Be honest with yourself. Okay, you’re planning a holiday in Greece and that of course means lot of sun and sand and beer and late-night revelry under the stars and whatever. So far, so good. But do you really want to do the same thing as everyone else? Don’t you want to be the one in your town or parish who has something really different to relate over those pints in your local pub in the autumn? If you’re the kind of person we think you are – one who resists being just “one of the crowd” – then the Peloponnese is for you. This is the big wodge of southern Greece separated from the mainland by the long Gulf of Corinth. It has that bit more light and warmth, that bit more history, and tons of olives and wine, and that special aroma of the south. The great mountain crags of Mainalon, Taygetos and Parnon have seen aeons of human affairs come and go, as have the ruins of Mycenae, Olympia and Mystra, and the towns of Sparta and Corinth, still thriving as they were 2,500 years ago. (And don’t worry – the Peloponnese has plenty of beaches, too.)

You won’t get the hordes of sandaled and sun-peeled tourists mobbing the fascinating mountain villages of the Peloponnese. What you will get is a sense of hypnotizing tranquillity, a scenery that captivates all your waking hours, a flavour of old Greece as it really was, from the simple and hearty hospitality to the wine and olive oil that can add years to your life. It just needs an extra bit of effort, but as the Spartans used to say, without effort nothing is worth anything. And the Spartans were a tough and resourceful lot. So, starting in the northeast nearest Athens, is a nutshell guide to the attractions of the Peloponnese.

Recommended destinations in Peloponnese:

Ancient Olympia