Travel to the Peloponnese, Greece – Episode 833

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Travel to the Peloponnese (Podcast)

Hear about travel to the Peloponnese Peninsula in Greece as the Amateur Traveler talks to travel writer Sally Jane Smith about a great alternative to visiting the Greek Islands.

Sally Jane says, “The thing is that most visitors go to Greece. They go to Athens, and then they tend to go straight to the islands. And Greece has hundreds of islands. The ones that most visitors go to are the resort-style islands of Santorini and Mykonos. Don’t get me wrong, these are incredible places, but they tend to be crowded and they tend to be expensive. Whereas if you go to the Peloponnese and the Saronic Islands, which are just off the coast of the Peloponnese, you get that perfect balance. There are enough travelers visiting the area that they have all the facilities that you might need, but it also feels like you’re exploring the real Greece rather than having a resort holiday. And it’s gorgeous. There are striking landscapes. There are incredibly strong connections to history and to legend. There are five world heritage sites just on the Peloponnese Peninsula itself.”

After starting in Athens which we covered in Athens Greece – Episode 832, we head down to the Peloponnese past the amazing Corinth Canal to the rocky island of Monemvasia. Monemvasia was founded in the sixth century and is a fortified city that has been nicknamed “the Gibraltar of the East”. It is a pedestrian-only town. You can hike the many many steps up the rock to the ruins of the old fortress with a great view of the old town. Bring your walking shoes for this and many of our other stops.

We make a stop at ancient Sparta and pay homage to King Leonidas and the 300 who fought the Persians at Thermopylae. Sally Jane also recommends nearby Mystras which is a fortified town that peaked in the Byzantine period in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Sally Jane recommends getting around by bus and uses a bus transfer as an opportunity to get some views of the Corinth Canal. If you have more time you can also visit modern or ancient Corinth.

We move on to the coastal city of Nafplio and use that as a base to visit some more historic sites at Mycenae, Tiryns, and Epidaurus. Mycenae dates back to the time of Agamemnon and the Trojan War. Scholars still debate how much of that myth is true, but Mycenae is a real place and one of the earliest European civilizations. You can hear the stories of heroes as you visit the famous Lion Gate and the beehive tombs. Tiryns was an ancient town where the mythical hero Heracles is supposed to have performed his Twelve Labors.

Sally Jane might skip Tiryns and visit Epidaurus instead which is an ancient place of healing dedicated to the Greek god Asclepius. It also has a wonderfully preserved theatre and stadium.

We then head to the islands of Poros and Hydra. Sally Jane recommends staying on Poros but doing a day trip to the island of Hydra. These are both beautiful islands in the Saronic island group. Hydra is car-free but with an abundance of donkeys. Hike up to the Monastery of the Prophet Elias or just enjoy the beach on Poros for a relaxing way to finish your trip.

Along the way, Sally Jane recommends restaurants and hotels as well as books that can accompany each part of the trip.

Come to Greece but explore this too often missed part of the country in the Peloponnese Peninsula.

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Show Notes

Sally Jane Smith
Corinth Canal
Malvasia Traditional Hotel, Monemvasia
Things Can Only Get Feta: Two journalists and their crazy dog living through the Greek crisis (The Peloponnese Series Book 1)
Hagia Sophia, Monemvasia
Evliya Çelebi
Monemvasia Lighthouse
Byron’s Wine Kamara, Monemvasia
Mystras (UNESCO)
Sparta Acropolis
Acropolis and Ancient Theater, Sparta
Grand Sarai Nafplio, Nafplio
Church of Agios Spyridonas
Mezedopoleio Noulis, Nafplio
Saganaki (Pan-seared Greek cheese appetizer)
Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns – UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Panta Rei Studio Spa & Massage
Poros Island Houses Sto Roloi
Hydra Greece
Monastery of Prophet Elias in Hydra
The Colossus of Maroussi
Kanali Beach
White Cat Restaurant
Unpacking for Greece: Travel in a Land of Fortresses, Fables, Ferries and Feta


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Monemvasia photo by Evangelos Mpikakis on Unsplash


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

4 Responses to “Travel to the Peloponnese, Greece – Episode 833”



Love this episode so much I listened to it 7 times now. I am so happy she talked about Monemvasia that’s the top 1 destination on my bucket list. I love the idea of bus travel, but I am really curious to know where she kept her luggage during bus journey breaks in Sparta and Corinth?

Sally Jane Smith


Hi Jianing,

This was my first ever podcast and I was really nervous, so your comment made me happy, thank you!

This morning, I typed out a detailed response, but it disappeared when I clicked on submit. I’m working late tonight so I can’t redraft it just yet, but I wanted to let you know I saw your comment and I will reply with more information soon.


Sally Jane Smith


Hello again, Jianing,

My Sparta stop was unplanned. I was on the way from Monemvasia to a writers’ retreat in Methana.  The bus stopped for a bathroom break in Sparta, and on my way back to the vehicle I noticed a luggage room. I checked at the information desk and they said I could leave my bag there. It was free, but it was also at my own risk as the room was unlocked and unstaffed.  So I made sure I had all my valuables/documentation in my daypack to keep safely on my back.  This was in 2016 so I’m guessing it is still the same arrangement, but I can’t be certain.

Although the staff member had told me it was no problem to break my journey in Sparta and then catch a later bus to the Corinth Isthmus bus station on my original ticket, I could have had a problem.  There is allocated seating on the long-distance buses in Greece, and it wasn’t until I boarded the later bus that it occurred to me this might be an issue. Sure enough, there was no Seat Twenty on this vehicle, but luckily there was a spare seat and I travelled on without incident. If I were doing it again, though, I’d book separate tickets for the correct times.

Corinth Isthmus was a different story.  I couldn’t find anywhere official to leave my suitcase. I made a judgement call to leave it next to my seat. I left my open book and a soft drink on the chair, so it was clear I was nearby, and made sure I was carrying all valuables and documentation in my backpack. Of course, you would need to decide whether you’d be comfortable taking this chance.

If it concerns you to leave your bags unattended at Corinth Isthmus, you could probably take them with you. The canal is less than 5 minutes walk from the bus station. Although I don’t recall the road/sidewalk surface, a quick look at the Google maps satellite view seems to show that it would be a smooth stroll. There isn’t much else to do around Corinth Isthmus station, and I spent an hour or two reading a book while waiting for my connecting bus. So if the timetables are not in your favour, and if it is not as important to you to see the Corinth Canal up close, you could skip the Corinth Isthmus detour and get a bus directly from Sparta to Nafplio.

(Just a reminder that Corinth bus station and Corinth Isthmus bus station are two different places.)

I really hope you get to Monemvasia soon ? Greece has so much to offer, and I was only able to touch on a small part of it in the show. I’d love to hear how your trip goes, so please feel free to connect with me through the link Chris has included toward the end of his blog post.

Warm wishes from Australia,

Sally Jane Smith

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