Tasting Table’s mouthwatering profile of noteworthy places to eat and drink in Athens
This article from Tasting Table will whet your appetite for places to get a great drink, snack or meal during your trip to Athens
Tastes of Athens: We don’t yet know if we’ll be spending any time in Athens on our next trip to Greece, but I have already bookmarked a timely Tasting Table article (pictured above) to help us decide where to enjoy a coffee, drink, snack or meal if we do manage to visit the city.
16 Places to eat and drink in Athens, Greece popped up while I was scrolling through news stories on my phone during a break at the gym. Thankfully, I didn’t have time to read it then, since writer Brandon Rich’s food and beverage recommendations would have left me feeling ravenous the rest of the day.
His profile includes two cocktail bars that have been named among the world’s best, and two restaurants on the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand listing. I instantly recognized the names of three of the four establishments, plus one of several Greek tavernas that Rich writes about. I wasn’t familiar with any of the other eateries — probably because, as Rich points out, “some of the best places you can eat and drink in Athens are still flying under the radar.”
His article spotlights bakeries and cafes, traditional tavernas and fine dining establishments, souvlaki joints and street food shops, describing signature drinks and dishes and must-try meals and beverages. The easy-to-read piece also provides links to websites for each venue, so you can obtain addresses and contact details, and read more about each place.
Wondering what parties and events are being held on Mykonos for the 2023 tourist season? Curious to find out what’s new on the island this year? Or to learn when restaurants, bars, nightclubs, beachclubs, hotels and resorts are opening for the season? Here’s our annual round-up of events, announcements and openings for The Island of the Winds!
Keep scrolling down this page to see what is happening on Mykonos this month, and to learn about this year’s new arrivals on the island.
Information about other tourist-focussed topics is presented on separate pages of this post:
These listings are updated regularly, whenever event or opening day announcements are issued.
Events taking place in March and April
April 1 is the season start date for the Delos Tours boat trips to historic Delos island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important archaeological destinations in the Greek Islands. Full details of boat schedules and ticket prices are available on the Delos Tours website.
Mosaic is holding parties on Friday March 31 and Saturday April 1
DJ Simos Anastasopoulos will be on the decks at Vegera on Friday March 31 and Saturday April 1. These are the final parties of Vegera’s winter events season.
Velanos wraps up its winter season of weekly parties on Sunday April 2. The Winter Closing party will feature music by DJ Periklis Mantzanas.
Paloma bar has ended its winter season of weekend parties, and will be taking a brief break until its reopening on Friday April 7
Singer Ilias Kampakakis will perform at Promenade on the Holy Saturday (April 15) of Orthodox Easter weekend
New arrivals for the 2023 season
Van Stories Mykonos is a unique new service making its debut on the island this summer. Its signature “boho-style” Volkswagen T2 van features a fully stocked mobile bar and DJ booth that can be booked for private parties, weddings , photo shoots, and other special events.
Bagatelle Mykonos will unveil an exciting new restaurant concept — The Sunset Plaza — when it opens in May for its second season of operations. Inspired by lively plazas throughout Europe, the sunset-view, seaside complex will feature three distinct venues offering “fine dining, high-end entertainment and fashion shopping in an al fresco setting”: The Sunset Lounge, Bagatelle Mykonos restaurant, and ITA Mykonos. Designed as a romantic spot to watch the sunset or relax after dinner, The Sunset Lounge will offer “amazing cocktails prepared by top-notch mixologists, a high-end collection of wines and spirits, live artists, fire blowers, singers, musicians and dancers, and the most beautiful view of the island,” a Bagatelle Group spokesperson told us. The restaurant, Bagatelle Mykonos, will spotlight cuisine inspired by La Côte d’Azur, Southern Italy and Mykonos; its unique menu will “blend the generous flavours of the French Riviera cuisine with the refreshing Mediterranean and Greek influences.” Meanwhile, the “magical hideaway” ITA Mykonos — an intimate spot inspired by the lush jungles of Mexico — will offer an adventurous culinary journey with its menu of “daring and colorful Mexican and Peruvian fusion food.”
