Exploring Peloponnese, Greece

Guest Post By: Karen Mills

Taygetos Mountain, Greece;The Peloponnese is a large, beautiful island, or peninsula which is now characterized as a part of the mainland because it is connected by a bridge over the Corinth Canal.  This part of Greece is said to have been inhabited since prehistoric times.  Patras and Kalamata are two of the larger urban centers, but I spent my time in small villages in the area such as the coastal resort town of Kalogria, Artemesia, Olympia, Sparta, and Mystras.

Flying into Athens, I rented a car for the journey to The Peloponnese.  Be sure to get a GPS, because the road signs are in Greek!  Go figure!  The ones in Athens are also in English, but when you get to the smaller villages, you will need a map of Greece with the proper Greek names of the cities to get around.  Set the GPS on fastest route and not shortest.  I had it on shortest at first and took a trip through an olive grove, which was a little scary!

The land surrounding Athens is rocky and not so attractive.  As you cross the Corinth Canal into the Peloponnese, the land becomes densely mountainous and green with evergreens and olive groves terraced on the hillsides.  The coast is magnificent with the clear blue waters of the Ionian and Aegean seas.

Kalogrias, Greece; Kalogria is a resort town, and when I was here in late September, it was almost deserted.  By the end of the month, most of the restaurants and hotels would be closed for the season.  The weather was still warm and lovely during the day, great for the beach and cooler in the evenings.  Beware of the mosquitoes which make it difficult to enjoy dining outside, although most places have terraces for this.

Kalamata is a more urban area, with a beach that stays open longer.  It is a great place to base yourself if you want to take daytrips to some of the archeological ruins such as Olympia, Sparta, Mystras, and Corinth.  Olympia is the original home of the Olympic Games and the torch is still lit there every year before making its trip to the Olympic location.  There is a museum outlining the history of the games over the centuries.  It is a tourist town, so outside of the park there are nice shops for gathering souvenirs such as olives, jewelry, wines, liqueurs, and postcards.  There are also some great restaurants.

Mystras is a fortified town built in 1249.  It is located on a hill and about half way to the top is a beautiful church with Byzantine frescoes that make climbing the 240 stairs worth it.  The views are spectacular.

You won’t be disappointed with the food in Greece.  Meals are simple and served family style which makes it easy to order many things and share in order to try all of the wonderful foods and flavors.  Greek salads consist of fresh tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, olives and usually have a large block of feta cheese with oregano and olive oil.  It is delicious!  Try the tzaziki, which is a yogurt and cucumber based dip for bread…usually heavy on the garlic.  Seafood and grilled meats are popular and many restaurants serve a mixed platter of grilled chicken, beef, pork and lamb.  Don’t forget to dry the famous liquor ouzo and the Greek coffee!

Plate of Greek Sardines







Guest Post By: Karen Mills

Karen Mills is an American woman who made the decision to leave her corporate life behind to live “la dolce vita” in Florence, Italy, Read more about her experiences at An American In Italy or contact her at anamericaninitaly@gmail.com



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