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Strategies for Seeing the Region

Whether you decide to tour the Peloponnese clockwise (starting with Corinth and ending with Olympia) or counterclockwise, at some point you'll probably head inland, either to see the Byzantine ghost town of Mistra outside ancient Sparta, or to take in some of the mountain villages of Arcadia and the Temple of Vassae dedicated to Apollo. Here's one suggested itinerary if you have your own car and are setting out from Athens. If you're traveling by public transportation, you'd be wise to double the time allowed. Even if you do have a car, don't let yourself be deceived by the short distances between what you want to see in the Peloponnese. You'll be astonished at how long even a short drive on a winding mountain road can take -- especially when you have to stop repeatedly to let goats cross that road!

If you have 2 days, head from Athens to Corinth, have a look down at the canal, and visit the ancient site with its impressive temple as well as Acrocorinth, the sugarloaf mountain that looms over the plain of Corinth. Head on to Mycenae to see the citadel and chamber tombs before spending the night in Nafplion, which just about everyone calls oraia (beautiful). Refresh yourself with a swim at the public beach, some window-shopping along the pedestrianized streets, maybe even a museum or two followed by an evening stroll around town and dinner. In the morning, spend more time exploring Nafplion's boutiques, museums and monuments, and then drive to Epidaurus to see the famous theater before heading back along the coast to Athens.

If you have a few more days to spend, you can head from Nafplion to Olympia, taking in some of the Arcadian mountain villages, including Andritsena, with the Temple of Vassae. Then you can head back to Athens along the Gulf of Corinth, which offers lots of chances for lunch and a swim at seaside resorts such as Xylokastro. There's lots more to see in the Peloponnese -- if you have a week to spend here and can take in Sparta and Byzantine Mistra and the fortress (and chic hotels) of Monemvassia and the tower house villages of the Mani. And remember: If you are heading from the Peloponnese into Central Greece, the Rio-AntiRio suspension bridge (13€) makes a journey from, for example, Olympia to Delphi, much easier than the old ferry did. Tip: If you just want to drive back and forth over this spectacular 2,252m-long (7,388 ft.) cable suspension bridge that links the Peloponnese with the mainland, get the 14€ round-trip ticket.

Walking Tours -- The respected British agency Filoxenia (www.filoxenia.co.uk) offers weeklong walking tours of the Peloponnese.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.