Your Tailor-Made 4-Day Itinerary for Porto Heli
Once you have seen the sights of Athens, it is a great idea to escape to rural Greece, where the pace of life is slower and the natural surroundings are spectacular. The good thing is that you don’t need to go far to find a little piece of paradise. Porto Heli, on the Peloponnese mainland, is only a 3-hour drive away from Athens.
Why Porto Heli?
There are many reasons why this area is so special:
- It is easy to get to by road, sea, or air (helicopter)
- It is a region of outstanding natural beauty
- It is a small yet cosmopolitan destination for selective holidaymakers
- It is just a short boat ride away from the islands of Spetses, Hydra, and Poros
- It is a great base from which to explore the archaeological sites of Epidavros, Mycenae, Troizina, and Tiryns
- It has fabulous beaches hidden along its verdant coastline
- It is a hub for watersports, snorkeling, and diving
- It boasts some of the most luxurious rental villas in Greece
Sounds too good to be true? Porto Heli is a magical place where you can swim in sparkling waters, walk through pine forests, experience delicious local cuisine, and discover the true meaning of a Greek vacation blessed by sun and sea!
We have created a 4-day itinerary especially for you to make the most of your stay in Porto Heli. With such an abundance of options, you really are spoilt for choice. That’s why we have used our insider knowledge to pick out the most exciting activities and stunning spots for you and your family to experience an unforgettable visit.
Of course, if you have something particular in mind that you would also like to do, just let us know. We will be happy to advise you for all your desires and interests.
Our 4-day Itinerary in Porto Heli
Explore Porto Heli Town
Duration: 2 hours
- After settling in at your accommodation, you can begin your visit by exploring the main town of Porto Heli.
- Walk along the seafront of this cosmopolitan seaside resort set in a natural bay to admire the small fishing boats sitting next to luxury yachts and catamarans.
- Let us arrange a diving trip for you with an expert scuba diving school in Porto Heli. You can discover all the underwater wonders of the region, from the sunken town of Alieis to the lively octopus and razorfish!
- Walk along the end of the town to admire the beautiful white and blue-domed Holy Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. Step inside to light a candle while you admire the elaborately painted dome and the precious gold-leafed icons.
- Have lunch at one of the local fish restaurants lining the water’s edge or opt for some succulent souvlaki.
- Pick up some beach essentials at the small stores or enjoy a traditional Greek coffee and dessert while people-watching on the promenade.
- Take in the relaxing ambiance of this charming town that blends traditional living with contemporary chic, earning it the name ‘the Peloponnese Riviera’.
Where to eat – Our top 3 suggestions
Paradise Restaurant. If you yearn for some traditional Greek cuisine, this is the place to be. The welcoming tavern serves delicious generous portions of your favorite Greek dishes in a spacious and family-friendly environment.
To Ouzaki. A favorite with locals because of its seafood delights such as fried squid, grilled white bait, and octopus. Enjoy a glass of ouzo with ice and dive into your tasty mezes while watching the boats come and go in the harbor.
Porto Bizato. Souvlaki may be considered street food but here, you can take a seat and enjoy prime quality grilled meats and souvlaki in pita bread, as well as fresh salads and an assortment of appetizers. This little eatery can get very busy so go early to avoid disappointment.
Porto Heli was known as Alieis during the Classical period and its residents used to make their living by fishing or producing a special kind of dye known as Tyrian purple. Today, you can explore the underwater excavations of ancient Alieis with an experienced local diver.
Duration: All day or half-day
Spetses, the Island of Aromas, is just a quick jaunt away by boat.
- Head to the tiny port of Kosta, which is only 4 km away from Porto Heli, and jump in one of the water taxis that depart every 20 minutes.
- You will arrive on Spetses in ten minutes, where you can begin to explore this exclusive island.
- Head for the iconic Poseidonion Grand Hotel first to sip on a refreshing drink on their elegant verandah as you gaze out over Dapia Port.
- Then, visit the Laskarina Bouboulina Museum to find out more about the heroine’s role in the Greek War of Independence.
- After that, take a stroll along to the Old Harbor where you can have lunch at one of the superb seaside taverns.
- Alternatively, work up an appetite by following the path through the pine forest for some fantastic photo opportunities of the Saronic Gulf. You can also spot some stunning art installations along the way.
Where to eat – Our top 3 suggestions
Tarsanas. This popular restaurant was also cited by Conde Nast as one of the best places to eat in Greece. It serves freshly caught fish in a wonderful setting at the Old Harbor, where you can enjoy delicious flavors right at the water’s edge.
Nero Tis Agapis. This is another fantastic seafood restaurant in Kounoupitsa, just past the main town. Locally-sourced ingredients are used to create dishes that combine the best of Greek cuisine with wholesome goodness. Dine on the verandah with its wonderful sea views for a truly unique experience.
