Mycenae is a place worth visiting, not only for those who love archeology, but also for those who wish to walk the streets of one of the major centers of ancient Greek civilization.
Founded in 1300–1200 BC, Mycenae was a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece. The first excavations at the ancient city of Mycenae were carried out in 1841, by the Greek archaeologist Kyriakos Pittakis, who found and restored the famous Lion Gate. In 1874, the pioneer Heinrich Schliemann (1822–1890) continued the excavations and found the worldwide famous “Mask of Agamemnon”, currently displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Even today, archeologists of the Archaeological Society of Athens continue excavating the site of the ancient city of Mycenae.
How to get there
You can get to Mycenae by car or by the local bus (KTEL). By car the journey lasts about 1 hour and 50 minutes and you will have to pay tolls along the way. It is quite easy to get from Athens to Mycenae: Take the highway to Corinth and head in the direction of Tripoli. Once you have passed Corinth, continue about 24 km (15 miles) and then take the exit to Nafplio. You will then see the exit to Mycenae.
If you decide to get the local bus (KTEL) the trip takes close to 2 hours, since buses tend to drive slower. The local bus offers many options since there are departures from Athens (Kifissos station), Corinth and Nafplio. You can find all these options here. The ticket prices vary from 2.00€ to 17.00€, depending on where you are traveling from.
Things to do in Mycenae
Explore the Archaeological Site, the Lion Gate as well as the Citadel and Treasury of Atreus. Then take a tour at the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Mycenae and walk on the Arkadiko Bridge, a Mycenaean bridge near the modern road from Tiryns to Epidaurus. It is one of the oldest arch bridges still in existence and use today, and the oldest preserved bridge in Europe.
Visit the Agora art gallery on the new Mycenae-Nafplio road, just 3.5 km (2.17 miles) from the archeological site of Mycenae. It’s a multi-functional market where visitors can be guided through ancient art. Marble and bronze statues, mosaics, ceramic vessels, jars, icons are some of the products that guests can observe. There you can combine shopping for high quality products and relaxing coffee in the garden of the gallery.
Pay a visit to the Silo Art Factory, the brainchild of artist Stelios D. Maragos. In the entrance you will be greeted by the “Trojan horse”, an impressive artifact made by recyclable materials. There is a laboratory filled with pottery, paintings and iconography by Stelios d. Maragos and his collaborators. Do not forget to enjoy a cup of coffee at the Cafe of the Silo House Art Factory, which is made from recyclable materials.
If you are starving after all this exploration of ancient Greece, some nice Mycenae restaurants can be found in the modern village, just a couple of km from the archaeological site. These family-run restaurants offer mostly meat dishes and other traditional plates. Many of them have gardens with tables in the shade of tall trees. Even more taverns are found in villages in the region.