The Peloponnese constitutes the southernmost part of mainland Greece. Its interior is mountainous and unspoiled; its coast is ribboned with beaches. Separated from the rest of the country by the Corinth Canal, this is a land of small villages where you will still find traditional Greek hospitality in areas that have not been overrun by tourists. Some of Greece’s most important archaeological sites are scattered throughout the peninsula and include the palaces of Mycenaean kings and temples such as those at Corinth and Olympia. The Costa Navarino offers fine new golf courses.
The town of Nafplio lies two hours southwest of Athens. Occupied by the Venetians from 1388 to 1540, it still has an array of Venetian and neoclassical buildings. Nafplio is an excellent base from which to explore the classical site of Mycenae, including Agamemnon’s Palace and the extraordinary Treasury of Atreus.
The Ancient Theater of Epidaurus
Also within easy distance of Nafplio, Epidaurus is home to a magnificent theater built in the fourth century B.C. to accommodate 14,000 spectators. The best preserved of all the ancient theaters in the Greek world, it still hosts a summer festival of classical drama and music.
The Unspoiled Coastline of Porto Heli
Two hours by car southwest of the Athens airport, Porto Heli is a pretty yachting town that increasingly resembles a Greek version of Saint-Tropez. Popular with shipping magnates, including members of the Niarchos family, the region has recently attracted a growing number of the wellborn and the well-heeled, who love its unspoiled coastline and easy access to stylish islands such as Spetses and Hydra.