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Corinth
by Theodoros Karasavvas

Corinth

Corinth’s Rich Ancient History

With a recorded history of nearly five thousand years, Corinth is one of the most historic cities not just in Greece, but also around the globe. By the seventh century BC, Corinth was one of the most advanced Greek city-states. Soon, it became the greatest naval and commercial center of antiquity, establishing several colonies in the region of the Ionian Sea and that of Illyria. However, the Corinthians are best remembered for colonizing large parts of southern Italy, with Syracuse being the most powerful and rich of all the Sicilian colonies.

Despite Corinth’s innumerable contributions and achievements on a military, political, and trade level, the city’s name became synonymous with classical architecture and Christianity more than anything else. The Corinthian order was one of the three basic architectural orders—alongside the Doric and Ionic—of classical antiquity. It was also the one that Romans loved and copied more than any other.

Corinth became a particularly popular destination and cultural center during the Roman Period in Greece. Saint Paul lived and preached here between 51 and 52 AD. It is said that he loved Corinth more than any other city in the pagan world. Two of his epistles in the New Testament are named in honor of the city.

Ancient Corinth

The City’s Promising Present

Throughout the centuries, Corinth lost its former glory and glamor. In 1858, the ancient city of Corinth was literally demolished by a catastrophic earthquake. However, this natural disaster initiated the building of the new city, which was hit by another massive earthquake in 1928. The city was reconstructed yet again, but this time with earthquake-proof buildings a few kilometers outside the ruins of ancient Corinth.

There are countless things to do in modern-day Corinth. The breathtaking seaside landscapes, the imposing Mount Geraneia, the scattered archaeological ruins, and the city’s world-famous canal, are only a few things to see while visiting.

Corinth is the capital of Corinthia, a fertile county that’s situated in the northeast Peloponnese. Only an hour drive from Athens and forty-five minutes from Nafplio, it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that Corinth is the crossroads of mainland Greece. And how could it not be when its stunning canal (especially at night) connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea?

The pedestrianization of the city’s downtown area, the gentrification of the port, and the construction of one of the biggest malls in all of the Peloponnese, has transformed Corinth into a twenty-first-century city that has so many things to offer both the local population and tourists. More than 60,000 people currently live in the municipality of Corinth.   

Loutraki

Surrounding Places

Besides Corinth, Corinthia is home to several smaller towns and villages, with Loutraki being the most popular tourist destination historically with its long sandy beach, hotels, cafes, restaurants and the famous Loutraki Hotel and Casino, a beachfront hotel surrounded by gardens and thousand year old olive trees. Ancient Corinth is nowadays just a small village a few kilometers outside modern Corinth but it has so many things to offer visitors. A visit there goes without question. Nemea is another historic town in Corinthia, where the mythical hero Heracles killed the Nemean lion. Nemea is also well known for its high-quality wine production. Distinct for its deep red color and complex aroma, Nemean wine is exported to more than forty-five countries on four different continents.

Another notable town in Corinthia is Xylokastro. The intense nightlife and beautiful beaches have made this town one of the hottest summer destinations for thousands of Athenians (and many others), especially on the weekends. Another popular destination includes Trikala, a striking village in north Corinthia that has become a wildly famous winter destination nationwide.

Isthmia, Agioi Theodoroi, Loutra Elenis (Baths of Beautiful Helen) and Lechaion are some of the other worthwhile neighboring villages to see while visiting Corinth.

What to See

There are certain things you can’t miss when you visit Corinth and the surrounding areas. As a native of Corinth, I would highly recommend the following...

Corinth Canal

The Corinth Canal

Even from antiquity, the Greeks were trying to find ways to avoid the circumnavigation of the Peloponnese with their ships. Periander, the Second Tyrant of the Cypselid dynasty that ruled over Corinth, was the first man to come up with the idea of constructing a canal. Many Roman and Byzantine emperors tried to implement Periander’s dream but no one managed to complete it. Almost 2,600 years after Periander, the Canal of Corinth was finally completed in 1893. Trust us, you definitely want to take a selfie there. Besides the amazing view from the old bridge which spans the canal in the center of the isthmus there is another very interesting bridge at the eastern end. It is not very impressive when you first see it but sit in the cafe and have a drink and wait for a boat to come and you will be amazed. I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil it.