A new hotel that describes itself as “youthful, breezy and affordable” will be opening this season in Ano Mera. Mykonia Inn Hotel will boast 68 rooms in six different styles that can accommodate 1, 2, 3 or 4 people. The hotel website says rates start as low as €60 per night for the “Just the two of us” room, €80 for the “Just the three of us” room, and €140 for the “Mykonos Vibes” room for 4. Hotel facilities and services include a swimming pool, gym, and a continental breakfast. An official opening date has not yet been announced, and the hotel’s online booking form had not been activated as of February 21. We’re still awaiting word from Mykonia Inn as to when it will begin taking reservations.
The chic new Domes Noruz Mykonos hotel is expected to open its doors this July. Located at Agios Stefanos, the 38-suite, adults-only resort is the newest member of the Domes Resorts collection of luxury lifestyle vacation properties in the Mediterranean. According to a media announcement by Domes Resorts, guests at the new Mykonos hotel will be able to “choose rooms with private pools, indulge in signature culinary offerings at Topos Neo-med restaurant, sip on cocktail masterpieces by Apallou mixologists, and experience established lounge sessions or explore the island in the care of a tried and tested concierge. These elements create a celebratory aesthetic that includes art and fashion, all set against a 24/7 vibe of chill music and sun-kissed relaxation.”
Bill & Coo Coast Suites at Agios Ioannis has introduced a new private hideaway for 2023 — the Coast Hill Suites. This “discreet cocoon” of 10 spacious suites — the biggest suite at Bill & Coo Coast — each feature an infinity pool, a sheltered terrace with sweeping sea, sunset and Delos island views, and round-the-clock service from the hotel’s team.
Katikies Mykonos hotel at Agios Ioannis beach will be welcoming Botrini’s Mykonos restaurant to its property this summer — the newest Greek island restaurant to feature the cuisine of Michelin-starred Greek-Italian chef Hector Botrini. According to a media announcement by the Katikies hotel chain, “Showcasing premium ingredients, high technique and inexhaustible talent, the chef’s most iconic recipes set the stage for a unique culinary experience. The most precious and freshest gifts of the land and the sea pass through the kitchen to be transformed into works of contemporary culinary art, which are found in degustation and à la carte menus and are accompanied by excellent Greek and international wine labels, under the supervision of Yiannis Karakasis MW (Master of Wine).” An official opening date for Botrini’s Mykonos has not yet been announced, but the restaurant page on the Katikies Mykonos website is accepting online reservations for seating dates from May 1 until September 30.
Divine Sea & More, the beach bar and restaurant at Super Paradise beach, has a new name for 2023 — the venue is now called Thalas Barefoot Tavern & Beach. Season opening date for Thalas has not yet been announced.
Bouboulo restaurant on the Gialos harbourside promenade of Mykonos Town has undergone a transformation for 2023. Now called Frankie Mykonos (a name inspired by Frank Sinatra), its menu features “cuisine with the flavor of Italy and fresh local ingredients, true to our farm-to-table philosophy and quality. Enjoy fresh handmade pasta, meat, bread and pizza with sourdough and organic flour that are fermented daily and baked in our wood-fired oven, as well as gluten free and lactose free options,” a description on the restaurant website says.
The Nammos World of luxury lifestyle restaurants, beach clubs, entertainment events and shopping is expanding with the debut of a chain of exclusive high-end hotels and resorts. Twenty years ago, Nammos Mykonos opened as an upscale restaurant on Psarou beach. Within a few short years it became one of the island’s most famous beach clubs, drawing an international clientele of the rich, famous and beautiful. More recently, the brand opened Nammos venues in Dubai, Cannes, Limassol and Qatar. Now, in 2023, it has established Nammos Hotels & Resorts, and the first Nammos Hotel will open this summer on Psarou beach (in the premises previously operated as the Kensho Psarou hotel, and last year as N Hotel.) Nammos resorts in Abu Dhabi and the Maldives also are set to open. The new Nammos Mykonos hotel can be seen on the left side of the beach in the image above; the beach club is next door, on the right. Opening dates for the hotel and beach club have not yet been announced.
