Out and about

Ermioni is a great base from which to explore small towns, villages and places of interest within a short driving distance.

KATAFYKI GORGE - Distance from Ermioni: 5 kms/10 mins

The exquisite  Katafyki gorge lies North of Ermioni, and stretches for over 5 kilometres towards the small village of Fourni.  The beautiful scenery consists of rocks, caves, lush vegetation, the small chapel of Aghios Nikolaos, which was built in 1740, and the church of Aghios Anargyri which has some picnic tables and a fresh water spring for passing travellers.  It is said that the churches were built at each end of the gorge to contain all the ancient spirits within, as the legendary cave that you will see on your left was believed to be the entrance to Hades (mentioned in Euripides' tragedy) from which Heracles snatched Kerveros.  Katafyki (ancient Katafighi) means 'exit to' in Greek, as this was the original footpath from ancient Hermione to the North, towards Epidavros, Kazarma, Tiryns and Mycenae.  It was also where many Ermioni villagers in the past used to hide from the brutal raids by Turks and Pirates.  Today, walking through the tree lined ravine, the footpath passes a little chapel, across a bridge, over flowing springs, especially during Spring when all the wild flowers are in abundance, past olive groves and enchanting fields with pine trees.  This track eventually opens up near the church of Aghios Anargyri and continues on to the small picturesque neighbouring village of Fourni. Fourni is a serene traditional village and has many almond trees which are beautiful when in blossom.  Although Fourni has a popular garden centre, the thing missing from Fourni is a fournos (bakery). Close to the village there is the natural spring of Papouli where you can refresh yourself with cool fresh water.  

Worth seeing on your walk through the gorge of Katafyki:

  • The rock caves of Katafyki
  • The chapel of Aghios Nikolaos and church of Aghios Anargyri
  • The traditional village of Fourni

THERMISIA - Distance from Ermioni: 11 kms/12 mins

East of Ermioni lies the small village by the sea called Thermisia.  The village acquired its name from the temple of Demeter, who was the goddess of Thermasia (Heat: from the heat of the hot water springs).  Demeter used to be worshipped in the area and a temple was built to her close to the sea, a lagoon has been formed on that very spot.  In the early Medieval period some fine saltpans were found here, which remained profitable until the 19th century.  Today this lagoon area is an important stopping place for rare migrating birds.  2.5 kms before the entrance to the village, stands the imposing Lizzard rock which rises to 350 metres, on top of which the Frankish Castle of Thermisia has been built.  From this Crusader stronghold, which was constructed in the late 12th Century, the Franks defended and ruled over the surrounding countryside, particulary the valuable saltpans in the lagoon below.  The castle is worth exploring and access is a relatevly moderate and safe 30 minute climb.  The other peak is used for rock climbing by skilled enthusiasts.  The panoramic views from the summit are just wonderful. Driving time to the castle is 20 minutes from Ermioni. Thermisia village itself is small and has few amenities, however, there are at least three good tavernas within the village, one of which is located by the sea front.  It is mainly an agricultural area, plentiful in orchards with citrus fruits, apricots and olive trees.  The area attracts holiday makers as it has some nice sandy beaches close by. Further along the coastline, one can find camping sites, a few small tavernas, large all-inclusive hotels and time-share complexes. 

Worth seeing at Thermisia:

  • The castle is a must, views from the Lizard rock crest are truly spectacular
  • Visit the migrating bird sanctuary, next to the old lagoon
  • Try some of the local tavernas within and around the village

KILADA - Distance from Ermioni: 13 kms/12 mins

Kilada is a picturesque traditional fishing village of the Ermionida area, with traditional shipbuilding and fishing boat construction yards.  The boatyards still make and repair traditional wooden fishing boats, as well as maintaining modern luxury yachts for the residing yachting community. Kilada is scenic and peaceful and a perfect setting for a holiday 'away from it all'.  It is where you can eat freshly caught fish in many of the village tavernas and restaurants.  Within 1 km, one can enjoy swimming and bathing at Lepitsa beach, which is one of the best sandy beaches surrounding the area, with a taverna and cafeteria.  There is also a small local beach, with cafe, past the large church at the far end of the harbour.  Opposite the village of Kilada, across the bay, is the famous 38,000 year old pre-historic Franchthi cave, now confirmed as the oldest cave dwelling in the whole world.  The route to the cave is marked with faded red arrows, starting from the far end of the Franchthi beach. 

