How to Visit the Sunken City of Epidaurus, Greece?

If you’re planning your visit to Greece, you’ll probably know about the world-famous theatre of Epidaurus. But did you know there is also a sunken city of Epidaurus? That is right, not far from the ancient Greek theatre ruins, you’ll find the modern town of Epidaurus. And sunken below the water’s surface, you can see the sunken city of Epidaurus.

How cool is that? Ancient ruins, underwater archeology, a day on the water, and some true hidden gems, and treasures under the water’s surface. Count me in!

But how can you visit the sunken city Epidaurus? And where to find it? How to get there? What to see and what to bring? I’ll answer all these questions in this post about my amazing day exploring Epidaurus sunken city.

This is a sponsored post, but as always, all my experiences and opinions are my own.

Probe around the Globe does use affiliate links. If you decide to follow one of my links and make a purchase, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.

How to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus, Greece? I share my practical tips on the best way to see the sunken city Epidauros by sea kayak!
Amazing drone shot by Tess from Tessomewhere

The Sunken City of Epidaurus

Not far from the famous Epidaurus theatre, you’ll find the town of ‘ancient Epidaurus’. Or Epidavros (Epidauros) in Greek. And just a few meters from the beach, 2 meters below the water’s surface, you can see the remains of an ancient Roman villa.

You can just swim over the ruins and the sight is free to visit. What an unusual experience! If you’re visiting the Theatre of Epidaurus or are in the area, I highly recommend a stop in the little village of ancient Epidaurus.

In the water, you’ll find the remains of a rural Roman villa (Villa Rustica) from the 2nd century AD. In this villa, wealthy Roman citizens resided with their servants. You can see the foundation of the villa with a few remaining walls. Another great treasury is the smashed-up, but still together, amphoras that are waiting in the storage rooms.

It was believed to be a villa located near the port or a trading post. There are also 12th-century Mycenaean tombs found nearby, so it is safe to say: a great historic sight!

Are you excited? Let’s share some practical details about how to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus.

How to get to Ancient Epidaurus

Ancient Epidaurus (or Palaiá Epídavros in Greek) is located about 154 km (100 miles) from Athens airport. If you have a rental car, you can easily drive in 2 hours to the small town.

It is located in the Peloponnese peninsula, in the Argolis region. The town is located on the Saronic Gulf, offering amazing views of the water and small bays and inlets.

If you don’t have a rental car, Ancient Epidaurus can be reached by an easy, 3-hour direct bus from Athens. If you switch buses in Nafplio, the ride will take you 3.5 hours. Just make sure you’ll take the bus to Palaiá Epídavros.

From the center of town, you can catch a bus to the Museum of the Epidaurus Theatre.

How to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus, Greece? I share my practical tips on the best way to see the sunken city Epidauros by sea kayak!
The beaches around Epidaurus are pretty nice, but this beach, Kamynios Beach has something special

Where to find the Aunken City Epidaurus

Once you’ve arrived in ancient Epidaurus, you can go shopping, go for ice cream or stroll around the harbor. Drop off your luggage at your hotel, or park your car at the free parking lot.

You can stroll to the beach or take the car, as there is a public car park close. You’ll head for Kalymnios Beach also known as Gliati Beach by locals. The nearby Athina Tavern is a great base for a drink too.

Once at the beach, you’ll see a sign pointing to the sea. And that is where you’ll find the sunken city of Epidaurus, 2 meters below the water’s surface.

Be aware: the bay is covered in stingy sea urchins. Wear water shoes and be very, very careful.

How to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus, Greece? I share my practical tips on the best way to see the sunken city Epidauros by sea kayak!
Very simple and very effective

How to see the Sunken City of Epidaurus

As mentioned below, the ruins of the villa are only 2 meters below the surface. You can easily spot them with a snorkeling mask. I’d say, the ruins are a good 2 to 4 meters out in the bay. So a very short swim from the beach.

Swim to the Sunken City of Epidaurus from the beach

If you just want a quick peak and the weather is nice, you can go for a swim, and snorkel over the the ancient ruins of the sunken city.

