In July 2020, my family and I travelled to Tolo. Tolo (Tolon) is a friendly beach town in the heart of the Argolid, the north-eastern corner of the Peloponnese relatively near Athens.
Built around the curve of a sheltered bay, Tolo’s impressive landscape features a long sandy beach and two pretty islets awaiting exploration at a short boat ride across the bay. A tempting array of hotels, cafés and small restaurants lines the beach and there are more in the village.
Although busy at weekends and in the high season, Tolo village has retained its charm. It is an excellent base to discover the famous ancient sites and food of the Peloponnese. Tolo is particularly recommended for families and kids of mixed ages as everyone will find plenty to do whatever their interests.
Best Beaches in Tolo, Greece
The Beach of Tolo
The long sandy beach of Tolo is excellent for families, especially with young kids. The waters are calm, shallow and safe. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas and you will find many facilities on the beach.
Kastrakis is a smaller secluded beach with sand and pebbles located near the ruins of Ancient Asini. It has crystal clear waters with a sandy sea bed. The beach is not organized.
The beaches on Koronisi, Romvi and Daskalio
The (unorganized) beaches of the three islands in front of Tolo are pebbled with warm secluded crystal clear waters. Great for snorkelling and other water sports!
12 Top things to do in Tolo, Greece
Apart from its excellent family beaches and kid-friendly atmosphere, the sheer range of things you can see and do from Tolo is enormous. There is so much to see and do from Tolon that you may have trouble fitting it all in – at least if you want to leave some time for the beach!
Enjoy Water sports
Tolo is an excellent place for water activities, especially for beginners and kids, as it offers a safe, sheltered bay.
Scuba diving, waters games such as banana rides are all possible at Tolo.
Take a Boat trip
A very popular activity in Tolo is a cruise around the bay, down the coast or to the back of Romvi island with the beach and crystal clear water for swimming and/or a picnic.
Together with Tolo Sailing and Introdive, we had a great day on the water.
The children loved the morning speed boat ride with Introdive. We admired hidden caves, a seal, underwater mysterious and lots of birds. The destination was the small island of Daskalio where we had a BBQ picnic on the beach and enjoyed water sports and scuba diving.
In the afternoon we sailed back to Tolo port on the beautiful sailing boat of Tolo Sailing.
The skipper was very hands-on with the kids, they loved sailing the boat and felt like a captain! If one day is not long enough, your family can opt for a two-day or weekly customized sailing trip.
Admire views at Agia Kyriaki Tolo
For the best viewpoint over Tolo, drive up to the church of Agia Kyriaki.
From here, you can admire, Tolo, Tolo Bay and the islands of Daskalio, Koronisi and ‘Aphrodite’.
Discover Romvi or the island of Aphrodite
One of the two small islands that adorn the Gulf of Tolo is called Romvi. One can find sections and walls of a medieval castle, scattered ruins of a Venetian naval base and various buildings and houses. From far, the island resembles a woman and that is why locals refer to her as Aphrodite.
Koronisi is one of the three little islands opposite the port of Tolo. On the island, there is a chapel where weddings and baptisms are carried out.
Explore Daskalio and the small church of Zoodochou Pigi
Our stop at the Daskalio island also gave us the opportunity to visit the small church on top of the island dating back from 1688. It is said that during the period of the Turkish rule, there was a “secret school” on the island. In that “secret school”, Greek children were educated secretly in their language and their history in order to maintain their heritage.
The Monastery of Aghia Moni
The Monastery of Aghia Moni is 3 kilometres Northeast of Nafplion and dates back to the 12th century.
It is one the most important churches of the middle Byzantine period and is in excellent condition. Besides beautiful architecture and views over a landscape resembling the hills of Tuscany, this monastery is famous for its monastic spring with its special water.
Rural and Natural Experiences
Tolos unique landscape and excellent local products make it a great location for agro-tourism. During a one-day customized private tour, we had the chance to learn more about local products and crafts.
Our rural day started with a visit to a bee farm. After a short drive into the Tolo mountains, we met a local beekeeper. Not only did we learn more about bees and tasted the honey, we also had the opportunity to become bee farmers and watch the bees up close. The kids loved wearing the protective gear and study the workers.
Second stop was the Karonis Ouzo Distillery. Recently mentioned in the New York Times Style Magazine, the family-run distillery has been an institution in Nafplio for over 145 years. The fourth- and fifth-generation father-son owners, Fotis and Yiannis Karonis, are famous for distilling ouzo, perhaps the most well known Greek alcoholic drink. We learned more about the production process and the adults sampled the famous liqueurs made with regional ingredients.
