Start your trip from your Athens hotel, airbnb, or cruise ship (Piraeus port) and drive west of Athens. You will first reach the Corinth canal after a 50-minutes of motorway drive. A stop will allow you to wander around the canal main bridge and take some nice photos before carrying on for another 15 minutes to arrive at the Ancient Corinth site.
The Corinth canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnese from the mainland, arguably making the peninsula an island. The builders dug the canal through the Isthmus at sea level; no locks are employed. It is 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) in length and only 21.4 meters (70 ft) wide at its base, making it impassable for most modern ships. It now has little economic importance.
The canal was proposed in classical times and an abortive effort was made to build it in the 1st century CE. Construction started in 1881 but was hampered by geological and financial problems that bankrupted the original builders. It was completed in 1893 but, due to the canal’s narrowness, navigational problems and periodic closures to repair landslides from its steep walls, it failed to attract the level of traffic expected by its operators. It is now used mainly for tourist traffic.
The archaeological site of Ancient Corinth lays on the northern foothills of the Acrocorinth hill, around the Archaic Temple of Apollo. Extended excavations have brought to light the Roman Forum, temples, fountains, porticoes, baths, latrines and various other monuments. The investigations were extended also to the fortress on Acrocorinth, to the south of the organized Archaeological Site, as well as to the north, where prehistoric settlements such as that on the Korakou hill, at St Gerasimos, Gonia and Gyriza were brought to light. To the south of the organized Archaeological Site excavations revealed the Theatre, the Roman Odeion, the temple of Asclepius and Hygieia (Asclepieion), cemeteries, the Potter’s Quarter (Kerameikos), Roman Baths, the walls of the city and many other buildings, such as the Frankish Area and a substantial number of Venetian and Ottoman monuments.
On our return route we shall cross the canal from the submersible bridge at the south end of it. Then, we continue our return trip from the coastline route towards Athens. This alternative route is much more scenic (than the motorway) and will give you a chance to opt-in for a picnic snack & drink/coffee at one of the seaside villages or even a swim before returning to your base.