Planning Your Time
The remains of the ancient world are what draw many visitors to the Peloponnese—Mycenae, Epidauros, and Olympia certainly top of the list of must-see sights of anyone with an interest in archaeology. Nafplion, a delightful city, with Byzantine, Venetian, and Turkish roots, makes an ideal base from which to explore these well-preserved ruins of ancient Greece. After Nafplion, don’t-miss Ancient Olympia beckons the Peloponnesian traveler. Continuing southward, one enters Laconia. The rewards here include exploring the stark Mani peninsula and ancient splendors at Messene and elsewhere, and the trip down there is easy: Highway E65 allows travelers to speed from Athens to Kalamata or Sparta and Gythion in half a day or less. Resort life is relatively low-key in the southern Peloponnese; Monemvasia is a popular weekend destination for Greeks, and the narrow lanes can seem jammed. The town is much less crowded and more pleasant to visit during the week, when the medieval atmosphere regains a hold. The Mani, another favorite "remote" seaside getaway for Athenians, is rarely crowded, except on August weekends.