Visit Epidaurus, a Mecca of Greek Antiquity

Site Antique Epidaure

Would you like to discover this small Greek town in the north-eastern Peloponnese? Then follow our guide to Epidaurus!

Located in the northeast of the Peloponnese peninsula, Epidaurus is a small Greek town known the world over for its extraordinary ancient theater.

Built in the 3rd or 4th century BC, the ancient theater of Epidaurus is surely one of the most surprising places to visit in the whole country. Performances of certain works are even still held in this well-preserved space with its marvellous acoustics.

The district of Epidaurus is bursting with things to see. The ancient city is a delight for history and culture lovers. Would you like to explore it soon? Then check out our complete guide to visiting Epidaurus on your next trip to Greece!

Visit Epidaurus, a plunge into Greek antiquity

Le sanctuaire d'Epidaure

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In Homer’s Illiad, Epidaurus is mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships as « Epidaurus of the good vineyards ». In classical times, this ancient city enjoyed great prestige and renown thanks to its sanctuary dedicated to the healing god Asclepius. The site was home to some of the world’s most renowned physicians, who practiced dream medicine.

As in all Greek sanctuaries, sporting and theatrical events were regularly organized in honor of the gods. The Sanctuary of Asclepius celebrated the Asklepieia, panhellenic pentheteric games including horse racing. From the 4th century onwards, the city also organized poetry competitions.

Today, the sanctuary remains virtually intact. The site includes the famous ancient theater of Epidaurus, built in the 4th or early 3rd century BC to host the Asklepieia.

Epidaurus also boasts important remains of sports facilities and a large temple built in the early 4th century BC.

What to see and do in Epidaurus

The District of Epidaurus is home to many wonders to discover during your stay. If you’re visiting Epidaurus, the Sanctuary of Asclepius and its ancient theater are a must-see. These places are home to several must-sees:

The ancient site of Epidaurus

Le site antique d’Épidaure

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In the Sanctuary of Asclepius itself, you’ll discover the remains of the Temple of Asclepius, a Propylaeum, dining halls, temples and other buildings, including a stadium and Roman baths. The highlight of the visit is, of course, the sublime Theatre of Epidaurus.

The best-preserved building on the site, it is considered the most accomplished of all ancient Greek theaters. It was built 500 meters from the sanctuary around 350 BC, probably by the architect Polyctetus the Younger, according to Pausanias. In the 2nd century B.C., the Romans added twenty rows of tiers.

This ancient theater has come down to us in exceptional condition. The grey limestone tiers are almost all original, with only those on the two wings requiring restoration. The ancient theater still boasts extraordinary acoustics, which you can observe during your visit.

After your visit, take a tour of the Epidaurus Museum, which features sculptures and architectural elements discovered on the site.

From early June to mid-August, you can also take part in one of Europe’s oldest festivals: theAthens and Epidaurus Festival. Every year, it welcomes a host of world-renowned artists. From the fields of theater, dance and music, they perform in the ancient theater of Epidaurus!

The towns of Epidaurus

Vue de l'Ancienne Epidaure

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In addition to the sanctuary and ancient theater, you can visit the small town of Paleá Epídavros (Old Epidavros ), located on the site of the ancient Greek city on the Argolid coast.

In 1822, the village of Piáda or Néa Epídavros (New Epidavros) was home to the National Assembly of Epidavros, the site of the first meeting of what is now the Greek Parliament following the country’s independence. Nearby are the ruins of a Mycenaean acropolis.

All these places are waiting to be discovered during your stay! Soak up the unique atmosphere and discover a part of Greek culture with a visit to Epidaurus.

How to visit Epidaurus

To visit Epidaurus, you have two options: a guided tour from Athens, often combined with other historical sites, or a visit directly to the site, guided or on your own. In the latter case, we recommend that you stay in the towns of New Epidaurus or Ancient Epidaurus and enjoy the coastline as well.

An excursion from Athens

Temple d'Epidaure

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Numerous guided excursions depart from Athens to Epidaurus. These tours also include other sites in the Peloponnese, such as the ancient city of Mycenae.

On average, they only cost around a hundred euros per person. An excursion usually lasts a full day. You’ll be transported in an air-conditioned bus or minibus. A professional guide will accompany you.

A walking tour of the site

Musée d'Epidaure

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For a self-guided tour of the site, admission costs €12 full price and €5 concessions fromApril to October. From November to March, the full rate is €6. The ticket is valid for the ancient site (sanctuary, theater) as well as the archaeological museum.

