Welcome to Argolida, the heart of ancient Greece during the Archaic and Classical periods, named after the principle city of the region, Argos, is one of the most picturesque and magical region of the Peloponnese. Steeped in history with numerous archaeological sites, and ancient theatres, traditional and historic cities, churches and monasteries, awesome landscapes with forests, lakes, rivers, caves, gorges and wonderful beaches, with easy access to the Saronic Gulf islands, Argolida is a must visit destination, strongly supported by the great number of visitors and the ongoing tourist development of the area.
Visit the archaeological sights of Mycenae a legendary palace and the theatre of Epidaurus with performances of ancient tragedies, all hard to forget. Beautiful seaside villages and picturesque towns such as Nafplio, Porto Heli, Tolo, Ermioni, Kandia and Kranidi, being ideal destinations for sailing and yachting, house some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts across the country with high end services and conference facilities, as well as traditional boutique hotels. The astonishing natural beauty of the area with its diverse morphology is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.
Currently the Argolida Prefecture is a destination for all forms of tourism; agro tourism, religious tourism, sports tourism, cultural tourism and environmental tourism, with a variety of areas to admire and explore as part of one's summer or winter holidays. Suitable for relaxing, as well as educational, historical and cultural holidays, Argolida satisfies each and every visitor, bringing past and present together in a seamlessly simple way.
Due to the small distance between Argolida and Athens, the area needs no air or rail services as it provides a fully satisfactory motorway net driving not only to Athens, but to the surrounding prefectures of Peloponnese. National bus services are also available to connect the area and its capital city Naflio with Athens, Patras, Corinth and Tripolis. Finally Argolida as neighbours the Saronic Gulf islands regularly connects with Hydra, Spetses, Poros and Methana with small boats departing from the opposing little ports to offer all the necessary facilities including parking services.
One of the most beautiful cities across the country attracting both natives and tourists is the historic city of Nafplio. This car free city with a wonderful collection of neoclassic houses, winding streets, beautiful flowers and plants is also of historical importance as being the capital of Greece prior to Athens. The house of Parliament and Syntagma square stand proudly at the centre of the city being the place where Ioannis Kapodistrias operated as the head of state and finally was assassinated. On a hill that outdoes the area is housed the Venetian fortress of Palamidi to offer inspiring views. With a perfect system of synchronized fortification, Palamidi is a typical baroque fortress to host the castle and the temple of St Andreas which served as prison of the National hero of the 1821 Revolution against the Turks, Kolokotronis. A small fortified islet right across the city's harbour, Bourtzi is the landmark of Nafplio. As part of the wider fortification of the city since the Venetian domination to later alter into Renaissance style, was thereafter occupied by the Turks to become house of executioners and during the 50's one of the most unique hotels in Greece. Palamidi nowadays hosts cultural events and life concerts during the summer period. In Nafplio one can also find the First Greek High school, built in 1833 in neoclassical style with pediment endings high at the roof and doorposts with helmets on the columns at the corners, a currently historical preservable monument.
However, it is not only the archaeological and historical significance of Argolida that raises the interest of a visitor; its picturesque cities and villages are equally attractive. A big summer resort built in an enclosed sheltered from wind bay is Porto Heli full of yachts during the summer period, with modern tourist infrastructures and leading hotels to also host international conferences and congresses, also found at the wonderful seaside village of Kandia. Another picturesque bay is the one of Tolo with a great selection of taverns and restaurants along the beach. Assini is the perfect place for romantic travellers, source of inspiration of one of the most beautiful poems by the Nobel prize-winning poet George Seferis. Other popular destinations of the area are the traditional village of Kranidi, amphitheatrically built in a hill, with traditional houses, churches and monasteries, while Ermioni, known for its naval heritage and temple of Poseidon, as well as the Taxiarchon church, is built on the ancient site of Hermione. Finally, hidden gens of the area are to be discovered by ecotourists such as the village of Didima, being an odd geographical phenomenon since part of the area had sunk into the ground, creating a large round chasm, surrounded by churches and narrow paths.
SIGHTSEEING & MONUMENTS
The most impressive and momentous ancient site in Argolida is Mycenae situated on a hill overlooking the fertile Argolian midlands. This old castle surrounded by 3500 years old walls still standing tall with its famous lion gate was home for kings like Agamemnon, Atreus and Orest as well as Elektra and Klytaimnestra. During the 1870 excavations, German Heinrich Scliemann found important treasures in the area such as a circle of Royal tombs with corpses wearing golden masks, including the famous Mask of Agamemnon, all currently residing in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Along with a striking tomb, the Treasury of Atreus or Tholos Tomb, with its gigantic lintels and tall beehive vault dating from the 13th century BC, Mycenae overall is a defying sight to highlight its glorious past and important role around ancient Greece as well as other Mediterranean cities due to their commercial exchange.
The best preserved ancient theatre from the 3rd century B.C and a top destination for the visitors of Argolida is the Epidaurus Theatre, set amongst a beautifully landscaped region of pines and olive groves, to attract masses of both natives and foreign tourists. A breath taking immense sight to seat up to 15.000 people along 55 rows remains impressive and highly visited as it still hosts the world known Festival of Epidaurus with excellent theatrical performances of ancient tragedies during the summer period. Other than its archaeological value, the theater is renowned for its unique acoustics, which are said to permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word, as the rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, while amplifying high-frequency sounds from the stage. As a result, the audience sitting on the top rows of the theater while being unable to clearly see the stage, can easily hear even a finger click at the center of the stage. Also being a spa of the ancient world, the archaeological sites around Epidaurus such as the Asclepios shrine, dedicated to the god of healing, the partially completed original components of the Great Propylaeum, Artemis and Themis temples along with a museum to house the excavations of the area, make the visit an unforgettable experience.
THINGS TO DO
The Argolian landscapes with dense vegetation and a diverse morphology, with rivers, lakes, caves, gorges and endless pine forests with harmonic co-existence of sea and mountains, create a unique background for nature lovers and explorers. Hiking, mountain climbing and caving enthusiasts, reach the area of Argolida to explore and admire its beauties along with its historical importance. Several wonderful caves, some of which being inhabited during the Neolithic age, marvellous gorges, among historic bridges, alters and temples, alternating with running water and lush vegetation, is a perfect blend of natural marvels and historic sites are waiting for you to discover. The countless amazing beaches to surround the Argolida Prefecture are ideal destination for sailing and yachting holidays while Porto Heli, Epidavros, Ermioni, Tolo, Koilada etc being some of the most distinctive destinations for summer holidays. Finally follow the wine roads of the area to find arguably the most important wine region in southern Greece, to produce particularly red wine produced from the Agiorgitiko grape with a full body and velvety long palate.
The prefecture of Argolida is famous for its local products and especially its oranges and mandarins known as the gold of Argolis, representing approximately 35% of the national production of citrus fruits. Endless olive groves and grapevines across the area along with the production of tomatoes and potatoes, Argolida can satisfy the most demanding appetites. Organic cattle breeding is widely spread at the area having the traditionally baked ewe a local speciality as well as dairy products such as the local kefalotiri cheese make of sheep's milk. The area's influence from the settlement of northern Greeks, developed a tradition of bread making in stone ovens, accompanied with traditional local wine, make a visit to Argolida become a true Mediterranean feast.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Argolida Bus Services: +30 27520 27323
Nafplio Police: +30 27520 21536
Nafplio Tourist Police: +30 27520 28131
Nafplio Hospital: +30 27520 27309
Archaeological Museum of Mycenae: +30 27510- 76585