The ancient city of Sparta is located in the southeastern part of Greece together with other historic cities like Argos.
It was founded by Spartans who were fleeing from their home, Laconia. To this day, Spartan culture holds many rituals and traditions that are still followed today.
It’s a small town that has been inhabited for over 2,500 years. The culture, the architecture, the food are all so distinctly Greek, and yet there is something about Sparta that sets it apart from other towns.
Maybe it’s the fact that they have their own dialect of Greek or maybe it’s because when you visit Sparta, you feel like you’re stepping back in time to ancient Greece.
Whatever it may be, one thing is certain, if you love history and want to experience true Greek culture then make sure to include some of the best things we’ve found to see in Sparta!
10. Temple of Artemis Orthia
The temple of Artemis Orthia is an important religious and archaeological site of the Spartans, located near the Evrotas River banks.
The Spartans worshipped Orthia, the goddess of fertility and salvation, and the young Spartans were educated here in the Temple of Artemis Orthia.
Dating back to the 6th Century, here in this temple, you’ll find exquisite archaeological finds. It includes votives, Roman structure, clay masks, and the shrine of Orthias, and ritual accessories.
This landmark is a treat for history and geology fanatics and art enthusiasts. The surrounding green forests and ancient ruins of the altar make for an important historical site.
9. Manousakeion Museum
Museums and archaeological sites offer a unique retrospect of the people and culture of a region. For which reason, the Manousakeion Museum is one among the must-visit landmarks to understand Spartan Culture.
Manousakeio Museum is a 20th Century Museum built in a neoclassical style two-story building. Much of its collection and artifacts represent the rural and urban lifestyle and culture of the Spartans.
A significant portion of the collection in the Museum houses a comprehensive collection of the things from the house and belongings donated by the late King, Leonidas Manousakis. You’ll get to see a wide range of glassware, types of furniture, photographs, embroidery works, and costumes from that era.
8. Ancient Theatre
Standing close to the statue of Leonidas, the Acropolis and Ancient Theatre is an ancient ruin of a theatre that is worth visiting.
The Acropolis and Ancient Theatre dated back to the 2nd Century B.C. and initially held the title for one of the biggest theatres in Greece.
Although well maintained, parts of the 16000 seating capacity Theatre have seen ruins and dismantling.
Tourist suggests that the best time to visit this ancient ruin is during the evening time. You’ll get the most stunning view of the 6 surrounding Taygetus Mountains while catching a glimpse of the golden sunset.
7. Sainopouleio Sparta Theatre
The Sainopouleio Sparta Theatre is located in a small district called Magoula, part of the modern Sparta city in Laconia.
Sainopouleio Sparta Theatre/ Sainopouleio Amphitheatre is one of the most beautiful theaters in Greece. It is easy to locate and visit this Amphitheatre as it is situated on the National highway of Sparta-Kalamata.
This Amphitheatre is home to host the annual “Summer Culture” of Sparta. With a seating capacity of over 1500 audiences and modern facilities, it is ideal for hosting numerous other musical and theatrical events.
The Summer Cultural festival featuring creative and entertaining theatrical, cultural and musical performances is something you shouldn’t miss if you are visiting during the summer months.
6. Taygetus Mountains
Towards the southern Peloponnese lies one of the Greek’s highest mountains called the Taygetus Mountains.
The Taygetus is a scenic mountain range covered in a thick forest that stands at the height of about 2404 meters.
The trek to the top isn’t for the faint-hearted. Nevertheless, the adventurous climb up there accompanied by the picturesque natural landscape and beauty of the mountains makes it a place worth visiting.
Along the trek, you’ll be treated to some gorgeous views, gorges, wild nature, gorgeous butterflies, and if you are lucky, you’ll get to hear some sweet birds singing.
Up to a specific part of the trek, you can ride a bike up there too.
Sparta has so many history-rich archaeological sites to offer, and Menelaion is one of the exceptional ones. The reason being, Menelaion houses archaeological remains from other centuries too.
It is located on a hill called Elias, parallel to the Evrotas Rives and just about 5 km away from the modern city of Sparta.
Along with the rich archaeological findings and history of Menelaion, the geographical location and structure make it truly stand out.
The whole area is lined with green pine and olive trees, and atop the hill, it gives a panoramic and majestic view of the entire valley – ideal for family-oriented outings.
4. Archaeological Museum of Sparta
The Archaeological Museum of Sparta screams history in every aspect. It is the oldest existing provincial Archaeological Museum of Sparta that was completed in 1876.
This neo-classical style architecture Archaeological Museum houses a rich collection of artifacts related to Sparta’s art, culture, and history.
It is easy to locate the Museum as it is close to the city’s central area. The display of items, artifacts, and monuments is organized in chronological order, making it an effortless museum tour.
History enthusiasts and art fanatics are sure to be entertained, and it can be a great source of invaluable information.
3. Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil
One unique identity that instantly associates us with the Greeks is their excellent Olives and Olive Oil. Your whole trip to Greece will be incomplete if you skip visiting the Olive and Greek Olive oil Museum.
Located in Peloponnese, Sparta, this Museum’s primary aim is to allow a window and a chance to explore the culture, history behind the olives, and the processes involved in its production.
This Olive Museum makes for a fun and entertaining activity and learning session for children, adults and elders.
It houses and guides you through many historical facts and information, photographs, graphics, rare fossilized olive leaves, etc.
More info: www.piop.gr/en/diktuo-mouseiwn/Mouseio-Elias-Kai-Ellinikou-Ladiou/to-mouseio.aspx
Mystras/Mistras is a relic townscape of a former municipality of Laconia (13th Century) in Greece.
The archaeological site of Mystras has now been marked under the World Heritage Site. Mystras is one such monumental site of Spartan that you cannot afford to miss.
Since it is located on Mt. Taygetos, you’ll need to trek a little to reach the castle. Taking younger kids may not be advisable, although older children will be manageable.
At the site, you’ll get to witness the ruined castle, chapels and ancient churches. The surrounding view from up there makes the trek all the more worthwhile.
1. Statue of Leonidas
Leonidas meaning “son of the lion,” was an heir to the 17th Agiad line and was a King of Spartan, a Greek City.
Leonidas’s great might, strength, and endurance to fight until his last breath is considered the warrior King of the State of Sparta.
Sparta became a world history state denoting heroism, legendary disciple, and military might; it was notable for the erection of the statue of Leonidas in Sparta.
The Statue of Leonidas is made of Parian marble housed as part of the collection at the Archaeological Museum of Sparta. You can admire and take a photograph of the beauty and artisanship of the statue, which ranks #1 of the things to do in Sparta.