Both Greek and international tourists love visiting the Greek islands, which are world famous for their beaches, nightlife, and beauty. However, more and more travelers are discovering the gems of the Greek mainland, and most of all, the beautiful destinations of the Peloponnese.
So what are the top five destinations travelers are flocking to in the southern Greek peninsula?
Monemvasia – The Oldest Castle Town in Europe
Many travelers don’t associate Greece with castles, but in fact, the oldest continuously inhabited castle town in all of Europe is in Greece: Monemvasia!
This stunning historic city of the southeastern Peloponnese is about a four hour road trip from Athens. Cars are mostly not allowed within the castle walls, so most tourists either stay in the town itself or just over the pedestrian walkway from the mainland.
Travelers leave their cars behind and lose themselves in the stone alleys, amongst the Medieval, Byzantine, and Ottoman buildings of Monemvasia. The town is right by the sea, so on hot days it’s easy to take a dip in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Areopolis and Mani – Top Local Destinations in the Peloponnese
Greek travelers have been flocking to the rocky peninsula of Mani for years. Lately, international tourists have discovered the unique culture of Mani as well, in addition to its crystal blue waters and isolated beaches.
The main city of the Mani peninsula is Areopolis. With many stone buildings and alleys, Aeropolis resembles something out of an old fairytale.
However, there are many things to do outside of the city as well. Guides run boat tours that explore the Caves of Diros (Spilaia Dirou). Tourists can walk around small villages featuring traditional Maniot architecture. Lastly, foodies should grab a meal at one of the seafront tavernas at Limeni, featuring fresh seafood right on the beautiful Mani coast.
Methoni – The Former Venetian Fortress
Located on the far southwestern corner of the Peloponnese, Methoni used to be a Venetian fortification. To this day, tourists can walk around the giant Venetian fortress left in the town of Methoni and learn about the city’s history.
Nearby Koroni also has its own castle, and both towns have scenic shops, tavernas and streets that tourists will enjoy exploring.
Water sports enthusiasts also love the area surrounding Methoni, as it offers great opportunities for windsurfing and water skiing.
Pylos – An Old Town Enjoying a Renaissance
Formerly known as Navarino, Pylos has been enjoying a renaissance as a top Peloponnesian destination in recent years. Thanks in part to the construction of the gigantic luxury hotel complex of Costa Navarino, tourists are flocking to this charming town in Messinia.
Pylos and the surrounding towns feature beautiful seaside walks and eateries. Tourist-friendly beaches including Glossa Beach and Romanos are located very close to town.
Adventurous travelers also love to explore Nestor’s Cave and the beach of Voidokilia. The latter is one of the most Instagrammed spots in Greece, thanks to its unique layout. A narrow strip of land between two turquoise bays, the best view of Voidokilia requires about a half hour hike up the nearest hill.
Feneos – Traditional Mountain Towns of the Peloponnese
For tourists looking for a Fall/Winter escape in Greece up in the mountains, Feneos might be the place to go. Located in the northern Peloponnese, the area is famous for its small traditional mountain towns, as well as its locally grown food.
Popular nearby sights include the scenic Lake Doxa and the Virgin of the Rock Chapel, built in an opening in a rock wall.
Active travelers will love the area’s hiking trails, kayaking, and even skiing in the winter. Visitors should buy some of Feneos’ delicious locally grown lentils for which they are famous.
Of course, many other top destinations in the Peloponnese belong on every traveler’s bucket list, but these are some of the most beautiful.