The Peloponnese

Connected to the rest of Greece by the Corinth Canal, a marvel of modern engineering that wows from both the surrounding land and the bows of a cruise ship, the Peloponnese easily rivals Athens when it comes to Greek vacation destinations. It’s just one element of a rivalry which many would say extends back before the birth of Christ.

Where Athens has the Acropolis, the Peloponnese has Olympia and Mycenae. The first grew to become the ancient world’s most sacred site, as well as the location of the original Olympic Games, whose prestige was so great wars would stop so contenders could reach the start line. Mycenae is similarly unmissable for ancient history lovers, being the site of the Lion Gate of King Agamemnon, a key figure in the Trojan Wars.

Tours to Mycenae are often combined with beachside Nafplio, known throughout Greece for its beauty and romance, rather than the fact it was independent Greece’s first capital. Meanwhile, Epidaurus is arguably the finest ancient theater ever constructed, where the acoustics are so good patrons in the highest seats can hear dialogue without recourse to microphones or sound systems.

Beyond its ancient treasures, the Mani Peninsula impresses many with its unexpected natural splendor, revealing a side to Greece usually only encountered when crossing the country’s turquoise blue waters by ferry – or better yet yacht – to the Greek Islands.

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