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Northern Peloponnese Review

The northern Peloponnese forms part of ancient Arcadia - a bucolic landscape watered by Elysian streams - and is a great place to start a Greek adventure with flights into Athens being frequent and very well priced. Easily accessible within a 2 hour drive is a stunning and varied landscape of mountains, sea, rivers, gorges, alpine lakes, and pretty mountain villages just waiting to be explored.
There are plenty of hiking trails to discover and some of our favourite walks include the rugged valley of ancient Pheneos, The Fall of the River Styx where Achilles was dipped to ensure immortality, Heracles's spectacular Vouraikos Gorge, and Lake Tsivlos with the clean scent of the surrounding pine forests. Transhumance is still a way of life in these parts and high up in the pastures of Mount Helmos you will still come across flocks of sheep or goats and their blue-eyed shepherds. An added delight is foraging for wild mushrooms and collecting wild greens that grow profusely in these parts amongst the mossy clumps of wild cyclamen and star-studded meadows of saffron crocus. 
Archaeological treasures abound where history and culture meet to tell the story of this ancient country. Aside from the well-known sites of Mycenae, Corinth, and Delphi which are easily accessible, the Northern Peloponnese has a few treasures of its own up its sleeve including Ancient Eyira. This site is set on a quiet hillside with astonishing views right out over the Corinthian Gulf with the mountains of Parnassos and Helicon beyond. Eyira was one of the twelve great cities of the Achaean League. Its amphitheatre, with superb acoustics, dates to around 280BC. There are two temples as well as the Agora and the Acropolis still in the process of excavation. 
Another fascinating trip is to the Monastery of ‘Panagia ton Katafigion' (Our Lady of Refuge) close to the mountain village of Evrostina. The monastery is built into a vertiginous cliff and exploring it is not for the faint-hearted! In Evrostina itself is the lovely church of Aghios Georgios (St George) which has an interesting history - it was built during the Turkish occupation when building permits were only valid for 40 days and no building was allowed to take place after dark. The wily Evrostinians, who numbered around 6,000 at that time, built one third of a church in the first 40 days knowing that the Turks would order it to be knocked down. They numbered every stone and hid them away in their houses. Re-applying for their second permit, they managed to complete an incredibly beautiful and unusual church within the 40 days stipulated which is still studied today at the Athens Polytechnic.
The Peloponnese is also a great place for wine lovers since it grows about a quarter of the grapes used in the production of Greek wine. In the Northern Peloponnese close to Diakopto, Tetramythos is one of Greece's most interesting small wine producers and is becoming justifiably well-known among wine connoisseurs. A tour of the vineyard followed by wine-tasting is a must for anyone visiting this area.
The biodiversity and ecological tapestry offered to nature enthusiasts is literally endless in Greece. Whether your interest is walking, hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, mountain climbing or simply eating, all is at your disposal - and the lovely mild climate in autumn and Greece's warm people combine to create an off season adventure worth remembering.
Browse our range of gorgeous properties in the Peloponnese to find the ideal place for your next adventure. 

31st Jul 2019

Posted by Ben Bland


The Peloponnese Review

One and a half hours from Athens airport and forty minutes East of Patras, Achaia in the North of the Peloponnese attracted the Ancients for good reason.

The area is immensely fertile with bands of citrus plantations situated on the silt plains next to the sea. Above, lie olive groves punctuated by vineyards and surrounded by Mediterranean pine forest1000 metres above sea-level, cows graze on alpine meadows surrounded by spruce forests, littered with mushrooms and populated by wild boar. Goat herders drive their flocks to these highland areas in summertime when the heat below becomes unbearable. Above the 1800 metre zone when the spruce trees start to become sparser, the peaks of the mountains that reach up to 2500 metres are snow- capped and it is possible to ski until the end of April if the winter remains cold.

There are three mountains in Achaia whose concave formation plunge dramatically into the Gulf of Corinth below. Each mountain is separated by Alpine valleys and gorges where the scenery is spectacular. The seaside towns of Kiato, Derveni, Akrata, Egion and finally Patras are nothing out of the ordinary but the sheer beauty of the mountainous scenery is simply breathtaking.

This region abounds with charming mountain villages and with many archaeological and historical sites to discover such as Ancient Egira and Ancient Corinth. It is also within easy reach of other major sites such as Delphi, Mycenae, Epidavros, Olympia and Athens. Spring and autumn are fabulous times to visit this beautiful area. The mountains provide a walker's paradise and the many well-marked paths offer unique opportunities to the fell walker or rambler. Although these foot paths are well marked, they are deserted and you can spend the whole day with out meeting a soul. In spring the mountains become ablaze with wild flowers which open out in sequence. First the poppies arrive turning the mountains blood red, next yellow becomes the dominant colour, then the dainty anemones or 'wind flowers' and finally, the Judas trees with their dense pink buds. Wild greens, asparagus and artichoke can all be collected through these blissfully warm months under clear skies. In autumn comes a second flowering with warm weather bathed in a golden light. The mushroom season starts and the forest are littered with all types of species: Oyster, morel, chanterelle, boletus and field mushrooms can all be found up in the alpine forests of Achaia.

The mountain villages of this area lie untouched completely by tourism. Here you will probably find a square, the local church and usually a spring with cold, mountain water. Even the smallest and remotest of villages usually have a Kafeneion where the men drink coffee, discuss and play tavli around the fireplace. The mountain tavernas abound with delicious food, creamy feta cheeses, home-baked bread, dishes of wild rabbit, boar or cockerel, and sometimes even trout from the nearby river.  

To view a list of our Pretty Greek Villas located in the Peloponnese for holiday rentals, please click here

29th Jan 2019

Posted by Ben Bland