Although there is very little to see in Katakolon itself, it offers passengers the chance to visit Ancient Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games back in 776BC and today a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ancient Olympia lies 25km (15.5 miles) east of Katakolon, and cruise passengers are transported by bus for a half-day tour.
Some cruise companies offer an alternative excursion to the Mercouri Estate, a family-run vineyard in the village of Korakohori, for a tour of the cellars and a wine-tasting session.
On the west coast of the Peloponnese, close to Pyrgos, this small port was originally developed in the mid 19th century for the currant trade, but is now used almost exclusively by cruise ships.
Modern Olympia is a straggling village centring on a single main street lined with hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops. From here, its just a 10-minute walk to Ancient Olympia archaeological site.
Originally a place of worship, Olympia’s earliest buildings were dedicated to the gods. See the seventh-century BC Temple of Hera, where the Olympic torch is still lit (using sunlight and a mirror), and the fifth-century BC Temple of Zeus, dedicated to the king of the gods. The games themselves were held in the Ancient Stadium, which was entered through an arched gateway, still in existence. Just like today, the event was held every four years, though only free male Greek citizens could compete. Also be sure to look in the splendid Archaeological Museum of Olympia, displaying marble statues from the Temple of Zeus.
• Ancient Stadium
• Temple of Zeus
• Temple of Hera
• Archaeological Museum of Olympia
Ancient Olympia Tourism Office
Praxitelous Kondili, 27065 Olympia, Greece
Tel: +30 262 402 2262.
(There is no tourist office in Katakolon itself.)
On the main street in Modern Olympia, just outside the archaeological site, visitors will find souvenir shops selling postcards, T-shirts, gold and silver jewellery, and reproductions of Ancient Greek statues and ceramics connected to Olympia.
Greek cuisine is based on fresh, seasonal, Mediterranean ingredients, with the abundant use of olive oil. Popular main courses include simply prepared fresh seafood, plus charcoal-grilled meat and hearty stews.
When to go:
The Mediterranean cruise season runs from late April to late October. Peak season in Greece is July to August, when all the main destinations are very hot and very crowded. Try to visit in May/June or September/October to avoid the crowds and enjoy milder weather.
12km (7.4 miles).