Argolida is the most popular part of the Peloponnese with visitors. Why? Nafplio, the beautiful coastal town that is crowned by the stone Palamidi Fortress, sparkles in the bay and welcomes visitors to its Old Town, where old stone mansions line large, open squares, and there is an abundance of delicious food and fun shopping. Mycenae, one of the most famous archaeological sites in Greece because of its mythological associations and its imposing Lion Gate, is a short drive from Nafplio. And of course Epidauros, home of the most well-designed and well-preserved classical theater in Greece, where every summer the National Theater stages ancient tragedies and comedies, is not far.
Visits to Argolida are a popular excursion from Athens, due to the proximity of the area and its wealth of archaeological and cultural sites. Longer stays in the area often combine well with trips to the Argo-Saronic islands or by exploring other areas of the Peloponnese. This is one of few parts of the Peloponnese that can be comfortably explored with public transportation alone. The main towns in Argolida are Argos and Nafplio.
Nafplio absorbs the vast majority of Argolida’s overnight visitors, and is well set up for this, with many hotels, endless cafés and bars, plentiful shopping and restaurants, and several museums, including the War Museum, the Peloponnesian Folklore Museum, and the Komboloi (“Worry-bead”) Museum.
The prefecture of Argolis is on the peninsula that lies between the Saronic and Argolic Gulfs . The town of Argos , from which the area derives its name, was together with Thebes one of the most powerful city states in ancient Greece . The area is rich in archaeological sites, and the southern coast is popular with Athenians for short breaks away from the bustle of the city.
Argos : Argos was one of the most powerful city-states in Ancient Greece, also reputed to be the longest inhabited city in Greece Today it the regions centre of agriculture and trade. The Archaeological Museum has on display many interesting finds from the area. Ruins of a Roman Theatre , this theatre could seat 20,000 people, built in the classical times and later renovated by the Romans. The Fortress of Larissa, is nearby, built upon the remains of a more ancient stronghold.
Mycenae : This ancient royal residence built on the slopes of Mt. Agios and was the most powerful in Greece . Surrounded by huge walls, entrance is through the Lion Gate that symbolises the power of the kings of Mycenae . Six shaft graves, can be seen here that were part of the Royal cemetery. Inside the walls are the ruins of several houses and royal apartments, outside the walls are several beehive tombs the largest called the Treasury of Atreus. Most of the artefacts that include items of gold and ivory are on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens .
Nafplion: Nafplion was the capital of Modern Greece before Athens . With the old fortress on the summit of Palamidi, looking down on the modern town, with it charm and narrow streets, which in the summer attract many tourists. The town has retained its unique atmosphere due to its historical landmarks and neoclassical architecture; these include the countries first parliament building. Lemon and orange groves are in abundance here and their fragrance floats over the town. Relax in one of the many cafes that line the seafront, and admire the small fort called Bourdzi in the bay. The town’s museums are worth visiting, the Archaeological Museum has artefacts from around the district, and the main attraction is a suit of bronze armour from the Mycenaean period. The Folklore Museum has displays of local costumes and textiles.
Tiryns : Huge 20m thick walls surround the ruins of this ancient palace with its secret stairways, tunnels and underground cisterns. This is part of the mythical kingdom of Eurytheus , where Hercules received orders to carry out his 12 labours.
Epidavros: Here among idyllic landscape on the slopes of Mt. Arahneo , lies the Theatre of Epidavros, one of the best-preserved theatres in Greece . Built in the 4 th century BC and still in use today this theatre is famous for its acoustics. In addition, here lies the ruins of the 6th century BC Sanctuary of Asklepios, the sanctuary was a healing centre, and pilgrims came from all over Greece . Old prescriptions and cures written on stone tablets are on display in the small museum. During the months of July and August, performances of old Greek dramas take place in the theatre.