|Colin Murison Small's|
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The Argolid Peninsula
Tolon, Nauplion and Porto Cheli
Historically perhaps the major cradle of Greek civilisation, the Argolid peninsula runs south from the Corinth Canal in a scenic sweep of mountains and valleys carpeted with olive and citrus groves. Its eastern shore is spattered by the islands of Aegina, Angistri, Poros and Hydra. Its interior includes the now elegant and historic city of Nauplion, the classical theatre of Epidavros and the ancient cities of Mycenae, Tiryns and Argos, the last being the city from which all the trouble started when Helen, wife Menelaos (King of Argos), eloped with Paris of Troy, triggering the 10 years of the Trojan War (and a lot of subsequent plays, books and poetry to boot). A short distance from all this living history is the seaside resort of Tolon. The peninsula’s southern tip stretches out from Porto Cheli to tickle the northern edge of Spetsai island, a few hundred metres across the straits.
Fly to Athens, whence there are frequent buses to Nauplion or drive in a couple of hours after skirting the northern fringes of Athens on the excellent new motorway. Alternatively, you can take a ferry or catamaran from Piraeus to Porto Cheli, base yourself there and rent a car locally when you want to explore the interior and north.
The Argolid has the great advantage of ease of access from Athens and the consequent avoidance of waiting for connecting flights and the expense of yet more air fares, fuel surcharges and taxes. You can start your holiday straight away. It also offers a splendid mix of culture (archaeological sites), interest (wine production at Nemea) and seaside relaxation (Tolon).
Because of its ease of access from Athens, the Argolid inevitably attracts the Athenians at weekends and festivals, so it can become busy – you need to book Nauplion in particular well in advance. Whilst there are excellent beaches at Tolon and many sandy coves on both sides of Porto Cheli in the south, beaches are otherwise fairly few and far between on the peninsula.
For three high season months regular performances are given in the ancient theatre of Epidavros. Otherwise, just enjoy Nauplion, Tolon or Porto Cheli whose attractions are outlined below; and think seriously about driving inland beyond Argos and Tripolis: there’s a wealth of history and miles and miles of majestic mountainous terrain.
THE ARGOLID PENINSULA