waters and sample its delicious cuisine and legendary wine. Follow in the footsteps of knights, pirates, crusaders and emperors, who all fell under the spell of this mythical place in the Peloponnese. Here time stands still, and you’ll become one with history.
A culinary journey in Monemvasia
Try the local homemade pasta called goges (like gnocchi, but flour-based) or saitia (fried cheese pies with fresh herbs). Oenophiles should sample the regional sweet wine called Malvasia, the authentic flavor of Monemvasia, dubbed the “nectar of the nobles”.
Up, up and away:
The Upper Town
The Upper Town was home to the Venetian aristocracy and, although it’s a steep climb to reach the beautiful mansions (in the 17th-century travellers once counted 500), you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the whole area. The half-Byzantine, half-Venetian church of Agia Sofia clings to the side of the cliff and is one of the most significant attractions in Monemvasia. Once inside, you’ll be awe-struck by its magnificent octagonal dome.
Hidden gems of Monemvasia
Travel to Byzantium.
History comes to life in this castle: Twenty-four temples and churches with Byzantine elements remain from the 40 that once existed. The oldest is Elkomenos Christos, located in the main square of the Lower Town. Other churches worth seeing are Panagia Chrysafitissa, Agios Nikolaos and Panagia tin Kritikia (Myrtidiotissa).
The big blue of Monemvasia
Portelo, in the middle of the sea wall, is the only entrance to Monemvasia by water. From here you can dive into the crystal-clear water and it will feel like you’re jumping off the deck of a ship. Swimming under the mighty fortress, in one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece, is a holiday experience you will never forget.
Poros is a beautiful verdant island, full of pine forests, picturesque villages, and organized beaches. Sightseeing is few in Poros island and the most important is the historical Monastery of Zoodochos Pighi, surrounded by lush greenery. Apart from a picturesque town, Poros also has fantastic beaches with lush greenery and blue-green waters. Love Bay and Askeli are the two most important beaches on the island, although there are many other nice green coves for a swim.
Sandy, Family Friendly, Organised
Love Bay is probably the most beautiful beach on Poros. It is a small bay surrounded by pine trees. The beach is organized and due to its small size, it usually gets crowded.
Sandy, Family Friendly, Organised, Water sports
Askeli is the longest and busiest beach on the island. It is organized with sun beds, umbrellas and beach bars.
Partly Organized, Sandy, Family Friendly
This is a fine, small cove with crystal water. The beach is organized and the lush greenery around it creates a relaxing atmosphere.
Sandy, Family Friendly, Organised
On the way from Askeli to the Monastery, this small cove is the perfect place to relax, protected by green cliffs.
Partly Organized, Sandy, Family Friendly
The Russian Bay is actually an unorganized beach on the western side of the island. The ruins of an old navy station can be seen along the beach.
Sandy, Secluded, Non Organised
This is actually the northernmost beach on the island. Secluded and surrounded by lush greenery, this beach rarely receives visitors.
This is a small, isolate beach on the northern side of the island. Tourists rarely go to this beach.