Unable to pinpoint exactly where the Peloponnese might be found, I wasn't too sure what to expect from my visit. Having found it on the map, many place names were familiar; Corinth, Sparta, Olympus, the home of the original Olympics, altogether a very 'ancient' place.
I presumed it would be horribly built up being so close to Athens. This, I discovered, was definitely not the case - it turned out to be one of the least spoilt and built up parts of Europe I have ever been to. The reason being for this; much of the infrastructure appears to date from the era of the ancient Greeks too.
Long and winding road...
Not quite there yet, the distinct lack of motorway network means you have to be prepared for a bit of a road trip to get to the best spots. That said, the drives are beautiful; windy mountainous roads lined with olive groves that take you along beautiful stretches of pristine coastline whisking you up to mountain villages. Yes, you have to be prepared to share the road with goats on the odd occasion but the scenery is stunning and extremely varied as you travel across the peninsula.
I was lucky enough to start my stay with a night at the brand new Amanzo'e; spectacular both in terms of the setting up in the hills looking down to the sea and the rooms which are enormous and exceptionally well kitted out. If your budget doesn't quite stretch to Aman levels, there are some real gems out there too - idyllic boutique hotels tucked away that feel incredibly remote and special and with rates that don't break the bank...
If children are something you need to factor into your holiday plans, look no further than the Costa Navarino, which has one of the longest sandy beaches I have seen in Europe and every facility under the sun to keep the children entertained. My highlight (yes, I have just turned 30) was the water park, complete with proper slides and a full selection of pool games (with no age limit!).
It's a hard life!
At the end of a long day's sliding came yet another real treat - the food! Mouth-wateringly fresh fish with veg that tastes of the sun, olives (kalamata is the 'capital' of Peloponnese), olive oil, yoghurt, fruit and honey.
For more information on luxury holidays to the Peloponnese, contact Original Travel.