I have visited Poleponnese on a vacation with my boyfriend’s family. We were 10 people, and we stayed in a villa we found on Airbnb in Porto Heli, a small quiet town with a beautiful harbor and clear blue ocean.
The villa consisted of 5 bedrooms, a spacious living room, a fully equipped kitchen and a large pool. The decor was clean and beautiful, and the garden was overlooking an amazing view of mountains and lake. We bought eggs, sausages, cheeses, breads and vegetables, and in the mornings we ate large, spoiling breakfasts in the villa.
We rented 3 cars, and each day we went for a walk in another area. Although I had already visited several Greek islands, I was amazed to discover that on the continent itself, a two-hour drive from Athens, lies a region so beautiful, fun and culinary.
- The town of Porto Heli- The town itself is charming and fun to explore on foot: the harbor, promenade, beaches and cafes. This tour, including a coffee break, will take no more than two hours, and it is recommended to end it at the port and from there to sail to Spetses island.
- Restaurant: Costa-Rica– a local and cozy tavern, the family members are the cooks and waiters and the dishes are based on family recipes. Instead of choosing from the menu, we asked to be served the best dishes and the table was filled with amazing food, accompanied by wine and traditional ouzo. Greece at its best!
- Spetses Island- A small island with a beautiful town and amazing beaches. Along the coast there are taverns, bars, hotels and cafes. It is recommended to visit the old harbor and the small, colorful alleys that wound up the hill. There are almost no cars on the island, and transportation is mainly done by motorcycles or horse carts. You can rent bikes or scooters – a cool way to discover the real charm of the place.
- Restaurant: Bouboulina– a classic Greek taverna on the beach, highly recommended.
- Amanzoe Resort- a breathtaking resort of the prestigious Aman hotel chain, located on a hill covered with olive trees, allowing a 360-degree view of the area. The feeling in this place is that everything has been thought of – besides the fact that everything is made of marvel (!), the design itself resembles a Greek royal palace with exceptional architecture. We arrived at the resort area for an evening to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday in the restaurant, and left with a decision that we would return in the future for a couple of nights. We started drinking cocktails overlooking the spectacular sunset, and when it got dark we went to the restaurant for a festive and dreamy dinner. We ate 2 appetizers of shrimp and octopus, a steak served on a boiling plate with truffle puree, and amazing slow cooked black angus short ribs with mushroom risotto. For dessert we were served a birthday cake with chocolate and banana flavors, that was not only beautiful, but also delicious! The prestige, quality, location, design and warm service of the staff made the evening no less than perfect.
- The town of Nafplio- an ancient and picturesque town that was the first capital of Greece (before Athens). First we visited the Palmydi Fortress, an ancient fortress 230 meters high. You can choose whether you want to climb the stairs or get there by car. The castle offers a magnificent view of the whole town surrounded by the blue sea. From there we drove to the Old City – narrow and colorful streets with a variety of shops, restaurants and cafes.
- Café for dessert: Pergamonto– a coffee shop known for its excellent Greek dessert-Loukoumades. These are fried dough balls prepared on the spot and served with honey, yogurt and cinnamon/ Nutella and a variety of other toppings. The portions are large and suitable for sharing. Unique and highly recommended!
- Hydra Island- We arrived on a cruise from the town of Ermioni near Porto Heli. The island has no sandy beaches as there are in most of the Greek islands, but it has a lot of charm and uniqueness: it is built on a cliff and there are no roads – all the transportation is done by donkeys. The sea water is clear and soft, the narrow streets are colorful and enchanting, and the atmosphere is perfect for those who want to rest and disconnect from the big city life. We spent a day in Hydra and left wishing for more.
- Restaurant: Taverna Lulus– a picturesque little tavern in one of the city’s winding alleys. All the fresh fish and seafood come from the island’s bay.
- Epidaurus- an ancient and impressive amphitheater, now considered to be the most famous and most preserved in Greece. The structure is known for its acoustics – a whisper or a drop of a coin can be heard from the bottom of the amphitheater all the way to the last row in the audience. There is also a museum and other ancient buildings that illustrate the lifestyle of ancient Greece.