Kranidi is small town of Argolida County which is built amphitheatrically on the hill “Agia Anna”. The traditional architecture of this town will enchant its visitors. The houses were built with ashlars, have ornate balconies and the roofs were constructed according the traditional byzantine rhythm. The whole architecture reminds of an island and due to the town’s nautical history you will see many preserved mansions which belonged to captains. You will be walking around the cobblestone alleyways and you will come across some old fountains.
Besides arhitecture, the natural environment is a strong feature of this area. North of Kranidi town there is the mountain “Prophet Elias”, the traditional village Frachthi with the homonym prehistoric cave is only 6km northwest of the city and the pine tree forest of Korakia can be found southeast of the town. In the wider area of Argolida County there are plenty of beautiful coasts with crystal clear water and some interesting places which wait for your visit!
Kranidi is undoubtedly a beautiful town which attracts many visitors and therefore here you will find plenty of hotels and apartments to overnight as well as some traditional taverns to enjoy local specialties. Don’t omit to taste some olive oil here!
A saunter around the traditional settlement is a must here! The neoclassical buildings of the Town Hall and the Library are not affected by the time. Other noticeable sights here are the fountain of Pirgos, the traditional olive presses and the three renovated windmills.
At the centre of the town you will come across the traditional building which houses the Folklore Museum of the town. In the five halls of the museum you will see the traditional outfits and furniture, utensils, a loom and other objects of the folk art.
Around Kranidi you will come across many monasteries and churches with rich history. Many byzantine monasteries and chapels can be found at the hill of Agias Annas, like the monastery of “Panagia tis Pantanasas”. This monastery was built in 13th AD and offers an amazing panoramic view of the town. The byzantine chapel of Agias Triadas was also built in 13th AD and is known for its notable religious paintings. You can’t miss the Metropolitan church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos (John the Baptist) at the centre of the town. This church was built in 1852 in order to replace the previous byzantine church. Inside you will find an image made by Emmanuel Tzane which was created in 1646AD.
At the foothill of mountain “Profitis Elias” there is the ancient fountain of Milindra. Like the most ancient fountains of this area, it is square-shaped and is surrounded by imposing boulders.
Only 7km northeast of Kranidi there is one of the most important prehistoric locations of the area as well as one of the most important caves in Europe, the “Cave Frachthi”. At the hill Frachthi there is a huge opening of 150meters depth and 30meters entrance width. The excavations of the cave have shed light in the prehistoric history of the area. Around 4000BC there were 150 residents inside this cave and the settlement gradually expanded outside the cave. From this period there are until today some important findings like tools, ceramics, figurines and more, which are today kept in the Archaeological Museum of Naplio. The most important discovery here was the most ancient human skeleton of Greece (10.000-8.000 years).
Kranidi was first mentioned around the 13th century AD in byzantine chrysobulls. In 1530 some populations settled in the area where they could find lands to cultivate, safe from the Ottoman occupiers.
According to traditions, four settlements of the area were developed into the town of Kranidi. The Ai-Gianni settlement was in the location where the Metropolitan church of John the Baptist is today. The temple was built in 1852 by the Italian architect Sebastino in the place where a byzantine church used to be. The Milindra settlement can be found north of the town at the foothills of the mountain. At this settlement there are two chapels and the ancient fountain of Mlindra. Biglia settlement was located at the west side of Kranidi where there is today the chapel of St. Panteleimonas. The fourth founding settlement of the area is Bies which is located at the east side of the city.
Kranidi’s presence was conspicuous during the Greek Revolution against the Ottomans in 1821. Many residents from Kranidi participated in the battles of Greece in Nafplio, Tripoli, Korithnos and Dervenakia.
After the liberation of Greece, Kranidi remained an administrative centre of the area. At the beginning of the 20th century, Kranidi a large merchant fleet due to the trade and shipping which were the main economical activities of the town. After 1890, these activities were declined and people started to occupy themselves with sponge diving, fishing, agriculture and stockraising. Today Kranidi numbers around attracts many travelers and hotel complexes have been constructed around the area.
Doroufi beach is located about 7km west of Kranidi and is a sandy beach with crystal clear water. Close to Doroufi you will also find Lepitsa beach which is an organized sandy beach with shallow water, ideal for families. In this area you will find restaurants and cafes also.
For those who like secluded beaches, Thini beach is a nice option, only 9km west of Kranidi. The sandy beach is surrounded by green and is unorganized so keep in mind to have all the necessary stuff with you.
Labagiana beach can be found 8,6km north of Kranidi and is a pebble and sandy beach. Close to the beach take the opportunity to visit the lovely Fourni village with the whitewashed cobblestone alleys and the colorful houses.
Around 7km south of Kranidi you will find one of the most photographed beaches of the area, Petrothalasa beach. This one is covered by small pebbles and sand and has deep clear water.
Korakia beach is unorganized beach with difficult access. However the beautiful natural environment calms down the visitors. Across the beach there is the homonym islet Korakia which can be reached on foot.
Porto Heli is also known for some amazing beaches, like Ververoda beach. This one is organized and is ideal for those who like pebbles, turquoise water and pine trees. Porto Heli beach is also an organized beach with many cafes and restaurants to serve the visitors. Costa beach, Limanakia and Chinitsa beach are also some good choices for swimming close to Porto Heli.
Close to Ermioni village you could visit the sandy Maderi beach, the Bisti beach and, of course, the Kouverta beach which is one of the largest coasts of the area with peaceful crystal clear water.
Places to visit
Only 9,6km west of Kranidi there is another beautiful town of Argolida County, Ermioni. This seaside town looks like an island and is one of the most popular destinations in this area. This traditional fishing village has rich history and the visitor can still find the remains of the ancient city and the “Cyclopean Walls” at the north side of the settlement. The known “Tyrian Purple”, the natural dye was plentiful here and was used during the antiquity in order to color the royal clothing. Besides its historical value the traveler will find many ways to enjoy their time here, like spend some time at the beautiful sandy beach, stay at the modern hotels, eat fresh fish at the local taverns and enjoy the nightlife of the town.
Porto Heli is a cosmopolitan paradise about 7km south of Kranidi. It is located at a sheltered bay and therefore is an ideal destination for those who travel with yacht. Remains of the ancient city “Aliki” can still be seen here. The walls of the ancient port as well as the temple of Apollo are on the seabed and can still be seen if you try a boat tour. Plenty of tourists arrive at this destination in order to relax in the sandy beaches and enjoy the nightlife of the town. From the port of Porto Heli you could take the ferry and visit Spetses, the famous revolutionary island!
About 18km west of Kranidi there is a peaceful seaside village called Thermisia. The Venetian castle at the top of the rock dominates the area. It was constructed in 12th century by the Venetian occupiers and was one of the most powerful fortresses during that time. At the settlement you will find a few choices for your accommodation, cozy taverns and cafes and a nice beach.
If you are in a mood for exploring Argolida County a little bit more, you could visit one of the most important archaeological sites of Greece, Ancient Epidaurus. The ancient theater still amazes every visitor with its exceptional acoustics. Close to the ancient theater you will find the archaeological museum which exhibits many priceless findings of the area.