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Outdoors in the Peloponnese

Within easy reach of Athens, this Greek peninsula is rich in ancient sites and shaped by a gorgeous topography of lofty mountains, vast gorges and sandy beaches.
The medieval ruins of Byzantine Mystras



The Olympic Games took place here for at least 1,000 years, until their abolition by Theodosius I in 393 AD. Little remains of the magnificent temples and athletic facilities, but enough exists to give you a hint of this sanctuary’s former glory. Visit the Museum of Olympia beforehand. The site is a five-minute walk from the village of Olympia (8am–sunset Apr– Oct, to 3pm Nov–Mar; £10.50).


Spread over a steep mountainside of the Taÿgetos range, this former provincial capital of the Byzantine Empire stands as Greece’s most compelling set of medieval ruins. A classic fortified city, Mystras is surrounded by olive and orange trees. Treading cobblestones worn smooth by centuries of footsteps, you can walk with the ghosts, ducking into palace ruins, monasteries and churches, most dating from between 1271 and 1460 (8am–sunset Apr–Oct, to 3pm Nov–Mar; £10.50).

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - April 2017
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