This cosmopolitan hangout in the Peloponnese has it all. Beautiful beaches backed by the sun-kissed Mediterranean landscape, attractive summer villas and yacht marinas, the island of Spetses across the narrow straits, fresh fish and a lively nightlife … just a few highlights of Porto Heli and Ermioni, a destination for the cognoscenti.
What to do in Porto Heli
Agios Emilianos, whether you’re famous or not
A few kilometres south of Porto Heli, on the southernmost cape in the Argolid, Agios Emilianos takes its name from a chapel with a good view of Spetses. Hidden in the lush surroundings are the grand summer homes of famous Greeks and foreigners and isolated sandy beaches where you can enjoy the clear, warm waters.
Ermioni, fresh fish where they used to gather the purple
Small and tidy on its peninsula, Ermioni resembles a piney island. Here, too, you’ll find villas hidden among the majestic Peloponnese landscape. For you, the attraction is its famous tavernas serving delicious fresh fish, followed by dancing late into the night – sometimes on the tables. In the 5th century BC, Ermioni was known for its production of royal purple derived from the murex sea snail and reserved for the use of royalty. Its influence has resonated down the millennia, hence the phrase ‘to the purple born’, still in the modern vernacular.
Porto Heli’s fine little harbour is well protected from the wind and much favoured by yachtsmen. Across the water are the ruins of the ancient city of Alieon. Whether you arrive by sea or not, you’ll enjoy your stroll through the streets lined with shops, restaurants and hotels. Porto Heli is one of the most luxurious holiday destinations in Greece for a good reason.
The beaches of Porto Heli
Apart from the small beach in Porto Heli, you’ll find good swimming at Ververonta with clear water and beach bars, at Hinitsa with golden sand and pine trees and at Kounoupi, which is an extension of Agios Emilianos.
Hidden gems of Porto Heli
Just 5km from Porto Heli, the site of the ferry crossing to Spetses impresses with its many fine and large villas.
Discover the unexpected charm of this small town with its neoclassical buildings, narrow streets, stone walls decked with flowers and well-tended windmills topped with colourful roofs. Kranidi perches on rocky hills encircled by the pine forest of Agia Anna and overlooks the entire area, softening the wild landscape of the Peloponnese.
The famous Kilida prawns
Around 10km northwest of Porto Heli is the village of Kilada, famous for its prawns and handsome shipyard. The fishing boats you’ll find bobbing in the harbour are a characteristic sight. But keep your eyes and appetite fixed on the main prize … those sumptuous prawns!