(Peloponnese, Greece) – Lonely Planet, publisher of the well-known travel guides, has released their annual list highlighting the best travel destinations in Europe, and the Peloponnese in Greece has earned the top spot. This year’s list including a selection of typical choices, such as Venice and Tenerife, as well as several that are a bit off-the-beaten path, such as the Peloponnese, which is often overlooked by people traveling to Greece in favor of the Athens or some of the larger islands. They chose the region for several reasons, including its affordability, beauty, and the sheer options of things to do while visiting.
They describe the Peloponnese as, “An affordable enclave of magnificent ancient sights like Olympia, Mycenae and Mystras, which are scattered across a rich landscape of stone villages, teal seas and snow-capped mountains.” There is a rich history here on this peninsula, as it is the home of Sparta, one of the most recognizable of the Ancient Greece city-states, as well as the fabled region of Mani, which has a long history of remaining autonomous while the rest of Greece struggled with the occupation of the Ottoman Empire and multiple attacks by foreign invaders.
History aside, this is also a great place for visitors to experience the heart of Greece and to also enjoy the rugged scenery. Popular activities include hiking and people flock to the region specifically to experience the Menalon Trail, a new hiking trail that is over 75 km long and connects Stemnitsa to Lagkadia and passes through famous geographical features such as the Lousios Gorge, Mount Menalon, and the Mylaon River valley. Other sites to see include the Nemean wine region and the rugged terrain and unique houses of Mani. The Peloponnese is also easily accessible from Athens with options ranging from bus or train travel to renting a car in the Athens Airport and driving. This is also the place to go to experience the heart of Greece while also avoiding some of the larger tourist crowds that flock to the other, more common destinations. Yet, the Peloponnese is every bit as beautiful and memorable as the other destinations in Greece.