 Worth seeing at Kilada:

  • The pre-historic Franchthi cave
  • The traditional shipbuilding yards
  • The beautiful surrounding beaches at Lepitsa, Doroufi, Lakkes and Thini

 FRANCHTHI CAVE - Distance from Ermioni: 20 kms/25 mins: Walk along the footpath to the cave 20 mins

Across from the traditional fishing village of Kilada lies the Cave of Franchthi.  Internationally, it is known for its most valuable pre-historic findings, which date back over 38,000 years.  The Archaeological School of Indiana University carried out extensive excavations from 1967 until 1976.  From this research they found the oldest human skeleton in Europe, dating back to 23,000 BC, as well as other evidence, revealing the way prehistoric man lived.  There are many findings, and most are on display at Nafplio's Archaeological Museum of the Peloponnese. This is an important cave and well worth a visit.  The 20 minute walk from the beach along a narrow winding coastal footpath, will give you beautiful views of the picturesque fishing village of Kilada and the privately owned Koronida island.  The cave is still in its natural state, but there are plans to make the cave into a tourist attraction.  One advantage could be direct access by boat from the fishing village of Kilada.

 KRANIDI - Distance from Ermioni: 10 kms/11 mins

Kranidi is the largest town within the Ermionida region and is the capital of the municipality.  It is built between the pine-covered slopes of Aghia Anna and the ruins of the ancient city of Macitos, which also included Kilada and Fourni.  Until the beginning of the 20th century, Kranidi had a large commercial fleet and established trade routes throughout the Mediterranean.  Betweem 1823 and 1824, Kranidi became the interim seat of government in Greece, having played a major role during the Greek War of Independence, before the capital was established at Nafplio, then later transfered to Athens.  It is also the birthplace of Emmanuel Repoulis, a Minister in the Venizelos Cabinet, who has had a village festival named in his honour.  The recent name of Kranidi was acquired at the beginning of the 16th century.  Today modern Kranidi is the commerical and administrative centre of the Ermionida region, and has many shops, where the visitor or resident can browse from basic traditional craftwork to modern designer boutiques.  It has all the other main amenities and in the event of an emergency, there is a 24 hour Regional Health Centre and many English speaking doctors and dentists within the town.  For the fitness enthusiast, there is also a gym.  If you don't have a car, then buses depart from Ermioni to Kranidi in the mornings, Monday to Friday only.  The Ermioni bus stop is located opposite Pops Tourist office, by the waterside kiosk.  Last bus from Kranidi to Ermioni departs at 13:00.

From Kranidi, coaches travel to Epidavros (Ligourio), Isthmia (Corinth Canal) and on to central Athens.  All coaches depart from the Ermionida Hotel, located opposite the Regional Health Centre, at 05:30 - 11:00 - 14:4517:30 throughout the week. There is no 05:30 departure on Sunday or public holidays.  The coach journey to Athens takes approximately 3.3 hours. Tickets and timetables are available from the hotel reception area.  Tel: 27540 21218.  Tickets for Athens cost 19.40 Euros per person, one way.

Worth seeing in Kranidi:

  • The Mayorial offices and public library building
  • The folk museum
  • The windmills on the the pine forested slopes of Aghia Anna

