Argos Mini Guide
What can you tell me about Argos?
Argos, not the catalogue shop, is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Europe and a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network. People have lived in the city, the ancient capital of the state of Argolis for over 7,000 years. Today, whilst the local economy is based on citrus production, it has a wealth of world renowned archaeology and is regularly visited by historians for the insight it gives into ancient Greek history and the Peloponnesian Wars.
What’s the best way of getting to Argos?
Most people fly into Athens International Airport
and take the KTEL bus to Argos. The journey takes around forty minutes. Flights arrive at Athens airport from all over the world and budget airline easyJet operates three routes from the UK
making travel from the UK quite reasonable. As Argos is inland and only of interest for its history and archaeology, many people prefer to stay in the beach resorts around Athens and visit Argos on excursions, although in the height of summer, its inland position makes the heat almost unbearable.
What should I see in Argos?
There are two parts to ancient Argos. The bus from Athens stops first at Nafplio which was the harbour port for the city. Nafplio is worth spending a day or two exploring. It was the first capital city of the independent Greece in the 19th century and has some remarkable buildings you should visit including the castle of Palamidi, crowning a hill outside the city or the beautiful Bourzi Castle built in Nafplio harbour and now a major tourist attraction for the area. In Argos itself you should visit the ruins of the Heraion, world famous as the temple complex dedicated to the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus. You can also visit the ancient amphitheatre which has a good view down over the modern city. More recent but still very old is Larissa Castle built in the 12th century and captured by the crusaders on their way to the Holy Land. In excellent condition, there are spectacular views from its ramparts. Near Elleniko you'll find the remains of one of the only 'pyramids' to be found in Greece. Thought originally to have been a burial complex, it's actually a fort.
What can I buy in Argos?
Much of the souvenir trade in Argos centres around statuettes of Hera, and models of Greek temples together with items linked dubiously to Jason and the Argonauts. Other than that there is the usual Greek style glazed pottery.
What should I eat when in Argos?
The city’s modern day wealth is centred around agriculture and in particular, citrus and olives. Nothing beats an orange straight from the tree and when eating out make sure you start with a bowl of local olives and finish with fresh local fruit.
What about celebrations and festivities?
There are the usual Greek celebrations of saint’s name days at the church of the same name but for a more secular festival, a music festival is held annually in Bourzi Castle in Nafplio.
Argos, although little known outside historical and archaeological circles, was an entity which in its time rivalled Sparta. The new city spreads out from the remains of the ancient city which, although in ruins, still gives a splendid idea of what Argos was originally like.
All around the modern city you’ll find artefacts and ruins from the past and a hire car is certainly the best way to see them all in the summer heat. Don’t miss a visit to the renowned Heraion of Argos, the temple to the goddess Hera.