The food! I ate a mouth-watering selection of fresh fish with vegetables that tasted of the sun, olives (Kalamata being the ‘capital’ of Peloponnese), olive oil, yoghurt, fruit and honey.
Flora, Original Traveller
Few, if any, destinations have had as significant an impact on the Western psyche and vocabulary as the Peloponnese peninsula in south-western Greece. The place names themselves - Arcadia, Olympia, Argos (OK, maybe not the last one) - and the adjectives that stem from others - spartan, corinthian, laconic - are so deeply entrenched in our culture that we've plain forgotten that they stem from an actual physical location.
Why we think you’ll love it
- The Greek mainland area of the Peloponnese has the stunning coastline that you might expect from anywhere in this Mediterranean gem of a country. What you may not also know is that it also plays host to spectacular mountains and inland scenery. Throw a few of Greece's best boutique hotels into the mix and you have the recipe for a superb luxury holiday - particularly if you combine a couple of different locations in one week
- It may not ring any bells, but the Peloponnese is home to a veritable cornucopia of classical sites, including Corinth, Sparta and Olympus, the home of the original Olympics
From the gallery
More on luxury travel to the Peloponnese
And what a location it is. The Peloponnese runs the full gamut of landscapes from soaring mountain ranges and alpine forests to vineyard-coated rolling hill country and perfectly symmetrical horseshoe bays and white sand beaches. Dotted around the peninsula are also a staggering number of ancient architectural sites and historic cities. To be honest, we're not quite sure why we haven't been singing the praises of Peloponnese holidays for years.
Now that we Brits are basking in the warm afterglow of such a successful modern Olympics, a holiday to where the games all began not far short of three thousand years ago should prove all the more fascinating.
Other highlights include the fortified citadel of Mycenae, visiting the monasteries clinging to the cliff faces in Lousios Gorge, the lively islands of Spetses and Hydra, and the historic city of Nafplion. That's just a handful of the potential day trips on offer, but the Greek weather being what it is, and the Peloponnese hotels being as nice as they are, you might well be tempted to lounge by the pool instead, day-dreaming of Arcadia.
Off the southern coast of the Peloponnese lies Spetses Island, otherwise known as 'the island of fragrances', and a popular haunt for discerning Athenians as a weekend or holiday destination. Spetses itself is a beautiful car-free island that retains a very individual character thanks to its long maritime heritage. There is a hugely picturesque harbour and re-enactments of naval battles take place during September. Explore cobbled streets lined with intimate little cafes and restaurants or the many sandy beaches which are great for swimming and lounging around.