Corinth is the gateway to the Peloponnese and is easily accessible from Athens. You can make a half-day trip to Ancient Corinth but there’s enough to keep you busy for a bit longer if you have time to spend in the area. Here are 23 of the best things to do in Corinth, Greece.
1. See or Cruise the Corinth Canal
The Corinth canal is a man-made canal that was created along the narrow isthmus of Corinth. It connects the Gulf of Corinth, an inlet of the Ionian Sea, with the Saronic Gulf, an inlet of the Aegean Sea. It runs from Posidonia to Isthmia, home of the Isthmian Games of Ancient Greece.
Some argue that the canal’s creation along the natural limestone land bridge divides the Peloponnese peninsula from the Greek mainland, making it the biggest of the Greek islands. Technically they’re probably right but the area is still considered mainland Greece.
Witnessing the canal from above is very impressive. One of the best places to see it is a rest stop where you can walk along one of the bridges to view both ends. It’s a tourist hotspot in summer so it does get busy then.
And I’ve heard it’s something of a popular spot for thieves to break into cars. If you drive there, don’t leave anything on display and I wouldn’t leave anything of value in the boot/trunk either, ideally.
2. Marvel at the Diolkos
In ancient times, before the canal was made slaves would drag ships over the isthmus on a cobbled road. It ran almost parallel with where the canal is now and it was better for vessels than making the voyage around the peninsula.
Although there’s not a huge amount left to see you can see part of the road at Posidonia on the way to Loutraki. I don’t have any photos because when I went it was getting dark and I was a bit flustered about driving over the submersible bridge (which I came to sooner than I expected).
Anyway, the bridge is interesting to see, if a bit rickety to drive over! Instead of opening to let boats through it drops down in the water so they pass over the top of it.
3. See the Mosaics at The ancient Temple of Isthmia
The Sanctuary / Temple of Poseidon is where the Isthmian games actually took place. There’s not a huge amount left of anything at the site, mostly remains of foundations. But there’s a large mosaic at the end of the site which is nice to stop in and see.
I found the place quite well organised in terms of information boards. And there’s a small archaeological museum attached with well-preserved items. The is a small site and a short stop. But it’s nice to combine with the submersible bridge at this end of the canal too.
4. Discover Ancient Corinth
One of the top things on your list and perhaps your main reason for visiting Corinth could be to see the ancient city of Corinth and the Temple of Apollo. There are a number of half-day excursions that run between Athens and Corinth to see the ruins of Ancient Corinth.
The site sprawls across both sides of the road. You can also spend time in the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth which is next to the site. Note that the site of Ancient Corinth and the Corinth Archaeological Museum are closed on Tuesdays.
5. Climb Acrocorinth
Another important archaeological site is Acrocorinth. It’s close to the other ancient ruins so the fortress is easy to visit at the same time. Up a winding road on the hillside, you’ll see the remains of what was the most important fortress in the Peloponnese.
Archaeologists say that the fortified wall is from the Archaic period. Thanks to its two ports, Corinth was an important commercial centre in the Eastern Mediterranean at the time. Later, the fort was destroyed during Roman times.
Again, this site is very well maintained and there are several information boards where you can read more about the Greek history of the site and the area.
Take your walking shoes and make sure you’ve had breakfast. There’s a lot of uphill walking but it’s worth it. It’s a great place to get panoramic views of the area.
Climb the tower on the highest point of the hill of Acrocorinth
6. Take a Biblical Tour
If you’re interested in following in the footsteps of St. Paul / Apostle Paul and contextualising where he spent his time in Corinth you can join this private tour.
The guide will take you around the historical part of Corinth emphasising aspects from the book of Acts. You’ll see the canal, Ancient Corinth, and Acrocorinth with private transportation and hotel pick-up/drop-off.
7. Dare to Bungee Jump
8. Buy Some Ceramic Crafts
There are several touristy shops around the Ancient Corinth site mostly with hand-painted ceramics for sale. Kilix Ceramic Crafts is the biggest with the widest variety of painted designs and bronze items.
But along this little street you’ll find lots of opportunities to buy ceramics from the tiniest pot or vase to very large, expensive pieces. Shipping is available if you want a statement piece delivered home for you.
9. Go to the Outdoor Cinema
In the summer months, the Rodon Cinema beside Kalamios Beach runs a weekly programme on Wednesdays. Open the site in Google Chrome for English translation to see which recent releases are being shown in this nostalgic location.
10. Enjoy a Giannikos Winery Tour
With just a short drive into the countryside, you can visit Giannikos Winery for a wine tour. When I went to Giannikos in winter the road wound through orchards of trees dripping with citrus fruit. It was a welcome retreat from the bustling city of Athens where I live now.
Anyway, the experience has excellent reviews on Google Maps. You can book directly through the site and you’ll get a tour of the vineyard and the organic winemaking process they use, as well as a wine tasting.
11. Savour a Greek Olive Oil Tour
Staying on the theme of sampling local produce you can also book an olive oil tasting tour in the area.
From April to mid-November you can visit OLEOSOPHIA around 20 minutes from Ancient Corinth for olive tours and tastings of their award-winning oils. Discover the Manaki variety of olive which is only cultivated in the Corinthian and Argolis areas of Greece.
