Travelogue: the Peloponnese, Greece

Corinth Canal

Corinth Canal

After a few days in Athens, my husband, Rory, and I headed for the open Greek road on the Peloponnese. We hit up Corinth, Nafplio, Stoupa (for the wedding) and Ancient Olympia.

Driving in Greece

Driving in Greece wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. For one thing, the Greeks drive on the right side of the road, so we didn’t have to worry about driving on the left. There’s also a national network of highways that never seems to have any traffic, so that’s also a plus. It’s only when you’re driving through small villages — which we did on our way back to Athens from Olympia — that it gets tricky. Yes, some of the streets in Athens are small, but some of the “roads” in Greek villages are only roads in the academic sense; they really did not look like any road a car should be driving on!

Corinth

Our first stop was Corinth, where we stopped for pics of the canal (pictured above) before we made our way to the beach. Pro tip: while you can find English speakers in much of Greece, the folks who worked in the restaurants along the beach in Corinth did not speak English very well. We were surprised since Corinth is only an hour outside Athens. This made trying to find beach towels to buy difficult! However, we discovered here that restaurants often have beach chairs that you can use for free as long as you buy something, even if it’s just a drink. They have servers who come out to you, too. I wish we had this kind of service in Los Angeles as a matter of course!

A beach in Corinth

A beach in Corinth

Nafplio

After checking out some ruins in Ancient Corinth, we made our way to Nafplio, a small, cute and laid-back bayside town. We stayed at the Amfitriti Palazzo hotel, way up on the hill with an amazing view:

The view from our hotel balcony in Nafplio

The view from our hotel balcony in Nafplio

From the street above our hotel in Nafplio

From the street above our hotel in Nafplio

We found the nicest little beach behind our hotel. While it was rocky, it was pretty quiet. In the morning, the water was completely calm. We took a morning walk along the bluff that overlooks this beach — just wonderful.

The beach behind our hotel in Nafplio

The beach behind our hotel in Nafplio

We had dinner at Kipos (Greek for “garden”), where I had rooster with pappardelle, and Rory had lamb with potatoes, while overlooking the water. We had a great meal here, thanks to Yannis, who worked the front desk at our hotel and recommended this place. The locals always know, huh?

Rooster at Kipos in Nafplio

Rooster at Kipos in Nafplio

Lamb at Kipos in Nafplio

Lamb at Kipos in Nafplio

Another thing we learned about driving in Greece we learned in Nafplio — that double parking, or parking anywhere you want for the most part, is OK. This became especially apparent when we went on to Santorini (more on this later!), where we rented an ATV and parked it just about anywhere we wanted. It was kind of awesome. Embrace the chaos.

Tolo, Kalamata and Stoupa

After a quick beach pit stop in Tolo, an old fishing village (Yannis said this was a great place, but we didn’t have time to explore), we headed over to Stoupa via Kalamata on the Mani peninsula. Yes, this is where the famous Kalamata olives are from. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop here, either, so we kept going through the one mountain road that eventually led us down to the ocean at Stoupa, a small town that many locals said was one of their favorites for vacationing. I could see why: the coast is dotted with interesting rock formations, and the pace of life is a lot slower here. The water was a lot colder here than in the places we previously visited, but I just hung out under a beach chair umbrella, anyway. The wedding reception was at Liastres restaurant, which overlooks the water and seems like a nice place to spend a long meal (the food for the reception was catered, so I’m not sure what the restaurant’s actual food was like).

Tolo

Tolo

A beach in Stoupa

A beach in Stoupa

The view from Liastres restaurant in Stoupa

The view from Liastres restaurant in Stoupa

Ancient Olympia

After the wedding festivities were over, we made our way up to Ancient Olympia, which is the birthplace of the Olympic games. There are lots of cool ruins to see here, but make sure to get to the site early, or else you’ll be fighting hoards of tourists. Also, it was a lot hotter and more humid here than we were used to since Ancient Olympia is inland, so we faded fast.

Ruins in Ancient Olympia

Ruins in Ancient Olympia

Despite the heat, one of the best meals we had in Greece was in Ancient Olympia at the Europa Hotel, a Best Western property. We had dinner outside, which is possible only during the summer, overlooking the valley. Coupled with the delicious food, it was a lovely experience. We started out with the house rosé and yet another Greek salad (of course it was good). I also had a warm pastry of phyllo dough filled with feta cheese and topped with a sweet sauce and raisins. For our mains, I had moussaka, the Greek version of shepherd’s pie with beef or lamb, eggplant, sometimes potatoes, and topped with a cheesy bechamel sauce that’s baked like a casserole. Rory had the lamb. Both dishes were excellent and were accompanied by roasted potatoes made in the Greek style with lemon. These Greek potatoes have become my new favorite!

Rose wine at Europa Hotel taverna in Ancient Olympia

Rose wine at Europa Hotel taverna in Ancient Olympia

Greek salad

Greek salad

Feta wrapped in phyllo

Feta wrapped in phyllo

Moussaka

Moussaka

Lamb and potatoes

Lamb and potatoes

Sunset in Ancient Olympia

Sunset in Ancient Olympia

From Ancient Olympia, we drove four hours back to Athens — not without getting lost on mountain roads and tiny villages. Next stop: Santorini!

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Maya Meinert

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10 2013

2 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. 1

    Thanks for sharing Maya!
    I really enjoyed reading about your travel and food experiences in Peloponnese. I’m a huge fun of roasted potatoes too!

  2. 2

    These images are really great. Especially those with the lamb and the rooster 🙂



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