The Corinth Canal in Greece is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. The Corinth Canal is an important navigational route which once allowed ships to enter the Aegean Sea. Dug through the isthmus at sea level, the canal is 6.4 kilometers long with a width of only 25 meters. Impossible for modern ships to go through, the canal has now lost any significant economic importance it once had.
Through its long history, Corinth Canal in Greece been blessed and cursed by its position on the crossroads between mainland Greece and the Peloponnese and between the Saronic gulf and the Corinthian gulf. Its commanding position generated great wealth and attracted powerful enemies. Today, it’s also a crossroads in time, allowing you to explore ancient ruins and your own courage, taste the fruit of the fertile land and discover the many facets of the modern city. Your trip to Corinth has it all – sights and attractions, history and exciting experiences!
Corinth Canal Map
Where is Corinth Canal in Greece map? Similar to the Panama Canal but The Corinth Canal separates the mainland of Greece from the Peloponnese Peninsula. Specifically, the Canal links the Gulf of Corinth of the Ionian Sea with the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. A map of Greece shows not only its thousands of islands but also this peninsula that would be the country’s largest island if it weren’t connected to the mainland by this four-mile-wide strip of land. Technically, the Corinth Canal makes the Peloponnese an island, but since it’s so narrow, most experts still refer to it as a peninsula.
Corinth Canal History
The canal, though executed in the late 19th century, has been a 3000-year-old dream. Before its construction, ships in the Aegean Sea that wanted to cross to the Adriatic or anchor in Corinth, a rich shipping city, had to circle the Peloponnese, which would prolong their journey an extra approximately 700km.
It is believed that Periander, the tyrant of Corinth (602 BC), was the first to conceive of the idea of digging the Corinth Canal. As the project was too complicated given the limited technical capabilities of the times, Periander constructed the diolkós, a stone road which allowed ships to be transferred on wheeled platforms.
Later on, Macedonian king Dimitrios Poliorkitis (c. 300 BC) tried to dig the canal, but his team of engineers warned him that if a connection between the seas were made, the Adriatic would flood the Aegean. This same belief also stopped dictator Julius Caesar and emperors Hadrian and Caligula. It was only in 67 AD that Emperor Nero attempted the construction of the canal with a group of 6,000 slaves. But he was murdered before the plans were finalized.
Much later, in the 1830s, Kapodistrias, the newly appointed governor of Greece after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, was the first to reconsider the idea of the canal. However, at an estimated cost of 40 million French francs, the project was too expensive for the newly established state. It was only in 1869 that the Parliament authorized the government to allow a private company, headed by Austrian General Etienne Tyrr, to build the Canal of Corinth. Work began in 1882, but the Austrian company’s budget was insufficient. So the project was paused, with it restarting in 1890 by a Greek company with a capital of five million francs. This time, the job was completed, and the canal was used for the first time on October 28, 1893.
How to get to Corinth Canal
Ways to travel Corinth Canal: Modern Corinth is one of the country’s main cities and is very well connected with most towns in Greece, including Athens.
How to get to Corinth Canal by Car
Since Corinth is slightly far from Athens, the best idea is to rent a car and visit other cities like Olympia, Epidaurus and Mycenae. Check and compare car rental prices here. It is very easy to drive to Corinth: take the highway A75 towards the north. There is a detour almost immediately to Corinth. Then drive 70 km along the highway until you get to the canal. Take the exit to Loutraki to get the best views of the canal.
How to get to Corinth Canal by Bus
The coach that connects Athens and Corinth departs from Terminal A (100 Kifissou Street) every day from 5:30 am until 10:30 pm, approximately every 30 minutes. The journey takes around 90 minutes.
How to get to Corinth Canal by Train
If you wish to travel directly to Corinth from Athens Airport, you can take a direct train from the airport to the modern city. If you want to take the train from central Athens, change trains at SKA station.
How to See the Corinth Canal
Travelers to Greece have three main options to see the Corinth Canal. First, cruise lines with small ships like Silversea Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and SeaDream Yacht Club transit the canal on eastern Mediterranean itineraries. Second, several private companies depart from Piraeus, the port of Athens, and offer a cruise through the canal. Finally, cruise ships with a day in Athens often offer a half-day shore excursion to the Corinth Canal for those who have visited Athens before. Guests board buses in Piraeus for the 75-minute drive to the Corinth Canal. Once there, a local tour boat takes them through the canal. These tours offer plenty of chances to see the canal from the top edge to the water level.
Things to do around Corinth Canal
Ancient meets modern in Corinth (Korinthos), a town that is considered the gateway to the Peloponnese Peninsula. During Roman times, it was one of the largest and wealthiest city-states in Greece, with two major ports: one on the Corinthian Gulf and one on the Saronic Gulf. Today, the site where Ancient Corinth once stood has been excavated by archaeologists from the American School in Athens since 1896. The extensive remains are dominated by top-rated attractions like the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. Behind the site rises the hill of Acrocorinth (Akrokorinthos), which was fortified during the Middle Ages.
