Driving Tour and Photography Peloponnese - Greece
Short walks of generally 3-4 hours plus optional day excursions; level or slightly hilly terrain using well kept paths.
2. Average/ Moderate
Easy day walks with more strenuous excursions. 4-5 hours per day in hilly to mountainous areas using well kept, sometimes stony paths.
Strenuous day walks or trekking in mountainous areas. 5-7 hours per day, sometimes carrying backpacks with stuff for one night; altitude differences between 1,500-3,000 ft. (500-1,000 m.) per day.
Serious excursions in high mountains, sometimes carrying backpacks with stuff for several nights. 6-8 hours per day; altitude differences up to 3,600 ft. (1,200 m.) per day. Only for those with an excellent condition and without fear of heights.
Easy cycling in nearly flat areas; Little or no experience needed. Approx. 20-50 km daily. Bicycles with up to 3 gears will do.
2. Average / Moderate
Nearly flat to hilly areas with the occasional short climb. Approx. 30-65 km daily. Bicycles with minimum 7 gears will do.
Strenuous cycling with some steeper climbs. Some experience needed. Approx. 30-75 km daily. Bicycles with up to 21 gears needed.
Serious and strenuous in mountainous areas. Slopes are longer and/or steeper. Good physical condition needed. Experience and a mountain bike needed. Approx. 30-80 km daily.
You can choose from 4 different levels of comfort, although most of our trips are rated 2 or 3 (or a combination of the two) on our accommodation scale. We try to provide en-suite rooms where possible but on occasions this may not be possible on some tours.
We are constantly looking for hotels, B&B’s, guesthouses and mountain huts that offer a special location, ambience or atmosphere that fits the trip. Accessibility to the route and personal hospitality of the owners are part of our choice of accommodations.
A hotel, a pension or a mountain hut with all the basic facilities. Most rooms have a shared bathroom.
Fine hotels or B&B’s with basic to moderate facilities. Almost all rooms have a private bathroom.
A 3-star hotel, B&B or guesthouse. Comfortable rooms with private en-suite bathroom and often air conditioning. Some accommodations might have a swimming pool.
A 4-star chateau hotel or guesthouse. The rooms are relatively large with en-suite bathroom and air conditioning. A warm welcome and a high quality are guaranteed. Some hotels have a swimming pool or sauna.
The Peloponnese is the perfect area to experience local lifestyle, visit medieval villages, drive through dramatic landscapes and along gorgeous beaches with the freedom of your rental car.
The Peloponnese is famous for its many archaeological findings, such as the world famous theatre of Epidaurus and the ancient site of Olympia, where the Olympics were born. But it is also an area full of nature, dramatic landscapes, gorgeous beaches and beautiful Byzantine monasteries and medieval villages. Agricultural plains with citrus fruits, olive groves and vineyards alternate with high mountainous areas only inhabited by a few farmers.
During one or more trips on the Peloponnese you will discover it all! You will get to know the rural life from the inside by walking through surprising landscapes and by living local experiences, such as a traditional cooking class. And because you travel with your own rental car, you will enjoy maximum freedom and can discover exactly what you want to discover!
Arcadia is the Prefecture dominating the centre of the Peloponnese and is characterized by its mountainous landscape and rural agricultural activities. You'll find tiny villages where you can buy tasty local products, such as cheese, honey and wine. Your base is in the mountain village of Dimitsana, overlooking the lush Lousios gorge. The scenery is lush green, with maple trees, sages, lentisks and holm-oaks hiding the sunlight and turning the gorge into a true oasis of coolness. The gorge and its monasteries can be seen while hiking or rafting. Near Sparta and Mystras you come to the Prefecture of Laconia with its dominating Taygetos mountain chain offering great possibilities for hikes through steep gorges and to dazzling summits. In the lower areas you find tremendous olive groves and citrus tree groves. During a photography workshop you discover the remains of Byzantine Mystras and Ancient Sparta.
- Visit the ancient Corinth
- See the isolated monastery Agios Ioannis Prodromos for yourself
- Explore Olympia, home of the Olympics, and its museum
- Enjoy your outdoor photo workshop
The indicated routes on Google Maps are approximate.
