On this road trip, you'll discover the Peloponnese and the highlights of mainland Greece: both places of soaring mountains and friendly seas. Two regions that have always had immense historical, cultural and religious importance, from the rise of its great Bronze Age through the glory of Ancient Greece right up to the heroic founding of the modern Greek state.
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Day 1: Strongholds of culture I Corinth - Mycenae - Nafplio
After leaving Athens, you'll cross the Corinth Canal, a marvel of 19th-century engineering before heading to Corinth, famous for its ancient rivalry with Athens and Apostle Paul's stay during Roman rule. You'll head up to the evocative ruins on Acrocorinth, the ancient city's towering acropolis. The spectacular and much-mythologised site of Mycenae was Agamemnon's palace and one of the most important prehistoric citadels in the world. Nafplio is a charming historic harbor town with narrow lanes, an alluring waterfront, stunning Venetian fortresses and grand 19th-century mansions. Overnight in Nafplio.
Day 2: Life within the walls I Mystras - Sparta - Monemvasia
Today, you’ll travel from the ancient to the medieval to the modern. The legendary city of Sparta was the birthplace of antiquity's greatest warriors, while medieval Mystras was once the last great center of Byzantine culture. The beautiful wine country around Mantinea has a special church of its own, the contemporary eccentric masterpiece of Agia Fotini: the work of one architect-artist, this 1970s house of worship is a unique modern Orthodox monument. Overnight in Monemvasia.
Day 3: Living with geological miracles I Monemvasia - Elafonisos - Gerakas
Plant your feet in alluring golden sands of the famed Simos Beach on the island of Elafonissos. Gerakas is a small fishing village that's concealed behind a curving coastline. Its small dock is popular with yachts and the waterside tavernas are a hit with everyone who discovers them. With a snorkel, you’ll explore the underwater prehistoric settlement of Pavlopetri, the world's oldest known submerged town, with some parts dating back 5,000 years. Agios Nikolaos Geopark is a three-million-year-old petrified forest where it seems time has stopped for eons. Finally, the magically romantic medieval castle town of Monemvasia, where the Venetians held out against the invading Ottomans. Overnight in Monemvasia.
Day 4: Rugged life in the land of towers I Gythio - The Mani Peninsula - Areopoli
The Mani peninsula boasts wild countryside and a fierce history of self-determination. You’ll see it in the picturesque port towns of Gythio and Gerolimenas and feel it in the gray stone ghost town of Vathia. The mountain village of Areopolis was the proud birthplace of the Greek revolution of 1821 and we’ll end our day at the delightfully slow-paced seaside village of Kardamyli. Overnight in Kardamyli/Areopoli.
Day 5: Vacations in pirates' land I Kardamyli - Stoupa - Kastania
The remote traditional mountain village of Kastania has a charming, traditional atmosphere. The Mani tower, a fortified structure where families could shelter during deadly feuds, is a hallmark of local architecture. Then it's back down to sea level for a wander through Stoupa, a popular beachfront settlement where the mountains meet the narrow coastal plain. Overnight in Kardamyli/Areopoli.
Day 6: Defending life I Ancient Messene - Pylos
You will enjoy the lush landscape of the Messinian countryside; the city of Kalamata, with its quaint Old Town and its bustling shorefront promenade; the vast archaeological site of Ancient Messene, an early and important example of ancient urban planning; the formidable Castle of Methoni, the largest medieval fortress in the Peloponnese. End the day with majestic sunset views over historic Navarino Bay in the welcoming town of Pylos. Overnight in Pylos.
Day 7: Mythical life I Gialova – Nestor Palace – Kyparissia
The dreamy lagoon at the heart of the Yalova Wetlands is a thriving natural habitat home to more than 270 bird species. The impressive archaeological site of the Palace of Nestor is the best-preserved Mycenaean palace complex, which archaeologists date to 1,500 BC. The town of Kyparissia is our final stop, with its modern Lower Town, medieval Upper Town and haunting castle ruins which overlook them both. Overnight in Olympia.
Day 8: An “Athlos” for a Good Life I Olympia - Arcadia
Start your day with driving up the mountains of Arkadia to reach the temple of Apollo Epicurius, one of the most mystical and imposing temples of Greece. Visit the ancient site and museum of Olympia, the most important athletic and religious center of the ancient Greek world, birthplace of the Olympic Games and the ideals of world peace. Finish the day with the 'sweetest' activity, at a beautiful honey farm or with a stroll in Katakolon port. Overnight in Olympia.
Day 9: Crossing the bridge I Nafpaktos - Rio Antirrio bridge - Galaxidi
Today, travel from one part of mainland Greece, the Peloponnese, to another, Roumeli. Drive over the Rio-Antirio bridge, the longest fully-suspended bridge in the world and stop for coffee at the medieval harbor of Nafpaktos. Continue your trip along scenic coastal roads till you reach one of the most beautiful seaside villages of Greece, Galaxidi. Overnight in Galaxidi.
Day 10: Mountains & Waters I Delphi - Meteora
Enjoy the morning with a swim in the refreshing waters of Galaxidi. The highlight of the day will undoubtedly be the visit of the ancient site and the museum of Delphi and the mystical role of Kastalia spring's waters. After Delphi, you will pass by villages that will give you a taste of the Greek countryside and you will finish the day with an evening walk, dinner and overnight in Meteora. Overnight in Kastraki.
Day 11: Greek mountains & the Divine I Aspropotamos road trip
Emerge from the shadows of Meteora to drive into the mighty Pindos mountain range; drive through the Aspropotamos region, passing through jaw-dropping landscapes and idyllic mountain villages, like Krania and Chaliki. Follow the secret path to one of the most beautiful -but rarely visited by tourists- monastery with thirteen domes. With the river god Achelous as our guide, we’ll experience traditional mountain life and eerie forests before we return back to Kalambaka. Overnight in Kastraki.
Day 12: Between Heaven & Earth I Meteora
Start your exploration of Meteora, a stunning natural phenomenon, featuring towering sandstone columns, formed millions of years ago, all pointing heavenward. These rocks became dwelling-places for Christian Orthodox monks and today you can visit six monasteries that are still functioning. You’ll be able to walk and drive around Meteora, to make sure you soak in the sights and the awe-inspiring landscape. Enjoy delicious local food in a nearby village before you hit the road back to Athens.