Northern Peloponnese off the beaten track

wine castle winery Achaia Clauss Peloponnese

Egialia, Achaia & Corinthia, wine tourism and agritourism in the Peloponnese with teens

If you love exploring wine varieties and you wish to combine wine tourism, agritourism, hiking in forests while discovering the richness of nature off the beaten track in your family vacation with teens -who love adventures, such as canyoning and rock climbing- your choice to travel to Northern Peloponnese is excellent! The ideal season is autumn when the region lives its greatest days of grape harvesting, pressing and wine-making!

Close to Athens, Northern Peloponnese is rich in terms of culture and nature and unexpectedly unspoiled. Its regions, Corinthia and Egialia are the routes of Pausanias’s second book, “Description of Greece” -after his first on Athens- and are considered to bear special importance to Greece’s cultural geography. Claimed to be a “pedestrian writer”, the author of the world’s oldest guidebook, Pausanias is the MAMAKITA team’s source of inspiration and godfather of our small Pauso in our logo. Our team is thus highly excited to lead you to the paths of the world’s first traveler and geographer and eager to reveal to you Greece’s authentic treasures.

Myths, stories and experiences in the Peloponnese Out of the Ordinary

Northern Peloponnese consists of two regions: Corinthia and Achaia. Part of Achaia is Egialia, often translated as Aigialia in Erasmian Greek. In ancient times, Egialia was the name of Corinthia and Achaia as a whole. It was also listed as the first name of the Peloponnese and it is a land of myths and legends. An indicative example of the area’s importance in Greek mythology is that three out of the 12 labors of Hercules took place here. Follow MAMAKITA proposed itinerary “Herculian Adventures” to explore more from the mythology and archaeology point of view.

Egialia’s nature is magnificent. The area expanding from the Corinth Canal to the south coast of the Gulf of Corinth and to the mountainous interior of the Peloponnese, is the land of grapes and raisins. Its curved slopes dressed in vineyards create the ideal landscape for family bicycle tours and family hiking. It is sheared through by rivers, such as Meganitis, Selinous, Kerynitis, Vouraikos, Krathis, and Krios, all flowing to the Corinthian Gulf forming lakes, waterfalls and gorges. As we enter the mainland, the slopes become cliffs and rocks leading to snowy mountaintops, offering a diverse setting that triggers the most adventurous side of us. A tour with the “odontotos” rack railway in Vouraikos, river trekking, canyoning the gorges of Krios, Fonissa, and Kallithea or rock climbing in Frygani are some of the experiences that the region offers to outdoor activity lovers. In addition, the proximity of the mountains to the coast creates a unique opportunity to swim or to paddle in beautiful lakes and in the sea in the same day.

The coast smells of citrus fruits, such as orange, lemon and tangerine, almost throughout the year. But first and foremost, the main product of the area is the currant, the raisin. This “superfood” is claimed as bearing the greatest historical importance among the Greek products and as being the main tool for Greece’s modernization at the end of the 19th century representing 70% of the Greek exports. The region’s agricultural background offers families a unique chance to get involved in the cultivation, the production, the cooking, and the tasting of the local products. Authentic agritourist experiences “from farm to table” include family workshops in jams, in awarded balsamic vinegars and a family friendly wine-tasting, where younger children and toddlers participate in a theatrical and gastronomic educational program regarding the grape, the raisin, their mythology, and their role in the Greek culture, while adults will have the chance to meet and taste the Greek varieties.

Peloponnese Off the Beaten Track #1: the Winecastle & Mavrodaphne of Patras

Traveling in Northern Peloponnese and, more specifically, Egialia without paying a visit to the oldest winery in Greece is just not acceptable. Achaia Clauss was founded in 1861 by the Bavarian Gustav Clauss who came to Patras in 1854 to work at a German raisin export company. During one of his trips, he bought a vineyard of just 15 acres and eventually built the Winecastle, still preserved to this day.

The wine-castle is located in the heart of the wine-producing region and vineyards that Pausanias praised centuries ago. The sweet red wine that Gustav Clauss first produced in 1873 was given the name “Mavrodaphne” in honor of Daphne, his beloved Greek fiancée with the beautiful black eyes (Mavro means black in Greek), who died at a young age. Gustav Clauss is considered to be the inventor and establisher of the concept of Wine Tourism in Greece, following the visit of Austro-Hungarian Empress Sissi in 1885, in whose honor he even named a cellar (Imperial Cellar).

Mavrodaphne, the purple-red, naturally sweet, long ageing wine, and Achaia Clauss is a milestone in Greece’s history. To render your visit friendly for the whole family, make your request here!