PORTO HELI - Distance from Ermioni: 20 kms/25 mins

Porto Heli is a modern coastal town and a well established resort for both local and international visitors, as many people have summer homes within the area.  It offers the holiday visitor, or the local  residents,  a choice of various water sports, sandy beaches and nightlife.  Due to the beautiful climate with plenty of sunshine and light winds, the bay is ideal for all kinds of water activities.  It is an area of great natural beauty, especially along the coastline with its numerous sheltered coves and crystal clear water.  It started to develop the tourist industry during the 1980s, as it became popular with package tours.  Being a modern town it has plenty of shops, tavernas, cafes and bars, boats that will take you on one-day excursions, or to some nice near-by beaches.  There are daily bus and hydrofoil services from Athens throughout the year and car hire facilities for local travel.   Porto Heli is located on a beautiful safe, natural harbour, opposite the ruins of Ancient Halieis.  Halieis was a large settlement of farmers and fishermen and remains are visible on land (the Acropolis) and just under the sea (the communal baths) at the opposite end of the town.  Artifacts from the site are on display in various museums, including Spetses and the Archaeological Museum of the Peloponnese in Nafplio.  The modern name of Porto Heli translates to the 'Bay of Eels', which was the mainstay of the fishing industry many years ago.  Today, fishing is still important, with farming and tourism being the other main industries.

Worth seeing in Porto Heli:

  • The churches of Panaghia and Aghios Emilianos 
  • The annual Spring Carnival
  • Excursions - including an option to visit MONEMVASIA with Kelly Cruise during the Summer months only. Tel: 27540 51327 

ILIOKASTRO - Distance from Ermioni: 9 kms/10 mins

Iliokastro is situated 9 kms northeast of Ermioni, located on the plateau of llei.  In the past, a small settlement was found in the area, whilst today one can still detect the enclosure of the ancient walls, which are next to the small steep hill, which might have been used as an Acropolis.  According to Pausanias, temples for the worship of Demeter and her daughter were erected here, and the road linking ancient Hermione and Troezen used to pass through this settlement.  Today, Iliokastro would be highly appreciated by wine lovers, as some good wines are locally made, which are served in many tavernas in the village.  The road leading up to the small village of Iliokastro, gives the visitor a panaromic view of the scenic coastline below, leading them to the traditional village tavernas which offer very good food, wine and friendly hospitality.  The village celebrates the festival of St Peter and St Paul on 28th June, with a religious procession around the village, a street fair and live music in some tavernas.

Location

Iliokastro Village
Ermionida Argolida Peloponnese
Greece
37° 26' 39.5448" N, 23° 15' 59.9796" E
Picture Gallery
The gorge of Katafyki The stunning rock formation and cave at Katafyki The view as one walks through the gorge Spring flowers in abundance A leisurely walk with friends through the gorge A 'pause' to examine the empty stream Beautiful flowers in spring at the gorge Impressive Thermisia castle on top of Lizard rock Thermisia castle - first close-up view The Frankish Thermisia castle from the summit The Crusader battlements of Thermisia castle 'We've made it to the top!' The view from the top of the castle is amazing The view from the top towards Ermioni The huge rock of the secondary castle The view of Lizard rock from the monument at Thermisia The picturesque fishing village of Kilada One of many fresh fish tavernas in Kilada Kilada fishing village from the main road One of the ship-builders yards in Kilada Local fisherman at the harbour front of Kilada The view across to the pre-historic Franchthi cave from Kilada The view of Koronida island from Kilada Lepitsa beach - 1 km from Kilada The beautiful walk along the coast to the cave The pre-historic Cave of Franchthi The scale of the cave entrance The rear top entrance of the Franchthi Cave The central plateia fountain at Kranidi A small park and monuments within Kranidi The main bus stop is at the Ermionida Hotel A modern plateia in central Kranidi Explore the back streets of Kranidi to find quaint little shops The traditional character of the old village of Kranidi Another park in the new town of Kranidi The modern resort town of Porto Heli One of the beaches along the main road at Porto Heli Plenty to play with on the Porto Heli beach In Porto Heli one can enjoy watersports in abundance Porto Heli from the beach opposite the town The cathedral church of Porto Heli Children's play-area in Iliokastro Church interior of St Peter and St Paul in Iliokastro The central bridge of Iliokastro Directions to the Gorge of Katafyki Directions to the Castle of Thermisia Directions to Kilada and the Caves at Franchthi and Didyma Directions to Kranidi and the Regional Health Centre