Some boats approach the bay, but they cannot get that close and you still have to swim.

Of course, if you have your own gear, you can go for a stand-up paddle board session, or rent some gear in town.

Join a sea kayak tour over the Epidaurus’ Sunken City

Another great way to explore the bay, and see the ruins of the sunken city, is by joining a sea kayak tour!

We joined a tour by Hellenic Outdoor Wellness, run by an amazing boss-lady Adonia. She has Greek roots but lived in Canada for ages and now returned to the region of Arcadia and runs Yoga, wellness, hiking, and sea kayaking trips. She joined forces with Tribal Sea Kayak Adventures, so it is safe to say, we were in good hands!

We gathered at the beach and had a relaxed kayak trip to the other side of the bay. Here you can get out of the kayaks and even see the small theatre of Epidaurus. Not nearly as impressive as the big theatre of Epidaurus, but this one does have stunning sea views.

After our little side trip, we embarked on the journey back by kayak and carefully paddled over the sunken city! What an unexpected treat! I never expected the ruins to be so highly visible from the kayak and you can even recognize the amphoras in the water.

What an amazing way to see the sunken city of Epidaurus by sea kayak!

If you don’t want to miss out and book a sea kayak tour including homemade Greek lunch book ahead via this link.

How to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus, Greece? I share my practical tips on the best way to see the sunken city Epidauros by sea kayak!
Being paired with Keryn was great!

Practical tips for visiting the Sunken City of Epidaurus

As warned already, the whole bay is covered in sea urchins. These stingy sea creatures are a delicacy but not when you step on them. But they just lay on the bottom of the sea, so if you’re careful, you can walk around them.

Here are some more practical tips for visiting the sunken city of ancient Epidavors

  • Wear suncream. This could be a disclaimer for any outdoor activities but I like to throw it out there again. Even with some cloud cover, you burn twice as quickly on the water. Make sure to wear waterproof suncream as with sea kayaking, you get wet from the peddles. Buy your waterproof reef-protecting sunscreen here.
  • Bring a snorkeling mask and/or flippers for some snorkeling over the ruins of the sunken city. If you don’t have them, you can rent them in town.
  • If you go for a paddle boarding trip, sea kayaking trip, or just a walk on the beach, bring appropriate footwear. You can walk on flip-flops in the sand but if you want to visit the little Theatre of Epidaurus, bring walking shoes. If you want to go in the water, it is best to wear water shoes.
  • If you go sea kayaking, make sure you keep your phone and valuables safe. Bring a phone dry bag. Or use your waterproof camera, like my GoPro. Great for underwater shots.
How to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus, Greece? I share my practical tips on the best way to see the sunken city Epidauros by sea kayak!
Paddles up!

How did the City of Epidaurus end up in the water?

There is very little information about the-how or the-why the city of Epidaurus sunk into the sea. As a matter of fact, there isn’t even a sign explaining something about the sunken city of Epidaurus.

Luckily, we had some very knowledgeable kayak guides with us, who not only kept us safe and entertained during the kayaking but also had loads of information about the sight.

As no one knows how the city of Epidaurus ended up underwater, here are some theories:

(these theories are based on stories our guides told us, but also some common information about land erosion and sinking cities from Wikipedia)

How to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus, Greece? I share my practical tips on the best way to see the sunken city Epidauros by sea kayak!
The small theatre of (ancient) Epidaurus

Rising sea levels

The city of Epidaurus was swallowed by the sea and over the years is now located underneath the water’s surface. This is maybe easiest to believe. The city was located on the shore and rising water levels moved in, flooding the city and over time, completely covered the sight. As sea levels are estimated to rise about 1 meter per century, this could add up for an 1800-year-old Roman villa.

Major earthquake or landslide

Due to an earthquake or following landslide, the city was dragged into the sea. The area is known for earthquakes and landslides can be devastating. However, it is highly unlikely that the whole city and Roman villa of ancient Epidaurus was picked up in 1 piece and deposited in the sea as a whole. We would not be able to see the structure of the wall, the road, and the amphoras like we do today if that would have been the case.

