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Nafplio - Theatre of Epidavros or Mycenae with Kings tomb ruins

I'm hopefully going on a Windstar cruise in September. For shore excursions at Nafphlio I have a choice between the Theatre of Epidavros or the Mycenae ruins with the Kings tomb. Which would you choose and why?

Posted by
4287 posts

I found Mycenae a more evocative site, if purely subjective accounts are helpful. I had seen places similar to Epidaurus but not anything like Mycenae. Will you have time for Nafplio as well?

Posted by
585 posts

Definitely Mycene a hill-top fortified town with its legends of Agamemnon, Helen of Troy etc. Also great views across the surrounding country and a very nice museum with artifacts from the site. The King’s tomb is an amazing domed building about 3500 years old. Spectacular!

Epidavros is a very impressive Greek theatre with super acoustics. There is also the nearby Sanctuary of Asclepius and the ruins of a hospital dating to the 6th century BC which is considered the birthplace of modern medicine.

I don’t think you would be disappointed by either site.

Posted by
11119 posts

I recommend that you visit the Mycenae site. Epidavros is among the best Greek theaters left but there are others. I hope they will give you time to explore nearby Napflion, one of Greece’s most beautiful small cities.

Posted by
7313 posts

We got to see both while staying in Napflio, but if you can only do one, my pick would be the Epidavros (Epidaurus) site. With Mycenae, once you pass through the Lion Gate entrance, with the 3,000 year old carved bodies of the big cats, but their heads long-gone, the Mycenae site is a lot of stone foundation ruins, close to the ground. It takes some imagination to get a sense of the palace that once stood there. It’s an historic site, but frankly not blockbuster. Then we motored to the nearby impressive kings tomb, but the vast space with the high domed interior was swarming with wasps. Impressive but too unpleasant to stay for more than just a couple minutes. This was April 2018.

On the other hand, the Epidaurus theater was impressive, and worth a longer, pleasant stay. Test the acoustics yourself. As mentioned, along with the Asclepius compound, that makes for a more substantial visit, and its impact on the medical world remains to this day. There’s also a smallish but worthwhile museum that makes the Epidauris visit truly worthwhile.

Posted by
1385 posts

I love both but if I really had to pick I’d go with Epidavrus. The acoustics are just so stunning. Even if it had been built recently it would be an amazing feat, but for the 4th century BC. Wow.

Having said that Mycenae is an impressive site in a really scenic location. You really can’t go wrong whichever you pick!


Posted by
2483 posts

We also visited both. We enjoyed Epidavros more. Mycenae was much more ruined and required a lot of imagination. We were a group of seven and three read all the signs in attempt to understand what they were seeing. The rest of us did not have the patience. The “beehive”, however, was fabulous.

Epidavros was amazing. We climbed to the top and took in the view and watched the people coming in. It just is much more intact, although admittedly not as historically unique.

Posted by
51 posts

Is there no way to do an add-on? Because this is a really, really cruel choice to have to make! Epidavros, especially in the late afternoon, is a magical place, and that is apart from the acoustics.

Mycenae is also very special, but here you also have enormous historical significance. The site made a lot of sense to me and you can see how the fortress was laid out. The Cistern (bring a flashlight) is very very neat - hard to imagine they built this so many thousands of years ago.

Here is what would swing it for me if I had to choose: whether or not you will be with a large group. The specialness of Epidavros demands tranquility and few people, and a magical afternoon. So if the trip there is going to consist of a large busload-full of your newest friends, then Mycenae is the better choice as far as I'm concerned.

Also if you're in Napflio - it would be a shame to miss Tiyrns (the site of Heracles' labors) and on the way to Mycenae, and the Palamidi, an imposing 14th C fortress built by the Venetians. Napflio itself is totally charming and worth a day to poke around.