Things to do in Corinth

One of the most important cities of Ancient Greece, visiting Corinth is a fascinating insight into the region’s history.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


The best things to do in Corinth

The historical sites are justifiably the most interesting things to do in Corinth.

But whether you visit Corinth as a day trip from Athens, or stay overnight, you'll find a wide variety of attractions to fill your time at the 'Gateway to the Peloponnese'.

On the night of April 12, 1990, the guard at the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth was keeping an eye on things when suddenly he was attacked.

Burglars had climbed over the roof of the site’s museum, dropped down into the courtyard, and broken into the gallery. With the guard subdued, they then plundered the museum collection, stealing 285 ancient objects.

The theft was the largest ever of a Greek museum, and for years there were fears that these priceless artefacts would never be recovered.

Things to do in Corinth: Ancient Corinth

But 9 years later, in 1999, a tip-off led Greek police to the USA where, with help from the FBI, they found the items hidden within crates of fresh fish in a Miami warehouse.

Now returned to the museum (which has an alarm system these days), these precious antiquities are a highlight of a visit to Ancient Corinth.

For many visitors, this ancient archaeological site is also a highlight of the city itself. Once one of the most important urban centres in Greece, it also has a special significance for Christians because of the time that the apostle Paul spent here.

Things to do in Corinth: Acrocorinth

There are lots of things to do in Corinth, which is only about 80 kilometres west of Athens. Although there’s enough to justify an overnight stay, especially if you’re on your way to the Peloponnese, it can be done as a day trip.

How to do a day trip to Corinth from Athens

If you’re planning a day trip from Athens to Corinth, there are a few things that are important to know.

Getting to Corinth from Athens by public transport is really easy. There’s a direct train between the two cities that leaves almost every hour and take just over an hour. (You can check the timetable here.)

The problem is that the train station in Corinth is not near anything – it’s about three kilometres to the centre of town, for instance. And the bigger problem is that all the main things to do in Corinth are still quite far from each other.

It means that once you arrive by train, you’ll probably need to hire a taxi, because there’s very limited public transport.

Things to do in Corinth: Corinth Canal

If you’re a really keen hiker, you can walk between the attractions – but that’s going to be a total of more than 20 kilometres in a day! (Although skipping the Acrocorinth makes it much more manageable).

I think the best option to visit Corinth from Athens independently is to hire a car (in Greece, I recommend Discover Cars). That will give you enough flexibility to see all the main sights as a day trip.

The other option is to take a tour.

If you are interested in a good guided tour of Corinth, I would recommend this day trip from Athens.

For a day trip to Corinth, this small-group tour will take you to most of the highlights, focusing particularly on Ancient Corinth. If there’s a group of four of you, then this private tour might be a better option.

Corinth can also be combined with some other destinations in the Peloponnese.

There’s this small-group tour from Athens that includes the Daphni Monastery. Or there’s this private tour that will also take you to visit Mycenae.

Have a look at some of the other options here:

Regardless of how you do it, I think you’ll find your time in the city really interesting. There are lots of things to do in Corinth, covering a range of historical periods, along with a bit of modern coastal life, of course!


Dominating the skyline, the Acrocorinth rises up from the landscape – and you’ll easily spot it even if you’re just driving on the main highway past Corinth.

This was the main fortress of Corinth, built around the 7th century BC on the top of a natural hill. The city’s location and its two ports, facing to the east and the west, made it a target for invasions, so it needed strong protections.

Over the years, the Acrocorinth was adapted and added to. First there were new fortifications in the 4th century BC (some of which are still visible), then the Romans refortified it in 44 BC.

Corinth day trip from Athens

In the Byzantine period, from the 9th century AD, the castle was rebuilt inside the fortress, the Franks strengthened it in the 14th century, then the Ottomans added even more from the 15th century onwards.

So, what you see today is a mixture of all the centuries it has stood atop the peak, and all the empires that have sought protection within the walls. The Acrocorinth really is one of the most important historical sites in Greece.

Churches and mosques

Once you go through the commanding gates and into the Acrocorinth, you’ll be presented with a network of paths you can follow throughout the site.

There are lots of things to see, but most of the historical buildings are in ruins. However, there are a number of churches and mosques that have been protected or restored.

Post-Byzantine church, Acrocorinth

One of the most intact, simply called a ‘post-Byzantine church’, and is to the left of the main entrance (plus there’s another one nearby up the slope).

Straight ahead up the hill, near the Ottoman Bath are the remains of a mosque, although there’s a much better preserved one up the hill to the right, called the Mosque of the Sultan Mehmed II.

