Using Tolo as a base for day trips is a great idea, especially in the low season. There are so many places to visit of historical interest, areas of natural beauty, coves and mountains, the Peloponnese really does have something for eveyone.
The Peloponnese is a peninslula separated from the rest of mainland Greece by the Corinth Canal. Almost an island, the peninsula is surrounded by sea and is dotted with picturesque coves and beaches with a "backbone" of mountains down the middle. Its countryside is diverse with microclimates on the mountains of Parnasos and Taygetos, spectacular views, flora and fauna for nature enthusiasts and much more.
At every turn there is a historical monument and an archaeological site, a sacred temple and a museum. The ancients favoured the Peloponnese for many of their sites including and not limited to the idea set out below. The Peloponnese played a vital role in all the wars that befell the country, not least of which Ancient Asini which is located just a few minutes walk from Meraki.
Ancient Asini (or Asine), referenced in Homers Iliad as the port from where ships sailed to Troy, has a rich history dating back to the 3rd millenium B.C.. Visit the site which is just a few minutes walk from Meraki with its new interactional exhibition and learn all about it. The site of the ancient citadel on top of the peninsula has breathtaking views of the bay of Tolo and Plaka beach in Drepano.
The city of Argos is the most continually inhabited city in Europe with its history reaching back 7000 years. The original settlement of 5000 people was located a the foot of Aspida hill and there is evidence of continuous settlement in the same area since then. The ancient agora, ancient theatre and Larissa castle which towers over the town on top of the hill are just some of the historical sites to see and do check out the new Byzantine museum located in the Kapodistrias barracks, in itself a listed building.
Nafplio is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Greece, its graphic old town with narrow streets and overhanging Venetian style balconies and the fact that it was the first capital of the newly freed Greece after the Greek Revolution of 1821 means that it attracts visitors from all over the world. Nafplion was occupied many times in history, once by the Ottoman Turks and twice by the Venitian Empire resulting in a town steeped in historical monuments and a rich mixture of charming architectural styles.
In addition to the old town and its architecture, Nafplio has three fortresses, the castle of Palamidi, the ancient castle of Acronauplia and the Bourtzi castle, the island in the harbour. The city also has a great choice of museums such as the Folklore museum, the Military museum, the Archaeological museum, the Worry Bead museum and the Ouzo museum.
There is a afternoon/evening boat trip that leaves Tolo harbour once a week, a relaxing trip that drops off at Nafplio harbour and gives you the evening in the town returning later on.
Ancient Tiryns/Ancient Tiryntha, a city belonging to the Mycenaean era and inhabited since prehistoric times, is famous for its Cyclopean walls, acropolis, catacombs and advanced drainage system. The walls, said to have been built by the Cyclops (hence the name Cyclopean), were written about by Homer are up to 8 metres thick and 13 metres high. Ancient Tiryns is protected as a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mycenae. Tiryntha is found just a few minutes outside of Nafplion by car. The views from the citadel on top of the hill are spectaular.
There are a variety of pyramid structures located across the Argolic plain. The most famous of those is the Pyramid of Hellinikon (or the pyramid of Kechraie. Pausanias considered its use to be a tomb for soldiers and others a frictoria, a kind of a tower used for smoke signals. Originally dated to the late 4th century, archaeologists using more modern methods have suggest that it overlapped the constuction of the pyramids in Egypt.
Ancient Corinth was one of the wealthiest and most powerful cities of ancient Greece which controlled the passage to and from the Peloponnese. The has been inhabited since as early as 6500 B.C. and had a population of 90,000 in 400 B.C.. The city was destroyed by the Roman Empire in 146 B.C. and rebuilt some hundred years later in 44 B. C. .
For Christians, Corinth is famous for the letters of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, First Corinthians and Second Corinthians. Corinth is also mentioned in the Book of Acts as part of the Apostle Paul's missionary travels and in Pausanias Description of Greece. There are many historical monuments to see.
Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean sea, cutting through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and arguabally making the Peloponnese an island. While the idea was thought of in 7000 B.C. and attempts at construction were made sporadically through history, construction started in 1881 and was completed in 1893. This meant that shipping could pass through the canal instead of having to sail right around the Peloponnese or be towed over land, a route called the "diolkos".
These days it is possible to sail through the canal as a sightseeing trip.
The two craters located about half an hour from Tolo, known as "Didyma", are huge caves which have a circular shape and are visible from a great distance. One is located at the foot of the mountain and is called the "Large Cave" and the second is located in the plain and is called the "Small Cave". Made by underground waterways the caves are so old that it is evident that prehistoric people found shelter here.
