Visit Greece: Ancient Corinth

What remains of the ancient city of Corinth holds significant history and interest. Located so conveniently near Athens, it should definitely be on your list of places to visit when you're in Greece.
a woman and a boy stand beside a column ruin in ancient corinth, greece
a headless statue stands outside in front of a stone wall in ancient corinth, greece

Table of Contents

Getting There

Ancient Corinth and modern Korinthos are both located on the narrow stretch of land that joins the Pelopponese to the mainland of Greece, about a 1-hour drive from Athens. Ancient Corinth sits about 3 miles from the modern city of Korinthos. 

Hours and Admission

The archaeological site and museum have varying hours, depending on the season, so be sure to check their website before you go.

Admission is inexpensive, at only 8€ for adults, and kids under 18 get in free.

a man and a boy stand in front of a row of shop ruins and fallen stones in ancient corinth greece

Corinth in the Bible

If you’re a Christian or grew up in a Christian tradition, you probably remember Corinth from the New Testament of the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote two letters, First and Second Corinthians, to the church in Corinth after living with them for a time during his missionary journeys, as recorded in the book of Acts.

a display of clay body parts that were offered in the Sanctuary of Asklepieion as part of worship of Asclepios the greek god of medicine in corinth museum, greece

The Museum

When you arrive at ancient Corinth, you park in front of a smallish museum. The museum has a nice collection of artefacts, and many educational signs and displays. Particularly interesting to us were the marble pieces from the Jewish synagogue, the gorgeous mosaics, and the room displaying a lot of clay body parts that were brought to the nearby Sanctuary of Asklepieion, the Greek god of medicine. The body parts represented the areas where the visiting worshipers either were healed or were asking for healing.

A man stands with a boy on his shoulders in front of the temple of apollo in corinth, greece

The Temple of Apollo

You will probably first notice the remains of the Temple of Apollo standing proudly over the city. It is one of the oldest Doric temples in all of Greece, and, even though only 7 of its columns remain standing today, it is still beautiful and imposing. From the temple, you can stroll down Main Street and admire the ruins of the rows of shops. Did the Apostle Paul live and work as a tentmaker with Priscilla and Aquila in one of these shops during his time in Corinth? It’s fun to imagine as you walk along.

The bema, or judgement seat, where Paul was questioned in Corinth, Greece

The Bema

One of the most well-known landmarks in ancient Corinth for Christians is the Bema, a large, elevated stone structure in the centre of the city where the proconsul, a Roman official, would sit to address the city and judge in disputes. In Acts 18, we are told that Paul was brought by the Jews before the tribunal of Gallio at this Bema in ancient Corinth, accusing him of “persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” The Bema in Corinth has been partially reconstructed.

the erastus inscription in the theater in Corinth, Greece

The Erastus Inscription

Possibly most exciting for Josh to see in ancient Corinth was the Erastus Inscription, which I honestly didn’t even know about until he told me. In the large theatre, there is a stone slab on the floor carved with the inscription: ““Erastus in return for his aedileship laid the pavement at his own expense.” An aedile (in case you don’t know, because I sure didn’t), was a high-ranking Roman official who had a lot of responsibilities in the care and running of the city.

Why is that exciting? Because Erastus was a very uncommon name, and there is an Erastus from Corinth mentioned 3 times in the New Testament. In Romans 16:23, Erastus is specifically noted as being the city treasurer (the Greek word he used can actually mean administrative supervisor, steward, treasurer, or manager, which seems pretty similar to what an aedile did.). So this Erastus Inscription is further conformation of the historicity of the Bible.

The ruins of the temple of apollo stands in front of the acrocorinth in the distance in corinth, greece

The Acrocorinth

Last, but definitely not least, if you are up for a hike, there is the Acrocorinth. At the top of the mountain beside Corinth sits a fortified castle and city. Several temples are preserved within, and there are gorgeous views all around.

a man walks around a wall at the acrocorinth in corinth, greece

We actually didn’t visit the Acrocorinth as a family when we visited in August, but Josh did on a later January trip. Really, neither August nor January are great for climbing up to this part of the city. In August it was too hot, and in January Josh froze!

a man, woman, and boy take a selfie in front of the temple of apollo in corinth, greece

Tips for Your Visit

Learn from our mistake. We were in Greece in August, which was already hitting 100F every day. And the day we visited Corinth, we had a leisurely morning at our hotel in Athens before making the two-hour trek. We arrived at Corinth around 10am, brought no water, wore no sunscreen, and by the time we finished looking around the ruins, we were burnt to a toast and honest-to-goodness almost had heatstroke. I mean just look at all of that exposed pale skin and hot, grumpy boy in the picture above. So most of our tips revolve around NOT doing what we did:

Wear Sunscreen and Protective Clothes

There is almost no shade in the entire ancient site, and you will burn quickly if you don’t take any precautions. I would even consider bringing an umbrella for sun protection.

Take Plenty of Water

Especially if you’re going in the hotter times of the day or year, you’re going to be super hot and want to drink a significant amount of water to stay safe.

Try Not to go During the Hottest Times of the Day… or the Hottest Times of the Year

 The ideal times of year to visit Greece are spring and fall, when the weather is pleasant, tourist sites are less crowded, and kids are still in school. If you can’t avoid visiting during the summer, definitely go early in the morning or late in the evening. It is miserable there when it is super hot.

Do Your Research Beforehand

 There isn’t a lot of signage or guidance when you’re wandering around the ruins, so we strongly recommend doing your research beforehand. Having an idea of what you’re going to see and some of the history behind it makes seeing an ancient site much more interesting. We used, both before and during our visit, the kindle version of the book, A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey. Another guide book that looks good and is Corinth-specific is Ancient Corinth: Site Guide.

three ornate columns are all remain of the temple of octavia in corinth, greece

In spite of the extreme heat and our poor advance planning, we really loved our visit to ancient Corinth. There is just nothing like getting to see such places and objects so full of historical and biblical significance. If you’re planning a trip to Greece, we highly recommend taking this short detour from Athens to see all that ancient Corinth has to offer!

Please let us know in the comments if you have been to Corinth before, or if you hope to visit one day!

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