The Peloponnese: The Ancient Olympics Meet the Wild West

Ghost towns and ancient history await travelers who take the four-hour drive from Athens to this ancient peninsula

In a far-off corner of the Peloponnese, clan wars left the hill town of Vathia in ruins. (Rick Steves)
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Sparta—where mothers famously told their sons to “come home with your shield...or on it”—is a classic example of how little a militaristic society leaves as a legacy for the future.

With its multi-faceted history, welcoming people, dramatic ruins, and stunning vistas...the Peloponnesian Peninsula has it all. Yet it is one of least explored parts of Greece. Nearly all the tourists are in Athens and the islands, while the rest of the country casually goes about its traditional business.

Rick Steves ( writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. Email him at, or write to him c/o P.O. Box 2009, Edmonds, WA 98020.

© 2010 Rick Steves

About Rick Steves
Rick Steves

Rick Steves is a travel writer and television personality. He coordinated with Smithsonian magazine to produce a special travel issue Travels with Rick Steves.

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