The acropolis of ancient Corinth is among the most imposing, yet little-known sights of the Peloponnese. Located just an hour from Athens, Acrocorinth boasts a rather quixotic atmosphere, amazing views and 2,500 years of condensed history.
Sitting on top of a steep bare rock at an altitude of 575 metres, it is the perfect example of a stronghold designed to repel attacks from 700 BC until 1823, when it was eventually surrendered by the Turks to the Greeks. Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Turks and Venetians – who gave it its final form when it passed into their hands in 1687– have all left their cultural imprint here. Take the national road towards Tripoli along which you will find ancient Corinth with its very well-preserved archaeological site. You can make a first stop here to marvel at the Doric temple of Apollo imposing its presence on the entire site and the remains of the Roman Agora, as well as visit the museum housing all excavation findings.
Or continue by car until you reach the point where the cobbled uphill road to the fortress begins. The Acrocorinth already looms above you, steeped in history, inviting you to immerse yourself in a journey through the centuries. Soft as a whisper or whistling ominously, the wind adds to the splendour of the landscape.
Walk through the huge arched entrance gate, the most impressive of the three in total, and continue through two more gates that follow each other upwards in tiers. Touch the thick walls that have withstood centuries of raids. Notice the massive bastions, the jagged crenellations, the narrow battlements, the vaulted corridors. On the tier beyond the third gate you can explore the traces left by the many different cultures over the years; the ruins of the chapel of Prophet Elias, cannons from the era of Francesco Morozini, the underground Ano Peirene fountain (also known as “Dragonera”), an ancient water tank mentioned by Pausanias, mosque ruins, fountains.
In case you are not in the mood for sightseeing, then simply sit back and enjoy the unimaginable view which sweeps across the Patraikos, the Corinthian and the Saronic Gulf, overlooking Aegina and Salamis, and extends to the opposite coasts of the mainland, to the peaks of Mount Helicon and Mount Parnassus. Peace, serenity, an uplifting atmosphere… Few visitors, quiet conversations, the feeling that Acrocorinth confides its stories only to you.
Leaving behind the fortress and its rich history, in case you are looking for a nice place to eat nearby, the family tavern “Gemelos” (+30 27410 31325) is a decent choice. Roasts and stews, with a view of the temple of Apollo in the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth. If you are looking for something more sophisticated, the famous fish tavern “Kavos” (+30 27410 37906) in Isthmia, at the begging of the old Corinth-Epidaurus road, is a first-class choice. The tavern “Rigani” (+30 27440 66744) in Loutraki that serves delicious roasts and stews in a nice garden is another good idea.
If the weather permits, can you can also have a picnic; prepare and take with you sandwiches and other snacks and munch at your leisure on the benches around the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth. There is also a nice playground in the area for the little ones.