The southernmost part of mainland Greece, the vast peninsula of the Peloponnese is technically an island itself, separated from the mainland by the Corinth Canal. Surrounded by exceptionally clean, shimmering seas, the heavily indented and twisting coast contains glorious beaches that match those on any of the islands – and without the accompanying crowds.
Inhabited since pre-history and rich in Mycenean, Classical and Byzantine sites, the Peloponnese is the birthplace of Greek mythology. The north of the peninsula contains the greatest concentration of Ancient sites anywhere in Greece – Corinth, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Olympia and Tyrins, amidst a host of smaller sites that seem to be just part of the landscape. In the north-east, the excellent beach at Tolon provides the perfect base from which to explore these historic glories.
Holidays In Peloponnese
The south has fewer sites – except for the impressive remains at ancient Messini – but also has fewer visitors, and so its gentle rolling hills, seaside hamlets and uncrowded beaches have retained much of their traditional qualities. Called “the Garden of the Peloponnese”, the area remains devoted primarily to agriculture and fishing, with tourism having an impact only in high season. Otherwise, resort villages like Chrani and Finikounda go about their daily business in a friendly, unhurried manner.
Down the spine of the central peninsula of the Mani rises the north-south mountain range of Taygetus. It towers over coastal Kalamata to the west and central Sparti to the east. Halfway down Mani’s rugged western coastline, pretty Kardamili and family-friendly Stoupa are ideally located for further exploration. Gradually, the lush greenery of the north is taken over by a harsh, arid, almost lunar landscape. Here you find a traditional, virtually untouched region know by the haunting title of “deep Mani” that offers spectacular views to the hiker and those who prefer “off the beaten track”.
A flight of just under 3 hours from Gatwick or Manchester takes you to Kalamata, where transfer awaits by either taxi or coach, unless your chosen accommodation includes car hire from the airport. Our chosen destinations are variously between 45 minutes to 2 hours from the airport, with the exception of two wonderful boutique hotels (Kyrimai and Kinsterna) in far-flung Gerolimenes and Monemvasia respectively (3 hours self drive)
The weather in the Peloponnese is typically Mediterranean: mild and wet in the few winter months, and dry and increasingly hot from April onwards. Between June and September the temperature regularly exceeds 30C. In April and May the flora is at its freshest, and September and October provide long, lingering warm days and quiet, reflective nights.
The peninsula is large and varied enough to cater for multiple interests: a quiet, relaxing time by superlative beaches; an exploration of the mass of ancient sites that are concentrated in the Peloponnese; Byzantine churches, hidden painted chapels and Frankish castles; hiking trails with stunning views; an island rock fortress at Monemvasia, edging against the sea; even a cave system at Dirou that is navigated by means of gondola-like craft.
Similarly you can relax entirely by a beach and take excursions, or hire a car and really get to grips with the rich diversity of the peninsula – there just seems so much to see that it feels almost neglectful to miss the opportunity. A twin-centre holiday (north and south) makes the diversity even more accessible.
Sunvil has local representatives to assist you and offer advice in Chrani (visits Finikounda, Gialova and Methoni), Mani (for Stoupa and Kardamili), and Tolon.
The Peloponnese is ideal for touring - see our Hidden Greece fly-drives - or a twin-centre holiday, either north with south (with Tolon first) or any village in the south with any other.
Sunday flight Gatwick or Manchester to Kalamata. Then by coach or taxi – see resort pages. We can arrange tailor-made holidays via Kalamata or Athens - please enquire.
Tolon or Nafplion with any South Peloponnese resort or any South Peloponnese resort with any other. Tolon or Nafplion should be booked as the first centre.
We can arrange car and motorboat hire for you in the Peloponnese.