Please click on the links below to read about restaurant and bar opening dates and other news:
Winter wonders: The latest Athens issue of Greece Is magazine sure would have come in handy during a recent Christmas party conversation about winter travel plans. After friends and acquaintances described their upcoming trips to Florida, Australia, Mexico and the Caribbean, everyone looked perplexed when I said that I wished I could visit Athens. “But isn’t everything there closed down?” one of my acquaintances asked. Similar questions by others in the group suggested they, too, think Greece is only a summer beach destination.
Like many people, they just don’t realize that, even during the cooler months of off-season, the capital of Greece is always brimming with engaging arts and culture events, and fun food, drink and entertainment activities.
Why wouldn’t it be? It’s a major international city, after all, and its 3 million residents don’t go into hibernation until Greek Easter. They like to get out and about to experience their city’s cultural attractions and events, and there are plenty of those to enjoy throughout the winter months — as the Athens Winter 2022-2023 special edition of Greece Is magazine points out.
Released in early December, the 148-page issue includes:
♦ A spotlight on things to see and do in Athens — both indoors and out — on mild winter days
♦ Photos and information about visiting the Makrigianni site — the ancient streets beneath the Acropolis Museum
♦ “Art & the City,” a look at local hangouts for food, drinks and shopping in the neighbourhoods near the city’s major museums and art galleries
♦ “At the museum with the kids,” an article that highlights “tailored programs and tours” geared specifically for children — a must-read for families travelling to Athens
♦ In “Dining Out: Then & Now,” writer Christos Chomenidis “connects the past with the present” as he describes visits to five noteworthy restaurants that each have “their own story to tell.”
♦ “Finding philosophy among the ruins,” a piece that traces the “ancient Greek philosophers’ favourite haunts in and around the Athenian Agora”
♦ “Dreaming of the blue skies of Attica,” an essay that considers “why the return of the Parthenon Sculptures is a democratic imperative,” and much more.
If you’re planning a winter trip to Athens, or simply wondering if it’s worthwhile to visit at this time of year, have a look through the magazine. You’ll find lots of helpful information and great suggestions for places to visit and things to do — more than enough to keep you entertained and enthralled.
A lush 100-hectare coastal property is for sale on Ithaca island
The lovely Ulysses’ Cove property for sale on Ithaca island is shown in an aerial photo from the website FT Property Listings
Ionian idyll: If you’ve been dreaming about spending next summer at your own private Greek Island retreat, here’s your chance to snap up a piece of paradise in Greece’s Ionian islands — a lush, coastal property on Ithaca is up for sale.
Although it’s not an entire island, Ulysses’ Cove is nonetheless an enviable estate-sized property that measures a whopping 1 million square meters (that’s 100 hectares or 247 acres). The expansive and varied terrain encompasses rolling hills and level grounds thickly wooded with trees and verdant foliage, a long forested peninsula, and eight beguiling beaches scattered along gorgeous turquoise waters.
The property includes nine buildings that were constructed in the 1960s in a simple yet elegant style designed to blend seamlessly with the island’s natural environment. The structures include a “charming” villa and cottages that measure 849 square meters in all, and boast a reception hall, living room with fireplace, two kitchens, a formal dining room, nine bedrooms with eight bathrooms, and two rooms for staff. The grounds feature colourful flower-filled gardens and a number of outdoor terraces that would be ideal for al fresco dining, entertaining and relaxing. What’s more, the property comes with its own caique — a 12-meter traditional Greek boat.
“This unique estate may be the ideal haven for a family seeking a private paradise, or it may be developed into an exclusive hotel or collection of holiday homes,” the listing notes.
We stumbled upon the Christie’s International Real Estate listings for Ulysses’ Cove while web-surfing possible destinations for our holidays in Greece next year. One of the listings was part of an Aegean Airlines in-flight magazine advertisement by Athens-based Ploumis Sotiropoulos Real Estate Brokers, while the other appeared on FT Property Listings. Photos of the property’s interior and exterior spaces can be viewed on both websites.
