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Elis Travel Guide: What to See and Do in Elis Greece

March 02, 202311 min read.

General Information about Elis

Elis (also known as Élide) is a historical and administrative region of the Peloponnese, in southern Greece.

If you want to travel to Elis, you should know that it is a region with great historical and cultural wealth, with many archaeological sites and monuments dating back to ancient Greece, as well as Roman and Byzantine times.

In this region are ancient cities such as Olympia, where the Olympic Games of ancient Greece were held, and where you can still see the remains of the stadium, the temple of Zeus and the archaeological museum that houses the statue of Hermes by Praxiteles. Another important ancient city is Ilida, which was the site of the Panhellenic Games in honor of Zeus and today has a large number of ruins and monuments.

In addition to the archaeological sites, Élide has beautiful beaches and natural landscapes. The coast of Elis stretches along the Gulf of Patras and the Gulf of Kiparissia and has beaches such as Kourouta, Kyllini beach, and Agios Andreas beach. It also has mountains and landscapes of great beauty, such as Mount Foloi and the Alfios River, which runs through the region.

The Elis region is an ideal place for those interested in the history and culture of ancient Greece. In addition to the archaeological sites and monuments mentioned above, the region has other places of interest, such as the Vlacherna Monastery, the Church of Agios Nikolaos in Patras, the Chlemoutsi Castle, and the ancient theater of Ilida.

Here you can also find many local products, such as olive oil, wine, and feta cheese. Visitors can sample these products at local restaurants, which offer a wide variety of traditional Greek dishes as well as international cuisine.

Photo of Pyrgos, main city of Elis, by Diego Allen on Unsplash

Location of Elis

Below, we share you where is Elis located.

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Elis en Google Maps

Best Time to Visit Elis

The best time to visit Élide is from May to September when the weather is warm and sunny. However, it is important to note that during the summer months, the region can get very crowded, especially at the archeological sites and the most popular beaches. Therefore, it is advisable to visit the region in the low season if you want to avoid crowds.

How to Move in Elis

Regarding transportation, the region has an airport in the city of Araxos, which is located about 45 kilometers from the city of Patras. Elis can also be reached by ferry from Italy and other parts of Greece, as well as by bus or car from Athens and other Greek cities.

How to Get to Elis Greece

There are several ways to get to Élide, depending on your starting point and travel preferences. Some of the more common options are described below.

On the one hand, you can travel to the region by plane. The closest airport to Elis is Araxos National Airport (GPA), which is located about 45 km west of the city of Patras. This airport offers national and international flights during the high season (May-September). From the airport, you can take a taxi or rent a car to get to Élide.

On the other hand, you can choose to arrive by ferry. It is possible to reach Elis by ferry from some Greek islands, such as Zakynthos or Kefalonia, or Italian ports, such as Bari or Brindisi. The closest port to Elis is the port of Patras, which has connections with several Greek islands and with Italy. From the port, you can take a taxi or a bus to get to Élide.

Another option to travel to the region is by bus. If you are in Athens or another Greek city, you can take a bus to the city of Patras, which is the largest and central city of Elis. Bus companies operating in Greece include KTEL and Intercity. From Patras, you can take a bus or a taxi to reach other cities and tourist sites in Elis.

Finally, you can visit Élide by car. If you prefer to drive, you can rent a car in Athens or another Greek city and drive to Elis. From Athens, you can take the E94 national road west until you reach Patras, and from there take the national road 33 to other cities and tourist sites in Elis.

It is important to note that some roads in Élis can be narrow and curvy, especially in mountainous areas, so caution is needed. Also, during the summer months, there can be a lot of traffic on the main roads and in the tourist towns of Elis.

What to See and Do in Elis

As we mentioned, Elis is a region rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, with many options for visitors. Some of the main tourist attractions in Élide are described below:

Ancient Olympia

The ancient city of Olympia, located in the Peloponnese Valley, is the place where the Olympic Games originated in 776 BC. Here you can visit the stadium, the temple of Zeus, and the athletes' village, among others. It is also possible to visit the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, which houses a large number of artifacts and objects from the Olympic era.

Chlemoutsi Castle

This 13th-century castle is located on top of a hill, about 15 km west of the town of Pyrgos. The view from the top is impressive, and the castle itself is a fine example of medieval architecture in Greece.

Kastrian cave

The Kastria Cave is one of the most beautiful caves in Greece, with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. It is located near the town of Kalavryta, on the slopes of Helmos Mountain, and is a popular destination for nature and adventure lovers.

Elis coast

The Elis coast, which stretches along the Gulf of Patras, boasts beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Some of the most popular beaches include Kourouta, Palouki, and Agios Andreas.

Pyrgos City

The town of Pyrgos, located in the center of Elis, is a traditional Greek town with many old buildings and picturesque narrow streets. It is also a commercial and cultural center of the region, with many restaurants, cafes, and shops.

Mega Spilaion Monastery

The Mega Spilaion Monastery, located in the mountains near the city of Kalavryta, is one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Greece. It was founded in the 11th century and has an impressive Byzantine church, as well as a collection of ancient artifacts and objects.

These are just some of the tourist attractions in Élide. There are also many traditional villages, churches, museums, and other interesting sites to visit in the region. In addition, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and water sports.

Festivals in the Region of Elis Greece

The Élide region has several festivals and celebrations throughout the year, in which you can experience the culture and traditions of the area.

