On this road trip, you'll discover the Peloponnese: a place of soaring mountains and friendly seas. It’s a region that has always had immense historical importance, from the rise of its great Bronze Age civilization at the very dawn of European history, through the glory of Ancient Greece and the long conflicts of the Middle Ages right up to the heroic founding of the modern Greek state.
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Day 1: Ancient myths and engineering marvels | 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: For wine lovers and warriors | Sparta - Mystras - Agia Fotini
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: Footprints in the sand | Elafonissos - Gerakas - Pavlopetri - Agios Nikolaos Geopark - Monemvasia
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: Stone and self-determination | Gythio - Gerolimenas - Agia Fotini - Vathia - Areopolis - Kardamyli
The Mani peninsula boasts wild countryside and a 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: Strong foundations | Kastania - Stoupa
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: Countryside and coastline | Kalamata - Ancient Messene - Castle of Methoni - 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: Cradle of life | Yalova Wetlands - Palace of Nestor - 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.