How to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus, Greece? I share my practical tips on the best way to see the sunken city Epidauros by sea kayak!
Just look down into the water and you’ll see the ruins

Land subsidence

Due to the expanding city, over-extraction of the city’s ground-water resources was needed, causing a gradual downward settling of the ground’s surface. This would explain why we would see the layout of the city and the villa nearly intact.

What do you think? What is the most logical explanation?

Disclaimer, although unknown, it is very likely that it was a combination of factors. Due to sinking groundwater levels, the ground’s surface sinks, opening up the city to rising water levels and floods.

Where to stay in Epidaurus?

If you’re staying in Athens, it will be a long day trip by either a rental car or by bus to get to Epidaurus, see the sights, and take a swim over the sunken city.

If you have the time, I highly recommend staying in ancient Epidaurus. Not only does it make for a great base to explore the big theatre of Epidaurus, but it is also a very charming, small town with great beaches (you can even swim to sunken city ruins from one of the beaches!)

The small town of ancient Epidauros has plenty of options to choose from. From grand hotels to small pensions. They all seem to have one thing in common: the prices are really affordable. But make sure to book on time, as a lot of accommodations are fully booked for the summer. Check out all options here.

Here are some specific recommendations:

Akron Luxury Holidays in Epidaurus

Although the name says Akron luxury holidays, that doesn’t mean crazy expensive. This small roadside hotel is located outside the village, up the hill, and on the main road. It has a few well-decorated rooms, each with stunning views of the bay, the town, and the peninsula.

Each of the rooms is very spacious and has an outside seating area with sea views. Make sure you come with an appetite because breakfast is luxurious and copious. Check for rooms and rates by clicking here.

How to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus, Greece? I share my practical tips on the best way to see the sunken city Epidauros by sea kayak!
Amazing views of the town from my hotel’s balcony

Sunny Garden Apartments

If you’d rather stay in an apartment, with lush green gardens, and a fully equipped kitchen, then the Sunny Garden Apartments are something for you.

Located only a stone’s throw from Kalymnios Beach and within walking distance from the sunken city of Epidaurus, they offer studios and one-bedroom apartments.

Check out prices and options in advance, as this is a very popular option for the high season. Click this link to book direct.

Camping at Camping Nicolas

Would you rather pitch your tent, park your camper or caravan, or van? Then the campsites of Nicolas I and Nicolas II are worth checking out.

They are located right on the beach, with great campsite facilities and nearby restaurants. Check out the details here.

Make sure to include the Sunken City of Epidaurus in your Greece itinerary

As you can read from the above, I was very much charmed by the lovely town of Epidaurus and the surprising ruins of the Sunken City of Epidaurus.

Especially kayaking over them, enjoying lunch on the beach, and swimming in the bay, were a real treat! I highly recommend this amazing day trip that mixes the beauties of the beach, with the ancient history and an activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family!

Book your sea kayak tour over the Sunken City now.

Do you like sea kayaking? Or do you like ruins? Or both! Then this trip is definitely something for you to consider. Let me know in the comment section below if you have any questions or remarks. I’d love to hear from you.

About my trip to Epidaurus Sunken City

I visited the sunken city of Epidaurus as part of a sponsored FAM trip with fellow TBEX-ers. We were gifted a one-night stay at the Akron Luxury Suites and were sponsored for our kayak tour over the sunken city by Hellenic Outdoor Wellness. As mentioned, although sponsored, all experiences and opinions are my own.

Special thanks go out to Tess from Tessomewhere for the epic drone shot of the sight. Of course Keryn from Twisttravelmag for being in the kayak with me (and not killing me or dunking me in the water). And Jim and Corinne from Reflections Enroute for taking my GoPro for a swim and sharing their towel.

Not to forget the rest of the amazing group for being so much fun to hang out with, Kasia, from Kasia Writes, my fellow Greek ruin lover, and the super sweet Italian Valentina from Be Borghi_Valebor who is an absolute Instagram legend. And as you’re heading to Instagram to check them out, make sure to follow me too on Instagram.

How to visit the sunken city of Epidaurus, Greece? I share my practical tips on the best way to see the sunken city Epidauros by sea kayak!
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