Olympia Festival

This festival takes place in the city of Olympia, in July and August, and is one of the most popular festivals in Elis. During the festival, concerts, theater and dance performances, and art exhibitions are held. Sports competitions, such as track and field, swimming, and wrestling, are also held in honor of the ancient Olympic Games.

Pyrgos Festival

This festival takes place in the city of Pyrgos, in August, and is celebrated in honor of the patron saint of the city, the Virgin Mary. During the festival, religious processions, concerts, craft fairs, and art exhibitions take place. Sporting events and culinary competitions are also organized.

Harvest Festival

This festival takes place in September in the city of Patras, the largest city in Elis, and is one of the biggest festivals in Greece. During the festival, the grape harvest is celebrated and there are processions, parades, concerts, and exhibitions of local wine and food. There is also a dance competition, in which groups from all over the country compete to be the best traditional dance group.

Olive Festival

This festival takes place in the city of Kalamata, in November, and celebrates the harvest of olives and the production of olive oil. During the festival, parades, craft fairs, olive exhibitions, and olive oil tastings take place. There are also culinary competitions and sporting events.

These are just some of the festivals and celebrations that take place in the Élis region. Each city and town in the region has its own festivities, which are a great opportunity to experience the culture and tradition of the area.

Top 5 Beaches in the Elis Region of Greece

The Elis region of Greece boasts a wide variety of beaches, from long stretches of sand to small hidden coves. Next, we mention the five most important beaches in this area:

  1. Kourouta Beach: This is one of the largest beaches in the region, located near the town of Kourouta. The beach is more than 3 kilometers long and is surrounded by bars, restaurants, and shops. It is an ideal beach for water sports such as windsurfing.
  2. Kaiafas Beach: This beach is located near the town of Kaiafas and is known for its natural hot springs. Visitors can enjoy the beach and relax in the hot springs at the same time.
  3. Voidokilia Beach: Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, this beach is located in a semicircular bay and has crystal clear waters and white sand. It is an ideal beach for swimming and water sports.
  4. Agios Andreas Beach: This is a popular beach among the locals, located in the town of Pyrgos. The beach is over 1-kilometer long and has bars, restaurants, and shops.
  5. Katakolo Beach: This beach is located in the tourist port of Katakolo and is a small and quiet beach, ideal for those looking to relax. The beach has a promenade with bars and restaurants.

These are just some of the most popular beaches in the Elis region of Greece. There are many more beaches in the area worth visiting, from sandy beaches to rocky, hidden coves. Visitors can explore the coastline and find their own favorite beach.

Shopping in the Elis Region

The Elis region of Greece offers a wide variety of shopping options, from souvenir shops to fashion stores and local products. Some of the most popular shopping options in the area are described below.

Crafts and Local Products from Elis

The Elis region is famous for its local products, including olive oil, honey, ceramic products, jewelry, and textiles. Visitors can find these products in local craft stores and markets. Some of the most popular local products include honey from the Élide mountain and ceramic products from the town of Andritsaina.

Fashion and Clothes in Elis

The town of Pyrgos is a popular shopping destination in the Elis region, with a variety of fashion and clothing stores to suit all tastes and budgets. Visitors can find designer clothing stores and boutiques, as well as more affordable fashion stores.

Markets in Elis

The markets are a great option for those looking for a more authentic shopping experience in the Elis region. There are weekly markets in various cities and towns, where visitors can find a variety of local and artisan products, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Elis Souvenirs

For those looking for souvenirs and souvenirs from their visit to the Elis region, there are a variety of shops offering products such as magnets, postcards, t-shirts, and mugs with designs related to the region and Greek culture.

These are just some of the shopping options in the Elis region. Visitors can find a variety of shopping options in the area's cities and towns, as well as in local markets and artisan shops.

In summary, Elis is a region rich in history, culture, and natural landscapes. Visitors can enjoy impressive archaeological sites, beautiful beaches, delicious local products, and a wide variety of outdoor activities. Without a doubt, Élide is a place that should not be missing from the list of destinations to visit in Greece.

What type of accommodation is available in Elis?

In Elis, there is a wide variety of accommodations, from hotels and apartments to guest houses and campsites.

What are the main tourist attractions in Elis?

The main tourist attractions in Elis include the archaeological site of Olympia, the castle of Chlemoutsi, the port of Kyllini, and the beaches of Kourouta and Zacharo.

What outdoor activities can I do in Elis?

In Elis, you can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, windsurfing, and kitesurfing on the region's beaches.

How is the gastronomy of Elis?

Elis' cuisine is typically Mediterranean, with dishes such as souvlaki, moussaka, and Greek salad. There are also many local products such as feta cheese and honey.

Are there any local traditions in Elis that I should know about?

A local tradition in Elis is the production of olives and olive oil, dating back to ancient Greece. There are many local shops where you can buy high-quality olive oil.

Is it safe to travel to Elis?

Elis is a safe region to travel to, but it is always advisable to keep an eye on your belongings and avoid dark or little-traveled areas at night.

How is the public transport in Elis?

Public transportation in Elis is limited, so it is recommended to rent a car or use taxis to get around the region.

Can I pay with a credit card in Elis?

Credit cards are accepted in most tourist places, such as restaurants and hotels. However, it is always advisable to have cash on hand for small transactions.

Do I need travel insurance to travel to Elis?

It is strongly recommended to take out travel insurance that covers medical and emergency expenses in case something unforeseen happens during your trip.

How is the gastronomy of Elis?

Elis' cuisine is typically Mediterranean, with dishes such as souvlaki, moussaka, and Greek salad. There are also many local products such as feta cheese and honey.

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