In the Peloponnese, just an hour away from Athens by car or suburban rail, Loutraki awaits. Loutro means bath and Loutraki is the oldest bath city in Greece, dating back to antiquity. These days its ultramodern spa is linked to the local casino and betting on the hot springs is a sure thing. Lively and fashionable, this town on the Gulf of Corinth also boasts a long esplanade with cafes and restaurants, a beautiful beach, pretty squares, palm trees, waterfalls and Belle Epoque-style hotels. Even a day trip is bound to be fun.
What to do in Loutraki
The water of life
According to Xenophon, Spartan warriors would come here to renew themselves after battle. You too can be revived by the power of the hot springs. Legend says that the goddess Artemis protects them. Perhaps, then, we should give her thanks for the unique properties of the Loutraki mineral waters, which include sulfur and bicarbonate ions, that have been healing people from antiquity to 1914, when the modern spa-town was founded, and right up to the present.
Loutraki Thermal Spa: health-giving luxury
The Loutraki Municipal Thermal Spa simply must top your list. Its facilities and its emblematic 1855 building are on a par with the best private luxury spas. Pools filled with water from the hot springs, saunas, Turkish baths, mud treatments, massage, water massage tubs, volcanic rock treatments, yoga classes, everything you need for your rejuvenation is right here in this corner of the Peloponnese.
Holidays in Loutraki: The promenade
Going for a walk takes on a new allure here. A wonderful pedestrian way follows the coast. Take it and you’ll find cafes, restaurants and traditional shops selling syrupy sweets and ice cream, kids on bikes, couples holding hands, seaside benches and maybe even an open-air concert. You won’t want to stop.
Hotels from another era
The hotels of Loutraki seem caught in a time warp: red carpets, crystal chandeliers, pianos in the lobbies, verandas and well-kept gardens. Everything in this holiday setting pulls you back to the Belle Epoque. Who knows how many rich, famous or powerful personalities have stayed in your room?
Just 16km from Loutraki a surprising landscape awaits you. A closed lagoon encircled by greenery, it can be your summer hideaway. Dive into the water, take a pedalo out, sit at the all-day cafe-bar, eat your fill at the excellent fish restaurants and finish it off with an ouzo. You’re already in love with this blue lagoon.
Hidden gems of Loutraki
The Heraion, Hera’s shrine
Next to the lagoon at Vouliagmeni is an enclosed bay that is also an archaeological site. Beginning in the Geometric period, the goddess Hera was worshipped here next to the sea. The first temple devoted to her was built in 800 BC. It’s an attraction that will surely capture your attention. Swimming in this setting is truly out of this world.
Coffee at the waterfalls
As you promenade along the pedestrian way at the exit to Loutraki to the northwest, you’ll pass some attractive man-made waterfalls. A bit further, at Pefkaki, there is a classic cafe-restaurant on platforms built over the water.
The lighthouse at cape Malamgavi
Built in 1897, the stone lighthouse at Cape Malangavi is an impressive attraction both in itself and the view that it offers of the nearby archaeological site and the sea. Descending the road to the archaeological site of Iraio, head up the first turn-off and you’ll find it there.