Elis, well-known for the world heritage site of Olympia, is a charming Greek region characterized by its authenticity and laidback atmosphere. This seaside region has plenty of sandy beaches and lush forests awaiting nature lovers. Ancient cities and traditional villages stand unphased in time, waiting to be discovered by enthusiasts of history. Fresh seafood and seasonal produce will be on your plate in each meal. With so many things to do in Elis, slow down your pace and follow our guide to Elis Peloponnese as it leads you to discover the hidden gems of this region of Western Greece.
Things to do in Elis
The fertile soils of Elis nurture high-quality vegetables and fruits, and the Ionian Sea is abounded with all types of aquatic life, making this region an ideal location for tasting local flavours. Even in areas packed with tourists, you can find character-rich tavernas and savour authentic Greek cuisine prepared with locally sourced produce
Vythos Restaurant in Pyrgos is the place to go for delicious seafood. Here, you will taste the freshest calamari and fish, and the house wine is the perfect companion for Mediterranean dishes. The staff might even invite you to the kitchen to view the fresh catch of the day.
After visiting the archaeological site of Olympia, head to La Belle Helene to dine like a local. You will feel the warm Greek hospitality in this home-cooking joint. Start with the scrumptious saganaki feta, and don’t forget to order its fresh Greek salad. Try the homemade moussaka, recommended by the owner as of the best you’ll ever taste. You will enjoy your delectable meal with live traditional Greek music Bouzouki, making it a truly memorable dining experience.
The unique characteristics of this region nurture the defining taste of the wine produced here. Regional white wine specialities like Roditis and Tinaktorogos go perfectly with fresh seafood and don’t miss out on Augoustiatis and Agiorgitiko, which are red varieties that have been thriving here ever since the age of Gods and Heroes.
If you visit Katakolon, you can take a wine tour at the Mercouri Estate and Winery and treat yourself to some award-winning wine and a relaxing afternoon at the second oldest Greek estate. Head to Ktima Brintziki, a smaller estate close to Olympia that cultivates its vineyard with a centuries-old traditional method. Here you can sip on regional specialities of Elis that’s grown organically and with love for the land.
Exploring Elis, you would visit the Olympia site, of course. You may escape the crowds at Agios Andreas, a small rocky beach with a charm of its own. You can get your favourite drink and take in the view on the lounger on the sand, or have a lovely swim in the crystalline waters further away from the beach. Head away from the beach and go into the forest for a different view and experience. Tucked away in the woods, Loutra Kyllini is a spa town surrounded by pine trees and eucalyptuses. You can unwind in the thermal springs while taking in the view of the verdant greenery all around you.
To the north of the Elis Region lies Erymanthos, a scenic mountain range with one of the highest peaks on the Peloponnese Peninsula. Start from Alepochori village for a lighter trek up to the Monastery of Taxiarches, or you can begin from the village of Miha for a more challenging hike towards the summit. After your refreshing journey, you will take in the panoramic view of lush verdant forests with exposed white rocks dotting the scenery, a truly inspiring sight.
With a rich history, you can immerse yourself in the stories and legends of Elis from the days of yore, explore hidden secrets, or simply enjoy the calming atmosphere of the ancient sites, charming churches, and museums.
Give Chlemoutsi a visit, a 13th-century castle atop of a hill, overlooking the green plain of Elis and the deep blue Ionian Sea. The visit is a must among the things to do in Elis: The vaulted ceilings, limestone walls, and Frankish architecture instantly take you back to the time when swords reigned. View the antiquities at the exhibition or take a guided tour to learn more about the site and the era in which it was built, and as you take a stroll in the grass-covered courtyard, you get a spectacular view of the land and sea.
Wander in the traditional village of Andritsena, and let the cobblestone pavement, colourful stone houses, and the warm hospitality of the locals take your breath away. Sip on your afternoon coffee by a table covered in blue-and-white checkered tablecloths, and you’ll relish in the peace and harmony the town inspires.
As you take a walk on the Port Kyllini, visit the St. Nikolaus Church, a small yet charming chapel at the water’s edge with a roof that resembles the hue of the sky and sea. You will be even closer to the azure waters, a perfect place to watch the sunset with nothing but the backdrop of the deep blue Ionian Sea.
After trying out things on our insider guide to Elis Peloponesse, head to Kourouta Beach and spend a night at Dexamenes Boutique Hotel, a luxury retreat converted from a wine tank. Here you can wake up to the stunning view of the sea, and enjoy a quiet moment as you sunbathe on one of the least crowded beaches in Greece.