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Vacation in the Peloponnese: a vacation on a peninsula, but with full enjoyment - voila! tourism


Highlights: On a spontaneous vacation in the Peloponnese, Ziv Reinstein discovered the huge peninsula that has everything. Pampering resorts, beaches and attractions for the whole family, cultural and heritage sites, shopping, and especially great food. The area is also home to some of Greece's most important historical sites, including Ancient Olympia, Sparta, Laconia (where the phrase "laconic speech" came from) and more. The peninsula is located in the southern part of Greece and the size of the State of Israel.

On a spontaneous vacation in the Peloponnese, I discovered the huge peninsula that has everything. Pampering resorts, beaches and attractions for the whole family, cultural and heritage sites, shopping, and especially great food.

Vacation in Mykonos, Greece (Photo: Ziv ReinsteinEdit by Ziv Steiner)

Only two and a half hours flight, this is the time it took me to reach thePeloponnese peninsula - a surprising destination in Greece - which is still not familiar enough to the Israeli tourist. When planning a vacation in Greece, of course I will immediately think of islands like Crete and Rhodes, which I have long since exhausted. But a spontaneous trip as part of a press delegation to a destination a few hours away from Athens left me wanting more.

The huge peninsula located in the southern part of Greece and the size of the State of Israel, has emerged in recent years as a real gem that offers vacations that include spectacular nature, pampering resorts and water parks with turquoise beaches. All this alongside nightlife and shopping in Patras, the third largest city in Greece, after Athens and Thessaloniki.

The area is also home to some of Greece's most important historical sites, including Ancient Olympia - where the Olympic Games began, Sparta, Laconia (where the phrase "laconic speech" came from) and more.

Pampering resorts and water parks with turquoise beaches. Atlantis Hotel on the Peloponnese Peninsula (Photo: Wife of Tours)

Between green and turquoise. Landing at Arkassos Airport (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

3 weekly flights in high season

I flew to the huge peninsula at the beginning of last month on El Al's inaugural flight to the destination. The landing was at Arkassos Airport, a small military airport converted to receive international flights at this time of year and close to the large city of Patras and many resorts. The airport is so small that within a few steps on foot we reached the terminal and were already waiting for our luggage. At that moment I also realized that there was nothing to expect from duty free on the flight back to Israel.

The trip to the resort revealed the charm of the area, which is full of green agricultural areas. From the window I could see huge acres of strawberry and anemone fields surrounding the airport. In summer, two weekly flights are scheduled to take off to the Peloponnese, and in the high season, July and August, another flight will be added.

40 pools throughout the hotel, resort "Olympian Village Aldamar" (Photo: PR Hotel)

Exit to the pool and the sea - mountain view. The pampering suite (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

Stamp for families

Many resorts in the Peloponnese are located on long, sandy stretches of beach, and offer family and couple vacations at perfectly fair prices. For example, the resort "Olympian Village Aldamar" where I stayed. From the airport I drove almost an hour, until I reached the huge all-inclusive resort with no less than 40 swimming pools. Families traveling with children will be delighted to find out that there are two mini clubs with a gymboree, bicycle rentals, water sports, movie screenings and an entertainment team every evening.

The resort has more than 600 rooms, so as soon as I was done with check-in we went straight away in a golf cart on which we loaded our luggage. The spacious suite had every possible treat, including going out to a shared pool with several suites and sea and mountain views. The staff members at the hotel were polite and nice and available for any inquiry. Some rooms face the pools and some have a jacuzzi, but all guests can enjoy the main pool right next to the beach with a long slide and an adjoining bar.

I was particularly impressed by the nine different restaurants spread throughout the hotel, which allows each guest (by appointment) to dine at three of them - at no extra charge. Among the restaurants is a wide variety of food in all its variations, from a restaurant serving Greek food, an Italian restaurant, and an outdoor bar located at the pool terrace.

The view from the village of Lagkadia, two hours drive from the resort (Photo: Walla! editorial board, Yael Cohen)

The picturesque villages in the Peloponnese region (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

Romantic walk on "The Way of Love"

On the peninsula are quite a few Greek villages that time seems untouched. First the villageof Lagkadiain Arcadia Province - two hours drive from the resort. The picturesque village slops down a hillside and you can sit in one of several restaurants offering fascinating views.

From antiquity to Greece's modern wars, the fortified mountains of Arcadia served as refuges for Greek independence fighters and rebels. The village of Vytina, which we reached later, was a center for these fighters and played a significant role in the War of Independence that broke out in 1821.

Today, the quiet village is a tourist attraction known for its fine produce: local honey from the flowers of the fir trees, cheeses and handmade pastas. Locals mostly take pride in the "Way of Love," an avenue of maple and plane trees, which they say is so named because it is ideal for a romantic walk. In the village center are several cafes, restaurants and shops where you can buy local produce. We ended our tour there with a meal at the "Red Pot" restaurant, which offers authentic Greek food of all kinds. The food was great, and I especially enjoyed the spinach pastry, cheeses, and orange pie we got for dessert.

