Lonely Planet recently named the Greek region of the Peloponnese the number one place to visit in Europe in 2016 and would-be travelers are rushing to Google to search and research more about this fascinating peninsula in southern Greece.
The truth is, there’s so much to do and see and so much history— thousands of years of it, not to mention the countless miles and miles of virgin coastlines, rocky mountains and picturesque villages just waiting to be discovered.
For sure we haven’t compiled the comprehensive list of “things to do” in this special place, but here are some of our favorite experiential vacation ideas for your Peloponnesian adventure, with links and resources after the gallery.
Grab a translation of any of the great comedians or tragedians of antiquity and head to Epidavros, one of the most well-preserved ancient theaters in all of the world. Channel your inner thespian and even memorize a line or two and read from the skene, or stage to your adoring fans.
And if big audiences aren’t your thing and you prefer a more intimate theatrical setting (Epidavros seated 14,000 spectators)… give the site of Ancient Messene a try. There’s a well-preserved theater there too.
The rugged terrain of Mani makes for some of the best liking in the world. Grab a copy of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Mani and take a hiking trip through the Louisa Gorge or any of the other trails and mountains of the “wild wild west” of Greece.
Take a sea kayak tour in Navarino Bay, close to the town of Pylos and the watery grave dozens of vessels that took part in a ferocious battle during Greece’s war for independence. The stunning natural beauty and the chills you’ll get while kayaking in these historic waters is an unforgettable experience. Try Explore Messinia for a great sea kayaking tour.
For the more adventurous traveler try bungy jumping at the Corinth Canal and come literally, in between the place Peloponnesos becomes separated from the Greek mainland. You can tape your own experience and share it as go-pro cameras chronicling your jump are part of the experience. Check the schedule of Zulu Bungy here.
Ok, so jumping off bridges isn’t your thing? Try some traditional cooking with locals. The southern region of Messinia is well known for its traditional cooking and the resort of Costa Navarino has several unique experiences waiting for you. You can cook with locals— and eat the fruits of your labors when you’re done.
Another great experience is becoming one with the rich and fertile land. Numerous hotels like the Lido Hotel offer guests— depending on the time of year— a chance to participate in the winemaking and olive oil making process— two products that have put Peloponnesos on the global map.
Whether you’re cutting grapes from vines, or plucking olives from trees, knowing you’re participating in a process that’s been happening the same way for thousands of years, makes for a memorable and unique vacation experience.
But of course, the mother of all Peloponnesian experiences has to be crossing the finish line after you’ve sprinted in the stadium where the Ancient Olympics were founded and held thousands of years ago in Ancient Olympia.