Best things to do at the Theater of Epidaurus in Greece

The Theater of Epidaurus is the best preserved and most beautiful theater in Greece. During the summer months, there are performances that showcase its special acoustics. This theater is part of the Sanctuary of Asklepios, the Greek demigod of medicine, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988. Learn more about visiting this unique Theater of Epidaurus and Sanctuary of Asklepios.

Epidaurus Theatre

How to get to Epidaurus in Greece?

Epidaurus is located near Nea Epidavros on mainland Greece in the Peloponnese, the largest Greek peninsula. The Peloponnese is separated from the rest of the country by the Gulf of Corinth and the Gulf of Aegina. Corinth connects the peninsula to the mainland through an isthmus, although the Corinth Canal interrupts this connection. Epidaurus is a little over a 2-hour drive from Athens, about 45 minutes from Kortinhe, and approximately 2.5 hours from Patras.

Epidaurus is located on the Argolis peninsula of the Peloponnese. Other nearby attractions include the archaeological site of Corinth, the Corinthian peninsula, the volcanic island of Methanas, the archaeological site of Mýkines, and the charming coastal town of Nafplion.

Epidaurus Theatre Map

The best things to do at the Epidaurus Archaeological Site

Practical tip: the opening hours and rates vary per season and can be found on the official website of the archaeological site.

#1 The Theater of Epidaurus

The Theater of Epidaurus is the primary attraction of this archaeological site. It is the most well-preserved Greek theater and the sole standing structure in the Sanctuary of Asklepios.

The theater was constructed in the 4th century BC and has retained its original form throughout the centuries. The stage, shaped like a circle, has a diameter of 20 meters and is encircled by 55 semicircles. It had capacity for 12,000 spectators. Both past attendees and present-day visitors access the theater through two grand entrances.

The theater was dedicated to the demigod Asklepios and served as part of the sanctuary’s worship. Music and drama festivals were held here in honor of the demigod. Performances still take place in the Theater of Epidaurus during the summer. Moreover, the theater’s exceptional acoustics allow the sound to reach all visitors, from the center to the rear stands, without the need for amplification. If you’re fortunate, a guide may demonstrate this during your visit.

Epidaurus Theatre

#2 The Epidaurus Museum

The theater is part of the same archaeological site as the Sanctuary of Asklepios. A ticket grants access to the museum and the ruins of the sanctuary, so we highly recommend visiting both.

At the Epidaurus museum, you can admire statues and decorations unearthed during excavations. Information boards provide insight into the sanctuary’s significance in ancient Greek history, serving as the initial organized spa and hospital. Sick individuals from distant places sought healing from the demigod. They would sleep in the central area of the Temple of Asclepios during the incubation, hoping for a dream vision featuring a serpent as a symbol of their recovery.

The miraculous healings of Asclepios are inscribed on large stones, some of which are preserved and can be admired at the Epidaurus Museum. Particularly noteworthy are the medical instruments discovered and now showcased in a display case.

Epidaurus Museum

#3 The Sanctuary of Asclepios

The Sanctuary of Asklepios is located behind the museum. Despite the Theater of Epidaurus being famous, visitors often overlook the temple complex. While it may require some imagination, we highly recommend visiting the shrine as well.

The information boards provide insight into the previous use of the different buildings. Additionally, they include aerial photos, which are also available for viewing on Google Earth. These photos vividly display how the unassuming stone piles accurately depict the precise forms of the ancient structures.

First, you arrive at the Katagogeion, the former shrine hotel that provided accommodation for the numerous visitors of Asklepios. Notably, certain sections of the hotel were designed to segregate specific illnesses.

Continuing your walk, you will encounter various temples and structures. Of particular significance are the Temple of Asclepios, the round Tholos, and the old dining room, which are the only areas featuring restored columns. Other buildings served as temples for different gods, baths, dining halls, and dormitories for the sick. In the end, you will easily identify the outline of the ancient stadium where athletic competitions took place.

Tholos Epidaurus Temple