The appeal of the Peloponnese (Pelopónnisos) is hard to overstate. This southern peninsula, technically an island since the cutting of the Corinth Canal, seems to have the best of almost everything Greek. Its ancient sites include the Homeric palaces of Agamemnon at Mycenaeand of Nestor at Pýlos, the best preserved of all Greek theatres at Epidaurus, and the lush sanctuary of Olympia, host to the Olympic Games for a millennium. The medieval remains are scarcely less rich, with the fabulous Venetian, Frankish and Turkish castles of Náfplio, Methóni and Kórinthos; the strange battle towers and frescoed churches of the Máni; and the extraordinarily well preserved Byzantine shells of Mystra and Monemvasiá.
Beyond this incredible profusion of cultural monuments, the Peloponnese is also a superb place to relaxand wander. Itsbeaches, especially along the west coast, are among the finest and least developed in the country, and the landscape inland is superb – dominated by range after range of forested mountains, and cut by some of the lushest valleys and gorges to be imagined.
The Peloponnese is at its most enjoyable and intriguing when you venture off the beaten track: to the old Arcadian hill towns like Karítena,Stemnítsa and Dhimitsána; the Maniot tower villages; beaches such as Elafónissos in the south; or the trip along the remarkable rack-and-pinion railway from the north coast at Dhiakoftó to Kalávryta.