Clock Eatery. You will find something for everyone here, where the dishes include homemade pizza, pasta, and burgers, as well as tacos and burritos. A great choice if you want a change from Greek cuisine and a popular place for the young crowd to hang out.
Spetses was the first island in Greece to have a Spa hotel, which attracted well-to-do Athenians looking for an escape from the city. In the 60s and 70s, it became popular with royals, aristocrats, celebrities, and jet-setters, making it THE PLACE TO BE. Even today, it is a destination that attracts Hollywood A-listers and was recently used as the location for the movies Glass Onion — A Knives Out Mystery and The Lost Daughter.
You can also visit Hydra on the same day.
- Take the high-speed ferry from Spetses and reach the island in 30 minutes, where you will be amazed at the town’s fabulous amphitheater-like setting. A car-free island, just like Spetses, you can take a donkey ride along the seafront or explore its enchanting little streets on foot.
- You can stop off at the impressive Naval Museum, the National Historical Museum, and the Historical Archives Museum.
- For a quick swim, head down to the popular Spilia Beach Bar for a cool dip. Browse the small art galleries and buy some fine souvenirs from the exclusive boutiques before you leave.
Contact us for more information about Hydra or Spetses!
Where to eat – Our top 3 suggestions
Téchnē Restaurant & Social. A lovely contemporary dining option by the sea in a renovated old building with a picturesque courtyard. This restaurant serves modern Greek cuisine with Mediterranean influences, along with warm hospitality, sophisticated drinks, and mesmerizing Aegean views.
Castello Hydra. Set in an 18th century fort-like building on the beach of Kamini, this is a great place to enjoy fresh fish and seafood, as well as Greek gastronomy at its finest. Well worth a visit for an unforgettable experience.
Isalos. Serving just about everything, from local cuisine to European flavors, Isalos can satisfy every appetite. Whether you try their homemade pizza and pasta or go for a succulent salad, you will leave with a happy family.
Hydra was once home to the musician Leonard Cohen and many other artists frequented the island in the sixties and seventies, seeking inspiration for their creativity. Among them were Sophia Loren, Richard Burton, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Pink Floyd, Joan Collins, and many others.
A Day of History and Culture
Duration: All day
Porto Heli is very close to the world-famous archaeological site of Epidaurus, which you can visit before making your way to Mycenae and then back down to the picturesque town of Nafplio. This is a full day so it is best to set off early if you want to fit everything in.
Alternatively, you can choose two of the destinations. For example, you can visit Epidavros and Nafplion or Mycenae and Nafplion. Whatever you opt for, you won’t be disappointed.
- Drive from Porto Heli to Epidavros in just under an hour and visit the Ancient open-air Theater with its astounding acoustics.
- Wander around the first ever ‘hospital’ at the Ancient Sanctuary of Asclepius
- Inspect the stunning artifacts at the Archaeological Museum.
Live performances still take place in the ancient theater every year, during the Athens-Epidaurus Festival. You can buy tickets to see an ancient Greek drama, a contemporary play, or a musical performance during your stay at Porto Heli when the Festival is running.
After seeing the sights of Epidaurus, make the one-hour car ride to Ancient Mycenae.
- Climb up to the once the home and citadel of the mythical King Agamemnon.
- Check out the Tomb of Clytemnestra, the infamous Lion’s Gate, and the gigantic Cyclopean walls while there.
- Enter the Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon to explore the huge tholos or beehive tomb dating back to the Bronze Age, with its 120-ton stone lintel above the doorway.
- After you have explored the impressive site, head back south to reach the coastal town of Nafplion in just under an hour.
You can see the beautifully-crafted Golden Mask of Agamemnon found at Mycenae at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, where it is currently on display. The 12-inch mask is one of the most precious discoveries from the ancient Mycenaean age ever made.
Known as the most romantic town in Greece, you will discover why on arrival at Nafplion.
- Explore its pretty narrow streets and traditional houses bedecked by bougainvillea and colorful geraniums.
- Climbing the 913 steps to enjoy the panoramic views from the Palamidi Fortress.
- You can hire a bike if you want to cycle along the stunning coastal road or take a city train tour.
- Choose from the multitude of restaurants offering fantastic dining options,]. You can savor homemade Greek dishes or contemporary cuisine, so you will be sure to find something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Where to eat in Nafplion – Our top 3 suggestions
Lichnari. A small mezedopoleio with a big menu, this restaurant serves a delicious assortment of mezes. Try the traditional Greek veggie dishes or opt for some flavorsome meat options, made just the way grandma used to, and enjoy the friendly ambiance.
To Telonio. Eat like a real Greek at this welcoming tavern, where you can enjoy seafront dining at its best. Traditional recipes are on the menu here, such as grilled octopus, cheese pies, courgette patties, and pork belly. Whatever you choose, you will want to return soon!
Scuola Pizza-Bar. An interestingly-designed restaurant that exudes Mediterranean flair, you can enjoy a wide range of Italian cuisine here. Choose one of the classic salads, try some homemade pasta, or watch your pizza being made before your eyes using fresh local ingredients.
