The Peloponnese is the south most area of Greece and is a huge peninsula and only falls short of being an island by just 6km of the Corinth Isthmus, which is now cut across by the Corinth canal. The Peloponnese has had a huge influence and importance on Greek history both modern and ancient, most of the fighting of the war of independence took place there as did much of the myths and history of ancient Greece. The name Peloponnese means island of Pelops, named after Pelops who was the Grandfather of Agammemnon of Homer's Iliad.
The Peloponnese is home to the majority of Greece's ancient sites; Olympia, home of the Olympic games is in the West of the peninsula, the ancient city states of Corinth, Sparta, Argos, Epidauros and many more are scattered across the Peloponnese. Many of the Mycenaen citadels are found here like Mycenae, Tyrins, Pylos which spurned many of the Myths and legends of ancient Greece.
The town of Nafplio in the East of the Peloponnese, which was Greece's first modern capital, is considered the prettiest town in Greece and has a huge Venetian influence as do other towns like Monemvasia (Greece's Gibraltar) and Methoni. The Peloponnese has many sites influenced by the Byzantines like the great Monasteries of Mystra and others, there are also many ruins of Frankish crusaders castles and Fortress' scattered throughout the region.
Not only is the Peloponnese famous for its historical sites but also for its natural beauty as much of its interior is forested mountains and great for walkers and hikers, the famous Lousios Gorge is very popular. The beaches of the Peloponnese are also very good, the best are along the west Coast south of Patra (third largest city in Greece) down to Methoni in the very south.
Probably one of the most interesting areas of the Peloponnese is the Mani in the very south of the region where it is very rugged and barren, many of the houses and villages are built like small fortresses. The Mani was like the wild west of Greece where many families and clans were in constant feuds and wars with each other over the minimal resources of the region. The Maniots are said to be the descendants of the ancient Spartans.
The Peloponnese - Information
The Peloponnese is just over an hours drive from Athens, with trips to many of the major sites being organised from Athens. Also from Athens many of the towns and cities of the Peloponnese can be reached by bus, train and aeroplane.
Tips:The Peloponnese is a very large area and has many sites to see, so you won't be able to see it one day.