10. Athens: Corinth, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Nafplio Day Tour
Leaving Athens behind we drive on the coastal road towards the West. Our first stop (after approximately one hour) is the Corinth Canal. There we’ll make a short stop, enough to see the Canal, (approximately 6 km long connecting the Aegean with the Ionian Sea), take photos and visit the local cafeteria. Driving through the winding roads of Corinthia and Sofiko, we are going to visit Epidaurus, famous for it’s ancient theatre and the sanctuary of Asclepios. The sanctuary of Asclepios was a healing centre as well as a cultural centre in ancient times. Epidaurus was built around the 4th Century B.C. and has a multitude of buildings most famous of which is the ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. The Theatre of Epidaurus has reached our days almost intact. The view, aesthetics and acoustics of the theatre are breathtaking. It’s still in use today and hosts carefully selected theatrical plays, concerts, and festivals during the summer. For an actor to perform in the Theatre of Epidaurus is considered the greatest honour and the ultimate acknowledgement of his or her talent, if he wins over the tough audience. After concluding our visit to Epidaurus we’ll drive through the plain of Argolis, among thousands of olive trees and vineyards, thirty minutes later we’ll arrive to the picturesque town of Nafplion (First capital of modern Greece, from 1829 to 1834). Nafplion is the most ancient city in Greece. According to the myth it was founded by Theseas who first conceived the idea of organized cities where people could live together. The city lies under the imposing rocks of Palamide the most formidable Venetian Castle in the Eastern Mediterranean. The smaller Castle of Acronafplia (where the ancient city was founded) crowns Naflion and at the entrance of the harbor, in the Argolic Gulf, there is yet another, third Castle, Bourtzi, situated on a small islet. Whether you decide to have lunch in the old medieval quarter, with the narrow, stoned paved streets, or by the port, with the view of Bourtzi, Nafplion is the best choice for lunch in this trip. Driving afterwards among endless farms of orange trees we’ll arrive at the archaeological site of Mycenae. Mycenae, 'Rich in Gold', was the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, who dominated the Aegean Sea after the distraction of the Minoan Empire. The city looks out across the plain of Argos to the sea. It’s elevated position and it’s huge Cyclopean Walls, offered protection from surprise attacks by pirates and enemies. At the peak of its power (1300 B.C.) the population leaved around the fortress where the Royal Family had its Palace. The Palace, symbol of power of the Mycenaean rulers, was reached by a large ramp beginning at the Lions Gate. Outside the fortress lie the impressive beehive tombs including that ascribed to Agamemnon known also as the Treasury of Atreas. After concluding our visit to Mycenae we’ll start the return trip to Athens. Your personal local driver, will provide commentary in fluent English, en-route, before you visit the sites.