3 h. tour (Private tour)
(transportation + local guidance at Epidaurus + free time)
You will be met by your driver at the port, where you will get off the tender boats. With your private vehicle you will depart from the beautiful city of Nafplion and you will be driven for about 30 minutes to the spiritual sanctuary of Asclepius, passing through the lush valley of Argolis with its many olive groves, lemon and orange trees. Once there you will be met by your officially licensed tour guide and you will board a one and a half hour private guided tour through the ancient site of Epidaurus and the spectacular ancient theater with the most famous acoustics in the world.
Epidaurus is one of the sites that has been totally knocked down by invasions and earthquakes throughout the years but there is a very big project of restorations going on right now and that will help you a lot imagine and realize what most buildings used to be like.
Among other things you will see the ancient stadium, the remainings of the ancient gymnasium and restaurant, the remainings of the temple of Artemis, as well as the very impressive tholos, a round building with a labyrinth still existing in its basement, where some traditions say that the sacred snakes of Asclepius used to be kept. Since Epidaurus used to be one of the most famous ancient Greek healing centers and health treatment was very much related with the worshipping of the gods, the priests were often at the same time the healers of people. Partly restored and very impressive stands out the Avaton, a long rectangular building where the patients had to spend their first night and the god would come to their dreams. Part of their treatment would be based on that dream - message that the god had sent. With the great success that this sanctuary and healing center kept on having, more and more visitors with even more precious offerings kept on coming, and the evolution of the sanctuary was that created the need of building the ancient theater.
The first phase of it was built on the 4th century BC and the second one when the Romans took over. Climb up the steps with your guide and reach the absolutely impressive theater which still stands there after 2400 years, almost intact. Listen carefully to the explanations about the way it was built, and the way that the acoustic triangles spreading from the orchestra all the way to the rows of seats made and still make this theater so unique. No matter how high up you choose to sit, the acoustics will still be absolutely impressive even if someone whispers or breaths deeply.
Still today this theater is used every summer for the festival of Epidaurus between July and August on the weekends at night. Many performances take place, including ancient Greek tragedies and comedies. People from all over the world arrive to experience this unique atmosphere along with a play. Many foreigners buy their tickets in advance and come to watch a play and even if it's "all Greek to them", they always leave fascinated from this acoustics experience.
At the end of your guided tour you will be given some free time to walk up and down the theater or to stand in the center of the orchestra and speak out loud a monologue. The feeling of your voice spreading out all over the theater will be fascinating. During your free time you can also go for a quick walk through the tiny museum. Most statues and artifacts are in display in the archaeological museum of Athens, but some copies of them along with several marble bases with inscriptions and some of the ancient tools the doctors used, can be found there.
As soon as you meet your driver back at the parking area, you will be offered the drive back to Nafplion and either you can get back to your ship, or if time allows it you can enjoy walking around the old city.