Argolida

Arguably the best known site in this area is Epidavros (Epidaurus), the magnificent rounded open-air theatre that’s been around for 2000 years and still used today for cultural events. Equally important is the mother of all Mycenaean sites, none other than Mycenae itself (Mykinae or Mykines in Greek). Famous sites there include the Tomb of Agamemnon and the Lion Gate.

Argolida’s other main attraction is the nosubhealth.com city of Nafplio (Nauplion) which used to be the capital of Greece before it was moved to Athens. It’s amazing charm and history is still strongly echoed through its Ottoman fountains, neoclassical architecture, magical mosques and towering Venetian castle – the Palamidi.

There is also the main tourist port with a good beach at Porto Heli, but this destination is best left to the mass tourists, particularly during the high season. Another touristy area is the pretty Tolo with its miniature twin islands off the coast. This area is particularly popular especially with Athenians, although further away from the tourist beaches and beyond the high season there are many nice spots to discover in the area.

Eco travellers are encouraged to discover the many hidden gems of the prefecture such as the village of Didima, representing a strange geographical phenomenon as part of the area had sunk into the ground, creating a large, round chasm. Churches and a narrow path have been built around the chasm, allowing visitors to descend via stairways.

Photo: Nicola Quirico

The seaside island-like village of Koilada (pronounced Kilada) with the Fragki cave is well worth a visit, so is the beautiful Kosta beach which is ironically a ‘quiet getaway’ for the people of Spetses island across. The village of Ermioni, built on the ancient site of Hermione, is known for its naval heritage and temple of Poseidon, as well as the Taxiarchon church. If you want a warm, shallow yet very clean beach head to Nea Kios, built with character by Greek refuges who came from Turkey. On higher elevations lies the village of Karya some 700 metres on the mountain of Artemision (which is over 1700 meters). Hikers can continue up to the monastery of the Virgin Mary after a restful stop at the village. In Tirinthia there are huge boulders which many liken to the Gaelic dolmens. These were ‘created’ by the mythological Cyclops who supposedly hurled them around.

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Location - Argolida

Didyma caves

The caves at Didyma, so called in Greek, aren’t caves at all! They’re dolines, or big depressions in the ground with very interesting features. The small doline or ‘small cave’ can be reached from the Didyma bypass road where there’s a small parking area. There is a steep stairway dug into the ground that will take you into the doline.

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Karathona, Nafplio

Only two kilometres from the town of Nafplio, this one-kilometre beach is accessible by public bus, car or boat from the little port of Nafplio. This is an organized beach so expect many people in the high season. Luckily, it is also a Blue Flag beach meaning it’s quite clean. Respect for the environment is important for this beach community. Sports facilities and restaurants are available too. Remember, opt for the more eco-friendly sporting activities.

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Porto Heli/Hinitsa, Kranidi

This is one of the greenest and nicest parts of Argolida and the Peloponnese in general. The island of Chinitsa or Hinitsa covers this sandy beach nicely. Umbrellas and deckchairs are present.

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Didyma caves

The caves at Didyma, so called in Greek, aren’t caves at all! They’re dolines, or big depressions in the ground with very interesting features. The small doline or ‘small cave’ can be reached from the Didyma bypass road where there’s a small parking area. There is a steep stairway dug into the ground that will take you into the doline.

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Famous for its oranges, olive trees, grapes, potatoes and tomatoes, Argolida offers a true Mediterranean feast for the visitors from its bounty. In fact, oranges here are known as the gold of Argolis, a prefecture which produces no less than 300,000 tons of oranges per year. The endless olive groves are a site to behold, and their sweet, succulent taste is quite special, particularly if you come from northern Europe or North America. Spring yields a sublime aroma of orange blossom, which stirs the senses and reminds of the enchanting place you're visiting.

But Argolida isn't just about oranges. It is known for its dairy products and organic cattle breeding as well. Meat-eaters should head to the municipality of Mideas, where eateries called Giossadika, specialize in making old ewe or Giossa in Greek, baked in traditional stone ovens. Let your nose lead you to these places where the meat goes well with the local wine.

Near Hermioni and Epidaurus lies Trachea, home to many northern Greeks from Epirus who settled here a few decades ago. With them came the art of traditional bread-making and traditional ovens, a great match with the local kefalotiri cheese (a deliciously fatty yellow cheese made with sheep's milk). The area's local restaurants are known for their meat dishes as well.

Photo: www.argolikeseidhseis.gr

If you're really into cheese, visit the dairy of Karias-Mavrogiannis in Karia whose workshop is open to the public, complete with a showroom and a sales outlet. You'll be able to taste and buy cheese along with pastry products (Tel.  +30 27510 22461).

Wine drinkers must pass by Leodio in Nemea, which produces some 25% of the Agiorgitiko wine of this region. The village lies at an altitude of 330 meters, making it the ideal place to grow this variety of wine.

Photo: www.χωριό.gr

The touristy village of Iria may not be the best place to visit during the high season, but if you're in the region you must sample the delicious artichokes served there that come from the nearby valley.

Another small village called Fichti next to Mycenae is well known for its suckling pig, cooked in a special way.

Read the section on Nature/Flora, particularly the Katafyki Gorge. Argolida can certainly be a hiker's paradise.

