Other Names: Spaeria, Hieria, Calauria (ancient)
Longitude: 23o 28′ 13.66″ E Latitude: 37o 30′ 58.16″ N Population: 3.780 Area: 49.582 km²
Ermioni is situated in, and gives its name to, the whole Ermionida area in the South-East of the Argolida (Argolis) region, within the Peloponnese, mainland Greece. There is little information written about Ermioni in the guide books, at most, a paragraph describing it as a small authentic fishing village, maybe worth a couple of hours of your time. Yet it is a beautiful Greek coastal town, very central to many places of historical and cultural interest, surrounded by charming coves and beaches. A magical place that once you have been and explored, will bring you back again and again.
Ermioni (Ancient Hermione) can be divided into three sections. The commercial Limani port and harbour is located on the Northern side, with the lively Mandrakia on the Southern side of the peninsula. At the Eastern end of the town, is the archaeological pine-cladded forest area called the Bisti. Here one can enjoy leisurely walks at any time of the day, as there is plenty of shade, and visit the 5th Cen. BC temple of Athena, and other Ancient, Byzantine and Medieval monuments. You can also swim in the clear blue sea, from the rocky coves along the Southern side of the Bisti, which overlook the islands of Dokos and Hydra. There are no beaches in Ermioni, apart from a very small stretch of sand close to the Bisti, where some local residents go to enjoy their swim. The sea surrounds the town from three sides, giving the feel of being on an island, but without the possibility of being stranded in adverse weather conditions.
Certain travel books have refered to Ermioni as a coastal town of captivating beauty, which is a good description, as it still remains authentically Greek, charming, hospitable and friendly. For the visitor to Ermioni, there are numerous amenities, the post office, ATM machines, doctors, dentists, pharmacies, physiotherapist, a tourist office where you can buy boat tickets for the nearby islands and car rental, real estate offices, taxis, buses to Kranidi and Kosta, various shops, supermarkets, hairdressers, cafes, bars and tavernas.
There is a colourful weekly farmers market on Thursday mornings only, 07:30-13:30, selling assorted fresh fruit, fish, local vegetables, home-made honey, wine and olive oil, flowers, various clothing, footwear, handicrafts and domestic household items.
Ermioni is a working community, with just over 3,000 permanent residents, so most facilities are open throughout the year. However, during winter, some tavernas do close for the olive harvesting season and re-open either in January or for the Orthodox Easter. Ermioni has one of the best micro-climates in the whole region, with the summer months being hot and sunny, and the winter months being warm, mostly dry with clear blue skies, which makes it a perfect time to visit.
For most visitors, the Limani side is the first port of arrival to Ermioni, whether by road or by sea. One will find small hotels, pensions, apartments and private traditional Greek houses to suit all tastes and budgets. All will provide a warm and friendly service to any visitor, as well as the many tavernas, cafes and bars along the waterfront. A hire-car is advisable to travel around, as Ermioni is an ideal base for exploring the many historical and cultural sites, towns and villages in the surrounding Ermionida and Argolida area. Local places to visit in Out and about are Kilada, Fourni, Kranidi, Thermisia, Iliokastro, Loukaiti, Porto Heli, Kosta and Didyma, all of which are close by. However, there are many Places to Visit such as Epidavros, Nafplio (once the capital of Greece), Tiryns, Mycenae, Argos, Assini, Tolo, Trizina, Methana, Isthmia, Ancient Corinth and the Corinth Canal. Take the opportunity to explore the pre-historic cave at Franchthi and the caves at Didyma, go rock-climbing at Lizard Rock in Thermisia, cycling, hiking, walking, especially through Katafyki Ravine, or just relax on the many nearby Beaches and swim in the crystal clear blue sea. You might wish to explore the near-by islands, then the Argo-Saronic islands of Hydra, Spetses and Poros are just a short boat ride away. All three islands will offer you a different experience. Methana with its spa and volcano is not too far away for a day visit from Ermioni.
Ermioni’s war memorial, situated in front of the tourist office, is the main focal point of Limani harbour. From this point one can wander up to the Old Village of Ermioni, situated on the crest of the hill. Explore some of the back streets and see the local people going about their everyday lives, of which many will greet you with a warm friendly “Yassas”. The old village has the Ermioni Museum of History and Folklore, an antique Toy Museum, the 9th Century Metropolitan church of Taxiarches (Archangels) and the church of Ag.Panaghia, the original 1888 village school in front of the village library. One village street is called Melina Merkouri Street, named after the famous Greek actress, singer and cultural minister, who used to come to visit her grandfather that once lived in Ermioni.
Ermioni has a reputation for producing fine products, such as pomegranates (annual festival in October) citrus fruits and the well known local olive oil, which had been voted one of the best in Greece some years ago. From the neighbouring village of Didyma and the nearby mountain village of Iliokastro, there are some wonderful wines produced to accompany the local Greek cuisine.
An important factor is that Ermioni has changed little over the years, both in its appearance and in continuing to keep the local civic, historic and religious festivals and traditions alive, especially to the growing younger generation. If you get the opportunity to visit Ermioni in the Spring, then the Greek Orthodox Easter is a wonderful occassion to experience, the main Greek festival of the year. “We hope you get the chance to visit Ermioni soon”.