Greece Self Drive 2 - Treasures of the Peloponnese

Lesser known Greece

Summary

Ancient sites in the Argolis region, Monemvasia {the Gibraltar of Greece}, towered villages in the remote Mani and ancient Sparta.

START / FINISH - Athens

Activity code: GRFDPEL02

Duration: 9 Days/8 nights

The Peloponnese region of Greece has some of the most ancient sites in the country as well as some incredibly wild scenery, particularly in the Mani. This is one of our most established and popular self-drive itineraries which covers pretty much the whole of the Peloponnese, focusing on the beautiful countryside as well as the famous sights. Incredibly, this region has some of the most remote and lesser-travelled places in Greece.

As the Peloponnese is just a short drive from Athens it makes sense to start your journey there, by doing this you could also consider travelling back via the world-famous site of Delphi by travelling over the stunning Rion-Antirion bridge.

This is our recommended route to this region, it is a tried and trusted itinerary allowing you plenty of time to enjoy the countryside as you travel. If you are looking for any modifications then we will also be very happy to discuss a completely tailor made itinerary.

All we need to know would be approximate dates of travel, what standard of hotel you would prefer, and if there are any particular areas or classical sites which you would like us to include (or to exclude!) in your itinerary. Your fly drive can be as active or leisurely as you please. Staying one night at each stop allows the maximum amount of sightseeing; two or more nights will allow you to do side trips, whilst staying in one place will give you the opportunity to relax and explore the local area.

Why not extend your stay in Greece with a relaxing few days on one of the islands or on the mainland. Please ask us for further details or suggestions!

If you would like to visit these wonderful places but don't wish to drive then we have a choice of guided tours or we can offer you a private driver for the itinerary you have chosen.

Not included: In January 2018 Greece introduced an Overnight Stay Tax of 0.50 to 4 Euros per room or apartment per night, which is payable locally - the amount varies according to the category of the accommodation (i.e. most self catering and 1-2 star hotels = 0.50 Euros,  5 star hotels = 4 Euros).

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What's included in your fly drive holiday:

  • 8 days fully inclusive car rental
  • 8 nights hotel or guest house accommodation
  • B&B basis throughout.
  • Fully detailed itinerary
  • FREE travel app with all your documents, maps, weather and much more
  • You also have the full back up of our office in Greece during your stay.

Itinerary

Collect your rental car and drive to your hotel in Athens. The remainder of the day will be at leisure to enjoy this vibrant city.

* if you don't fancy driving from the airport we could arrange a private transfer and have the car delivered to your hotel the following morning.

Recommended places to stay

Leave Athens by the coastal road to the Corinth Canal, which connects the Ionian with the Aegean, & into the Argolis region.

Mycenae is one of the great cities of the Mycenaean civilization which played a vital role in classical Greek culture.

Epidavros was the ancient centre of worship to Asclepios, god of Medicine. Its theatre seated 14,000 people in its heyday (its acoustics are so perfect that the merest whisper can be heard in the top row).

The picturesque town of Nafplion nestles at the foot of a cliff crowned by the mighty ramparts of its Palamidi Fortress.

Recommended places to stay

Today you'll drive southwards to the former Byzantine-Venetian fortress-state of Monemvassia. This unique Greek town stands on a rocky promontory; from afar it looks like an island. Castles and ramparts, old mansions, little houses, narrow lanes paved with stone slabs, churches with crumbling facades, low archways and semi-destroyed stairways - it looks like time has stood still since the Middle Ages.

After exploring Monemvassia continue your journey to Gythion and overnight.

The Mani region is a land of rocks, stone walls, bare hillsides, bays and coves, small coastal hamlets & mountain villages. Tower houses are a feature of the Mani - these were home to feuding clans of Maniots who refused to succumb to Ottoman rule.

Your journey will take you to the bottom of the peninsula, to Vathia perched high above the sea and a favourite for photos. There are plenty of beautiful deserted beaches along this coastline should you wish to stop for a dip. Onwards to your hotel in Arepolis [which takes its name from Ares (Mars) god of war].

Start your day with a visit to the spectacular Diros Caves then drive on to Kalamata, capital of the Messinia district, dominated by its 13th century castle. On the way you might like to stop off in a few small villages in the area.

Today your drive takes you through the province of Messinia. First to mediaeval Koroni with its old mansions, churches and castles, then to Methoni passing by little villages such as Finikounda.

Homer called Methoni "rich in vines" and tradition maintains that the town is so called because the donkeys (onoi) carrying its wine used to get drunk (methoun), from the heady aroma.

Your journey today ends in Pylos, a pretty little town built on a hill on the south coast of Navarino Bay.

Just a short drive north of Pylos is Nestor's Palace. Nestor took part in the Trojan War and his town was the second largest in the Mycenaean world. Built in the 13th century BC, the palace was destroyed by fire a century later. Excavations have revealed the remains of a luxurious two-storey central building and two auxiliary buildings.

In the afternoon drive through the lovely countryside of Laconia to Mystras. Enter Mystras through the castle gate into its narrow lanes. The castle of Mystra was built by the Franks in 1249. As time went by, houses were built on the hillside under the castle, and a town was born which would become the centre of Byzantine civilization.

Your journey ends in Sparti, a simple town built in the middle of the Evrotas river valley, on the same site as where the ancient city used to stand.

In the morning take the National Highway back to Athens via the towns of Tripolis, Nemea and Corinth.

Recommended places to stay

Leisure time in Athens depending on your flight departure time; drive to Athens Airport and drop off rental car.*

* or you could chose to drop off the car the previous evening in Athens and take a private transfer to the airport.

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Why book a Fly Drive ?

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Why book Greece with us ?

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