Bakeries, bars, cafes and restaurants to check out when you visit Athens

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Tasting Table’s mouthwatering profile of noteworthy places to eat and drink in Athens

 

Tasting Table article on 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.

 

 

Mykonos 2023: Events, openings, parties, news and more

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Parties, events and venue openings on Mykonos during 2023

 

Mosaic Mykonos DJ event

DJs Mapet and Jerry will be playing at Mosaic on Friday January 27 and Saturday January 28

 

El Burro Mykonos Sunday Party

DJ Nick Sintilas will be on the decks for the Sunday Party at El Burro on January 29, starting at 8 p.m.

 

live music event at Maizevelo on Mykonos

Maizevelo Cookhouse will be closing February 1 for its winter break, but first it will celebrate its 5th anniversary with live Greek music entertainment on Tuesday January 31. The party starts at 3 p.m.

 

Paloma Bar on Mykonos

Paloma bar is back from its holiday break. Starting on January 13, Paloma will be open every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m.

 

Mykonos Brewing Company

Tours and tastings resume at Mykonos Brewing Company starting on Monday February 13

 

Paradise Beach Club on Mykonos

In posts to its social media pages on January 9, Paradise Beach Club announced that it is “so excited for a massive summer ahead” and is busy “preparing a lineup of non-stop parties starting April 2023!” The booking page on the club’s website is now live, and is accepting reservations for day and night parties starting as early as April 7.

 

VOID Mykonos nightclub

“A new era is taking shape” at VOID, the nightclub has announced. In a teaser video posted to its social media pages on January 20, VOID says big changes are in store for its 2023 party season. “These past three years have been challenging for all of us. We thank each and every one of you for supporting us through these  times. This summer, everything is about to change. We can’t wait. Summer 2023 we evolve,” the video says.  The club says “stay tuned” for more information about what’s planned.

 

 

January restaurant and bar openings and news

 

Raya restaurant on Mykonos

Raya restaurant reopens on Friday January 27

 

Velanos Mykonos

Starting on Monday January 23, Velanos restaurant and bar will be temporarily closed for its annual winter break. Velanos will reopen on Sunday February 2.

 

Promenade Mykonos winter closing

Promenade has temporarily closed for its annual winter break. The restaurant and bar will reopen on Friday February 24.

 

Appaloosa Restaurant and Bar on Mykonos

Appaloosa Restaurant and Bar returns for its winter season starting on Thursday, January 19. During winter, Appaloosa will be open Wednesday through Sunday nights from 7 p.m. (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).

 

The Cook restaurant in Ano Mera Mykonos

The Cook restaurant in Ano Mera reopens on January 16

 

Coffee Break on Mykonos

Coffee Break in Argyraina reopens on January 16

 

Interior of El Burro restaurant on Mykonos

Following its break for the Christmas holiday period, El Burro reopened on January 9 

 

HUG Espresso Bar on Mykonos

HUG Espresso Bar reopened on January 9 after its holiday break

 

Hotel and resort openings and news

 

Cali Mykonos luxury hotel

A new arrival to the island’s luxury resort scene last year, Cali Mykonos will be opening for the 2023 season on April 13. Situated on a secluded cliffside near Kalafatis beach, Cali Mykonos boasts 40 luxurious suites and villas, many with plunge pools, as well as a private beach, jetty and its own private yachts to transport guests to remote Mykonos beaches and other islands. 

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Parties and music events that took place this month

 

Obati Mykonos DJ event

Obati restaurant will celebrate Epiphany on Friday January 6 with music entertainment by DJ Marios Ntoumis.

 

Live entertainment event at La Rosticceria on Mykonos

Singer | musician Antonis Balopitas will entertain during Epiphany celebrations at La Rosticceria ala Mykoniatika on Friday January 6

 

Vegera restaurant Mykonos

Vegera has announced that this will be its last weekend of operations before the restaurant closes for its annual winter break. Vegera will open at 9 a.m. on Friday January 6 for breakfast and coffee, then will celebrate Epiphany with music and drinks. It will open again for a final night of music and drinks on Saturday January 7 at 9 p.m.  Its re-opening date has not yet been announced.

 

Mosaic Mykonos DJ music event

DJs Mapet and Jerry will be on the decks for the Epiphany party at Mosaic on Friday January 6 starting at 3 p.m.

 

DJ event at Velanos Mykonos

DJ Giorgos Dragoutas will be playing at Velanos on Friday January 6

 

Vegera Mykonos DJ event

DJ Simos Anastasopoulos will be playing at Vegera on Saturday January 7

 

Velanos Mykonos DJ event

DJ Thodoris Ntontos will play at Velanos on Sunday January 8

 

Mosaic Mykonos DJ events

Mosaic presents DJs Mapet and Jerry on Friday January 13 and Saturday the 14th

 

Wild Cafe Bar on Mykonos

On Saturday January 14, Wild Cafe Bar in Ano Mera presents live music entertainment by Giannis Barbaris

 

DJ event at Velanos on Mykonos

DJ Babis Lazos will be on the decks for the Greek Vibes party at Velanos on Sunday January 15

 

Wild Cafe Bar on Mykonos presents DJ So Big

DJ So Big is on the decks at Wild Cafe Bar on Friday January 20

 

Mosaic Mykonos DJ event

On Saturday January 21, Mosaic will present music entertainment by DJs Jerry and Mapet

 

Velanos Mykonos

Sunday January 22 is closing night for the winter season of Sunday parties at Velanos. DJ Thodoris Ntontos will be on the decks for the final bash of the month.

