This fascinating tour called the “Argolis Classic Tour” is named after the Kingdom of Argolis, which dwelt in Peloponnese thousands of years ago, passing through some of the main sites of Peloponnese.
Leaving Loutraki we cross over the Corinth Canal, an amazing gorge cut out of the land by hand linking the Saronic Gulf with the Gulf of Corinth. We continue along the coastal road towards Epidaurus – on one side the deep blue sea, on the other fields of citrus and olive trees.
In Epidaurus we will visit the Old City and the 3,000-year-old amphitheater, which is an acoustic marvel that is still in use today for special music events, held against the spectacular backdrop of the beautiful hilly landscape.
From Epidaurus we will travel to Mycenae, the residence of the ancient royal dynasty of King Agamemnon, King of Argolis, the city from which Helen of Troy was kidnapped.
After we tour the beautifully preserved Old City of Mycenae and the King’s Mausoleum – the graves of the royal dynasty, we travel to Nafplio.
There we will finish the day exploring ancient castles, amazing museums, the narrow alleyways of the open-air market, and the beach restaurants of Nafplio.
In Epidaurus we will visit the Old City and the 3,000-year-old amphitheater. There are three main parts to the archaeological site of Epidaurus. At the highest level is the sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas. Lower down is the theater designed by the ancient architect Polycletes. On the lowest level lies the sanctuary of Asclepios (a shrine to the Greek god of medicine), along with a few other ancient ruins, including baths, a gymnasium, rooms for patients, and a stadium, where in the 4th century BC games were held every four years that were just as important as the Olympic Games.
The theater of Epidaurus is one of the most well-preserved ancient theaters in the world, an acoustic marvel that is still in use today. Throughout the summer months plays written by ancient Greek playwrights are performed as are other concerts and festivals, held against the spectacular backdrop of the beautiful hilly landscape.
From Epidaurus will travel to Mycenae, the residence of the ancient royal dynasty of King Agamemnon, King of Argolis, the city from which Helen of Troy was kidnapped. Located between two hills on the Argolid Plain and dating from the Bronze Age, Mycenae is the capital of ancient Mycenaean civilization dating from 1600–1800 BC.
The tour begins at the Lion Gate (the earliest monumental sculpture in Europe). We go inside the Acropolis and then climb up to the palace. The palace is where King Agamemnon was murdered by his wife Klytemnistra and her lover Aegisthus after returning victorious from the Trojan War (1200 BC), a war sparked by the beautiful Helen of Troy. Helen – the face that launched a thousand ships – ran away with Paris of Troy leaving behind her husband Menelaus, brother of King Agamemnon.
Mycenae was inhabited by royalty, six of whom are buried in the Grave Circle. The Tomb of Agamemnon is in the Treasury of Atreus, situated on a hill opposite the palace. The place is surrounded by the Cyclopean Walls, built to protect the royal families of Mycenae.
Beautiful artefacts were found here, including large quantities of gold, extraordinary death masks, and exquisite jewelry. Many of the ancient treasures are mentioned by Homer, the great Greek poet, making it quite plausible that the intriguing Mycenaean legends are not merely myths but that these fantastic events truly happen. Many of the treasures unearthed here can be seen in Archaeological Museum of Mycenae while other important artefacts are on display in museums in Athens.
After we tour the beautifully preserved Old City of Mycenae, we travel to Nafplio, the capital city of the Kingdom of Greece. The city is set at the foot of a hill, topped by the Venetian fortress of Palamidi, which was built by the Venetians between 1711 and 1714. One can reach the fortress by climbing the 999 steps leading up or by car. The views from the top, looking over the blue sea and down onto the old town of Nafplio, are breathtaking.
The oldest part of Nafplio is the Fortress of Akronafplia, (“the Inner Castle”). Until the 13th century it was a town on its own. Across from the harbor, on a tiny island, is the Bourtzi, a small fortress built by the Venetians, which can be visited by small boats that leave frequently from the harbor.
In total contrast, see modern art and sculptures at the Alexandros Soutzos Museum (an off shoot of The Athens National Gallery) housed in an elegant neoclassical building.
Nafplio is one of the prettiest towns in Greece. The narrow winding cobblestone alleys are awash with color when the bougainvillea is in bloom. The bustling streets are lined with small shops selling a delightful range of arts and crafts. Check out the selection of up-market clothes and jewelry shops, visit the unique Komboloi and Begleri Museum (Greek worry beads, a string of beads manipulated with the hands and used to pass time in Greek culture), or sit at one of the popular cafés serving irresistible cakes and pastries.
Around the harbor a handful of seafood restaurants serve freshly caught local fish, calamari, and octopus, while in the town numerous tavernas offer delectable traditional Greek dishes.
Nafplio is certainly a place that you will long to come back to.