Ilia

Τhe dreamy coastline of Οlympia
A narrow strip of land separates the sea from the Lagoon of Kaïafas
Scroll
Today
12°
FRI
14°
SAT
15°
SUN
16°
MON
12°
Thrace region-id="pin-13";Macedonia Macedonia Epirus Thessaly Sporades Ionian Islands Western Greece Central Greece Attica Peloponnese Crete Cyclades North Aegean Islands Dodecanese Dodecanese Karpathos Astypalea Tilos Sitia Faistos - Matala Patmos Kastelorizo Kasos Kos Leros Halki Rhodes Symi Sfakia - Loutro Rethymno Elounda - Agios Nikolaos Agia Galini Plakias Hersonissos - Malia Ierapetra Heraklion Chania Nisyros Ikaria Lipsi Tzia - Kea Thasos Samos Lesvos Samothrace Limnos Chios Kalymnos Paros Naxos Zante - Zakynthos Lefkada Corfu Santorini Milos Kythnos Kimolos Serifos Syros Sifnos Koufonisia Ios Kefalonia Mykonos Paxi Ithaca Arta Ioannina Tinos Parga - Sivota Metsovo Anafi Sikinos Folegandros Donousa - Iraklia - Schinoussa Antiparos Zagori Mountainous Arkadia Porto Heli - Ermioni Preveza Amorgos Andros Delos Messolongi Ancient Olympia Aegina Kythira Archea Epidavros Patra Nafplio Kardamyli Kalamata Ilia Corinth Western Messinia Kalavryta Elafonissos Nafpaktos Spetses Poros Hydra Alexandroupolis Pylos Mycenae Monemvasia Loutraki Piraeus Athens Arahova Xanthi Galaxidi Mystra - Sparta Mani Edipsos Delphi Chalkida Karystos Evia Skyros Vergina Alonissos Volos Karditsa Skopelos Skiathos Kastoria Thessaloniki Prespes Agios Athanasios Edessa Serres Veria Larissa - Tempi Elati - Pertouli Trikala Pelion Meteora Drama Ammouliani Mount Athos - Ouranopolis Nymfeo Mount Olympos Katerini Halkidiki Grevena Lake Kerkini Naoussa Kozani Kilkis Kavala Pella Lake Plastira
This little known region in the Peloponnese is your launch pad for golden beaches, spas, trekking and fun-packed holidays

A long coastline embracing the western side of Ilia with the wonderful waters of the Ionian can turn your summers into a dream; always leaving you wanting just that little bit more of those golden rays and limpid seas. The unique natural landscapes boast a variety that never lets up; scenes change from one moment to the next as if nature were performing a medley of all her greatest hits.  Start with a visit to the original home of the Olympic Games. The energy of those first athletic events still lingers in Ancient Olympia. After your brush with Ilia’s sporting past, your journey continues through the valleys, mountains and on to the wonderful beaches of the area. There are many secrets to uncover and many wonderful holiday experiences to be savoured here on the tip of the Peloponnese.

What to do in Ιlia

Zaharo, embedded among the trees

Picture it: one end of the village climbs up the hill while the other reaches across the valley, down to an excellent sandy beach and the sparkling waters of the Ionian Sea, with pine and olive trees growing everywhere.

Beaches brushed with gold

All the beaches are sandy and caressed by crystal clear waters.  Some are ideal for water sports, others for relaxation and moments of tranquility, while many carry the distinction of a blue flag. Some are adorned with lilies, others with pine trees. Arkoudi, Glyfa, the Kaifa beach, Hrisi Akti, Zaharo, Agios Andreas, Levedohori, Samiko, Vartholomio and more besides could turn you all into sun, sea and sand  aficionados  in no time, leaving you with solid gold memories to cherish back home.

Kaïafas, where nymphs bathed

As you approach Kaïafas a vast pine forest greets you. The thermal springs here flow from the caves of the Anigrian and Atlantean nymphs. A narrow strip of land separates the sea from the Lagoon of Kaïafas. The islet of Agia Ekaterini is set in the middle like a gemstone. Your holidays here will be like a fairy tale.

Pyrgos, the capital

Welcome to Pyrgos, the capital of the prefecture and its administrative, financial and commercial centre. Pyrgos began to develop in the 17th century around a large tower built by its founder, Ioannis Tsernotas, on the Eparheio Hill. Among its landmarks and attractions are the town hall, the old municipal market and the Apollo theatre, built in 1878 and restored in 1995.

Charming Katakolo

Discover the picturesque little port of Katakolo with its fishing boats and seafood tavernas. A bit further north, at Agios Andreas, you’ll find the best beach bars in the area in small bays ideal for dips and parties. To the south begins that astounding beach whose golden dunes stretch all the way to Kyparissia.

Killini

The well-known port of Ilia where voyages to the Ionian Islands commence, contrary to popular perception, is not a place you get to know just by passing through. The beauty of Killini will entice you to drop anchor for a while and enjoy relaxing holidays on beaches cooled by the Ionian breeze and enriched by a palette of colours in its amazing sunsets.

Andritsaina

One of the most beautiful traditional villages on Ilia’s spectacular mountain range, it features  stone built houses, cobbled alleys and stone taps spouting cool spring waters. It can be an ideal base for your expeditions to nearby sights, a highlight among which is the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae.  Within Andritsaina itself, the public library is the proud custodian of a number of rare editions and priceless manuscripts.

The wineries of Ilia

The vineyard estates of the area organize wine sampling visits and interesting events which will initiate you into the secrets of wine making.

The Τemple of Apollo Epikourios

Like the traveller Pausanias in the second century, you too will be impressed by the isolated Τemple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae, which means ‘little valley in the mountains’. According to Pausanias, it was designed by Iktinos, the architect of the Parthenon, and built sometime around 420-400 BC by the inhabitants of ancient Phygaleia. Naturally shielded from the elements, its architectural genius remains vibrant and timeless. The first ancient Greek monument to be listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site in 1986, it is certain to engrave itself  onto your memory.

Hidden gems of Ilia

The Neda, Greece’s only ‘female’ river

The river has sculpted the beautiful landscape between the peaks of Mt Tetrazio to Kyparissia Bay. From its source on Mount Lykaion, the river, the only one in Greece to take the female article, meanders through steep ravines, cool plateaus, lush gorges and dark caves, passing under stone bridges and cascading over cliffs to reach the sea 32km away.

The sturdy oaks of Foloi

On the plateau of Foloi, which the locals have dubbed “the balcony of Ilia” owing to its panoramic view, you can find one of the rarest and largest oak tree forests, now incorporated into the Natura 2000 network. Lose yourself in the magic of the forest, gazing up at the defiant oaks, so colossal that they seem to touch the sky. In contrast to some of the surrounding areas, it is relatively flat and so an open invitation to hikers to take to its gorgeous trails.

Be careful not to disturb the Caretta Caretta

The second most important nesting ground  for the sea turtle Caretta Caretta, after Zakynthos, is the beach of Kalo Nero at the mouth of the Neda. You can learn more about this endangered and emblematic animal at the information centres at Kalo Nero and at Elea.

Are you ready for some trekking?

The Neda makes the single adjective, ‘beautiful’, somewhat redundant  as you hike down it in the summer or early autumn. You can begin your exciting trek at the village of Petra.

  • Be careful not to disturb the Caretta Caretta
  • Are you ready for some trekking?
  • The Τemple of Apollo Epikourios
  • Kaïafas, where nymphs bathed
  • Beaches brushed with gold
  • Andritsaina
Highlights