Temple of Apollo at Bassae

Typically seen as part of a day trip from either Olympia or Kalamata (it's about 1½ hours from both), the winding mountain roads here morph time, turning short-distance journeys into scenic but dizzyingly long road trips, so set off early. If you're coming from Kalamata, combine this with a visit to Ancient Messene for a day of antiquity. When approaching from the north, the launching point for the drive up to the Temple of Apollo is Andritsena, a pleasant collection of stone houses that cling to the side of a deep gorge. A small library in town, found 100 yards past the town square on the main road, houses 15th-century Venetian and Vatican first editions and documents relating to the War of Independence. The hairpin roads southwest of Bassae also lead to the village of Figaleia, where gentle walks to the Neda Waterfalls, a wonderfully pretty walking and swimming spot, are well worth bringing a picnic for.

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