15 Ways to Explore Argolida (Map Included)

Members of the Greece Is team share with you 15 ways to best enjoy this vibrant region of the Eastern Peloponnese.

1. The Lion’s Gate

The great archaeological site of Mycenae transports visitors to the kingdom of Agamemnon. You enter the acropolis through the legendary Lion’s Gate, the precise construction techniques of which remain a mystery. The placement of the lintel, estimated to weigh up to 60 tons, has been attributed to the Cyclops, a mythical race of giants. Open daily 08:00-20:00, Tel. (+30) 27510.765.85. Natasha Blatsiou

2. Feasting at Kitsomanis

During the summer months, Kitsomanis Restaurant (Tel. (+30) 27510.222.90) relocates to the 15th km on the old national road between Argos and Tripoli, where the classic pit-stop Ardamis was formerly located. While the space, Kitsomanis Garden Hall, appears to focus more on catered events, its dishes are nonetheless impressive. In fact, the paidakia provatinas (mutton chops), horta yiachni (stewed wild greens), kolokithokorfades (stuffed zucchini flowers) and tiropitaria (fried cheese bread) are exceptional. Natasha Blatsiou

3. Meet me at the Sitaropazaro

Every Wednesday and Saturday, people from across the Argos Plain gather to do their shopping, from groceries to garments, at the Sitaropazaro in Argos, an open-air market first set up next to the Kapodistrias Barracks, named after the first leader of independent Greece. Just opposite, the Municipal Market, built in 1899 by the famous architect Ernest Ziller, today is home to a variety of shops and cafés. Natasha Blatsiou

4. Discovering the Butterfly

The coastline between Nafplio and Astros is not famous for its sandy beaches, but rather for the tavernas dotted along the shoreline, which serve exceptional meze and ouzo. There is, however, one amazing pebbly beach for those in search of peace and quiet. Called Petalouda (“Butterfly”) or Viles, it is located on the coastal road between Kiveri and Astros. Natasha Blatsiou

5. Giosa meat at Birbou’s

Served warm or cold on parchment paper, this meze goes well with a cold beer. Giosa, which is mutton or goat meat cooked in a wood-fired oven, is considered the best meze in the mountainous regions of Argolida and Corinthia. Give it a try at Birbos’ taverna in the village of Panariti (Tel. (+30) 27520.445.71). Vegetarians can try the roasted eggplant with garlic or skordalia (a potato and garlic spread), another local delicacy. Natasha Blatsiou

6. Cultural gifts at the PFF

A visit to the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation in Nafplio is a veritable journey into Greek culture and civilization. The items on display, including paintings by Theophilos, embroidery from the Dodecanese and Cyclades, and local traditional costumes were selected by the museum’s founder Ioanna Papantoniou. The shop, which sells museum replicas, is particularly interesting. Open daily 09:00-14:30, Sun 09:30-15:00, pli.gr/ en, Tel. (+30) 27520.283.79/289.47. Natasha Blatsiou

7. Argolida through the centuries

Housed on the top floor of the old Venetian barracks, where the interrogation rooms were located during the German occupation in World War II, the Archaeological Museum of Nafplio is home to more than 40,000 years of history. Look for the bronze armor from Dendra and the plastered square floor panel with dolphins from the Mycenaean citadel of Tiryns (Tel. (+30) 27520.275.02, open daily except Tue 09:00-16:00). Natasha Blatsiou

8. Invitation to the Last Supper

In the Church of Aghios Giorgios in Nafplio, the first cathedral of independent Greece, you’ll find one of the five best copies of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” attributed to one of his students. Natasha Blatsiou

9. The Anapliotis promenade

This beloved route begins at the harbor of Nafplio and then hugs a sheer rock face studded with prickly pear trees until Arvanitia Beach, from where you can continue on to Karathona Beach or to the Palamidi fortress. Tradition has it that 999 steps lead to the fortress’ entrance, but in truth there are just 857. Natasha Blatsiou

10. Art for all ages

Fougaro is an established arts center for both young and old that also serves food and drink. Highlights include painting and pottery workshops, activities raising environmental awareness, concerts, puppet shows and outdoor film screenings (fougaro.gr, Tel. (+30) 27520.473.00.) Natasha Blatsiou

11. For wine lovers, and not only

Taste a variety of wines from the Peloponnese and the rest of Greece at tiny Alkioni Wine Bar or at the more luxurious 3Sixty, which is also known for its cocktails and sells their wines to go as well. Allday hangouts with great tunes include Skatzochiros Bar on Siokou Street, the classic Mavros Gatos, and Raspberry Caffeine & Alcohol, which also boasts great views of the Palamidi fortress. Natasha Blatsiou

12. Products from Trachia

The village of Trachia is only a few kilometers south of the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus. Here at Katsouli’s, you can find traditional dairy products and cheese for sale. Stop by on the way back to Athens to stock up on homemade leavened bread, sharp feta cheese and sweet graviera cheese. Lina Kapetanidou

13. Sailing in Porto Heli

Another way to explore this cosmopolitan resort area is to rent a boat and visit the islets of Korakia and Hinitsa, hidden Kounoupi Beach and plenty of small bays that have no name. Eleftheria Alavanou

14. A French lady at Iliokastro

Refined flavors, great meat dishes, a short but interesting menu and a lovely courtyard characterize the Maryvonne family restaurant (Tel. (+30) 27540.913.52), which has turned Iliokastro, a quaint mountain village, into a culinary destination. Highlights include the rooster in wine sauce or in beer sauce, and the slow-cooked lamb, available only after prior request. Reservation required. Alexandra Mandrakou

15. Before the performance

Take a morning swim at Gialasi Beach in Ancient Epidaurus. If it’s too busy, head towards Kalymnios and its “sunken city,” where, with the naked eye, you can spot Mycenaean tombs and amphorae on the sea floor. Lina Kapetaniou

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