Ancient Olympia in Peloponnese has got to be my favorite archaeological site and I’m happy that I’ve included it in the road trip. A modern day village is built in the area, which mainly caters to the visitors of the site. We reached the area late in the afternoon after visiting Koroni and Methoni as I described in my previous blog post. I had booked a room for the night at Arty Grand Hotel in Drouvo village next to Olympia. We had a pleasant stay there and took advantage of the hotel’s pool (and pool café)!
Day 6: Ancient Olympia
The next morning after breakfast we packed our luggage and headed to Ancient Olympia’s archaeological site. The birthplace of the Olympic Games is actually both a sports and religious complex. The main features are the stadium and training facilities, most prominently the Palestra where I took a ton of photos. The temples of Zeus and Hera played an important role in antiquity. The former one housed a gold and ivory statue of Zeus, which was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World (and unfortunately no longer in existence).
The site’s location couldn’t be better, as it is built next to the rivers Alfeios and Kladeos, making the area very fertile and full of trees. Spring is probably the best time of the year to visit, as it will be full of blooming trees, but late summer was nice as well. Just make sure to visit early in the morning, as it can get hot. We spent around three hours exploring the ruins and the museum before taking the road back to Athens.
Day 6: Vytina
On our way back to Athens we took a scenic route that passes through the mountainous part of Arcadia. This area is popular for fall/winter excursions and I can easily guess why: the scenery is amazing. And it will be even more amazing in the fall (mid to late October). We briefly stopped to take a picture of Lagadia (one of the region’s well known villages) before stopping in Vytina for lunch.
We took our time exploring Vytina’s central square and dined at Klimataria restaurant. The indoor part of the restaurant is very cozy with a touch of folklore! After lunch we stopped at the shops along the main road in order to get mountain tea (a herb that grows in the mountains and aids digestion) and fir honey which is dark colored and richer than the typical thyme honey that is widely available.
So this sums up our 6-day trip in the Peloponnese which included both relaxation in Elafonisos as well as exploring new places (or revisiting in my case) in Mani and Messini peninsulas!
Have you visited Peloponnese? If not, it is an area of Greece that you should add to your list as it’s full of beauty, history and beautiful beaches!