Epidavros - A view from our expert author

Epidavros is most famous for its theatre, one of the best surviving buildings from the classical period.

The theatre, and its surrounding sanctuary, are actually a little bit inland from the ancient city, as well as the two modern settlements that bear its name. It can be a bit confusing, so make sure you know which one you are heading for. Nea Epidavros (New Epidavros) is the more modern, and is split into two bits: one section on the coast and another above it in the hills. Some 8km to the south, and also on the coast, is Archea Epidavros (Old or Ancient Epidavros) where the ruins of the old city can be found (mostly beneath the sea). To round things off, Archea Epidavros is often referred to as Paleo Epidavros. The theatre and sanctuary are 10km inland of this.

Ancient theatre of Epidavros Peloponnese Greece Europe by Joop Kleuskens Dreamstime
The ancient theatre of Epidavros © Joop Kleuskens, Dreamstime

During July and August there are weekend performances at the main theatre by Greek and foreign theatre companies. The repertoire has been broadening recently, but the main draw is still the classical plays (done in modern Greek). Although you may not understand a word there is nothing to compare with the atmosphere of sitting in this ancient theatre, watching the sun dip behind the hills, before the lights come up and you watch the same dramas enacted that were first performed here more than 2,000 years before. You can book in advance, but due to the enormous size of the theatre tickets are normally available on the day of the performance. In the cheaper seats you will be sitting on the bare stone so a cushion, if you can come by one, is a good idea. There are also performances at the small theatre in Archea Epidavros.

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