While the ads don’t mention the vendor’s asking price (it’s available only upon request), we’re fairly certain it’s a little beyond our personal holiday accommodation budget for 2023. Still, that won’t keep us from imagining ourselves soaking up the summer sunshine on a different private beach every day of the week, hosting family and friends for drinks or BBQ parties on the hideaway’s bay-view waterfront, or spending an afternoon at sea on the Ulysses’ Cove boat.
If you, by any chance, happen to acquire Ulysses’ Cove after learning about it here on the blog, please keep us in mind when you’re planning a list of guests to invite for a holiday stay in one of the cottages. We’d love to join you there! 😉
Video views of archaeological sites and superb scenery at the top historic places of Ancient Corinth
The 6-minute film Ancient Corinthia from high above captures breathtaking aerial views of the major historic locations of Ancient Corinth
For history buffs and landscape lovers: The Corinth region of Greece is home to a plethora of important sites that will impress visitors who are fascinated with ancient Greek history. And since they’re situated in beautiful outdoor locations, these places should appeal even to people who aren’t history buffs, but who enjoy seeing and spending time in picturesque landscapes, countrysides and coastal areas.
That’s why we think both types of traveller will enjoy watching the video we have shared above. Produced by the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth, it captures amazing visual perspectives of Ancient Corinth’s signature ruins and monuments amidst their scenic surroundings.
Historic sites shown in the video include, in order of appearance:
♦ Krommyon at Ayioi Theodori
♦ Sanctuary of Hera at Perochora
♦ Ithsmus / Corinth Canal
♦ Diolkos at Poseidonia
♦ Sanctuary of Poseidon at Ithsmia
♦ the submerged ancient port at Kenchreai
♦ Solygeia at Galataki
♦ Tenea at Klenia and Chiliomodi
♦ Poros Limestone Quarries at Examilia
♦ the harbour at Lechaion
♦ Ancient Corinth
♦ Sanctuary of Demeter and Koris
♦ Sanctuary of Asklepios
♦ the Theater at Ancient Corinth
♦ Temple of Apollo
The Peirine Fountain, seen in a photo from the website for the Ancient Corinth Archaeological Museum
We got to see several of the locations — Sanctuary of Hera, Corinth Canal, Diolkos, Acrocorinth, as well as the Temple of Apollo and many other monuments at the Ancient Corinth archaeological site — during two daytrips in May 2022, while we were staying in the nearby city of Loutraki. We passed close by a few of the others shown in the video, but regret that we weren’t able to include them in our itinerary.
If you find yourself in the Corinth area with a vehicle and three to four (or more) days at your disposal, you should be able to comfortably visit most, if not all, of these sites. The villages, towns and countryside around them look fascinating, too, and undoubtedly would be worth exploring.
Planning a trip to the Corinth area, or just wondering if it’s the right region for you to visit on an upcoming trip to Greece? The following links should prove helpful for your research:
♦ the Explore Corinth website provides detailed information, photos, artwork and videos of some of the region’s key sites and attractions — Ancient Corinth, Acrocorinth, Corinth Canal, Ancient Tenea and Ancient Nemea — and includes a section spotlighting St. Paul the Apostle, who established a Christian community and church at Corinth.
♦ the website for the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth contains detailed visitor information and photos of the museum and its collections, and the adjacent archaeological site, as you would expect, along with specific sections that focus on Acrocorinth, Bema of St. Paul, Sanctuary of Asklepieion, Temple of Octavia, Temple of Apollo, Glauke Fountain, Basiilica of Kraneion, Basilica of Lechaion, Peirene Fountain, Ancient Odeion, Amphitheater, and the Theater of Ancient Corinth.
♦ the commercial travel agency site Enjoy Corinthia features information, photos and videos of historic sites, top tourist attractions, beaches and other places of interest both in the Corinth area and beyond, along with descriptions of tours and excursions the company provides and, of course, details of its holiday packages and other services.
