For a theatre nerd like me, Epidaurus is a must. I visited the ancient site during my time studying abroad in Greece back in 2009. I know that’s been a while and cameras have improved since then, but as part of my Throwback Travel Series, I’m telling you about some of my favorite places I visited before I started therosetable.com and Epidaurus definitely makes the list.
Epidaurus is one of the most popular archaeological sites in Greece and it’s easy to see why. Located on the Peloponese about half an hour from Nafplio, Epidaurus is best known for its ancient theatre – the best preserved in Greece! The stadium seats 14,000. According to Greek geographer Pausanias, the ancient theatre of Epidaurus was built at the end of the 4th century B.C. and it’s still in incredibly good shape. The Epidaurus Festival takes place in the summer, meaning you can still see theatre here today! I know, I can hardly contain my excitement. Even if the festival isn’t taking place, you can still visit the site like I did. The theatre is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is a single ticket ($10-15) that includes admission to the archaeological site and museum. What a deal!
Also at Epidaurus is the Ancient Stadium. It was built in the fifth century B.C. to host athletic games. At first, spectators stood around, but in the late fourth century, limestone seating was constructed. The games were hosted every four years.
One of the coolest things about Epidaurus is how up close and personal you can get with the ruins! Like most ancient sites in Greece, wear comfortable shoes so you’re ready to explore every nook and cranny.
There’s also the Archaeological Museum of Epidaurus right next to the theatre. It has some fantastic pieces. Even if you aren’t a museum person, I recommend walking through. It’s a nice size with neat pieces for a perfect taste of the ancient Greek museum scene.
You can easily spend a half day exploring everything Epidaurus has to offer. When my group went, we toured Mycenae in the morning and Epidaurus in the afternoon before heading back to our home base of Nafplio. Don’t skip Epidaurus if you’re in the area. The theatre has a view to-die for, the museum is small but has classic Greek pieces – just what you want to see in a museum in Greece! – and you really get a sense of life in ancient Greece walking around the stadium grounds.
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