Best time to visit the Peloponnese

Best time to visit the Peloponnese


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

The Peloponnese is pushing for perfection when it comes to climate. In spring, hiking is heavenly when mountain meadows are flowing with wild flowers. In summer beaches are stunning, but when temperatures soar you have Arcadian peaks over 2,000m for cooling down. As well as turtles nesting for wonderful conservation holidays. Autumn is olive harvest time, the sea is still warm and skies blue but Athenian crowds have gone home. Spring and autumn are also wonderful for small ship cruises. Once winter hits, you may see snow on higher ground but hiking and biking are still possible.
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Things to do on the Peloponnese


WHAT TO DO ON THE PELOPONNESE & WHAT NOT TO

Things to do on the Peloponnese…


From the theatrical prowess of Epidaurus to the mythical proportions of Mycenae, there are archaeological delights at every turn on the Peloponnese. Discover the ancient cities of Mantinea and Tegea, the literally Herculean hometown of Argos, the coastal castles at Methoni and Koroni, and even a sunken city of Pavlopetri. You don’t have to feel ancient to see it all though, as cycling from one to the next is a wonderful way to see them, and the landscapes at your own pace.

Pedalling is very Peloponnese with plenty of cycling holidays that explore different regions. Cycle around Laconia to bask in beach bliss at places like Monemvassia and by Elafonisos, staying in small locally owned hotels in a region that is very easy to navigate independently. Same goes for Messinia, where you can cycle from one sumptuous seaside sleep to another, having your bags transported for you while you enjoy ancient towns such as Pylos.

Another way to enjoy the ancient sites of the Peloponnese but also the marvels of the Med is to go on a small ship cruise, with maximum 50 passengers. Disembark at places like Palaia to visit Epidaurus or Pylos to visit the ancient town and eponymous palace ruins. The boat will also take you to rare spots such as the Mani Peninsula, a wild region of underground lakes, rivers and the magnificent Diros Caves.

Things not to do on the Peloponnese...


Overdo the heat. It can hit the high 40s in the Peloponnese in summer, so you really must be careful. If hiking in the mountains go early and take a long, shady siesta. Take plenty of water, with hydration backpacks very useful.

Play with fire. Wildfires are a problem and the Peloponnese still shows the scars of fires in the Parnon Mountain range after a fire in 2016. Never light fires in the wild, and don’t discard glass bottles which can act as incendiary devices if hit by rays. If you see glass litter, pick it up and dispose of it carefully. If you encounter a fire, call for help immediately from the fire brigade and locals. Do not fight it yourself.

The Peloponnese managed to keep all inclusive resorts on the other side of the Corinth Strait for a long time, but now they are creeping in, like the Trojan horse. Keep this side of the isthmus as idyllic as you can by supporting locally owned businesses at every turn – staying with them, hiring bikes locally and eating in family owned tavernas.

Athens is only 90 minutes away, but don’t panic about including it on a Peloponnese holiday. The peninsula is a world of its own, so just get there and immerse yourself. Athens is packed and fairly grimy and if it’s archaeology you’re after, the Peloponnese is packed with treats. If you are driving, avoid the Athens weekend exodus across the Corinth Strait.
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Peloponese travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS ON THE PELOPONNESE


Christos Panagiotopoulos at our leading Peloponnese holiday supplier, Arcas Travel Services:

Food & drink


“The area is connected with tradition and thus we produce many local goods of high quality. We have local wineries with the finest traditional wines that worth tasting them. We produce traditional delicious cheeses and the Greek famous honey with its exceptional flavour and its worldwide reputation!”

Itinerary tips


“The Peloponnese is popular for its archaeological monuments. A visit in the archeological sites of Mycenae, Epidaurus with its ancient theatre, Ancient Olympia which is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Sparti and Mystras is a must. Moreover, there are numerous archaeological sites that are not so advertised and crowded, but have nothing to envy from the mentioned above, such as Ancient Tegea and Ancient Messini. The Peloponnese peninsula also consists of many cities that are a true masterpiece and every traveler should visit them, such as the castle cities of Mystras and Monemvasia as well as the Venetian castles of Nafplio and Methoni.”

Best time to go


“The ideal seasons in the Peloponnese are spring and autumn, where the temperatures are not especially high, there is a small possibility of rain and thus, are indicated for a variety of outdoor activities. Especially in spring, nature is at its best! The flowers are blooming, the colours of the nature are amazing and there are wonderful, fresh scents everywhere! The leaves in the trees and the grass start to blossom and the spring breeze refreshes you.”

Chantel Kyriakopoulou-Beuvink from our leading supplier Natural Greece, especially in all things flora and fauna in the Peloponnese.

National park tips


“Nature and hiking lovers rejoice: the Peloponnese is a paradise for lovers of wildflowers and butterflies. National Parks like Chelmos and Parnonas and Mt. Taygetos host many endemic species. Many of the spring flower bulbs have their origins form this region and here you can admire carpets of them in the wild! Wherever the walking trail takes you, you will be surrounded by stories of mythology. After all, Hercules completed his first 6 Labours in the land of Pelops!”

Volunteering with sea turtles


"The sandy beaches of the Peloponnese are important nesting grounds for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Volunteers are needed to protect nests and baby turtles and to raise awareness among holiday makers.”

Peloponnese travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR TRAVELLERS

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Peloponnese travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday.
Our stay in Nafplio was the most memorable part of our stay as the town is incredibly charming and full of good restaurants. Our hotel, the Adiandi, had an incredible breakfast from local sources, friendly employees and a great funky charm - Anne Stevens on our Greece cycling holiday, archaeology tour

Think about the time of year you visit - we went at the beginning of October, and even so found it rather hot for mid day cycling although the evenings were cool. The sites and towns were not as overcrowded as in high season. There are lots of dogs, but mostly on chains or behind fences. Learn at least a few words of Greek and the alphabet if you don't already know the language - it is appreciated and gives more opportunity to interact with those you meet! – Fiona Eccles on our Greece cycling holiday, archaeology tour.

Easter was a great day-time temperature for cycling in shorts and t shirts (while all the locals are still in winter coats etc) but it was cool in the evening so needed to cover up then. Can get quite hot in the middle of the day ...Carry a reasonable amount of water but we usually found somewhere to refill on the journey - several of the villages have fountains that you cycle past. Don't forget to charge the GPS every night - Amber Rosenthal on our Laconia cycling holiday.

Most visitors explore the Peloponnese by bus which involves long periods of travel, but we were never moored more than 30 minutes away from anything...It is a very intimate experience living with such a small group of fellow travelers and you have to be prepared to get along with others. – Hilary Richards on our Small ship cruise, ancient sites of the Peloponnese holiday.
Photo credits: [When to go: Aldo Bergsma] [Itinerary tips: Discover Peloponnese] [Best time to go: Emmanuel Eragne] [ Volunteering with sea turtles: Nataša Stuper] [Anne Stevens advice: Discover Peloponnese] [Hilary Richards advice: senza senso]
Written by Catherine Mack
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