The Sanctuary of Demeter and Koris is seen in an aerial photo from the Ancient Corinth Archaeological Museum’s website
Our Corinth daytrips in 2022
Also have a look at our blog posts containing descriptions and photos of daytrips we took during a three-day stay at the city of Loutraki in May 2022:
The Corinth Canal, an ancient boat slipway, a castle, an archaeological site and a museum were fascinating stops during our daytrip in the Corinth area of the Peloponnese
In less than half a day, we were able to visit such important historic sites as the Acrocorinth castle, top, the Ancient Corinth archaeological site and museum, center, and the Diolkos boat trackway at the western entrance to the Corinth Canal
Ideal for history buffs: During our short stay in Loutraki last May, we got to step thousands of years back in time with an easy daytrip visit to several of the premier historic attractions in the nearby Corinth area.
It was an ideal itinerary for history buffs as well as anyone who appreciates marvels of architecture and engineering.
Our driving route took us across a submersible bridge at the northern mouth of the Corinth Canal, where we stopped to see the Diolkos, an ancient track that was used to transfer boats overland from the Gulf of Corinth to the Saronic Gulf, long before the canal was constructed.
Next stop was the Acrocorinth Castle, where we wandered around the inside of the massive mountaintop fortress and enjoyed superlative views of the Corinth region.
Lunch and a coffee break in the modern city of Corinth topped off our tour of amazing feats of engineering and impressive monuments and artefacts from centuries of Greek history.
I have written individual posts to show photos and information about the attractions at each of our stops. You can view them simply by continuing to scroll down the blog, or by clicking on any of the following links to access a specific article:
During a daytrip from nearby Loutraki, we crossed a submersible bridge on the Corinth Canal to see the Diolkos, an ancient boat slipway
Looking along a section of the ancient Diolkos track, a stone-paved slipway once used to move boats overland across the Isthmus of Corinth. This section of the historic track is situated only a few meters from the edge of the Corinth Canal, which is partly visible in the upper right corner of the photo.
Marvels of maritime travel & transport: We have seen — and driven over — the world-famous Corinth Canal numerous times, but this daytrip marked our first opportunity to cross the 129-year-old waterway on a submersible bridge, something we never even knew existed. (Our previous canal crossings had been on the regional motorway and local road bridge, the same routes on which most tourists pass over the historic canal in excursion buses or rental vehicles.)
Another first, for us, was seeing a remarkable unearthed section of an overland track that was used to move cargo ships for hundreds of years long before the canal was constructed.
The Diolkos is a stone-paved road that enabled boats and transport ships to cross the Isthmus of Corinth — a 6 km wide stretch of flat land separating the Gulf of Corinth to the north from the Saronic Gulf to the south — instead of sailing the substantially longer and potentially perilous sea route off the Peloponnese coast.
This Google map pinpoints the submersible bridge near the Diolkos track, our first stop on a daytrip from the city of Loutraki to several historic attractions in the Corinth area of the Peloponnese
Grooves in the stone pavement are the ancient tracks that boats were dragged along from one gulf to the other
A marvel of engineering for its time, the Diolkos is believed to have been constructed in the early years of the 6th Century BCE, and operated from around 650 BCE to 50 CE. The track extended for as long as 8 kilometers between the two gulfs, and varied in width from 4.5 to 6 meters in most places, and up to 10 meters near each gulf coast. Boats would be hauled from the water on wooden rollers, then loaded onto special wheeled vehicles that animals would pull along grooves in the track. To make the load lighter for carriage on the track, the vessel’s cargo would be unloaded and transported to the other gulf separately, by road, while the boat was slowly dragged down the Diolkos. Once the ship was refloated in the gulf on the opposite side of the isthmus, its cargo would be reloaded and the boat would resume its voyage.
The Diolkos was a costly shortcut for shipowners, who paid steep fees for the slipway transit service, and it gradually fell out of favour as sailing firms began acquiring larger ships that could more safely navigate the seas off the Peloponnese.
