Popular destinations GREECE
Greece, and therefore the Peloponnese, traditionally an agricultural area with many vineyards and olive groves, is going through very difficult economic times. The problems started in 2009, when George Papandreou's PASOK party won the elections and made it known to the world that Greece's real debts had been underestimated or proposed too low. Greece's solvency was immediately called into question and people wondered whether Greece could stay in the eurozone or return to the drachma. Greece's problems spilled over to the rest of the European Union (EU) countries and the viability of the euro and the Union as a whole was at risk. However, Greece was helped by massive loans from the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on condition that draconian austerity measures and structural reforms be implemented.
The south-facing slopes of Nemea in the Corinth region produce some of the best wines in Greece, including the red Nemea, the white Mantineia, the white and red Tselepos from Arcadia and the Roditis from Patra. In addition to traditional grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Viognier and Merlot, the indigenous grape variety Agiorgitiko or St. George is also widely used. The vineyards of the well-known wine producer Achaia Clauss, near Patras, have been producing some of the best wines in Greece since 1861.
Messinia has the most fertile soil in the Peloponnese and the majority of the population works in agriculture or is dependent on it. Agricultural products include potatoes, Greek onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and sugar and water melons. Kalamata is internationally known for the production of the large purple-black Kalamata olive, which is used in many delicacies worldwide, and as the centre of the Greek wine trade.
Leonidio is famous for its cultivation of aubergines, and in summer there is even an aubergine festival. Around Varda in the Achaea region many strawberries are grown. Zacharo is known for its sugar-sweet tomatoes, and the almonds and pistachios grown here are also exported. Iria, located at the foot of Mount Mavrovouni, is known for its artichokes.
Economically, Patras is the most important city in the Peloponnese. Patras, which is also a student city, is, among other things, a transport hub, especially for passenger ferries and goods from Italy. Ferries leave for Brindisi and the Ionian Islands. In 2012, a new ferry port was inaugurated and a railway line between Athens and Corinth is on its way.
Gythio is a port city, where ferries depart for Kythira and Crete and cruise ships can dock.
Kalavryta, located in the mountainous north of the Peloponnese, has quickly become a trendy ski resort. Other skiing destinations are Vytina in the Menalo Mountains, Levidi.
In August 2004, the Rio-Antirrio Bridge (officially: Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge) was opened, a 2.25 km long and 28 m wide cable-stayed bridge, according to the Greeks the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, over the Gulf of Patras. After the Corinthian Bridge, it was the second link between the Peloponnese and mainland Greece.
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country ProfilesLast updated November 2023
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