Frankish Tower

Although it’s a bit of an uphill trek, I would recommend making the effort to go to the top of the Frankish Tower, which guards the southern side of the Acrocorinth.

The rectangular tower has an entry door that you can go in and then climb the wooden steps to the top. At 530 metres above sea level, you don’t just get a great view of the fortress, you can also see across the whole area.

Frankish Tower, Acrocorinth

The tower you see today was mainly built during the Ottoman period. It got the nickname of the Frankish Tower because of a historical record that it was restored in the 13th century by the Frankish Prince William II of Villehardouin (who founded Mystras near Kalamata).

Sanctuary of Aphrodite

If you’re feeling really energetic, you can hike up to the highest point of the Acrocorinth, where there are the remains of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite.

There’s not much to see of the temple, unfortunately, with just the foundations in place and no columns standing. It would once have been one of the most important parts of the complex, and you still get incredible views from here.

The Acrocorinth is open every day at these times:
16 September to 15 April: 08:30 – 17:00
16 April to 15 September: 08:30 – 19:30

The standard ticket is €4.50 which already includes entry to the Palaipafos archaeological site-Kouklia.

Ancient Corinth

If you look at a map, you’ll see that Corinth is located on a small strip of land called an isthmus that connects the Peloponnese with Attica (the peninsula that includes Athens).

This location meant the city could have a port on either side of the isthmus and be a centre for trade for merchants coming from either direction. And that’s exactly what Corinth did to some degree for hundreds of years.

It’s why, from about the 9th century BC, Corinth emerged as one of the most important cities in Ancient Greece. Later, under the Roman Empire, it remained an important colony.

Visiting Ancient Corinth

Today, the remains of this old city are known as Ancient Corinth, with the central part of the settlement protected as an archaeological site at the base of the Acrocorinth, about six kilometres southwest of the modern city.

There are lots of things to see at Ancient Corinth, and there’s good signage explaining the different areas. I just want to mention a few of the highlights here.

Temple of Apollo

With its seven standing columns, the Temple of Apollo is one of the most famous landmarks at Ancient Corinth, and you can go up to its platform and walk the whole way around it to take in the different perspectives.

The Temple of Apollo was built in the middle of the 6th century BC in the Doric style, and originally had six columns at each end and fifteen along each side. Some of its interesting characteristics include the long length relative to its width, the large monolithic columns, and the squat widely-flaring capitals.

Temple of Apollo, Corinth

During the period of Ancient Greece, you would’ve walked up a monument staircase at the southeast corner of the hill to reach the temple, but the Romans changed the access to the west – just one of the modifications they made that you can still see today.

Bema of St Paul

A lot of tourists are particularly interested in visiting Ancient Corinth because of its connection to Saint Paul. During his journeys to promote Christianity, he visited several Greek cities, including Thessaloniki – but one of the most important was Corinth.

St Paul spent time here in the middle of the 1st century AD, preaching and trying to convert people to the new Christian faith. Despite opposition, he managed to establish a church during his year and a half here, and two of the books of the New Testament (Corinthians) are said to be his letters back to the community here.

Bema of St Paul, Corinth

Today, a focal point for this part of Corinth’s history is the large elevated platform called the Bema in the centre of the Roman forum. According to tradition, this is where the trial of St Paul was held on the charge of conducting illegal teachings.

The Bema was later transformed into a church during the Byzantine period, and it still holds a prominent location on the site.

Archaeological Museum

I’ve already talked a bit about the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth – which now, thankfully, has a proper alarm system.

Although there’s plenty to see around the site, I would recommend leaving some time for the museum. A lot of interesting artefacts have been uncovered in Ancient Corinth and many of them are now held here.

Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth

The collection includes colourful mosaic floors, marble sculptures, ceramics, sarcophagi, and a bronze helmet.

There’s also a good exhibition going through the history of the site, with lots of detailed information about how life would once have been here.

Ancient Corinth is open at the following times during the year:
November to March: 08:30 – 15:30, closed on Tuesdays
April to October: 08:00 – 19:00
It is closed 1 January, 25 March, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25/26 December.

A standard ticket in Summer (April to October) is €8 and a reduced ticket is €4. In the winter (November to March), all visitors are entitled to a reduced ticket.

Modern Corinth

The history of Corinth may be the main appeal for most visitors, but Corinth is also a lovely modern city and it’s a popular destination for a coastal retreat for Athenians and other domestic tourists.