A shop with local produce in Kfar Vitina (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

Handmade pastas in a store in Kfar Vitina (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

Homeland of the Olympics

The ancient city of Olympia, where the Olympic Games tradition began in 776 BC, is among the most important sites in the Peloponnese and attracts many tourists. To the city, which has been declared a World Heritage Site, we continued immediately after touring the villages. There at the time, men from all over the country would gather in games, which began with the aim of pleasing the gods and competed in the disciplines: running, jumping, discus throwing, horse chariots, boxing and bayonet throwing.

On a tour of the archaeological site, we observed the training center where the athletes trained, the running stadium built in the 5th century BC, and also the altar site of Hera (according to Greek mythology - Queen of Olympus and goddess of marriage) where the fire of the Olympic torch was lit by concentrating sun rays and mirrors.

In the nearby museum, one of the most important museums in Greece today, you can see preserved remains from the statue of Zeus in Olympia, which was 12 meters high and considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. In the museum you will also find impressive finds including a collection of bronze war helmets and many sculptures from the classical period, which will surely fascinate lovers of Greek mythology like me.

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Olympia (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

The sculptures in the museum. Fascinating finds from the classical period of Greece (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

"Blood of Hercules"

The Peloponnese Peninsula is full of olive groves from which the world's best olive oils are produced, and the local cuisine relies mostly on the olive oil produced from them. The climate of the region, which combines rain and sun in the Greek winter, is fertile ground for excellent winemaking, and many wineries can be found on the peninsula. In the area of the city ofNemeain the northeastern Peloponnese, wine unique to the region is also produced from the Agriorgitiko grapes, also called the "blood of Hercules".

We went to visit the ancient winery Mercouri - about half an hour's drive from the hotel. On the tour, we passed between exhibits of a variety of agricultural tools, some of which have been used for thousands of years, and cellars where the wine is produced in hundreds of barrels. This is a boutique winery that produces about 120,50 bottles a year and exports 7% of its produce to the United States, Canada and Europe. Bottles can be bought on site for EUR 12 for white wine and EUR <> for red. It is important to note that the tour is subject to prior arrangement with the property.

The ancient winery Mercouri. Tours can be scheduled by appointment only (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

The highlight - the shopping and bars

In the north of the Peloponnese is the large city of Patras, the economic and commercial capital of the Greek peninsula. The city has more than 210,30 inhabitants and is best known for its nightlife and youthful atmosphere, felt by its <>,<> students. We slept in town for one night, and no doubt felt it was more than enough.

Between Patras of day and Patras of night there was a very noticeable difference. From its streets and view I was not very impressed, the houses were mostly old and under construction and the ashes from the works gave a dusty and filthy feeling. But Patras after dark gave the feeling of a vibrant, happy and most active city.

The central Agiou Nikolaou street includes many brand stores, such as Zara, H&M, Pool & Bar, and even Sephora. Bonus: significantly cheaper prices from Israel. In the evening, the street changed shape and walking along it and the alleys leading out of it, I was surprised by the many restaurants and bars that opened, and which began to fill the masses of young people. In the area you can eat everything you want - from Greek food to Italian and also vegan.

Brand stores on the main avenue. Patras (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

Surprising nightlife. Patras (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

Patras is divided into the Old Upper Town, and the Modern Lower Town. Between them connect wide staircases that are visible from almost every angle on the streets of the modern city. Prominent sites in the city are the Roman theater used for plays and performances in summer, the remains of a fortress from the Venetian period and an archaeological museum from the Roman period in the first and second centuries AD - when the city was chosen to serve as a Roman colony. The city is also home to the largest Orthodox church in Greece - St. Andrew's Cathedral. Construction began in 1908 and was completed only 66 years later, in 1974.

Those who vacation in the city during the winter months will surely be happy to discover that from January 17 until the end of February there will be a carnival that is a tradition of more than 180 years. The carnival combines parades with elaborate costumes, with an impressive opening ceremony, street parties, a separate carnival for children and many other attractions.

In terms of accommodation in the city, I slept in the boutique hotel "My Way" which is in an excellent location on the harbor and a very small distance from the main street. Breakfast is served on the rooftop, and from its terrace you can take a few moments and have a leisurely view of the whole area.

The biggest church in Greece. St. Andrew's Cathedral (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

With views of the harbour and the whole area. The suite at the "My Way" hotel in Patras (Photo: Walla!, Yael Cohen)

Bottom line - on vacation in the Peloponnese you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Sun, sea, pool and also culture, museums, nature and shopping. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of popular destinations, the peninsula promises an outstanding experience, and on the way a vacation at affordable prices that will suit the whole family. For example, in order to close a night at the hotel, Eshet Tours offers packages that include flights, accommodation and transfers from the airport. Three nights for a couple in a standard room in June will start at $644, with the price going up in July and August.

The writer was a guest of Torres' wife in the Peloponnese.

  • tourism
  • World Travel
  • Europe
  • Greece


  • Greece
  • Athens
  • Flights

Source: walla

All life articles on 2023-06-07

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