Temple of Apollo, Corinth

Ancient Corinth

Despite its small size, there are way too many things for a tourist to see in ancient Corinth. To begin with, you will admire the Temple of Apollo there. Built around 560 BC with local limestone, the Archaic temple was the absolute symbol of glory for the city of Corinth. Next to it is the renovated archaeological museum of ancient Corinth that contains many important artifacts and statues that came to light through the archaeological excavations that have taken place in the city. The Bema of Saint Paul is another sight to see in ancient Corinth. A large elevated rostrum standing proudly in the center of the Roman Forum near the Temple of Apollo is where Paul’s trial (he was accused of illegal teachings) took place.

Acrocorinth

Acrocorinth

Last but not least, the Acropolis of Corinth, also known as Acrocorinth, on the top of ancient Corinth’s mountain is probably the highlight of Corinthia. The views from there are truly stunning, while some historians and explorers (such as George Forrest) have described it as “the most impressive of the Acropoleis of mainland Greece.”  

See also Ancient Corinth and Akrocorinth

Heraion of Perachora

Heraion of Perachora

Heraion of Perachora is situated on the peninsula of Perachora, at the north end of the Corinthian Gulf, at the western end of the Geraneia mountain range. It’s a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hera that was founded in the eighth century BC, almost three centuries before the construction of the Parthenon in Athens.

Above the Temple of Hera you will see the impressive Lighthouse of Heraion, also known as the Lighthouse at Cape Melagkavi. It first operated in 1897, soon after the completion of the Canal of Corinth, in order to safely guide the ships that sail in the Corinthian Gulf.

Lake Doxa

Lake Doxa

Feneos Valley remained an unknown area of Corinthia for many years, but that’s not the case anymore. This gorgeous green valley in western Corinthia has been described as the “Swiss Corner of Greece,” as it’s surrounded by dense pine forests. The brightest jewel of this marvelous location is Lake Doxa, an artificial lake that was created in the late 1990s.   

What to Do in Corinth

One thing is for sure when you visit Corinth: you won’t be bored. The variety of things to do in this beautiful place will most likely satisfy even those with the most demanding taste.

Pegasus Statue, Corinth

Take your coffee by the Port

The newly constructed pedestrian walkways of Corinth are full of modern bars and coffeehouses that operate for most of the day. Start your morning in Corinth by having a frappé or a cold chocolate (hot if you’re visiting during the winter) in the heart of the city with the amazing view of the statue of Pegasus, which has become a trademark spot of the Corinthian port.

Mare West Shopping Center

Shopping in Mare West

Mare West is Corinth’s shopping “mecca.” To get in this commercial park that opened a couple of years ago, you only have to drive five minutes from the city’s downtown. Set in a 50 km² area, you will find everything a big Athenian mall has to offer, from clothes, jewelry, perfumes, and leather purses and shoes to milk and honey in the park’s mega supermarket. Once you’re done shopping, you can sit and relax at one of the mall’s restaurants or cafés, which also offers a picturesque view of the Corinthian Gulf and a huge playground for your kids.

Corinth Canal Bungee Jumping

Bungee Jumping in the Corinth Canal

Other than a popular tourist destination and a selfie hot spot, the Canal of Corinth has become famous in the last few years for offering a unique bungee jumping experience. If you’re seeking big doses of adrenaline and want to “taste” the waters of the canal safely, then Zulu Bungy in Corinth is waiting to satisfy your desires.

Mount Gerania, Corinth

Hiking Mount Geraneia

With the highest point of Geraneia being 1,351 meters, it’s most welcome to all kinds of extreme sports lovers as it offers a wide variety of activities including hiking, trekking, mountain biking, canyoning, motorcycling, parachuting, and paragliding. Also, the fact that Geraneia is embraced by three gulfs—the Saronian Gulf, the Corinthian Gulf, and the Gulf of Alkyonides—gives you the chance to take amazing photos with an even more brilliant and panoramic view of the whole of Corinthia.

Lichnari Beach, Corinth

Swim in Lychnari

No matter where you are in Corinthia (except the north), you’ll be surrounded by water. As a result, the area is full of beautiful endless beaches. One of these beaches, however, remains unknown to the masses. It lies a few kilometers away from Corinth in the northeast Peloponnese. Hidden in a green forest near Loutra of Elenis, one will find Lychnari Beach, which is as virgin as it gets. An ideal choice for those who seek a calm beach far from the noisy crowds.