Melas Olive Oil
The Peloponnese region is famous for its olives and premium olive oil. A visit to an olive farm should, therefore, be on your bucket list when visiting this part of Greece. We went to Melas Oil.
After a tour around the olive garden en the factory, we got to taste the famous Melas olives and olive oil. During this hands-on experience, the kids learned more about the biological production of olives, the olive harvest, and the process of turning the fruits into the famous Greek liquid gold. We finally picked up some cosmetics as Melas also produces face & body cosmetics based on organic extra virgin olive oil and honey.
Families in Tolo can also go biking, hiking, walking or even visit a vineyard.
Famous Ancient Sites
The Peloponnese is rich in history and archaeology. Culture-loving families will especially appreciate their time in Tolo. From Tolo, it is easy to visit many of the world-famous ancient treasures of the Peloponnese. The impressive list is long; Ancient Mycenae, Argos, Ancient Tirinta, Ancient Corinth, Ancient Epidaurus, Delphi and Ancient Nemea, Mystras and Olympia.
Ancient Assini in Tolo
A 20-minute walk from Tolo over the headland is ancient Assini, from where a fleet was launched against Troy.
There are well-made pathways, imaginative circuits around the promontory, a multimedia room, a guide to the many types of flora (and fauna in the form of wild tortoises) and much, much more, including information on the archaeological discoveries made in the 1920s by the Swedish Crown Prince and the damage caused by the Italians in World War II.
There is a fine shingle beach below – ideal for a cooling swim after exploring the site – and a handy taverna a little up the hill above the sea. There can be few if any, Homeric sites which you can explore, then swim from the beach below followed by a lazy taverna lunch overlooking the bay!
Tips or visiting the ancient sites in summer with kids:
- Make sure your cameras and phones are fully charged!
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Bring hats, sunblock, and water
- Try not to carry anything too heavy
Visit Ancient Epidaurus
Ancient Epidaurus is just 32 km from Tolo (a 35-40 minute drive) and has a magnificent amphitheater dating from 4BC designed to seat 13000 to 14000 spectators.
This tradition continues today during the famous Epidaurus Festival that runs each summer with some of the greatest Greek and foreign actors performing here.
The Ancient Theater of Epidaurus is considered the greatest ancient Greek theater in terms of acoustics and aesthetics. It was a strong element of the ancient Greek religion and its original purpose was to entertain the patients of the nearby Asklepios hospital.
In Ancient Greece were several Asklepios sanctuaries, considered the first hospitals of the world. Epidaurus is considered the mythological birthplace of Asklepios and was one of the most significant cult sites of Ancient Greece.
Not only the theatre mesmerized us. The entire site of Epidaurus is a must-visit with kids. They will love to discover the temple of Asklepios (375 BC), the temple of Apollo Maleata (4th century BC) and other buildings related to Epidaurus’ function of a medical centre.
The well-preserved stadium and patients hall brought ancient history back to life! You will also see a library, baths and many other structures. Ancient Epidaurus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At the Acropolis in Athens, you can also find an ancient theatre, as well as an Asklepios Sanctuary. You can find everything you need to know about visiting Epidaurus with children in the post: Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, Greece with Kids
Do not miss the Archaeological Museum in Epidaurus. With its collection of Ancient Greek medical instruments and the impressive statue of Asklepios, kids will understand how great the ancient Greek civilization was.
Before you visit the ancient sites in Greece, I advise you to do some reading with your children. Here you can have a look at my recommended list of 20 Best Books about Greek Mythology for Kids.
Ancient Mycenae is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and to date, still is a mystery in many ways. You’ve probably heard a lot about the Mycenaean civilization. Along with the Minoan civilization, it ranks among the greatest civilizations of Europe. While you’re in Tolo, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this magnificent site with the kids.
The moment you arrive at the Mycenae archaeological site, you’ll be blown away by the magnificent Lion Gate and its enormous relief sculpture. The site really shows off the impressive architecture of the Mycenaeans. The nearby located Treasury of Atreus, the famous beehive tomb, is an experience that no one in the family will forget.
The Museum of Ancient Mycenae displays the findings from the excavation.
The objects are very well arranged and in such a way as to support an understandable narrative for the kids. With the help of signs, maquettes, photographs and more, a better understanding of Mycenaen culture is possible even with young kids.
There are lots of engaging parts in the museum and our tour guide pointed out the most important object. My kids loved the Cyclopean masonry and the (copy of) the gold mask of Agamemnon in the museum.