We felt it was definitely worthwhile making a short stop at the Diolkos to appreciate the ancient engineering achievement and contemplate the incredibly difficult and demanding physical labour that would have been required to move heavy boats along the passageway.
As for that submersible bridge we crossed to reach the Diolkos, we didn’t know how it worked until long after we got home from our trip, when I found a YouTube video which I have posted below. We had thought it was a type of drawbridge that would swing to one side to let boats pass but, as the video shows, it actually drops deep into the water channel, then quickly rises back into position once ships have entered or exited the canal.
We didn’t get to watch the bridge in action because the canal had been closed to traffic at the time, still undergoing restoration work to repair extensive damage caused by a series of landslides in late 2020 and in 2021. It reopened in July 2022 for a few months of seasonal operations before shutting for a scheduled second phase of repairs that will be performed during the late autumn and winter.
This two-lane vehicle bridge, at the west entrance to the Corinth Canal, submerses to let boats and ships pass through the canal. It’s located close to a segment of the Diolkos trackway. We crossed this bridge en route from Loutraki to the Diolkos track during a May 2022 daytrip in the Peloponnese. Another similar bridge is situated at the east mouth of the canal.
We didn’t get to see, in person, how the submersible bridges at the Corinth Canal work, because the canal had been closed to boat traffic at the time of our visit. But this interesting 3-minute video, by OurTour Blog, shows one of the bridges in operation.
Learn more about the Diolkos and Corinth Canal
For further historic insights and background information on both the Doilkos track and the Corinth Canal, complete with photos and maps, have a look at these excellent articles:
♦ Corinth Canal Doilkos on Sailing Issues, a website focussed on marine navigation and sailing holidays in Greece, Croatia and Turkey;
♦ The Greek Reporter story Greece’s Corinth Canal closes again until next summer, published October 4, describes the landslides and restoration work that forced the canal to close until July of this year. The report also includes a local news video showing the rockfall damage.
Uphill climbs, imposing walls, centuries of history and beautiful views: Photos from our visit to Acrocorinth, the largest castle in the Peloponnese
Acrocorinth Castle, top, occupies the peak of a 575-meter (1,880-foot) mountain that rises on the southwest side of the Ancient Corinth archaeological site, above. We explored the castle during a daytrip to historic sites in the Corinth area in May 2022.
Formidable fortress: I call it the Rock of Ages, because there’s an incredibly long history behind Acrocorinth, an impressive ages-old castle that sits astride a monolithic peak in the Corinth region of the Peloponnese.
Dating to pre-Christian times, the mountaintop site was the Acropolis of Ancient Corinth, a wealthy and influential city-state that was one of the biggest and most important cities in Greece, with a population topping 90,000 in 400 B.C. Over the centuries since, the stronghold has been ruled by the Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Knights of Saint John, Venetians and Ottomans.
During our drive from the Corinth Canal to the castle, it was easy to see why Acrocorinth was such a prized property for empires of the past to acquire and control. The huge rock rises at a strategic position along crossroads of major trade, travel and military routes, and its high location provides commanding views of northeastern Peloponnese and two important waterways, the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf.
Acrocorinth is the largest castle in the Peloponnese, and its vast size immediately became apparent when we got out of our car in a parking area partway up the mountain and gazed up at the lower fortification walls. Imposing and tall, the stone structures extend almost 3,000 meters (nearly 10,000 feet) along the fortress perimeter, and enclose interior space of more than 240,000 square meters (59 acres). Even without knowing those startling statistics, we were struck by how absolutely enormous and intimidating the castle appeared from outside. It felt just as big once we got inside, too, and we didn’t even get to see all of the interior.
This short film by Travel and Drones was released in early December 2022. It presents dramatic and breathtaking aerial views of Acrocorinth and the nearby Corinth area of the Peloponnese
We managed to wander around Acrocorinth’s interior for nearly two hours before we felt too tuckered out to continue, thanks to the combination of our jet lag and all the walking (much of it on steps and slopes) under sunny skies and a temperature of 24 C (75 F). While we had been hoping to climb to the summit to check out the scenic vistas and look at the Aphrodite temple, a tower and the ancient fountain spring, we feared we would wilt along the way, and decided to head into the city of Corinth for lunch instead.