Photo: www.arcadiaportal.gr

The peninsula of Argolios forms one of the best examples of the harmonic co-existence of sea and mountains—Mounts Arachnaio, Didymo, and Aderes stand impressively between the valleys of Kranidi and Ermioni on the one side and the valley of Lygourgio, which stretches out to the bay of Epidavros on the other.

Photo: www.argolikeseidhseis.gr

Karathona, Nafplio

Only two kilometres from the town of Nafplio, this one-kilometre beach is accessible by public bus, car or boat from the little port of Nafplio. This is an organized beach so expect many people in the high season. Luckily, it is also a Blue Flag beach meaning it’s quite clean. Respect for the environment is important for this beach community. Sports facilities and restaurants are available too. Remember, opt for the more eco-friendly sporting activities.

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Kosta Beach, Kranidi

This is somewhat of a resort beach designated with a Blue Flag, where environmental education is part of its philosophy. Portoheli is only 5 kilometres away from here and allows you to rent bicycles. You’ll be facing the lovely island of Spetses here.

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Plepi/Porto Hydra, Ermioni

This is a very popular beach not far from the village of Thermissia, even if the area is not that tourist oriented and there aren’t much beach facilities. Crystal waters and lovely shores await the visitor.

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Porto Heli/Hinitsa, Kranidi

This is one of the greenest and nicest parts of Argolida and the Peloponnese in general. The island of Chinitsa or Hinitsa covers this sandy beach nicely. Umbrellas and deckchairs are present.

Find Out More

Didyma caves

The caves at Didyma, so called in Greek, aren’t caves at all! They’re dolines, or big depressions in the ground with very interesting features. The small doline or ‘small cave’ can be reached from the Didyma bypass road where there’s a small parking area. There is a steep stairway dug into the ground that will take you into the doline.

Find Out More

Karathona, Nafplio

Only two kilometres from the town of Nafplio, this one-kilometre beach is accessible by public bus, car or boat from the little port of Nafplio. This is an organized beach so expect many people in the high season. Luckily, it is also a Blue Flag beach meaning it’s quite clean. Respect for the environment is important for this beach community. Sports facilities and restaurants are available too. Remember, opt for the more eco-friendly sporting activities.

Find Out More

Porto Heli/Hinitsa, Kranidi

This is one of the greenest and nicest parts of Argolida and the Peloponnese in general. The island of Chinitsa or Hinitsa covers this sandy beach nicely. Umbrellas and deckchairs are present.

Find Out More

Alieis

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Avgo Monastery

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Bourtzi, Nafplio

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Kazarma bridge

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Larissa Acropolis

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Mycenae

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Ancient theatre

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Asini

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Aspis

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Larissa Acropolis

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Mycenae

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Serapis

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Temple of Asclepius

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Tirintha

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Alieis

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Bourtzi, Nafplio

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Kazarma Citadel

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Larissa Acropolis

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Palamidi

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Tolo Medieval Castle

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Due to their sheer age, most of the monasteries and many of the churches in this area are hauntingly beautiful, having survived for hundreds of years and through tough times. They vary widely in their architecture and location, but all have a magical spiritual aura about them.

Photo: Dimitrios Brousovana

Avgo Monastery

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Ayia Moni

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Ayii Anargiri

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Kalami Monastery

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Taxiarches Monastery

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Kazarma bridge

Peloponnese / Argolida
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In historical times not so fertile and almost treeless, the plain of Argos now cultivates legumes, cotton, tobacco, olive trees, vineries, vegetables and citrus trees, thanks to the river Erasinos. Tobacco has been somewhat phased out in favour of food products such as its famed melons and citrus fruits. High poplar and plane trees generally appear near the river, while shrubs and olive groves lie on the surrounding mountains. The plain is dotted with springs here and there, some of which are connected to the sea via underground tunnels. If it weren't for this, the plain would have flooded during certain months and would have become a lake.

Photo: Piponwa

An outstanding place of natural marvels and historic sites, the Katafyki Gorge just 6 kilometres outside Ermioni has a lot to offer. Amazing caves and rocks alternate with running water and lush vegetation. You will also come across the church of Agios Nikolaos from 1740. Wander around the old bridge were much of the nature is concentrated, then make your way to the village of Fourni for a rest stop. The gorge is 4.5 kilometres long. In New Epidaurus lies the Vothylas gorge at the outer limits of the village.

The Erasinos river in Kefalari was once called Stymphalos after the lake which was its source. Not far from the source are the remains of the temple of Artemis and a cave, as well as an altar where sacrifices to Panas and Bacchus were made. The cave has a little church of Zoodochos Pigi, a very old temple established there as there used to be a crypt in the cave. The church was destroyed and later rebuilt by Greek immigrants in the state of Georgia in the US who originated from Argos.

Photo: xenonasbisti.gr

The Lake of Lerni in the Municipality of Argos has its source from the nearby mountains of Arkadia. It is supposedly where the seven headed Hydra originated in Greek mythology and was killed by Hercules. Also in the same municipality near Kyveri there is the Deini or Anavalos spring resembling artesian wells, and where there used to be a temple of Genesios Poseidon. The most notable springs in the area are at the source of the Akova.

Alieis

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Avgo Monastery

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Bourtzi, Nafplio

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Kazarma bridge

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Larissa Acropolis

Peloponnese / Argolida
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Mycenae

Peloponnese / Argolida
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A short drive away from Nafplion is arguably the most important wine region in southern Greece, particularly for red wine. The Agiorgitiko grape has been used with much success to produce deep red wines with a full body and velvety long palate.

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