Modern Corinth, Greece

If you have time when you visit Corinth, be sure to pop into the modern city for a bit. As well as a great range of restaurants, cafes and bars (many with water views), there’s a nice urban centre to discover.

Pegasus statue

One of the main landmarks in modern Corinth is the large Pegasus statue on the waterfront near the marina.

The significance of the Pegasus actually goes back to the 7th century BC when the winged horse was used on a coin in Corinth, as well as on pottery and bronze artworks.

Pegasus statue, Corinth

Now, the tradition has continued and the Pegasus is the main symbol of the modern municipality as well.


Much of modern Corinth is bordered by water, with the marina to the north and the beach to the west. And because of the city’s grid pattern of streets, you can often see the coast even if you’re a few blocks away.

I would recommend heading to the area around the marina and the Pegasus statue if you’re looking to have a break with a drink or a coffee – there are lots of lovely spots here to hang out.

Waterfront of Corinth

If it’s a warm day, you may also want to head to Kalamia Beach for a swim. There are beach clubs here where you can rent a sunbed, or there are also some restaurants facing the sand.

For a bit of exercise, there’s a lovely walking path that heads east from the marina. You can turn around when the official path ends, or keep going along the road to reach the Corinth Canal.

Municipal Art Gallery

Although it’s quite small, the Municipal Art Gallery of Corinth is quite a delight.

It was founded when local artist Sotiris Pylarinos donated a collection of his works (and other artworks he owned) to the city on the condition they built a gallery to hold them.

Part of the museum’s exhibition is dedicated to Pylarinos and his work, but there is also a decent selection of over 250 works dating back from 1567 to today, as well as regular temporary shows.

The Municipal Art Gallery is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 – 14:00.

Admission is free.

Other Corinth landmarks

There are also some really interesting things in Corinth that are just beyond the outskirts of the city. Particularly if you have a car, you might like to add a few of them to your Corinth itinerary.

Corinth Canal

A highlight of a visit to the city, the Corinth Canal is an engineering marvel and one of the best things to see in Corinth.

As I’ve mentioned, Corinth had an enviable position on an isthmus with ports on each side – but the real potential for trade was to be able to get boats from one side to the other.

In ancient times, they built a road across the land between the waterways, along which small boats could be dragged. This road was called the Diolkos and you can see a little part of it at the northern end of the canal.

Corinth Canal

Finally, though, the canal was dug through the Isthmus of Corinth in 1893. It’s 6.4 kilometres long and 24.6 metres wide (meaning many modern boats can’t use it). At some points, the rock walls on either side are 80 metres high.

You can walk along the side of the canal to get different views – which I think are all really impressive! For an even more dramatic perspective, you can also do bungee jumping in the canal!

Ancient Temple of Isthmia

About 16 kilometres east of Ancient Corinth is the Ancient Temple of Isthmia, first built in the 7th century BC and then rebuilt several times over the years.

It was dedicated to the god Poseidon and was once one of the four major Panhellenic sanctuaries in Ancient Greece (along with Olympia, Delphi, and Nemea). The Isthmian Games were held here every two years in honour of Poseidon.

These days, there’s an impressive mosaic floor, and lots of foundations of buildings, but none of the main structures are still standing. Although I think it’s worth visiting, it’s a shame that there’s not too much to see at a site that was once so important.

The Ancient Temple of Isthmia is open Wednesday to Monday from 8:30 – 15:30 and closed on Tuesday.

From November to March a standard ticket is €2 and from April to October a standard ticket is €3 and a concession is €2.


Continue east from the Corinth Canal and you’ll reach Loutraki, a popular resort town that is probably a better place to base yourself overnight if you’re looking for a relaxed beach atmosphere.

In Roman times, Loutraki was a popular spa town and also a major trading centre, but now it’s known for its thermal springs and casino. It’s a good spot to come for a swim and may be a better option for a meal if you have a car.

Saint Patapios Monastery

Above the resort town of Loutraki, amongst the trees in the hills, is Saint Patapios Monastery, another of the region’s interesting landmarks.

This women’s monastery is dedicated to Saint Patapios, a 14th-century monk who is said to have performed many miracles. It was only founded in 1952 around a cave where his relics were said to have been found in 1904.

Saint Patapios Monastery has become a popular pilgrimage site, particularly for those hoping to have an illness cured. As well as a scenic outlook and some interesting buildings, there’s a church and museum with some noteworthy artefacts on display.

Saint Patapios Monastery is open Monday to Sunday from 8:00 – 18:00.

Admission is free.

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