1. The diversity of the Peloponnese

The far West Peloponnese borders with the sensational Ionian sea to the west, and features a different kind of charm than the rest that meets the Aegean sea. The entire Peloponnese region is one of the vastest in Greece, this is why it makes sense to divide it into distinct prefectures. This helps with microeconomics and sustainable tourism model of the overall region, and is a contributing factor to the pristine condition of this part of Greece.

2. A year round destination

The aforementioned diversity of the Peloponnese makes it a year round destination that can be enjoyed during all the seasons of the year. Depending on the time of your visit, you can either choose a coastal location that gives you direct access to the inviting sea, or opt for going further inland to experience the reinvigorating sensation of being tucked away in the Greek hinterland. Shoulder seasons are incredibly mellow and allow you to explore as much as possible, without it being too warm or too cold to fully enjoy the amazing outdoors and the astonishing landscapes of the Peloponnese.

3. Winter extraordinaire

For spending a winter holiday in the Greek highlands that will set the bar for the rest, the Peloponnese will wonderfully surprise you. For those who ski, then the Mainalos ski resort offers 7 ski pistes of varying difficulty. You will find it near Tripoli, in the center of the Peloponnese, the capital city of the entire Peloponnese in the Arcadia prefecture. The highest peak of the Mainalos is nearly 2 km, while it is protected by the Natura 2000 agreement.

4. The link between mythology & history

The Peloponnese could be considered as a mythological playground. The fact of the matter is that there is truth behind the tale here. The Mycenaean King Agamemnon was a real person and his feats have been recorded as part of history, not just mythology. Greek mythology often has to do with divine figures and stories that were usually written and told to convey a moral lesson, but in the Peloponnese mythology and history blend together.

5. Cape Tenaron & Gates of Hell

On the tip of Laconian Mani is Cape Tenaron, the southernmost continental point of Europe. There you will find a lonely lighthouse that commands perhaps the best views of the entire Peloponnese; sea as far as the eye can see. Be prepared for dramatic scenery that will not leave you unaffected given you also know the mythological aspect that ties into this specific spot. A place of worship for the sea God Poseidon during ancient Greece, it was also believed that one of the sea caves below the cape was the entrance to Hades, the ancient Greek underworld, guarded by Cerberus at the gates of hell.

6. Diros Caves

The spectacular Diros Caves are another major attraction of the Peloponnese, especially for nature and adventure lovers. The caves of Diros are said to be a total of 33000 sq m area, only 5000 sq m of which have been explored, leaving conjecture about how far they actually go. Apart from the foot paths that take you through ancient rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites, you will reach an underground glassy lake where boats await to take you on a tour you will not soon forget through a complex system of water cavern tunnels.

7. Neda river & waterfall

In the northwest of the Peloponnese, within the Messenia prefecture, the Nedas river runs 31 km from Mount Lykaion, all the way to the Ionian sea. It passes along 6 villages by the time it reaches the coast, while near the village of Planatias is where the river becomes a waterfall. Neda is the only female named river in Greece, inspired by the namesake water nymph. It is very serene and tranquil place to discover, especially with children too, plus you can also enjoy a refreshing swim under the falling waters.

8. Kalamata Dance Festival

A huge celebration of dance, music and art, the International Dance Festival of Kalamata is truly something to witness. It runs for 10 whole days in July and also features exhibitions and workshops of different kinds. It is one of the reasons to visit Kalamata during July, in order to experience the local way of interaction and enjoyment as well as promoting contemporary, international creativity in dance.

9. Tsakonia Festival

In the town of Leonidio and also in July, the Tsakonia Festival combines revelry with food, making it a really enjoyable festival experience, with the protagonist of the day being the local Tsakonian eggplant. At this festival you can enjoy a wide range of music too, including Greek folk and ethnic as well as Jazz and Latin, while you get to try some amazing flavours and variations of the famous eggplants, from various parts of the Peloponnese.

10. Carnival happenings

For about 20 days in mid February, the whole of Greece celebrates Carnival season with festive events that involve parades and an array of colourful carnival floats. Typically people will take to the streets, drinking, dancing and enjoying themselves to the fullest. It is a wonderful time of the year to visit Messene, especially on a family getaway, while in Kalamata so you can also witness the traditional gaitanaki, dancing around a maypole, carried out in the city’s central square. The Carnival happenings in Messeni culminate on Ash Monday, with the re enactment of the hanging of the old lady Sykou, a custom that originates from the Ottoman occupation of Greece.

11. Easter customs

Easter is a very important religious holiday for the Greeks. As there are certain things that happen all around the country, each region will have its own local customs that take place only in specific locations. For example, in Kalamata they have a unique custom of saitopolemos, effectively a dart war, that takes place on the eve of Christ’s Resurrection, while there is a horse racing event on Easter Monday in the nearby town of Plati, Messenia.

12. Maria Callas legacy

The world famous opera soprano Maria Callas’ family was from Messenia, and in Kalamata you may visit the Maria Callas Alumni Association at the Music School of Kalamata. This free entry museum lets you browse through many rare artefacts pertaining to Callas’ legacy including personal letters, more than 180 costumes, headdresses, ancient Greek drama masks, programmes, posters and musical scores of the iconic operatic diva, the great Maria Callas.