Grilled Sardines

Where to Eat

Corinthia, like most of Greece, has so many places for someone to eat well without spending a small fortune. In the main city of Corinth, Arhontiko is an excellent choice for those who want to eat delicious traditional Greek plates or have a slightly more sophisticated gourmet meal. Maïstráli in Loutraki is another fine choice. Situated right in front of the beach, Maïstráli offers great quality food in extra-large portions alongside its beautiful view. Don’t forget to try their pies in case you get to eat there.

Kalada in Loutra of Elenis is the ideal choice for those who love seafood. This Greek tavern’s garden is literally on the sea, with many of its tables gently getting wet by the lapping waves. Some of Kalada’s best plates include shrimp saganaki and BBQ octopus.

Giannis in Loutraki, is a very busy restaurant with high turnover, overlooking the ocean. Professional and speedy service with a smile. Food’s always fresh at Giannis and the plates come in quite generous portions so don't over-order.

Kavos in Isthmia, is according to the locals the best fish tavern in all of Corinthia. It’s situated within 100 feet from the shore and the view there is truly beautiful. The menu is not extensive and consists primarily of fresh fish dishes and salads.

Ihtioessa in Loutraki, is a great choice for those who love fish but in a more gourmet version. It offers a great variety of “sophisticated” dishes like risotto and pasta, accompanied with all kinds of delicious seafood.

Fragkias restaurant in Loutraki, is ideal for all seasons. The dishes are of excellent quality offering choices in seafood and meat as well. The atmosphere was elegant featuring live piano music. An overall upscale experience that will astonish you.

Londou Fish Tavern in Corinth, is located close to the city center, as well near the sea. The food is really tasty and prices are good. Depending on the day you will pick to go, there are some choices of special dishes.

Paladar in Loutraki is modern, fun and an amalgamation of a beach bar and restaurant. It offers a superb drinks selection, including top drawer Greek wines. The dishes are very delicate and surprisingly avant garde. The steak of Paladar is considered to be the absolute highlight of the menu.

Pame san Allote in Corinth, has a great variety of good wine and rakomelo. The small dishes won’t satisfy your hunger but they are very tasty and go fine with the drinks. The good prices of this tsipouradiko is another plus.

Avli Tavern in Corinth, was recently created in a renovated old house, which is decorated very tastefully. The food’s very good, while the service is super-fast and very friendly, which is always a plus.

Mezedopoleion Gigantes in Corinth, offers the most delicious food in the city. Alright, that might be a personal opinion but it’s not that far from the truth. It’s definitely not a greasy touristic place and the chefs who work there take a great pride in their cooking abilities. The best option if you’re looking for a “Greek mama’s” type of food.

Pizza Ami in Corinth, is THE place to be if you’re craving for pizza while being in Corinth. Since 1979, Ami has been feeding locals and visitors alike with delicious pizza, made from the freshest ingredients in the market. Located by the sea, in the main beach of Corinth (Kalamia), Ami’s ideal for all seasons.

Pros Korinthious in Corinth is named after the city, and is the best place if you love Italian food. Pasta, risotto, salads, steaks and pizza of course, are only some of the restaurant’s dishes.

K5 in Synoikismos of Corinth, has the best pita gyro and souvlaki in the city. It's also the only gyro shop in the whole area that offers a mega pita gyro. Just make sure to be really hungry before you dare to order this beast.

Marinos Restaurant in Ancient Corinth, is one of the best places to eat not just in Corinthia, but in all of Peloponnese. Delicious local cuisine, amazing wines from Nemea, good prices and a stunning panoramic view of Corinthia’s gorgeous western coastline, Marinos Restaurant has so much to offer to your stomach and eyes.

No matter the restaurants and taverns you will pick to eat, when you visit Corinth don’t forget to buy black Corinthian raisins, which are considered the best worldwide and Nemean red wine, of course. The high quality of these two Corinthian products will impress everyone who has a chance to taste them back home.