Markellos also offer a variety of tours and tastings where you can visit their old olive mill. They mix traditional with modern and part of your experience can be via virtual reality glasses. Markellos offer a simple tasting where you sample their oils with bruschetta, olives and seasonal vegetables.
If you’re something of a connoisseur you can opt for the professional tasting. You’ll get the oil in glasses so you can identify the aromas (like a wine tasting) and then you can sip to sample the tastes.
12. See the Views from St Patapios Monastery
Another lovely place for views (and the perfect place to see the sunset) is St Patapios Monastery. It’s at the top of a twisty road and worth the drive up there. If you’re nervous about the road (it gets wider higher up) you could stop at the panorama point above the town instead.
Once you park, there are steep steps up to the monastery so be prepared for those. The church is lovely (make sure you’re respectfully dressed and covered – no shorts or shoulders) and the views are worth getting your heart rate up for.
I missed the sunset because I was feeding a stray puppy on the road on the way up. (Cried my eyes out on the way back too because I couldn’t take him, he was too scared to come close. But I did let the local animal welfare people know so they went to look for him.) But you can still see from the photos that it’s a stunning vista.
13. Go Shopping
The modern town of Corinth has a variety of Greek chain stores and independent shops in the town centre you can browse. There’s also the Mare West Shopping Centre on the outskirts. It’s just a small shopping centre but it has a Mango and a Decathlon amongst other stores.
14. Take a Stroll Along the Seafront
In Corinth town, you can take a picture of the winged Pegasus statue and then go for a walk along the front. There’s a little harbour with fishing boats and then the promenade heads off in both directions. You can walk a long way along the coast or just sit on the benches and enjoy the water view.
15. See the Pictures at the Municipal Art Gallery
As you might be gathering, I didn’t plan my trip to Corinth too well. I managed to get the art gallery after closing time at 2pm (Monday – Friday). But it’s supposed to be worth getting to in the morning.
The gallery was inaugurated after the acclaimed painter Sotiris Pylarinos left his paintings and private collection to the municipality to display. These pictures make up the gallery’s permanent collections. It also houses temporary collections from time to time.
16. Laze on Kalamios Beach
17. Wander Round Loutraki
Loutraki is a popular seaside resort just along the coast. If you’re going to see the Diolkos and the submersible bridge near Posidonia you’re close by. In the summer you can enjoy beach bars and watersports along the Central Beach of Loutraki. You can find some other little coves along the way too.
The town area is nice to explore with some interesting shops to discover. If you’d like to visit a monastery without traipsing all the way up a mountain road there’s a small convent, Agia Marina, close to the town centre.
18. Heal in the Thermal Waters
Loutraki is known for its healing thermal waters and you can enjoy them at Loutraki spa. The thermal spa has modern facilities like a pool with hydro jets, a sauna and steam. They offer a variety of massages and other body treatments too.
19. Go on a Bike Ride
There’s a bike docking station just opposite Loutraki Thermal Spa. With a cycle path going all round the coast it’s a really pleasant way to spend some time. The cost to hire a bike is super low and covers you for rides up to 120 minutes. If you want to ride for longer the charges are minimal.
20. Visit Mycenae
If historical sites are your main priority and you want to spend your time doing things in Corinth that fit that agenda head to Mycenae. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site inextricably linked with the Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer’s epics. It’s one of two citadels that were hugely influential in developing classical Greek culture.
Mycenae is only about half an hour’s drive from Ancient Corinth. Entrance to the site includes access to the Treasury of Atreus / Tomb of Agamemnon. Or you can get a combined ticket which includes a variety of sites in Napflion.
You can easily do a full-day trip that covers both Ancient Corinth and Mycenae.
21. Visit the Saronic Islands
22. Take a Boat and Snorkeling Trip
The Corinthian Gulf is a great location for a boat trip because it’s a somewhat protected and safe location. I’ve added it to my list of things to go back and do in the summer since there’s a high chance of seeing dolphins (which is on my bucket list).
23. Enjoy Stymfalia Lake & Environment Museum
Stymphalia lake is around an hour from Corinth and it’s the largest mountain lake of the Peloponnese. It’s known in Greek mythology for being the place Hercules went to defeat the Stymphalia birds, number six of the 12 Labours set upon him by King Eurystheus.
In modern times, Stymphalia Lake is an important wetland/marsh area for migrating birds. Like areas of Andros and Naxos, the lake and surrounds are part of the European Network of Protected Areas NATURA 2000.
The Environment Museum of Stymphalia is based there to “show the interdependence of mankind and nature, focuses on their harmonious coexistence in the Stymphalia basin”. One of the cool things they have in the museum is an open aquarium of the lake. You see a cross-section of the lake and the fish and plants in it.
Bonus: Visit Nafplion
This is a bonus suggestion because if you have enough time it’s worth moving on to explore Nafplion for longer than a quick trip. But if you’re only really going as far as Corinth you can do a day trip to Nafplion.
The city is a whole post in itself but it’s less than half an hour’s drive from Mycenae. You could do Ancient Corinth and enjoy some other activities around modern Corinth and Louitraki on day one. And then on day two, visit Mycenae and Nafplion.
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