Driving Tour Olympic 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 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 of our) self-drive 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!
Mani in Southern Peloponnese is one of the most beautiful coastal areas of Greece: the famous middle ‘finger’ of the peninsula Peloponnese. In spring you will find abundant flowers and in autumn you may pick nuts, grapes and figs right from the trees. You walk along steep cliffs and remarkable villages with tower houses. Both accommodations of this short tour are comfortable hotels. You can combine this tour easily with the tour Arcadia/Laconia and/or with the module Argolida: Greece’ most famous sites.
- Try to visit ancient Corinth on your way to the south
- After visiting villages Chora and Exochori, cool down on the beach
- Visit the ancient (4th century BC!) site of Messini with its stadium and theatre
- Excursion to the caves of Pirgos Dirou
- Relax in Porto Kagio, an idyllic fishing village in a crystal clear bay
The indicated routes on Google Maps are approximate.
Day 1 Arrival in Kardamylli
Pick-up the rental car at the airport of Athens or Kalamata and drive to the picturesque seaside village of Kardamylli. Depending on the arrival location, you will have time to visit Ancient Corinth on your way to the south.
Day 2 Kardamylli (walk through the Taygetos gorge)
Distance: 12 km, 7 mi, 4-5hrs, ↑600 m, ↓600 m. Via the old Byzantine district of Kardamylli you head to the entrance of the Taygetos gorge. You will walk via a cobbled path surrounded by walls on your left and right. You see cypresses and plane trees and all sorts of herbs tickling your senses. Half way the gorge at the Monastery of Moni Sotiras a pathway takes you up to the pretty villages of Chora and Exochori. The descend to Kardamylli is via a pleasant shaded rural road. You will have time to enjoy a swim on the beach and a drink on a seaside terrace.
Day 3 Kardamylli
Walking trip option 1: Walk from Sotirianika to Kardamylli, Distance: 15 km, 9 mi, 5hrs, ↑300 m, ↓600 m. With a local bus you travel to the village of Sotirianika. From here you start your walk back to Kardamylli. First you walk through a lush gorge to Kambos. From there you follow the old coastal path to Kardamylli. During this part you will enjoy splendid views over the coast with its pretty crystal clear bays.
Walking trip option 2: Visit Ancient Messini. In about 1 hr and 15 mins you may drive to the ancient site of Messini. This significant site consists of many intact buildings dating back to the 4th century BC. The stadium and the theatre are amongst the most impressive of Greece.
Day 4 From Kardamylli to Gerolimenas
In about 1,5 hr you will drive along the coast further southwards into the inner Mani. Your next accommodation is the restored warehouse Kyrimai, located on the seashore in the fishing village Gerolimenas. On your way you have the possibility to visit the caves of Pirgos Dirou. You can visit these caves by joining a tour with a small boat and a guide. Though the excursion goes as far as a 100 m inwards, the caves are much deeper: 5 km have been explored, but the end is not reached yet. The caves themselves are impressive, but what have made them famous are the Paleolithic and Neolithic remains found here.
Day 5 Walk to Cape Tenaron (walk from Vathia to Porto Kagio via Cape Tenaron)
Distance: 5 hours, ↑400 m, ↓400 m. You will travel per taxi to the spectacular village Vathia with its famous towerhouses. From here you walk to the remote area of the inner Mani. You will reach the most southern spot of the Mani peninsula. Bare rocks, idyllic bays and the ever present sea are the ingredients for this walk. The landscape of Tenaron was the scene in the myth about Hades: it was the entrance to the underworld. Remains of Ancient Tenaron are to be seen during your walk, and maybe some restless souls? From Cape Tenaron the walk heads further up to Porto Kagio, an idyllic fishing village in a crystal clear bay. After relaxing moments you travel back to Gerolimenas per taxi.
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 on Peloponnese (GRSS090) or day 1 of Photography in Peloponnese (GRSS070).
- 5 nights including breakfasts in comfortable hotels (for an image selection, please see Flickr)
- 5 day car rental, including CDW-insurance, unlimited mileage.
- Description of the mentioned walks and map
- Taxi transfers on day 5 of the program
- 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):
- Additional night(s) at any of the accommodations (please use booking remarks field)
- 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 arrival and departure airport is Athens Airport.