 

Mosaic Mykonos karaoke party

Mosaic is hosting a karaoke party on Wednesday January 25

 

 

Things to see and do during a visit to Athens this winter

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A special edition of Greece Is Magazine profiles events and activities in Athens during winter 2022-2023

 

Cover of Greece Is magazine Issue 55

The cover of the Athens edition of Greece Is magazine for Winter 2022-2023

 

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.

Print copies of the Athens issue are available from the Greece Is e-shop, while the online edition can be viewed, read, shared and even downloaded from this link on Issuu.com.  

 

A dreamy private paradise on Ithaca island

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A lush 100-hectare coastal property is for sale on Ithaca island

 

Ulysses' Cove on Ithaca

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.  

 

Ulysses Cove private beach on Ithaca island

One of the estate’s eight enticing private beaches is seen in an aerial photo from the Ulysses’ Cove listing on the Ploumis Sotiropoulos Real Estate Brokers website.

 

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! 😉 

 

 

Ancient Corinth’s most significant historic sites

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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

♦ Acrocorinth

♦ Sanctuary of Demeter and Koris

♦ Sanctuary of Asklepios

♦ the Theater at Ancient Corinth

♦ Temple of Apollo

 

Pirine fountain (Peirine fountain) in Ancient Corinth

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. 

 

 

Travel links

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.

 

Sanctuary of Demeter and Koris

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:

A modern bridge and ancient boat track at the Corinth Canal

A visit to Acrocorinth Castle

A short daytrip from Loutraki to Vouliagmeni Lake and the Sanctuary of Hera; and

Our holiday visit to Loutraki on the Gulf of Corinth coast

 

 

A daytrip from Loutraki to top historic sites near Corinth

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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

 

Entrance gate to Acrocorinth castle

Ancient Corinth columns

the Diolkos boat trackway at Corinth

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.

Our third destination was the archaeological site and museum at Ancient Corinth.

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:

♦ A modern bridge & ancient boat track at the Corinth Canal

A visit to Acrocorinth Castle

♦ Coming soon — The Ancient Corinth archaeological site and museum

 

A modern bridge & ancient boat track at the Corinth Canal

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During a daytrip from nearby Loutraki, we crossed a submersible bridge on the Corinth Canal to see the Diolkos, an ancient boat slipway

 

the Diolkos boat trackway at Corinth

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

 

the Diolkos boat trackway at Corinth

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.

 

submersible bridge at the Corinth Canal

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 Diolkos Trackway In Greece Is An Ancient Relic Of Human Will Power, a story published in June on the website Indie88.com.

♦ 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. 

♦ The November 22  feature article The spectacular canal that was 2,500 years in the making. on CNN Travel.

 

This 3-minute National Geographic video shows stunning aerial views of the canal, including scenes of a large cruise ship navigating the narrow passageway

 

 

A visit to Acrocorinth Castle

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Uphill climbs, imposing walls, centuries of history and beautiful views: Photos from our visit to Acrocorinth, the largest castle in the Peloponnese 

 

Acrocorinth Castle near Corinth in Greece

The mountain atop which the Acrocorinth Castle sits

 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:

♦ the Acrocorinth entry on Picturesque-Peloponnese.com

♦ the Acrocorinth chapter of the Kastrologos Castles of Greece website

♦ the ExploreCorinth.gr website section Acrocorinth: The Acropolis of Ancient Corinth

♦ the Acrocorinth page on the website AncientCorinth.net

♦ the Travel.gr photo tour A Day in Acrocorinth, the imposing fortress of the Peloponnese

♦ the OnRoadsUncharted.com blog post Guardian of the Peloponnese | A Guide to Acrocorinth

 

Arriving at Acrocorinth 

 

Acrocorinth Castle entrance path

Acrocorinth Castle entrance path

one of the entrance gates to Acrocorinth Castle

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 second entrance gate at Acrocorinth Castle

The cobblestone path through the second gate 

 

Acrocorinth Castle entrance 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. 

 

Acrocorinth Castle fortification wall

a tourist taking photos at Acrocorinth Castle

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.

 

Acrocorinth Castle

outer walls of Acrocorinth Castle

Acrocorinth Castle walls atop a cliff

 

 

 

The interior grounds, monuments and ruins

 

ruins inside the Acrocorinth Castle

ruins inside the Acrocorinth Castle

ruins in the Acrocorinth Castle

inside the Acrocorinth Castle

a mosque inside the Acrocorinth castle

the Acrocorinth Castle interior

inside the Acrocorinth Castle

Acrocorinth Castle grounds

inside the Acrocorinth Castle

steps inside the Acrocorinth Castle

ruins inside the Acrocorinth Castle

 inside the Acrocorinth Castle

inside the Acrocorinth Castle

ruins inside the Acrocorinth Castle

 

inside the Acrocorinth Castle

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

 

Agios Dimitrios church in the Acrocorinth Castle

Church of Agios Dimitrios in the Acrocorinth Castle

inside Agios Dimitrios church at Acrocorinth Castle

a fresco in Agios Dimitrios Church in the Acrocorinth Castle

The bell at Agios Dimitrios church in the Acrocorinth Castle

Above, views of the Venetian-era Agios Dimitrios Church, its interior and one of its wall frescos, and the church bell

 

Views from Acrocorinth

 

Acrocorinth Castle view

view from Acrocorinth Castle

View from Acrocorinth Castle

View from Acrocorinth Castle

View from Acrocorinth Castle

Acrocorinth castle view of Corinth and Loutraki

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. 

 

view from the Acrocorinth Caste

View from the Acrocorinth castle

Acrocorinth Castle view of the Penteskoufi Castle

 

 

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