Separated from the rest of the country by the Gulf of Corinth, the southern region of the country, known as the Peloponnese, truly does have something for everyone.
Stunning architecture and relics chronicle the history of Greece, with a specific emphasis on its contributions to warfare and athleticism. Medieval and Byzantine architecture, including palaces of the peninsula’s various conquering cultures, demonstrate the deeply pluralistic influences that have shaped modern Greece. Finally, for those who need nothing more than the splendor of nature, the Peloponnesian Peninsula (really an island, once the man made Corinth Canal was completed) is a trove of natural luxury.
When most hear the word “Peloponnesian” they will immediately recall the infamous war of Ancient Greece between the cosmopolitan Athenians and a coalition of Peloponnesian city-states led by the warrior Spartans. A visit to Sparta, now known as Spárti, will be on the list for any lover of history. Nestled in the Lakonian Evrótas Valley, Spárti bears little resemblance to the world of its fierce warriors. Pedestrian-friendly and docile, it is a lovely stop that belies its military history. Nearby Mystra illustrates the Byzantine power that also emanated from the island.
Lovers of literature will marvel at the palace of Agamemnon in Mycenae. Forever etched in history by Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the palace, along with Nestor’s palace at Pylos, gives shape to one of literature’s most famous locales.
Biblical scholars too have a dream destination on the Peloponnese. Corinth, the ancient site of the temple of Apollo and countless other significant structures, was also the home of one of the Apostle Paul’s beloved churches, to whom he penned two letters included in the New Testament.
Olympia, another highlight of the peninsula, was home to the Olympics for a millennia, and coastal towns like Nafplio and Monemvasia have a unique Mediterranean charm. A series of tiny islands sit like precious gems scattered across Argosaronic Gulf. Visit diminutive Hydra, where no cars are allowed and the locals travel by donkey, or Methana, where volcanic activity yield both excellent hiking and a robust spa culture. Luxury travel to Southern Greece is something that no one should miss.