Nafplion also has some great beaches, the most popular ones being Kastraki, Neraki, and Karathona. If you don’t have much time, you can take a quick dip in Arvanitia, which is just behind the city center of Nafplio in the southern part of Akronafplia.
Agios Emilianos (Porto Heli’s Best-Kept Secret)
Duration: All day or half-day
You will find the hidden hamlet of Agios Emilianos only 7 km (10 minutes) away from Porto Heli and 4 km (5 minutes) from Kosta. Named after the pretty little chapel of Agios Emilianos that stands on a peninsula overlooking the sea, the settlement has tranquil beaches, thickly-wooded forests, and a sense of serene privacy to it.
- Take the sea road from Kosta and pass by some of the most expensive real estate in Greece. Drive past grand villas and luxurious beachfront properties owned by wealthy celebrities, entrepreneurs, and shipping magnates until you reach the glimmering Limanakia Beach. Agios Emilianos Beach is a little bit further on, backed by lush pine trees. There are plenty of other secret sandy coves on the way to Kounoupi Beach, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystalline waters to the tiny islet opposite.
- Stop at Agios Emilianos church to take some panoramic photos across to Spetses before taking a walk along the quiet country lanes that lead off. If you like bird spotting, take your binoculars with you as you might just see some wild geese, swallows, swifts, and even kingfishers. The woodlands and waters of Agios Emilianos are home to many species of wild flora and fauna and are areas of untouched natural beauty.
- Alternatively, sail around Agios Emilianos by sea on a day charter with an experienced skipper in a classic wooden motor yacht. Set off from Porto Heli and discover this magical coastline, dive into the emerald coves and even arrange a sunset yoga session on board. A great way to explore the area and get some unique views of the outstanding privé properties perched along the coastline.
- If you want a more active day, you can also hire a powerboat to explore the surrounding areas of Porto Heli, such as Ververonda Lake. The waterski center there offers lessons daily or you can try your hand at windsurfing and wakeboarding. There is also a cafe serving refreshments and snacks afterward while you enjoy the sunset.
Where to eat
Kosta Tavern. The nearest restaurant to Agios Emilianos is at Kosta, where you can sit watching the water taxis going to and from Spetses just opposite. The Kosta tavern sits on stilts above the water right next to Kosta beach so you can literally dip your toes in the sea while dining. Try the fresh catch of the day, traditional Greek dishes such as Moussaka, and homemade veggie dishes like okra baked in olive oil. Simply delicious!
Agios Emilianos started to develop when a successful businessman had a vision of creating a holiday retreat for his factory workers. The area eventually became popular with wealthy Athenians and Europeans, acquiring the name ‘the Hamptons of Greece’. Despite that, this tranquil settlement has retained its residential feel by only allowing a few boutique hotels and one holiday resort complex. The little chapel the area takes its name from is a popular venue for summer weddings due to its pretty appearance and spectacular 180° sea views.
Where to Stay in Porto Heli
If you are looking for a private escape, you can choose from one of the many stunning family villas around Porto Heli. Simply choose the one that meets your needs and let us know if you have something more specific in mind!
Are you looking for a beautiful villa with stunning views of the Porto Heli sea and a swimming pool? The team of KidsLoveGreece can help you find a villa that matches your group’s needs and preferences! For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you are thinking of staying in one of the fabulous luxury hotels and resorts in Porto Heli, we can recommend:
Amanzoe: Choose from one of the beautiful pavilions, cabanas, or villas at a hotel designed to recreate Classical Greek architecture with a modern touch. Amanzoe‘s private beach is an added perk while you can also enjoy your own private pool and landscaped terraces, as well as an exceptional dining experience and a signature spa.
Have a look at our latest Amanzoe guide for more information!
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa: A trendy resort located right on the beach at Porto Heli, Nikki Beach is great if you want to enjoy lounging by the pool and trying out some of the best sushi in town. Although geared more towards young party-goers, the resort is very well placed for exploring the surrounding areas.
AKS Hinitsa: A hotel favorite for families located in the beautiful hotel sits in the captivating Hinitsa Bay, with wonderful views across to Spetses. The Double Rooms with sea views feature a double bed or adjacent twin beds, as well as all the amenities you need for an enjoyable stay.
Your stay in Porto Heli will be packed with spectacular sights, delicious flavors, and unforgettable experiences. From cosmopolitan vibes and luxury accommodation to archaeological treasures and cultural charms, you will be torn between telling your friends about it all and wanting to keep it a secret!
We hope you enjoy our 4-day program and make magical memories in this unique area of natural Greek beauty!
Best season to visit
Find out the where to go and what to do in Greece with the family. Book with us for amazing family memories.
Get inspired by our top ideas for vacation in Greece. Discover our blog full of ideas, insights about Greek destinations, reviews for kid friendly activities, hotels, beaches, museums and so much more!