The Despots Palace, Mystras

Ancient Sparta & the Byzantine Castle of Mystras on the Peloponnese


Discover Ancient Sparta and Mystras, an imposing fortress that was once the capital of the Byzantine state. Established in 1249 CE, the castle is the most important Byzantine monument in Greece, sprawling across a steep mountainside. You'll enjoy walking through these important archeological sites and taking in the surrounding views.

Mystras is very atmospheric and photogenic, set into three distinct zones representing different historical eras. You'll tour the Upper City (Ano Chora) with the Despot's Palaces, the Lower City (Kato Chora) with the Metropolis, and the Outer City (Exo Chora). A guide will share important historical information and detail what daily life was like in the city.

Next, head over to Ancient Sparta, an archaeological site with ruins spanning various historical periods. The atmosphere is also quite peaceful amidst an olive grove, which contrasts with Sparta's famous military past. The site was home to legendary military training and everyday self-restraint. The Spartans faced war with a simple motto: "win or die."

If you'd like to extend your visit, you can include a stop at the Museum of the Olive and Olive Oil in modern-day Sparta, the city of Sparti. You'll learn about the history, culture, and technology of olive oil production from prehistoric times through the modern day.

Read more about unique experiences in the Peloponnese.

Itineraries with Ancient Sparta & the Byzantine Castle of Mystras on the Peloponnese

Hidden Gems of Mainland Greece - 12 Days

This dynamic road trip takes you through some of mainland Greece's best kept secrets, starting with a mythology tour of the Acropolis in Athens and a visit to the wineries in Nemea. Then head into the picturesque Peloponnese Region where you'll discover the ancient ruins in Sparta, the medicinal tales of Ascelpius, and the charms of historic Mani villages. Visit the birthplace of the Olympics in Olympia, hike to an alpine lake for a swim, and visit a family-operated olive farm to learn all about the production process and to taste different varieties.

Historic Peloponnese and Zakynthos - 15 Days

Travel across both the Peloponnesian peninsula and Greek history with this 15-day itinerary. After a brief start in Athens, you'll go down to the sea to visit Nafplio and neighboring mythical Mycenae, then over to the castles of Mystras and Monemvasia. Set sail for the quintessential Greek island of Zakynthos to end your journey on its turquoise shores before returning to Athens for one final temple sunset.

Mainland Greece Road Trip - 17 Days

Take a drive through the scenery and history of mainland Greece with this 17-day itinerary.  Begin in Athens, then make your way through the seaside towns, vineyards, scenic castles, and historic sites of the Peloponnese.