During this period, the site is open from 8am to 5pm. It is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in April. From May to August, you can visit Epidaurus from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Every two weeks until the end of October, the closing time is reduced by half an hour.

Opening times may also vary on public holidays. The site is closed on January 1, March 25, May 1, Easter Sunday, December 25 and 26.

Please note that there are no guides on site. You’ll need to find a guide before your visit. You can visit the local tourist office for more information or contact the ancient site directly.

How to get to Epidaurus

By car

To visit Epidaurus from Athens, you’ll need your own vehicle if possible. You can also take a bus to the coastal towns. However, we recommend that you rent a car on arrival in Greece or for this visit. You can also opt for a one-day or multi-day guided tour.

From Athens, take the freeway towards Corinth. Once you’ve passed the canal, take the turn-off for Epidaurus. When you leave the freeway, you’ll need to take the coastal road for about an hour. Follow the signs for  » Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus « .

From either Ancient Epidaurus or New Epidaurus, the journey takes just 20 minutes. As mentioned above, follow the signs for the  » Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus « , or head for the nearby town of Lygourio.

By bus

There are two ways to get to the district of Epidaurus from Athens. You can take a bus or train to Nafplio. Some lines even stop en route in the coastal towns (Ancient and New Epidaurus).

You can then take the local line to the ancient site. Routes are generally available every day in summer, especially during the festival. We recommend that you contact the Tourist Office directly for precise timetables.

From Nafplio, you can also take a bus directly to the archaeological site of Epidaurus. This service operates every day of the week and at different times of the day. So you can discover Nafplio and then visit Epidaurus, or reach Epidaurus’ coastal towns and then visit the ancient site.

Are combined tours available?

Site Antique Epidaure

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A visit to the ancient site of Epidaurus is often coupled with a visit to other emblematic sites in the Peloponnese region. You can book a number of guided excursions from the Greek capital, Athens.

These include Mycenae, Epidaurus and Nafplio on the coast. These excursions generally last a day. They can cost from €100 to €150 per person.

We recommend this type of combined tour if you want to discover these ancient sites before setting sail for the islands. You won’t have to worry about transportation. You’ll be able to discover each of these sites in no time.

For an in-depth visit, it’s best to take the time to visit Epidaurus on your own or with a dedicated tour.

Good addresses in Epidaurus

For an unforgettable experience from start to finish, Generation Voyage has put together some great addresses to make your visit to Epidaurus a memorable one!

As far as accommodation is concerned, you can stay in Epidaurus and visit the surrounding area, the sanctuary and the ancient theater at your leisure. Alternatively, you can stay in one of the larger towns nearby and enjoy a guided day trip with transport.

To find your ideal accommodation, we recommend in particular using a hotel comparator such as Booking or the Airbnb platform. If you’d like to stay close to the monuments of Epidaurus, we suggest two accommodations that might suit your needs.

Where to stay in Epidaurus?

Avaton Hotel
Hôtel Avaton

Photo credit: Booking

This charming hotel is located in Lygourio, a village just a 2-minute drive from the ancient theater of Epidaurus.

The Avaton Hotel offers clean, comfortable rooms. They feature a balcony, refrigerator and private bathroom. Furnished and decorated with sobriety, they are air-conditioned. You’ll find everything you need for a pleasant stay in Epidaurus.

A free shuttle service to nearby attractions is also available. Free parking is also available on site. A vehicle is required for easy access to the seaside towns of Epidaurus.

Hôtel Epidaure

Photo credit: Booking

The elegant Hotel Aristotelis is located in the hills above Yialasi. It is close to the ancient city of Epidaurus and Yialasi beach. It features a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and private parking.

You’ll enjoy comfortable, beautifully decorated rooms. All have large balconies with sea views. They also include anatomical beds, plus everything you need for a dream stay in Epidaurus.

Here you can relax by the pool, in the hotel bar or restaurant. The city is just around the corner, so you can explore it at your leisure.

The best restaurants in Epidaurus

Numerous restaurants can be found close to the tourist site of Epidaurus, but also in the seaside towns, particularly in Ancient Epidaurus.

Near the main site, you can have lunch at Moustákias in particular. On the road, the Smyrlis grill is also a more affordable option. On the coast, we recommend visiting Mouria Restaurant, Stork or Athina Tavern for a meal right on the water!