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Porto Heli


Porto Heli
The southern region of mainland Greece is the Peloponnese and one of the prefectures of the Peloponnese is Argolis (or Argolida).  On the southern coast of Argolis, just opposite the island of Spetses, is the village of Porto Heli.  Porto Heli is about 175km from Athens by road.

The ruins of the ancient city of Halieis are on the south side of the bay, opposite the modern day village of Porto Heli.  Some of the ruins (both on land and in the sea) are still visible.

The city of Halieis was enclosed by a wall with at least 5 gates and was large enough to have independent territorial rights and mint their own coins.  The streets were laid out in a well organized grid, each house with their own courtyard and well and there were communal baths (visible in the shallows on a calm day).  The inhabitants were fishermen and farmers in the main and the reasons for the decline/abandonment of the city are still not known today.  Findings include decorated pottery, coins, remains of roof tiles, terracotta figurines and metal objects.


Blick auf die Bucht von Porto Heli

Most of the excavation work was done during the 1960's and 1970's for the American School of Classical Studies in Athens by the Department of Classical Studies and the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and by the Department of Classics of Indiana University.

As interest in the area grew and the diggings tailed off, more independent travelers began to discover Porto Heli.  Hotels were built in the area, more bars, tavernas and shops and the boom was on.  During the 1980's Porto Heli became a very popular package holiday destination which, in turn, led to people falling in love with the place (as I did) and buying summer homes in the area but it still retains much of its small fishing village charm.  This is why Porto Heli is ideal for both quiet breaks or activity holidays.  

The modern name of 'Porto Heli'  - also known as 'Porto Cheli' - translates (roughly) to 'The Bay of Eels' which was the mainstay of the fishing industry here some years ago.  The fishermen here continue to go about their business and farming is the other main industry in the area.  Argolis is well known for the quality of the wine grapes and the exceptionally low acidity of the olives (therefore olive oil) produced in the region.  

Text by Isabelle J Backhouse


Luftaufnahme des Hafens in Porto Heli Porto Heli aus der Luft Die Bucht von Porto Heli
  • Water skiing
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  • Mountainbiking (Rental in Porto Heli)
Interesting sights around:  

  • 15km
  • 24km
  • 57km
  • 76km
  • 78km
  • 87km
  • 97km
  • 110km
  • 120km
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  • 180km

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