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If you’re visiting Nafplio then visiting the ancient theatre at Epidaurus is an absolute no-brainer. You might find the easiest way to go is as part of a group or private tour of the area. But you can also make your own way by car, taxi and public bus.
I’d encourage you to take a trip to the coastal village of Ancient Epidaurus as well (in the shoulder or summer months).
The Sunken City is worth visiting if you like snorkelling, kayaking or diving. The village has a couple of nice little beaches and a fragrant walking trail along the coastal path.
Here are all the details to get to each.
The ancient site is commonly included in tours of the area. Land Life Travel offer an Epidaurus & Mycenae tour from Nafplio. You’ll find additional information on their site.
But basically, it’s a private, full-day tour (6 hours) with a tour guide. The first stop is Mycenae, and then you go onto Epidaurus.
Epidaurus Ancient Theatre at the UNESCO World Heritage site
In the summer, you should also be able to find companies offering a group half or full-day trip with a guided tour. Check with your hotel for recommendations or through sites like GetYourGuide for options.
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You can get a taxi to collect you from your accommodation or catch one from the rank outside the bus station. The cost to the archaeological site is 70 euro return, including an hour waiting while you explore the site.
In my opinion, that’s a fairly short stop, but you could probably negotiate longer for an extra fee. If you don’t clamber up to the top of the theatre, it’s probably enough time just to go and look at it and the other remains.
The Radio Taxis in Nafplio will also combine your trip with Mycenae and/or Corinth Canal for an extra cost. Make sure you have cash as the drivers don’t accept card payments.
Sanctuary of Asklepios
A direct bus runs between Nafplio and the Ancient Theatre, and then it goes on to Ancient Epidaurus Village.
At the archaeological site, the daily buses are advertised as only running between June and September. But I think it’s a bit outdated. As I’m writing this, there are tickets available online for buses running:
- From Nafplio: Monday to Friday at 10:30am and 1:15pm
- From the Theatre: Monday to Friday 12:30pm
The journey from Nafplio to the theatre takes about 45 minutes, so don’t dawdle if you’re getting the bus back.
The site’s quite big, and if you want to go up to the top of the theatre and spend some time enjoying the view, you’ll need to keep an eye on time around the rest of the site.
The return journey is just over 30 minutes. If you take the later departure time from Nafplio, make sure you’ve arranged another way of getting back to Nafplio.
You can pay for a return ticket at the Napflio ticket office when you leave. Otherwise, if you’ve got a single, you’ll probably pay a conductor on the bus on the way back, (rather than the driver.)
For the buses to the theatre and the village, you can check times online here. The stops you need are Epidavros (Asklipiio) for the archaeological site and Archaea Epidavros (Limani) for the village centre.
If you’d like to go at your own pace, then renting a car is a good way to make your own route around the surrounding area.
The trip takes about 25 minutes from Nafplio, and there’s plenty of visitor parking at the location when you arrive.
The journey is well-signed, but you can always use Google Maps or your car’s SATNAV. (Remember, you can download Maps to use offline without data.)
Your hotel will be able to help you book a rental car. Otherwise, try Satikos Rent a Car with online bookings.
Visiting the Theatre for a Festival Performance
If you’re lucky enough to be attending an atmospheric performance at the theatre over the summer months, you’ll get to appreciate the theatre’s amazing acoustics. This is the best time to come to really see the theatre in its true glory
When the Epidaurus Festival is run over the summer, special buses are put on from both Athens and Nafplio to the various local venues.
Check the details here (scroll down for the Nafplio departures). To book a ticket at the site they link to, you need to choose the Nafplio Bus Station to Epidavros (Theatro Festival) options.
I’ll put the details here when they announce the specifics for the 2024 festival because there are also buses to performances at the small theatre in Ancient Epidaurus village.
Other Activities to Combine with Epidaurus
There are quite a few places you can visit on your trip to this part of the Peloponnese Peninsula.
Definitely spend time in the Nafplio, the first capital of modern Greece, exploring the old town and main attractions. Those include the town’s various squares and promenade, Paladimi Castle and the various museums.
The following places are also within easy reach of the city of Nafplion.
Corinth Canal – stand on the bridge and see the full length of the canal from Gulf of Corinth the Saronic Gulf. You can even choose to take a cruise along it in the summer.
Ancient Corinth – an important city in ancient Greece with several ruins and a museum
Acrocorinth – pair this with Anceint Corinth for more history and views. It’s a trek to the top but worth it.
Mycenae – see the ruins within the Cyclopean wall, the famous Lion’s Gate and the Tomb of Agamemnon
Ancient Nemea – see this historic location for important athletic events. I found this site really calm (in November) and enjoyed the setting.
Vineyards – wine has been important since ancient times so make like the ancient Greeks and explore the region’s wine making with a tour and wine tasting.
🍷Click to see all my posts on the Peloponnese region.