Even though we missed seeing a large part of the fortress’s upper grounds, we had a fascinating time. There are intriguing monuments and artefacts from antiquity and each era that the castle was ruled by a different empire — “the sanctuary of Aphrodite with an early Christian basilica on its ruins, the fountain of Ano Peirene, Byzantine cisterns, the Frankish tower, a Venetian church, mosques, Turkish houses and fountains,” a passage on the Ancient Corinth website points out.
In May, it was exhilarating to stroll around since the grounds were vibrant and lovely with foliage, wildflowers, tall grasses and fields of wheat swaying in the breeze. There was so much lush and thick greenery, some of the ruins were obscured or partially hidden — nature appeared to be reclaiming the land. Views of the Corinth countryside and Gulf of Corinth were wonderful.
Scroll down to see photos from our visit. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Acrocorinth, here are a few excellent website resources with articles, historic timelines, maps, photos and videos:
Above, views of the cobblestone path that leads from the parking area to the castle’s first entrance gate (there are three gates in total). Although we were wearing sturdy hiking shoes, we found the stones quite slippery underfoot, and had to step slowly and cautiously while climbing uphill, taking even greater care walking back down. Inside the castle, there is a lot more uphill walking, on steps, slopes and uneven terrain. If you plan to visit, wear shoes with soles that grip well. Be aware that if you have balance or mobility issues, the climb into and back out of the castle could be treacherous. We saw many visitors wobbling and some stumbling on the paths. If you walk up or down the sides of the steps, you can hold onto walls or rocks to sturdy yourself on the cobblestones.
The cobblestone path through the second gate
Approaching the mammoth third — and final — entrance gate
The massive fortification walls
Historians believe the first castle walls on Acrocorinth were built during the reign of the tyrant Periander, who ruled from 627 to 585 B.C. Over the centuries, some conquerors destroyed the fortifications, while others reconstructed them or added more. Any time I looked at the immense fortifications, I couldn’t help but wonder who piled all the heavy stones together, and how they were even able to perform the backbreaking work at the tops of cliffs and down the sides of steep slopes. It would have required Herculean effort to build, tear down or reconstruct those thick, tall ramparts and defensive walls.
To get a sense of perspective of the enormous size of some of the castle walls, consider that the tourist taking a photo, above, is barely visible in the top photo.
The interior grounds, monuments and ruins
Above, a tower and other structures on the upper-most points of the peak, where visitors can explore the remains of a sanctuary and temple originally dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite, and the spring fountain of Ano Peirene. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the top, so we don’t have any photos from that level of the fortress.
Agios Dimitrios church
Above, views of the Venetian-era Agios Dimitrios Church, its interior and one of its wall frescos, and the church bell
Views from Acrocorinth
Above, some of the countryside views from the castle. The bottom photo shows the small cities of Corinth (foreground) and Loutraki (across the bay at the foot of the mountains), where we stayed for the first three days of our vacation.
Acrocorinth views of Penteskoufi
From Acrocorinth, visitors can see another nearby peak that is also crowned with a castle — Penteskoufi (also known as the Montesquieue Castle).
It was built by the Franks in 1205 as a strategic maneuver in their efforts to conquer Acrocorinth, which was held at the time by the Byzantine ruler, Leo Sgouras. It took several years for the would-be invaders to prevail. In 1208, as the Franks moved closer to capturing control of Acrocorinth by cutting off its access routes and supply chains, Sgouras committed suicide by riding his horse off a cliff. When supplies finally ran out a year later, Acrocorinth surrendered to the Franks.
Penteskoufi is a square fortress with a tower and six cannon ports. A trail to the castle apparently starts at the Acrocorinth parking area (though we didn’t see it), but the Kastrologos website says the route up the 476-meter peak is difficult and strenuous, and can be dangerous.