Less than 2 hours from Athens, modern Argos, capital of the Argolid, (pop. 21,000) was a town I that I used to just breeze through during a headlong exodus from Athens. After you stop a few times you see that its not so bad in small doses.
In escaping the sweltering heat of Athens, the attractions of Naufplion and the beaches of the Argolic Gulf such as in Candia & Eria were my goal and are more popular end destinations with most people.
Even though the town of Argos is a landlocked half hour drive to the sea, you have to drive through it anyway on your way. Here is what you'll get if you stop for an hour or two. Its not a tourist destination so one thing you'll notice is cheaper prices and less hype. This is pretty much true anywhere in the Peloponnese compared any island hot spot. Don't look for gourmet dining but I know you'll be pleased by any local restaurant, bakery or roadside souvlaki joint. Meat will be fresher and so will fruits and veggies. Grocery stores and Pharmacies too are a good place to buy things you need and will cost much less than a beach side boutique or destination establishment. Roadside produce stands sell anything from fruit and vegetables to honey, preserves and local wine in plastic liter Coke bottles. I have some really good fresh unadulterated wine this way. Nearby Nemea is good for wine stands too but you will have already driven through it on your way to Argos.
Modern Argos Town, just as in antiquity, is primarily an agricultural center, with tobacco growing and cattle breeding its foremost activities, Its squat low buildings don't possess a lot of charm, I like to think because of earthquake proofing. To make up for its lack of golden harmony however, It is a good place to buy things at Greek prices instead of tourist ones. Logical prices or Lo-ghi-kes Tee-mess!
In ancient times "The Argives" were synonymous with "Greeks" or "Hellenes" and it is from here that the world renowned beauty, Helen of Troy originally hailed from. Diomedes was leader of the Argive contingent of the Greek Army during the Trojan war and considered the 2nd bravest soldier after Achilles.
OK I admit it, modern Argos is an ugly looking town but its among the most famous in the world thanks to Homer and the ancient Greek playwrights if you think about it, and besides its Imposing castle, the museum is well worth visiting.