The coastal road, with a total length of 130 kilometers (81 miles), running alongside the Gulf of Corinth (an inlet of the Ionian Sea, separating the Peloponnese from west mainland Greece), begins with the Isthmus of Corinth in the east and ends at the Strait of Rion, which widens into the Gulf of Patras in the west. The drive along this amazing piece of Greek coastline, with its magnificent scenery, lush green orchards of olives, citrus fruit to the left and sparkling blue sea to the right, is incredible.
The first village reached, 8 kilometers (5 miles) west of Corinth, is Lechion, developed in the 6th century BC, once the port of Ancient Corinth. Remains of “the Lechion Way”, the road connecting the port to the ancient city, is still seen today.
Next comes the picturesque village of Assos, and a further 4 kilometers from Lechion is the pretty seaside town Vrahati, a very popular beach resort, especially for day trippers from Athens.
After Vrahati, 20 kilometers from Corinth is the town of Kiato, another attractive tourist resort, 4 kilometers from the ancient city of Sicyon.
In Mycenae times, Sicyon was ruled by a line of mythical kings, followed by the seven priests of Apollo. In the 3rd and 4th centuries BC was home to many famous sculptors and painters, including the sculptor Lysistratos. William Shakespeare mentioned Sicyon in his 1606 play “Antony and Cleopatra”, having Sicyon as the place where Marc Antony’s wife Fulvia died (Fulvia did actually die there in 40 BC).
This 20-kilometer stretch of road, dotted with tiny villages, the sea gently lapping at their doors, and brightly colored bougainvillea swaying in the cool breeze, is surely worthy of the title “the Greek Riviera” and gives its French counterpart a run for its money.
All along the coast run a string of first class restaurants, Tavernas, and coffee shops, offering a wide variety of cuisine, from traditional Greek to more adventurous modern dishes.
Under the shade of beach umbrellas, people sip their iced coffees, whiling the day away, until it is time to head off for cocktails at one of the nearby, classy bars.
Situated 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Athens is the typically Greek town of Corinth, the second largest city of the Peloponnese. This is “Modern” Corinth, as opposed to “Ancient” Corinth dating back to 5,000 BC, then one of the largest and important cities in Greece, which, in 1858, was destroyed by a large earthquake.
The Corinthians picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and began to rebuild a new town three kilometers northwest of the ruined Ancient Corinth. No sooner had they completed their bright and airy new metropolis, disaster struck again, in the form of another earthquake, in 1928, rendering the place once more to rubble.
Not to be fazed, they rebuilt Corinth for a second time, now using the newly available anti-earthquake building materials (which lived up to their name as Corinth came through the tremendous 1981 earthquake, still standing).
Little did the Corinthians know that more trouble lay ahead, just as things were settling down after the last earthquake, a great fire raged through the town in 1933, consuming all in its path. They repaired the devastation and, as they say, “third time lucky” no more bad luck has befallen Corinth.
Today Corinth is a busy, agricultural and industrial town, consisting of wide pavements, cheerful pedestrian areas where locals meet up in the coffee houses and browse through the high-end boutiques.
In the town’s El Venizelos Square stands the impressive statue of Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology, said to have been found and tamed by Bellaphron, a citizen of Ancient Corinth, at the fountain of Pirene located there. Adjacent to El Venezelos Square is the port, Flisvos, boasting a smart marina.
Kalamia, a large established beach flanked with coffee shops and Tavernas, very popular with the locals, is to be found at the edge of the town as you travel towards the nearby village of Lechion. In this same area is the Church of Saint Paul, the Patron Saint of Corinth, who spent time here while delivering his lessons and lectures to the Corinthians.
When in Corinth, before leaving, try to visit the Historic Folklore Museum which displays over 3500 colorful, intricately embroidered and decorated, traditional Greek costumes from all over Greece.