Heraion of Perachora
(& the Vouliagmeni Lake)
The Heraion of Perachora (Ηραίο Περαχώρας) is a sanctuary of the goddess Hera situated in a small cove of the Corinthian gulf at the end of the Perachora peninsula, about 100km west from Athens (about 1.5 hours drive). It is located north of Loutraki, which is a good choice to stay overnight, if you want to visit also other places in the area. Corinth is just 15km away.
From Loutraki, one has to use his own transportation, as there is no public bus going there. Follow the Loutraki-Limni Vouliagmenis provincial road and follow the signs to "Ηραίον" and/or "Λίμνη Βουλιαγμένης". First you see the lake. Leave it behind and after 1km you will find the archeological site parking lot.
The sanctuary was most probably under the control of Corinth, as it faced the harbors of that powerful city across the Gulf of Corinth. Historians believe that it was established by the people of nearby Megara, but soon it was conquered by the Corinthians. In addition to the temple of Hera Akraia, the remains of a number of other structures have also been found, including the temple of Hera Limnaia, an L-shaped stoa, a large cistern, dining rooms, and a second potential temple. Cult activity at the site continued from perhaps the 9th century BC to 146 BC, when the Roman general Mummius destroyed the ancient city of Corinth during the war with the Achaean League, in the process bringing all of Greece under Roman control. In the Roman period, domestic structures were built on the site, indicating that the area was no longer a sanctuary.
According to a legend narrated by Euripides in his tragedy called “Medea”, Medea buried her murdered children at a sanctuary of Hera Akraia as she fled from Corinth. That sanctuary most probably is the Heraion of Perachora.
The archeological site is located above a small cove with turquoise waters, where one can swim. The small beach is partly sandy and partly covered with small pebbles. There is also a small jetty here, where small boats can dock. The whole area is of an exceptional natural beauty.
The archaeological site is very well maintained and there is a paved path that leads visitors from the parking lot down to the cove. The little chapel of Agios Ioannis, located inside the archeological site, has its doors open to the visitors and a shady patio to protect them from the harsh Greek sun.
There is no food or water available around here, so bring your own bottle of water.
The entrance to the archeological site is free of charge.
The archeological site can be divided by an imaginary line to the upper site (on the hillside) and the lower site (by the sea). The chapel of Agios Ioannis is located between the two.
There’s no chance the visitor to Heraion not to include in his itinerary the nearby Vouliagmeni Lake (lagoon) and have his lunch in one of the many taverns or swim and sunbathe at its sandy shores. There is a road around the lake and a very small canal at its west part, connecting the lake with the Gulf of Corinth and the open sea.
At Cape Melagkavi stands a very impressive lighthouse above the archeological site. The Melagkavi lighthouse, which built in 1897, is operated by the Greek Navy and is easily accessible via path, that starts above the archeological site. From the lighthouse site (the building itself is not accessible to the public) one has great views all over the Gulf of Corinth.
At the rocky hill, overlooking the archeological site from the east, stands the chapel of Agios Nikolaos. The chapel is accesible via a path that starts oposite the Fountain of Hera. The Fountain of Hera is located outside the archeological site, on the road leading to it from Vouliagmeni Lake (500m before arriving to the parking lot, on your right hand).