The modern town of Corinth lies seven kilometers northeast of the ancient city and only an hour’s drive west of Athens, to which it is connected by a regular bus service. The town is also famous for the Corinth Canal, which gives ships a route through the isthmus of Corinth. There are many things to do in the Corinth area, including an adrenaline rushing bungee jump. Plan your adventures with our list of the top attractions in Corinth.
The Corinth canal, an ancient dream made real
How to avoid circumnavigating the entire Peloponnese when you’re blocked by a narrow spit of land? Under Periander in the 6th century BC, the ancients cut out a slipway that allowed ships to be dragged overland, but it took a lot of muscle power. Having improved the port, he also envisaged a canal but nothing came of it, setting a pattern of failure that dogged the efforts of Nero, Caligula, Hadrian, the Byzantines and the Venetians. The canal finally opened in 1893 after 11 years of digging. Six kilometres long, it slices through cliffs 90m high and is a perennial favourite with sightseers.
Acrocorinth, lofty citadel
A long and tumultuous history is recorded in the walls of Acrocorinth. In Ancient Greece, the high city was the centre of the worship of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, but the massive fortifications gave the lie to that romantic foundation. Bloody battles, sieges and dozens of legends mark Acrocorinth’s history over the ensuing millennia. The battle cries may be silent now, but their echo lingers on.
Nemea in myth and reality
Hercules killed his lion here, the Panhellenic Nemean Games of Ancient Greece were held here, and grapes have been cultivated on the slopes and valleys of Nemea for at least three millennia.
Fruit of the land
Corinth’s mild climate and fertile soil combine to produce big flavours in small packages, the famous raisins and currants of Corinth. Another gift of the vine is the Agiorgitiko variety of grape that produces the area’s signature deep red wines, which the elders call “Hercules’ blood”.
What to do around Corinth Canal
Bungee jumping on Corinth Canal
Your heart’s pounding as you stand on the edge, about to jump off with only a slim cord linking you to safety. The vertical sides of the canal seem to converge, making your target look very narrow. Will you dare or will you chicken out? If you need an extra rush, the cord can be adjusted to dip you in the sea. The Peloponnese has the ability to surprise and amaze – the Corinth canal is proof of this!
Lake Stymfalia, the ecology of a myth
Hercules and the sixth feat. According to Apollodorus, the mythical hero slew the Stymfalian man-eating birds with bronze wings and beaks that inhabited the marsh. Nowadays, equally rare birdlife frequents this wetland, with over 130 species recorded.
Black Corinthian Currants
Apart from the renowned sultanas, the famous black Corinthian currant is also produced here. You’ll see them being sun-dried around you, although most of the produce is exported. Corinth’s mild climate and fertile soil work together to give you minor foodie miracles.
Where to stay around Corinth Canal
Need a Hotel near Corinth Canal? When it comes to staying in Corinth, options are relatively limited. There are no luxury hotels in town; the highest ranked hotel is a three-star property. If you want true luxury, you can opt to stay in Athens and visit Corinth on a day trip. Here are our favorite hotels for sightseeing in the Corinth area. They are all located in and around the modern city.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Corinth
Luxury and Mid-Range Hotels: One of the more luxurious properties is the three-star La Terra Nostra, which is located just outside the city center on orange-tree filled grounds, with views of the mountains and sea. The property offers accommodations in apartments and also has a lovely garden area with a swimming pool. It is not within walking distance of anything, however, so you’ll need a car.
For a more central location, try the Hotel Apollon Filoxenia, which offers simple but modern and clean accommodation within walking distance of the city’s pedestrian area. It is also very good value. Another option is the three-star Ephira Hotel, which is also in the city center, although it can feel bit stale and dated.
Budget Hotels: For clean and tidy rooms that are excellent value try Pegasus Rooms, which is in a central location. The breakfasts here are excellent and served on the rooftop terrace with views. There is also secure parking for guests, and you can dine at the owner’s restaurant on the main square just a few minutes’ walk away. Even less expensive is the Acropolis Hotel, which offers clean but somewhat dated rooms. Breakfast is included in the rates.
The 10 best hotels near Corinth Canal in Greece
- The House of Art | booking | hotelscombined
- Hotel King Saron | booking | hotelscombined
- Euripides Studio | booking | hotelscombined
- Saronikos Family House | booking
- Villa Fantasia Luxury Apartment | booking | hotelscombined
- Studio Poseidon | booking
- Pefkaki Boutique | booking | hotelscombined
- Hotel Segas | booking | hotelscombined
- Grand Olympic Hotel Loutraki | booking | hotelscombined
- Hotel Kakanakos | booking | hotelscombined