Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil (Mouseio Elias kai Ellinikou Ladiou)
The cultivation of olives and the production of olive oil have been vitally important to Greece for centuries and Laconia is one of its main olive-producing regions. Take a deep dive into the history and culture of olive production by joining one of the many full- or multi-day tours of Peloponnese that touch on the highlights of this southern peninsula, including the Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil. True gourmands can spend the day in Laconia enjoying wine and olive oil tastings, or you can combine culture and cuisine with a Sparta sightseeing tour that stops at the museum.
Things to know before you go
- The Laconia area is famous for its hills covered in silver-leafed olive trees, so be sure to bring your camera to capture the views.
- Informational panels in Greek and English explain the history and function of the presses and other items on display.
- The small museum shop sells a range of local, organic, and flavored olive oils, as well as handmade soaps.
- The museum is accessible to wheelchairs and admission for disabled visitors is free.
How to get there
The Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil (Mouseio Elias kai Ellinikou Ladiou) is located in Sparta, 133 miles (213 km) southwest of Athens in Peloponnese. Sparta is best reached by car from Athens or join a day trip or tour that includes transportation to avoid the stress of highway driving.
When to get there
Olives are picked for pressing from late summer through the fall, which is a particularly interesting time to tour Laconia to see the harvest and visit the museum. The museum is open daily all year long, with slightly shorter hours in winter.
Historic Highlights at the Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil
Museum visits take in the ancient amphorae used for transporting olive oil, millstones and flat-bottomed Byzantine storage jars, and clay tablets from the 14th century BC, which are inscribed with the health-giving properties of olive oil. A variety of olive presses from all across Greece date from ancient times right up to the industrial age and include examples powered by water, steam, diesel. and even by animals. Among the olive trees in the museum grounds are several sizeable presses, including replicas of ones from prehistoric, Classic, and Byzantine times. A small store offers a range of local, organic, and flavored olive oils for sale as well as handmade soaps.
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