Do you love quick stops that take your breath away? That’s exactly what the Corinth Canal can do. It’s a quick stop along the road, but there are plenty of reasons to make sure it’s on your itinerary, not least of which is that it’s just gorgeous!
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Along our road trip through the Peloponnese Penisula, our very first stop was an obligatory pause at the Corinth Canal. Obligatory, because every tour bus in the vicinity is going to stop there, which means it’s worth it, right?
Yes, it’s an engineering marvel. Yes, it’s deep and narrow. Yes, we’ve seen small ships traverse it. Yes, it’s pretty damn cool.
As we continued on our trip, I think the canal lost a little of its pizazz with us, but looking back at the photos, I’m still glad we stopped there and enjoyed the view and marveled at the sheer limestone cliffs.
Our Experience at the Canal
As I mentioned, our first stop was in Corinth at the canal. Jim and I had been there before and it didn’t seem to have changed at all. The first time we went, we were among the throngs of bus tours and we stopped for only about 15 minutes.
This time it was all up to us, and as we’re prone to do, the three of us split up to explore the site on our own. It’s amazing how much we each gleaned from our short stop.
As usual, the place was packed with tourists and, unfortunately, there were no boats in the canal. It had been closed down to traffic for a few months. Apparently, this is happening more and more.
I took a quick look at the gorge’s depth and marveled at how it was made, then I headed to the visitor center where I hoped to find out a lot more about the site and maybe some cool places to stop on the rest of the road trip.
At the information center, I looked at a few of the displays of places to visit around the Peloponnese, and then I went to the counter to ask for a map. Jim and I love to have a paper map, you know the retro kind, those ones that are so hard to fold? We love them, and they always give us more info than just trying to find things with the GPS or map app.
The attendant told me that they didn’t have any maps. When I asked if they had maps at all, she said yes, but they weren’t there at the moment. Damn! Foiled! (We never did find a paper map the whole time we were in the Peloponnese.)
So then I tried to get a coffee, but there were about 30 gray-haired ladies in front of me who seemed more interested in chatting than in getting their coffees. The barista was quite busy and never stopped working, but it looked like it was going to take way too long, so we called it quits and got back into the car to head to our first hotel in Napflio. We didn’t even stop to use the toilets, because the line snaked around all the way to the cliff. Argh.
Corinth Canal Facts
That doesn’t mean we didn’t think the canal was worth a quick stop. It is deep. It is beautiful, and it’s fun to imagine going through there with a boat, almost being able to touch the sides. Here are some facts we found about the canal.
- The canal is 6.3 km (3.9 miles) long and has a water depth of 8 metres (26 feet); its width varies from a minimum of 21 metres (69 feet) at the bottom to a maximum of 25 metres (82 feet) at the water’s surface. (source)
- It can only accommodate boats less than 58 ft wide, but in 2019 a cruise ship did make it through. Wouldn’t that be fun! (source)
- Located near the city of Corinth, which was quite prosperous, the canal was envisioned as an avenue for bringing in more riches. (source)
- While the idea of a canal dates back several centuries, it wasn’t completed until the late 19th century.
- You can still visit the canal, and other nearby sites, on this day tour out of Athens.
Check out some of our Other Greece Articles
- Athens in Two Days
- The Acropolis
- Our Greek Road Trip to Thessaloniki
- The City of Thessaloniki
- Diros Caves
The cynic in me will tell you, the Corinth Canal is just a big ditch. A deep one. But! It really is pretty fascinating, and although you really don’t need to spend more than about 15 minutes there, it is well worth the stop. I wouldn’t count on it for coffee or bathrooms, though. The bus passengers have that all locked up.
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.