King Saron Hotel

Where to Stay

One of the most curious and unfortunate things about Corinth is the lack of good hotels in the city’s downtown. This shows that the local businessmen have some work to do. The surrounding areas, however, have some of the best hotels in all Greece. Wyndham Loutraki Poseidon Resort and Club Casino Loutraki Hotel  are two of the most famous and luxurious hotels not only in Corinthia but nationwide.  Alkyon Resort Hotel & Spa in the small town of Vrahati is a superb solution for those who want to relax and spend most of their vacation in their hotel. Hotel King Saron in Isthmia (photo) is a unique destination on the Saronic Gulf. Located in Loutraki, just steps from the beach, Diolkos Studios offers modernly decorated studios with balcony and free WiFi access. With a view of the Korinthian Bay, Petit Palais is situated no more than 30 feet from the sea, in Loutraki. Pegasus Rooms offers rooms and family studios right in the heart of ancient Kórinthos. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Located in Kórinthos, Petra Luxury Apartments provides hospitality with free WiFi and a garden with an outdoor swimming pool. Located in Xylokastro, just 50 feet from Pefkias Beach, The Gardens Gallery Hotel boasts air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi throughout the property and an on-site bar. Nearby and also right on Pefkias Beach, the family-run Hotel Miramare is located opposite a pine forest. The family-run Hotel Loutraki enjoys a privileged location just 150 feet from the beach, in the town centre of Loutraki.

Ultimately, if you prefer to travel during the colder months, Kariatis Resort in Trikala-Corinth are the best place you can go. Decorated in magnificent minimal luxury, this hotel is the best option for a stay if you’re seeking relaxation and tranquility while enjoying the snowy mountains of northern Corinth.

You can finds more hotels, holiday homes, villas and self-catering apartments by using Matt's Corinth Hotel Search and Matt's Loutraki Hotel Search

Greek railway

Trains, Buses and Taxis

There are buses from Corinth to Athens every hour. The hours change slightly during the summer. The first bus leaves from Corinth at 5:30 in the morning and the very last one for Athens is at 21:30. Also there's a bus for Thessaloniki that leaves at 10:30 in the morning from Corinth.

The bus service in Corinth is called KTEL Korinthias and it has very frequent routes for all smaller towns and villages of Corinthia, with the busiest being Corinth-Loutraki and Corinth-Kiato/Xylokastro. The ones that go to Athens and Loutraki stop in the central bus of Corinthia a few meters away from the Canal. The so called Isthmos Bus Station is where one will go to pick a bus for Patra, Kalamata, Kefalonia and the rest of Peloponnese, Western Greece and Epirus.

To go to Ancient Corinth by bus is very easy. The station for that specific route is in the downtown of Corinth and the first bus leaves at 7:05 in the morning. It runs every hour until 21:05.

When it comes to trains, for the past 15 years Corinth has its own pride called proastiakos. A nationwide super-fast train, proastiakos launches its route from Kiato and within 90 minutes takes you to the airport of Athens. You can go directly to the airport of Athens from Corinth within 75-80 minutes.

Proastiakos routes are very frequent as well. The first train leaves Corinth at 5:39 in the morning and there is a train that goes to the airport every hour until 22:39 in the night.

The downtown of Corinth has a big taxi square and it's very easy to find a taxi there. Way easier than IT IS in Athens! Taxis are quite expensive in Corinth though. If you pay 5 Euros in Athens, you will need like 8 for the same mini-trip in Corinth. Proastiakos Train station has taxis as well. The Canal of Corinth has a mini taxi "station" as well, but during the winter months it is dead. So if you're visiting in the winter, don't count on taxis when you go to the Canal.

Corinth Tours

Fantasy Travel offers several programs that include Corinth including their Half Day Corinth Tour, the Percy Jackson 3 Day Experience and the Percy Jackson 7 Day Experience. You can also get a private tour of Corinth and the Argolis from George the Famous Taxi Driver. The Footsteps of Saint Paul visits all the places Saint Paul spoke including Corinth, and some other areas of historical significance to Christians.

Theodoros Karasavvas is a law graduate and a freelance writer. He's the founder of frenzied.gr, where you can find more of his work. When he’s not writing, he usually plays video games, reads graphic novels, travels around the world, or investigates the culture of  Science fiction. He has written for Ars Technica, Ozy, Ancient Origins, List25, Mental Floss, and Ranker among others. You can contact him at tkarasavvas@gmail.com

Related Pages

Ancient Myceneae, Greece
Corinth & the Argolis

Loutraki, Greece
Loutraki

Temple of Apollo, Corinth
Ancient and Acrocorinth

Corinth Canal
Corinth Canal and Isthmia

Nemea Temple
Ancient Nemea

Peloponnesos
The Peloponnesos

George the Famous Taxi Driver
A Trip to the Argolis with
George the Famous Taxi Driver

Delphi
Footsteps of Saint Paul
Classical and Christian Sites

Nafplio, Greece
Nafplion and the Argolis
Greece's First Capital

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