2/5  Olympia, Peloponnese Peninsula

Most archaeological sites fall short for kids because they’re fairly abstract: when you’ve heard one legend of Apollo, you’ve heard them all. Olympia bucks that trend completely. Not only is it the birthplace of the Olympic Games, the site is remarkably complete, so young visitors can actually visualise how spectacular the events were, even as far back as 4th century BC.

The athletes’ tunnel into the stadium is still intact, and looks exactly like the players’ tunnels at most major football stadiums. Kids can see the swimming pools and exercise grounds, and if the soaring pillars lining the east colonnade of the Palaestra don’t stun them, there’s always the mammoth Temple of Zeus to pad out the drama.

See the site first, then the museum. Understandably, most of the moveable artefacts are kept here, and after a walk round Olympia itself, kids are usually happy to have a browse.


How to get there: Direct UK flights to Kalamata, SW Peloponnese, take just under four hours. Olympia is an hour and 20 minutes drive north of the airport.

Where to stay: The lively seaside resort of Kyllini is about an hour north of Olympia. Famous for huge, sandy beaches, it’s also a great base for outdoor adventures round the west of the Peloponnese Peninsula.

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