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The Peloponnese Family Holidays & Breaks

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Today

Overview

Some of Greece’s best beaches plus some truly glorious scenery – from citrus and olive groves and vineyards to snowy mountain peaks – make the Peloponnese peninsula, the southernmost part of mainland Greece, a wonderful spot for family holidays. The watersports are fantastic, while the unspoilt countryside is untouristy and free of crowds – perfect for exploring the many ruined Byzantine cities, classical temples, Mycenaean palaces, and Frankish and Venetian fortresses.

Things to do with kids in The Peloponnese

Head for the beaches – those of Messinia are some of the very best in this country of fabulous beaches. With older kids, this is a great place to learn to sail or windsurf. Ogle the castle of Niokastro overlooking Navarino Bay, scene of the historic naval battle in 1827. North of Navarino Bay are excellent bays with sand dunes and lagoons.

Don’t miss Olympia, site of the Olympic Games in classical times, with impressive ruins including the original Olympic stadium, plus a great museum.

Admire early-19th-century Koroni with its Venetian castle, built in 1206 to survey the shipping lanes between the Adriatic and Crete.

Explore the archaeological site of Mycenae, once a major centre of Greek civilisation.

Marvel at Mystras, an abandoned Byzantine capital that’s now a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site for its breathtaking medieval ruins.

Visit the Theatre of Epidaurus, one of the world’s best-preserved ancient theatres, designed so that 15,000 spectators could hear the actors without the need for amplification.

Discover the cosmopolitan, atmospheric seaport of Nafplio, Greece’s first capital.

Go for a hike – the best spots are the mountains of Arcadia with their wildflowers, or the isolated Mani with its famous towerhouses dating from the Ottoman occupation.

In winter, ski on Mount Helmos.

Eat

Unlike the Greek islands, where much of the food needs to be shipped in, the Greek mainland has an abundance of local produce (the Peloponnese city of Kalamata is Greece’s olive capital). Local tavernas offer excellent meat, fish and vegetable dishes (plus pizzas if desired), often in the form of small mezedes, while the resorts offer both local and international cuisine.

When to go to The Peloponnese

The Peloponnese is very hot in July and August – April, May, September and October are more pleasant, especially for family holidays with younger kids.  

How to get to The Peloponnese

The nearest airport to the Peloponnese is Athens, which is well served from London and Manchester.

From Athens, it’s a 2hr drive (or bus ride) to Nafplio, double that to the southern Peloponnese.

Car-hire is pretty much essential for exploring this region during family holidays.

Cost

At the time of writing, political and financial instability conspired to make Greece as a whole even better value than ever, although visitors are urged to make sure they are covered from the dangers of failing businesses. In general, the largely rural Peloponnese offers good value for money when compared with more touristy areas of Greece.

 

By Rhonda Carrier

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Poll

What do you remember most clearly about your childhood holidays?

Long days on the beach
39%
Long journeys by car or plane
22%
Making new friends
16%
Spending more time with parents
23%

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