The name “Corinthians” may ring a bell to you, especially if you’re familiar with the New Testament. Located on the Isthmus of Corinth, the city is the gateway of the Peloponnese, and for this reason was an important trading city in Ancient Greece, and was, at one point, the center of early Christianity. Today, modern Corinth is a sleepy little city, and the inhabitants spend their days drinking coffee and lying on the beach—but you can still easily spend two days here. The preserved archaeological sites of Ancient Corinth and Acrocorinth are located on the outskirts of the town, and are worth a visit if you’re passing through. If you have 48 hours to spend in Corinth, this itinerary can help you get the most out of your stay.
Soak in the sites along the Corinth Canal and relax at a thermal spa.
Morning: Walk along Corinth Canal and through Ancient Corinth
Near the Isthmus Bus Station and about a 15-minute drive from Corinth lies the Corinth Canal, a spectacular structure that evokes both vertigo and the desire to pull out a camera. The canal was finished in 1893, but was first proposed in the first century CE; in other words, the “eh… we’ll do it tomorrow” mantra lasted for over 18 centuries. The canal really is stunning, though, and its steep rock walls stretch four miles in length and almost 150 feet high. You can stand on the pedestrian bridge and watch small boats pass through, as well as thrill (or death) seekers, who voluntarily plunge into the abyss held to life only by some rope. Yes, bungee jumping is available and extremely popular on the canal, but we’ll let you sign the death consent form yourself.
After your stroll, explore Ancient Corinth. As any person with siblings will know, information is power—the more dirt you have on them, the more they’ll bend to your will. Ancient Corinth was kind of like Ancient Greece’s middle child. Its prime location between the mainland and the Peloponnese made it an ideal trading city, and all the top names wanted control over the city. Today, the remnants of Ancient Corinth can be found a few kilometers southwest of modern day Corinth. Main features include the Temple of Apollo and the two main roads of the city that welcomed trade and transportation. A local expert can take you on a private guided tour of both of these attractions, offering behind-the-scenes info and tidbits you won’t get if you explore them on your own.
Lunchtime: Nosh on some classic Greek food
From small plates of olives, to fresh pita bread and hummus, to freshly prepared lamb souvlakis, we can’t decide which classic Greek dish is our favorite. Lucky for us, we didn’t need to choose. Settle in to a cozy bistro or sidewalk cafe and nibble on some of these delicious dishes, all washed down with a glass of local wine.
Afternoon: Relax at Loutraki Thermal Spa
One beach-residing town over from Corinth lies the city of Loutraki, along with the popular Loutraki Thermal Spa. Apparently even the Ancient Greeks were concerned with pore size and supple skin: the thermal baths of Loutraki have been around for nearly 3000 years. Today, with modern facilities and 5000 square meters of pools, saunas, steam rooms, and massage rooms, you too can dip your toe in the fountain of youth (or your entire body, depending on your desire).
Evening: Wine and dine in downtown
Corinth is known for its wine tasting and upscale, gourmet dishes. Head downtown for a classy night of sipping wines that go by the names Agiorgitikos and Savvatiano (bonus points if you confidently order a glass by name like a local) and nibbling on dishes of fresh fish, seafood, and locally grown vegetables.
Take in some ancient Greek sites and explore Corinth’s museum.
Morning: Take in the ancient site of Acrocorinth
While Acropolis in Athens gets all of the fame and glory, an acropolis is actually a common landmark in Ancient Greece; the word describes a settlement built upon elevated ground. Acrocorinth is Ancient Corinth’s acropolis and was used as a fortress and defense system. What’s left isn’t much—just a bunch of medieval ruins on the top of a hill—but the view of the area is pretty awesome. Just like there’s no elevator to success, there’s no bus to the top of the hill, so you have three options: drive (if you have a car), hike (if you have strong calves and an hour to spare), or wait for some nice Greek people to offer you a ride.
Lunchtime: Have a meal al fresco
The hub of city life in Corinth orbits around the streets between the city center and the coast, where a multitude of cafés and restaurants lines the streets. Corinth’s inhabitants spend hours in the early morning and the evenings sitting with friends, talking, smoking, and drinking coffee or cocktails. Find a café with quality Greek coffee, comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, and friendly waitresses, and settle in for a leisurely lunch—just like the locals.
Afternoon: See the exhibits at the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth
The Archaeological Museum can be found in a building on Ancient Corinth’s premises, and the first thing you’ll notice when you step foot inside is how freaking amazing the air conditioning is. As your sweat dries and your body returns to a comfortable internal temperature, the next thing you’ll notice is that the museum is actually a big little place, filled with many remnants of graves and artifacts from the archaeological site right outside. Tiny vases, utensils, and coins stand among tombs and even a few conserved graves, bones and all. There’s interesting information on the walls about Ancient Corinth and archaeology in general, including a section about grave robbers and antiquity smugglers.
Evening: Fine dining along the water
For your final meal in Corinth, head to the waterfront and find a restaurant with outdoor dining. A view of the sun setting over the gulf as you sip a cocktail will make your heart sing and your cameras click. Because Corinth isn’t a big city, you’re not paying typical fine dining costs, so you can afford to splurge a little. Clink your wine glasses and cheers to a visit well spent.