Island of Pelops
The Peloponnese (Greek: Pelopónnisos) is a large peninsula in the south of Greece, connected to the mainland via the isthmus of Corinth and the bridges over the famous eponymous canal. The peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Its modern name derives from ancient Greek mythology, specifically the legend of King Pelops who was said to have conquered the entire region. The name Peloponnese means ‘Island of Pelops’.
The Peloponnese is one of the most authentic and welcoming parts of Greece. Despite hosting some of Greece’s most important ancient sites, large tracts of unspoilt nature, beautiful unspoiled beaches and picturesque towns and villages, the number of tourists has remained limited. Along the coast one can find many hotels and camp-sites, while inland traditional hotels – often housed in old stone buildings – offer an equally comfortable stay. Although most visitors come to Greece in summer, the Peloponnese is a great destination for visits in spring, autumn and winter as well. See also: when to visit.
The Peloponnese covers an area of 21,379 km². The rugged beauty of its mountain ranges, with peaks up to 2400 meters, are separated by intensively cultivated fertile valleys. Olives, citrus fruit and grapes are among the most important crops.
Rich Flora of the Peloponnese
The flora of Greece is the richest in Europe with approximately 5000 plant species, half of which can be found on the Peloponnese. Of the 950 species unique to Greece, 510 grow on the Peloponnese. Most of these rare and unique plants are located at high altitude – in the mountains of Parnon, Taygetos or Helmos, or in the southern peninsula of Mani.
The Peloponnese is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, with plenty of sunshine throughout the year. During spring and autumn the temperature is pleasant, and particularly great for outdoor activitities like hiking or photography.
The summers are hot and the winters are mild. In summertime, a cool breeze comes down from the mountains after sunset. In winter the same mountains protect the valleys against the cold northern winds. Up in the mountains it’s a different story: Snow caps the peaks till late spring or even early summer. One can even go skiing in the north of the peninsula.
The Peloponnese is a perfect place to discover the traditional Greek kitchen. Many restaurants still cook according to the time of the year. Don’t hesitate to ask for seasonal dishes, which allow you to enjoy freshly picked mountain vegetables in winter, wild asparagus in spring, cheese-stuffed zucchini flowers in summer, roasted chestnuts in autumn, and much more. Kalí órexi!