To make the best of your visit to the archaeological sites, it is wise to book a state-licensed official guide. Not only can they truly bring the ruins to life with vivid storytelling, but an official guide will also make sure you do not miss any of the attractions and will be able to answer all your questions. When travelling with kids, a kid-friendly guide will keep the kids engaged and focussed. They specialize in custom tours that are tailored to families. Thank you Katerina, for your passion and enthusiasm.
Tolo, best beach town for visiting Nafplion
A 25-minute bus ride takes you to elegant Nafplion. Largely Venetian it is topped by massive fortifications (1,000 steps up!) and adjudged one of the most handsome towns in Greece. Nafplion is a very popular destination for foreigners and Greeks. However, in summertime, Tolos is actually the place to pick as your location. From there on, it is easy to discover Nafplion with its castle (and everything else) at your own pace.
Stroll around Nafplion
Nafplion was the first capital of the modern nation and the narrow lanes of the old town, its mix of Venetian, Turkish and neoclassical architecture, the busy waterfront, the shaded squares and the many fine tavernas, make this historic town a magnet for Greek and foreign visitors alike.
Many consider it to be one of the most romantic cities in the entire country. Our hosts showed us the beautiful highlights of the city. We enjoy a leisurely stroll through the old alleyways with historic buildings, and explored hidden corners of Nafplion. Don’t forget to stop for ice cream!
Where to stay in Tolo, Greece
There are many affordable family hotels and (self-catering) apartments in Tolo, most of them located directly on (or very near) the sandy beach. There is one camping in Tolo.
Family Hotels in Tolo
Paradise Lost Hotel
During our Travel Bloggers Greece trip in Tolo, my family stayed at the Paradise Lost Hotel. The hotel is located at a 5-minute walk from the village, a large playground and the beach. Our comfortable spacious recently-refurbished suite was located on the top floor offering stunning views over the pool area, sea and nearby islands. Families with young kids will enjoy the baby pool, the swings and the green garden with palm and banana trees. Breakfast is pleasant next to the pool.
John and George
Other members of the group stayed at the John and George Hotel. This family-run hotel is situated in the old part of Tolo, above the bay. The hotel’s location on the hill provides an exceptional view across the bay of Tolo and the two famous islands of Romvi and Koronisi. The John & George hosts a pool, 58 rooms and 4 apartments. Lots of games for kids and spacious balconies make this hotel great for families.
Hotel Golden Beach
The recently re-opened Hotel Golden Beach stands 10 m from the sandy Tolo Beach. This is a family-run hotel with friendly, personal service and family rooms (triple), many with sea view. The hotel is situated right opposite the beach with spectacular sea and beach views.
We had an excellent lunch at the Café Restaurant Bar at Golden Beach.
Where to eat?
Tolos offers lots of choice in taverns, meze bars and restaurants. Many of these are located above or even directly on the beach, making them ideal for a romantic family meal, especially with young kids.
On our first night, we celebrated our trip in tavern Akrogiali, right on the sandy beach of Tolo. While the kids were happily playing right in front of us, adults had a relaxed time tasting traditional Greek meze, Greek salads and a cold glass of wine.
Our second night brought us to beautifully decorated Maria’s restaurant. I found Maria’s the perfect reason for a visit to Tolo! A top-class family-run restaurant offering traditional and modern cuisine blended together and served in most artistic manners.
We indulged on lots of mezzes, seafood, and salads, all from the freshest of ingredients.
Our gastronomic night was accompanied by the stunning view of the Tolo bay, making the atmosphere and our experience just perfect.
Ornos Cafe Restaurant
Our goodbye dinner was at all-day cafe and restaurant Ornos, romantically located on the beach of Tolo in a beach-house like white wooden setting. The view over the pier and the kind service complemented our dinner of Greek meze, grilled vegetables and risotto with seafood. Ornos also serves traditional loukoumades (Greek donuts) and other Greek sweets.
Want a reminder of Tolo? Check out Ελια, Olive Tree Boutique with pretty locally handcrafted wooden objects and olive oil products.
How to get to Tolo, Peloponnese
You can reach Tolo from Athens by a 2 hours coach, taxi or car ride. From Kalamata airport, the ride is again about two hours.
The Isthmus of Corinth and the Corinth Canal
From Athens, you will pass the famous Corinth Canal. Stopping at the Corinth Canal is a perfect place to stop on the journey to Tolo from Athens. Kids will love watching the smaller boats making the crossing far below.
Travel Bloggers Greece was invited by the Tolo Tourism Association (S.E.T). If you are looking for more information about Tolo or interested in hotels, apartments, travel agencies, car rental, and more, have a look at tolo.gr.
Thank you S.E.T for your kind hospitality!