Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

The Peloponnese is a large peninsular that makes up the southernmost part of mainland Greece. Beautiful beaches, that are in places smooth and sandy while rugged and rocky elsewhere, contrast with mountains and forests of the interior. Here you will find some of Greece’s most well known ancient sites, including Corinth, Epidaurus and Mycenae. Of course there are many more medieval monuments, dramatic castles and fortresses and simple Byzantine churches. It was here in March 1821 that inhabitants declared war on the Ottomans, starting the Greek War of Independence that lasted to July 1832, resulting in the founding of the modern nation state of Greece.

Archaeology & History Sites in Peloponnese


Acrocorinth, the acropolis above the ancient city of Corinth, has structures that are almost certainly prehistoric in age. But the earliest securely dated fortifications date to the 4th century BC. Much of the ruins we see on the acropolis were built during the medieval: Byzantine, Ottoman, Venetian and Early Modern eras. The ruins within the walls surrounding the hilltop are from the Ottoman settlement. Amongst other features from different time periods, visitors can see the remnants of a mosque, fountains and houses.

Ancient Corinth

From the earliest times in antiquity to the medieval period, Corinth has been and important commercial centre. By the 4th century BC Corinth was one of the most important cities in ancient Greece. Although destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC, the city was rebuilt and became the provincial capital of Greece. Again it was destroyed, by earthquake in the 4th century AD. And again rebuilt, in the Byzantine period. Artefacts recovered from numerous excavations in the area are on display in the on site museum.

Ancient Epidaurus - Theater of Dionysus

The ancient theatre of Epidaurus at the Temple of Asklepios is well known. This sanctuary was connected to the seaside town of Epidaurus. A popular tourist destination, particularly in summer, the remains of the ancient acropolis and a small theatre dedicated to Dionysus. The theatre, with seating for about 6,000 spectators, was built in the 4th century BC. Uncovered by archaeologists in the early 1970s, today the theatre is the venue for musical festivals in July.

Bassae - Temple of Apollo Epicurius

Well known for its 5th century Temple of Apollo Epicurius (Apollo the helper), the archaeological site of Bassae was the first site in Greece to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Even though it is one of the better preserved ancient temples in Greece and certainly worth a visit, visitors to the site will find that the temple is covered with a large, protective white tent. The interior of the temple was decorated with a spectacular marble frieze, the Bassae Frieze, now in London at the British Museum.

Fortress of Palamidi

An impressive fortress built by the Venetians between 1711 and 1714. The fortress, 216 meters above sea level on the highest point above the town of Nafplio, has wonderful views over the town, the Argolic Gulf and the sea and countryside beyond. This is a typical Venetian fortress with 8 bastions, each of which can be visited. With an hour, you will see a lot of the castle, but you can easily spend 2 hours. It is possible to drive up to the castle, or climb the 900+ steps from the town. Visitors all say, the view is worth the walk alone.


An ancient city known for its Temple of Poseidon and the Isthmian Games (one of the Panhellenic Games). Today visitors come to see the exceptionally well preserved and beautiful mosaic floors in the bath house, as well as the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon. Isthmia suffered the same fate as Corinth at the hands of the Romans in 146 BC. And it was not until 44 BC that Julius Caesar had the temple and stadium restored. The site was rediscovered and excavated in 1952 by the Swedish archaeologist Oscar Broneer.


The substantial and well preserved archaeological site of Messene comprised the ruins of the large classical city-state of Messene that was refounded by Epaminondas in 369 BC following what was the first Theban invasion of the Peloponnese. There is a lot to see here, including a large stadium, a theatre and a basilica. The site is currently being excavated, and artefacts recovered can be seen in the on site museum. In 2011 the site was awarded the Europe Nostra Prize for cultural heritage.

Methoni Castle

Methoni Castle occupies the peninsular that juts out south of the town of Methonis. The Venetians built most of the castle and its fortifications, constructing these on earlier fortifications, the remains of which can be seen in places. A deep moat separates the castle from the mainland, which is spanned by a stone bridge with 14 arches. At the southern most tip of the peninsular is the Bourtzi Tower, a striking octagonal structure that is thought to have been built in the 16th century.


During the second millennium BC, Mycenae was a major centre and gives its name to the Mycenean period of Greek prehistory. The archaeological site is made up of a triangular, fortified acropolis surrounded by substantial walls of which the famous Lion Gate is a part. Below the citadel and beyond the fortifications are the funerary structures this prehistoric site is so well known for – such as the tholos tombs. The most impressive of these is the highly decorated ‘Treasure of Atreus’ – which is accessible to the public.


On the northern slopes of Mount Taygetos is the fortified town of Mystras. Founded in 1249 by the Franks, a few years later it became a important Byzantine settlement. The last emperor of Byzantium, Constantine XI Palaeologos, was crowned here in 1448. There is much to see here, including a number of Byzantine churches, two monasteries, the palaces of the Mystras Despots as well as many urban buildings. Not to be missed is the 13th century Frankish castle with its well-preserved walls and towers.

Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus

Epidaurus was an ancient city that developed around the shrine of Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine. From the 6th century BC onwards it became a vast city with many shrines and hospitals. Although an ancient healing sanctuary, today Epidaurus better known for its 4th century BC theatre. This particular theatre is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Greek architecture, given its exceptional acoustics that enable whispers on the stage to be heard throughout the 14,000 strong audience.


A number of monuments and features survive from the different ages of the ancient capital city of Sparta, including an acropolis with a temple, a theatre, Roman shops and a Byzantine basilica. In the centre of modern-day Sparta is the Archaeological Museum of Sparta, which houses archaeological collections from the various monuments from the ancient city of Sparta, including the Acropolis, and other archaeological sites in the area, from the Neolithic to the Roman period.

Sunken City of Ancient Epidaurus

A few meters from the beach of the town of Epidaurus are the sunken remains of the ancient town. Discovered quite by chance, when in the 1970s, someone was taking an aerial photograph of the beach from a hot air balloon. These are the ruins of a 2nd century BC Roman villa, a few metres below the water’s surface. Still clearly visible are the large circular amphorae. It is possible to swim out to the ruins, but the best way to experience the site is to take a kayak, or a diving tour.

Museums & Art Galleries in Peloponnese

Archaeological Museum of Pylos

Within the walls of Niokastro Fortress above the modern-day town of Pylos, and housed in the Maizonos Building is the recently opened archaeology museum. With the use of innovative displays and digital presentations, the museum exhibits artefacts from archaeological sites in and round Pylos, as well as the broader Messinia area. These displays begin with prehistoric periods and include all the periods until the recent past. Given the significance of archaeology sites in the area, this is one of Greece’s more important museums and is well worth a visit.

Archaeological Museum of Sparta

Opened in 1876, the Archaeological Museum of Sparta is the first provincial museum in Greece designed and built for this purpose. With additions since, the museum has seven galleries, with display ranging from the Neolithic to the later Roman period. Given its location, the museum exhibits numerous artefacts from the archaeological site of Sparta. A highlight of these exhibits are the well preserved mosaic floors from the Hellenistic and Roman periods of occupation at Sparta.