Branch out from the same overcrowded summer destinations with our guide to 8 alternative beach holidays.Read more...
Acrocorinth - A view from our expert author
The fortress of Acrocorinth, overlooking the ancient city of Corinth © Lefteris Papaulakis, Shutterstock
Drink in the majestic views from the monolithic rock of Acrocorinth.
Despite its spectacular position and looming presence many people give Acrocorinth a miss. This is partly because, without your own car, it is only reachable by taxi or an hour-long uphill walk. On top of this it is an extremely large site – water, good shoes and a sun hat are a must. It is worth every effort, however, with its extensive castle ruins and astounding views.
The site is reached by following the road up past the entrance to the ancient city. On your way up you will see the small castle of Pendeskoufi on a nearby peak. It was built by the Franks during their siege of Acrocorinth in the 13th century.
Crossing a dry moat you come to the first of three gateways; a triple fortification whose history mirrors that of the various owners of the castle. The first gateway is mostly Turkish in origin, while the second is a Venetian restoration of an originally Frankish structure. The third, and perhaps most impressive, gateway is mainly Byzantine, but look closely at the large stones in the tower to the right; these probably date back to the 4th century BC. Inside the castle most of the ruined buildings are Turkish, including a mosque with most of its dome still intact.
If you climb through the centre of the castle to the higher of its two peaks (575m), close to the northern walls, you reach what was once the site of the Temple of Aphrodite, although all trace of this has now gone. In ancient times the goddess of love was worshipped with religious prostitution provided by 1,000 sacred courtesans. Visitors nowadays have to make do with the view. This is no hardship, as even on a hazy day it is impressive; on a clear day you can see from the Acropolis in Athens on the right, to the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth on the left.