A great visit for people interested in geological phenomena.
Part of the central Peloponnese, Arcadia is an area of mountainous terrain with many unknown and beautiful, traditional villages that are hidden between the hills and mountains. Some seem untouched by time, someone might say they were lost in time, with few residents and old fashioned traditions.
The Arcadian villages played a very important role during the Revolution of Greece in 1821.
The villages have become an attraction for their natural beauty and distance from the modern way of life.
Ancient Epidavros is world famous for the incredibly well preserved ancient theatre which was, and is still, used for theatrical plays and live concerts. A less known but still interesting and worth visiting site in the area of Epidavros is the Temple of Asklipeios, the god of medicine and healing. Also visit the museum that houses many archaeological findings.
Kalavrita is located in the northwestern of the Peloponnese and is a city, again, full of history. Playing a vital role during the War of Independence witht he monasteryo of Agia Lavra raising the flag of revolt to start the war, Kalavryta and the surrounding areas offer many historical monuments to the visitor. The town was destroyed in 1943 and today is a popular winter destination. Visit the ski center or take a ride on the Rack and Pinion railway from Kalavrita - Diakopto and admire the beauty of Greece's nature while the train takes you through the mountains.
In the exact location of the church, originally there was an older church which was destroyed on May 28, 1918. The destruction was caused by a powerful explosion in an ammunition storeroom located nearby. In 1972 excavations were made bringing to light findings from the Paleolithic era. Inside the cave, at 110 meters depth there is a site of worship dedicated to Golgotha. Locals rebuilt the church after its destruction and in the same cave there is a rock that hangs from the roof which stops just above the ground.
Monemvasia, known as the Greek Rock of Gibraltar, is located on a small penminsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The peninsula is linked to the mainland by a short causeway. Monemvasia (Greek for one entrance) was a powerful medieval fortress only accessible by one point making it easily defendable. The old town is stunning with most of the old buildings having been restored.
Mycenae, about 20 minutes by car from Meraki is a city that defined a whole era, the Mycenaean era, from 1600 to 1100 BC. It was a rich city and military stonghold that reigned over most of southern Greece and Asia Minor. An amazing archaeological site worth visiting, make sure you see the citadel, the grave circles, the beehive tombs, the treasury of Atreus (Tomb of Agamemnon) and the "Lion gate" entrance to the city. It is from the Mycenaean palace that Hercules was given his 12 labours.
Mystra or also known as Myzithras is a fortified town about an hour and a half away from Tolo located on Mountain Taygetos, close to Ancient Sparta. It served as the capital of The Byzantine Despotate of Morea during the 14th and 15th century. The site was continualy inhabited even thoughout the Ottoman period. The town, now mostly abandoned, was famous for its fortification and the many churches and monasteries with fantastic Byzantine frescoes within the walls.
Ancient Nemea is usually remembered as where Hercules killed the Nemean Lion as one of his 12 labours. During anceint times Nemea was also known for the Nemean games which took place every four years, in between the Olympic games which ended circa 235 BC. There is a wonderful archaeological site and well-preserved stadium to see. Last and certainly not least Nemea is famous for its incredible, worldwide famous wine and it is possible to arrange wine tastings at some of the local wineries.
Delphi is known as the centre of the earth in ancient Greek mythology after Zeus released two eagles which met at Delphi after circling the earth. People flocked to the area to visit the Pithia Apollon oracle and the area grew rich as the oracle was consulted on all important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. It occupies an impressive site on the south-west slope of Mountain Parnassus overlooking the coastal plain to the south and the valley of Phocis. Delphi is now an wonderful archaeological site and is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Ancient Olympia is world famous as the birthplace of the Olympic Games which took place every four years from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. In ancient times Olympia was a famous city with many temples, such as the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Hera and more.
The archaeological site is extensive and well preserved as is the stadium. The museum houses the finds of the area including the Hermes & infant Dionysos sculpture.
The capital city of Greece, Athens dominates the region of Attica and is one of the worlds oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years, and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennia BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that was developed simultaneously with the seagoing development of the Piraeus port, which had been a distinct city prior to its 5th century BC embodiment with Athens. There is so much to see in Athens that it is worth going on a guided tour which would include the acropolis and main places of interest.
The area of Argolida is filled with history and historic buildings, many of which have been turned into museums, now housing great finds from ancient eras to more modern history. So take a look at a some recommendations such as the Archaeological Museum in Nafplio or the Byzantine Museum in Argos.