Overview

Introduction

Whatever your interests, the Peloponnese offers huge scope for a holiday. You cannot do more than scratch the surface of this vast peninsula on one visit, which is why so many return.

The southernmost part of mainland Greece, 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 mostly 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, Epidavros, 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.

The south has fewer sites – notably Byzantine Mystras and 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 south west remains devoted primarily to agriculture and fishing, with tourism having an impact in only a few areas, and this primarily limited to high season weeks. 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”.

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 makes the diversity even more accessible.

The Peloponnese is ideal for touring - see our fly-drives - or a twin-centre holiday, either north with south (with Tolon first) or any village in the south with any other.

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Getting there

Peloponnese flights leave on Sundays from Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester and are direct to Kalamata airport, which is on the south-west side of the peninsula. The flight duration is some 3 ½ hours.

At the airport you will be met by one of our representatives, who will have arranged the transfer by either taxi or coach to your accommodation. Transfer times vary, depending on the distance from Kalamata: 60 minutes to Gialova and Finikounda, 75-90 minutes to Kardamili and Stoupa, and a scenic 2 hours to Tolon. The sheer number of mountain ranges means travel takes longer than you might anticipate.

Car hire can be arranged from the airport if required, or delivered to your hotel or villa on your arrival. As regards our more secluded accommodations that are some distance from a village a car is a necessity and included in the price. Also - if you plan to split your holiday between beach-time and excursions – we are happy to arrange car hire for a specific period during your holiday rather than for its entirety. After all, our aim is to make every holiday feel tailor-made.

We can arrange tailor-made holidays via Kalamata or Athens - please enquire.

Multi-Centre

Any resort with any other. A week in the north (Tolon or Nafplion) combined with a week in the south is always popular – please book the north first. 

Car and Motorboat hire

We can arrange car and motorboat hire for you in the Peloponnese.

Representative

We have three local representatives - one based in Chrani (visits Finikounda, Methoni and Gialova) one for Mani (Stoupa and Kardamili) and one for Tolon.

 

Holidays in the Peloponnese

The Peloponnese is a large peninsula covering 21,500 square kilometres in southern Greece, separated from the mainland by the man-made Corinth Canal, constructed in 1893. There are two land connections with the mainland: a natural one at the Isthmus of Corinth, and the Rio-Antirio Bridge.

A map of the Peloponnese will show a peninsula shaped like a hand, whose outstretched fingers make up a heavily indented coastline. The interior is dominated by the Taygetos mountain range that stretches like a spine from north to south. At some points it rises precipitously from the sea and reaches a height of almost 2,400 metres. The north appears green and lush – certainly in comparison to the craggier, harsher and altogether more dramatic scenery to the south, which reaches an extreme with the arid landscape of the Deep Mani, as bare as the moon.

At Sunvil, we choose to concentrate on those areas that are most removed from the typical tourist enclaves and offer the best chance to experience “the real Greece”, so you will see from a Peloponnese map that our chosen destinations are on the bay in the north-east (Nafplion and Tolon) and in the less-visited south and south-west (Pylos, Finikounda, Chrani, Kardamili, Stoupa, Agios Nikolaos and Geroliminas). In the even less visited easternmost peninsula, Monemvasia is also included.

Off the coast to the north-west of the peninsula lie the Ionian islands, including our chosen destinations of Zakynthos and Kefalonia, and to the east the Saronic chain, including Hydra and Spetses which can be visited for the day by organised boat trip from Tolon.

Flights from Gatwick and Manchester fly direct to the Peloponnese, landing at Kalamata airport.

Getting out and about

The more well-known Ancient sites such as Epidaurus and Corinth are well served by regular coach trips from Tolon, but given the wealth of its spectacular and historic sites a car is invaluable for getting around the Peloponnese and gives you the independence to explore less visited locations. Certainly it’s the best way to access the enthralling and exceptional topography of the Deep Mani region.

Organised boat trips run from Tolon to the Saronic islands of Hydra and Spetses further up the coast, and exploration of the local coastline can be made by the hire of a small motorboat.

An hourly bus service that takes around 25 minutes operates between Tolon and Nafplion in the north-east, and this particular region is mostly flat with a network of small country roads that pass through a mix of lemon and orange groves. The easy terrain lends itself to cycling, and these days bikes can be hired from various locations and are proving increasingly popular.

Until fairly recently some villages of the Mani could only be reached by boat, and the road network remains local and small-scale, linking one village to another. There is a bus service between Finikounda and Methoni and Pylos in the west and also a few local taxis, but to do proper justice to the area a car is required. In the Mani there is a narrow, winding road that follows the coast where, unsurprisingly, the views are often spectacular! The benefit for the tourist is that the area has retained much of its original atmosphere and traditional way of life, and consequently provides a deeper experience of “the real Greece”.

The E4 long-distance hiking trail stretches from north to south. Some of the trail follows walkways along riverbeds and is fairly comfortable, but other parts are strenuous and demanding, particular in the Taygetos Mountains, with the peak of Profitis Ilias at nearly 2,400m.

Recommended Reading

Landscapes of the Southern Peloponnese: For walkers & explorers, this guide contains walks of all grades, car tours and picnic suggestions, plus bus timetables and large scale walking maps. Intended to be used in addition to a standard guidebook, the cost is £10 per book and is available as a pdf download from the Sunflower Books website.

Sunflower Books website:

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Stella Proctor
Stella Proctor
Best time to go
  • JAN
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  • MAR
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  • MAY
  • JUN
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  • AUG
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  • OCT
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Time Difference

GMT + 2 hours

Currency

Euro

Language

Greek

Average flight times

3 hours 40 Minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Talk to our Greece expert

Jackie Gogonas
Jackie Gogonas

Those of our clients who have, over the last 20 or so years, visited Tolon in the Peloponnese will know Jackie; our very knowledgeable and passionate representative. Having decided to return to the UK, she has joined our reservations team and, needless to say, knows Tolon, a resort we have featured since 1973, inside out. It will come as no surprise to know that the Peloponnese is her favourite region in Greece.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8758 4758

We open today at 9:30 AM

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

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If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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