Day 1 Arrival in Dimitsana
Pick-up the rental car at the airport and drive via the canal of Corinth to the heart of the Peloponnese. Time permitted you may visit Ancient Corinth on your way to Dimitsana.
Option 1: Rafting on the Lousios River. This river played already an important role in ancient history and it is said that here Zeus used to bathe himself! In the spectacular densely vegetated gorge and in the river’s crystal clear waters, you may opt for a rafting excursion and discover the hidden natural paradise of the area. The descent is of 2nd degree of difficulty, starting from Lousios, continuing to Alfios River, and ending at the spectacular bridge of “Koukos”. Rafting takes place every weekend (with guaranteed departure). For weekdays the minimum number of participants is 6.
Option 2: Round walk in the Lousios Gorge, 2,5 hrs. This wonderful walk starts from the Monastery of Prodromos. From the start you will admire the wonderful steep gorge of the river Lousios. You first walk via a rural road and along paths to the ancient site Gortis. Then you will walk up to the monastery Agios Ioannis Prodromos, located high above the gorge, hidden in the wall of the canyon. You walk back to ancient Gortys through the Lousios gorge, along the beautiful water stream. You walk back to Metamorfosis viewpoint where you will find your car again.
Option 3: Visit Olympia Ancient site. In about 1,5 hr you may drive via a winding road to Ancient Olympia where the first Olympics took place more than 2,700 years ago. The museum and the archaeological site are located in a lush green area and for sure you will love spending some hours here. You may even go to the long sandy beach nearby after your visit to the site.
Day 4 From Dimitsana to Xirokambi
From Dimitsana you leave eastwards and may stop in the picturesque village of Karitena or even visit Ancients Gortys in case you have not already done so. Then you drive through the plains around Tripolis that are cultivated with all sorts of vegetables. Further south you will cross the northern side of the Parnon mountain range. After the last bend you suddenly overlook the amazing wide Evrotas valley and the high summits of the Taygetos mountain range across this valley (2,400 m, 8,000 ft). You drive through Sparta and head to your destination for the coming days: the cozy lively town of Xirokambi located in the enrolling hills at the foot of the Taygetos Mountain. Your accommodation is a completely refurbished and renovated old storage house for olive olive and silk.
Day 5 Photo work-out near Xirokambi
You will enjoy a private photo work-out. A photo work-out is a short, but intensive outdoor photography workshop with emphasis on improving your photography skills in practice. You can choose between 4 different work-outs. The workouts are given in English by a professional photographer. You can choose between specific themes: shooting digital, creative photography or sight-seeing photographyThe 4-hour work-outs can be booked on any available date. After the completion of your work-out you will receive a digital hand-out for future use with the information that you learned during the work-out. The work-outs can take place on the ancient site of Mystras depending on the theme chosen. From the hotel there are 2 circular walks possible (half day walks).
Day 6 Departure or next module
You drive to Athens for 3 days Classical Athens (GRST010) or your departure or continue with day 1 of Olive trees in Peloponnese (GRSS090) or with day 1 Driving & walking Peloponnese (GRSS080).
- 5 nights including breakfasts in comfortable hotel rooms with bathroom (for an image selection, please see Flickr)
- Car rental for 5 x 24 hrs, including CDW-insurance, unlimited mileage
- Description of the mentioned walks and map in English
- Choice between 2 booklets in Xirokambi describing circular walks around Xirokambi
- Photo work-out (half day) with professional photographer
- 24-hour telephone assistance, just a phone call away
- Flights and public transportation
- Travel insurance
- Other meals
- Personal expenses (drinks, phone calls, tips, etc.)
- Any items not mentioned in the program
Optional services (to be booked in advance):
- Rafting on the Lousios River. Booking possible in advance via Europe Lives (€ 50 per person)
- Additional night(s) can be booked at the standard accommodation as well as extra car rental days
- Airport or station arrival and/or departure transfers
- Single supplement
Suitable for everybody. The walks follow wide unsurfaced tracks, cobbled roads, footpaths and tarmac roads. As the roads are relatively narrow in Greece, the rental cars are all small family cars with an automatic transmission. Should you prefer a manual gearbox, then please let us know.
How to get there:
Best arival and departure airport is Athens International Airport.
Pick-up the rental car at the airport and drive via the canal of Corinth to the heart of the Peloponnese.