Peloponnese Off the Beaten Track #2: Egio (the heart of Egialia)

Aigio (or Egio) is a city admirably combining mountain and sea. Built on the foothills of the Panachaiko mountain, the region is run through by three mythical rivers flowing in the Gulf of Corinth: Meganitis, Selinous and Kerynitis (Cerynitis).

One of its more notable attractions is the series of the raisin warehouses along the seafront transformed today into coffee shops and restaurants. The buildings are remnants of the glorious days when the port served as the biggest export trade hub for dry black raisins PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) “Vostizza”, acclaimed as the best in the whole world at the time. A bit further stands the church of Panagia Tripiti, a national sacred shrine dedicated to the Mother of God, the Life-Giving Spring. You can sit at “Touristiko” for a coffee with a nice view of the Corinthian Gulf.

In the city center, you will be able to visit the Archaeological Museum, hosted in a stone building designed by Ernst Ziller and to let the children play in the small park or the spacious square of Psila Alonia, where you will find both an outdoor and an indoor playground. Do not miss the chance to taste the renowned local souvlaki found in shops in the main square.

Along Aigio Coast

The closest beach to Aigio lies along a white-pebble coast surrounded from one of the most important wetlands in the Peloponnese, Aliki (meaning a saline lagoon). On the beach, you will find nice coffee shops and taverns for mezes and snacks, where you can enjoy your ouzo while the children paint the white pebbles! Take some colors with you!

If you enjoy biking, bear in mind that the coast from Aigio until the Vouraikos delta is ideal for a family bike ride through ponds, reeds and fragrant orchards almost throughout the year.

On your way back, bear in mind that between the rivers Selinous and Kerynitis (Cerynitis), where the Cerynian Hind lived, lies the ancient Greek city Elice, or Helike, which took its name from the daughter of King Selinous. The city became submerged by a tsunami in the winter of 373 BC. Archaeological research and excavations are still in process.

Peloponnese Off the Beaten Track #3: Around Egio

Pititsa Rally driving experience

This is a cyclical twisty provincial road where the annual “Pititsa Rally” takes place. It starts from Agios Vasilios (between Rio and Aigio) and ends at a point in the coastal road between Lambiri and Longos following a mountain route with plane-trees and small streams. You follow the road from Agios Vasilios to Platani, passing through the villages Argira and Sella. At Sella, you will find an interesting traditional tavern with a yard, ideal for lunch, called Milos-Petrino. After Sella, you arrive at Pititsa and the monastery of Agia Eleousa with its beautiful garden.

From Lambiri to Ziria Mountain

From Aigio, you can drive to Lambiri and then up the twisty road to Ano Ziria, a mountain with a great view over the Gulf of Corinth. Not to be confused with the Ziria top of the Killini Mountain. At Lambiri you will find the excellent fish tavern “Mazarakis”. For reservations, contact +3026910 31270.

Valimitika beach & Selinous Gorge

The Selinous river flows to the Gulf of Corinth in Valimitika, a coastal village and a beautiful family friendly beach with taverns, such as Oinothoi, and a playground. The Selinous gorge is ideal for rafting, as well as canyoning, but not recommended for children younger than 15 years old. Following the river course, at about 20 minutes from Aigio, you can reach the monastery of Taxiarhes. On your way, you will find another family friendly restaurant called “Liopetro”.

From Seliantika & Longos to Verino

From the coastal village Selianitika, a provincial road leads up to Verino and the monastery of Saint John Theologos. In Selianitika and Longos, you will find great souvlaki and fish taverns along the seafront, coffee shops and a playground. A secret tavern for excellent fish and fish soup, known only by locals, is called “Valtaki”. It is located in Longos and it has a nice balcony overlooking the beach. Family-run, family-friendly, of course.

Along the Meganitis river: Hatzi

From Aigio, another route runs parallel to the Meganitis river passing by the villages Dimitropoulo and Hatzi, where you will find a traditional tavern, very popular among locals, called “Grana” (many know it with its former name “Agrambeli”). The tavern is located among vineyards, it serves Greek cuisine with a twist and special local wines. In the shores of Meganitis, you will be able to visit the Museum of Water-Power and the old watermill (Eftapita). In case you prefer eating by the water in Aliki, Digeliotika and Temeni, you will find cozy family-friendly taverns along the seafront.

The possibilities for tours in the area are many and not touristy at all. You can check out MAMAKITA family friendly privately guided tours and kid friendly activities in the area here. If you want to plan your family trip next autumn in Northern Peloponnese with your kids, toddlers or teens, including accommodation and personalized services in English or in French, choose from our suggested itineraries of the Journey of the Grape and let MAMAKITA create for you and your family your own tailor-made trip itinerary making your request here.

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