Road Trip Peloponnesus & Central Greece
1st day: Athens
Arrival in Athens Transfer to your hotel and check in at the hotel. Visit of Acropolis and the new archaeological museum of Acropolis. Few major cities in the world contain as much physical history as Athens. Spread throughout the metropolis are archeological wonders including the Parthenon, Acropolis, Erechtheion, the Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Olympieion, Kerameikos and Panathenaic Stadium, also called the Kallimarmaro Stadium, which was built in 330 B.C. to host the ancient Panathenaic games.Lunch in Plaka and in the afternoon visit Parnitha mountain and see Athens from above. Night in Athens
2nd day: Athens Corinthos-Mycenae-Nafplio
Breakfast at the hotel and departure for Corinthis and Nafplio.
Corinthos: For a taste of classic ancient ruins -- namely, remnants of immense temples, with columns and crumbled facades -- visit Corinth. The city was prominent even in pre-ancient times due to its strategic position on the Isthmus of Corinth, which divides the Peloponnese from northern Greece. Highlights in ancient Corinth, which is a few miles from the current city, include the Temple of Apollo, one of the country’s oldest stone temples (6th century B.C.) and far-more-crumbled Temple of Octavia. There are also numerous ruins from when the city was under Roman rule, starting in the first century B.C., including the Peirene Fountain.
Nafplio: This town of Venetian houses and seaside mansions, about 90 miles southwest of Athens, was a sovereign nation-city in ancient times and, from 1829-1833, the capital of Greece (prior to Athens). It is renowned for its romance and beauty -- credit its seaside location beneath 2 fortress-topped mountains -- and is a big draw for weddings and honeymoons. Nafplio is a mere 24 miles from the Epidaurus Theater, one of the best preserved ancient theaters in Greece, dating to the late 4th century B.C. Next to the theater is the Asclepieion, a healing temple where the sick were brought to receive care directly from Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. Night in Nafplion
3rd day: Nafplio-Diros Caves-Kalamata-Nafpakto
Breakfast at the hotel and departure for Diros caves. The famous Alepotripa and Vlichada caves are located in Pirgos Diros. They were explored by the speleologists Ioannis and Anna Petrochilos. The Alepotrypa cavern was discovered in 1958. Archaeological research begun in 1970 under the direction of archaeologist Georgios Papathanassopoulos. In the course of the late Neolithic period (4000 - 3000 BC), the cave was extensively used as shelter, dwelling, workshop, storage place for goods, cemetery and a place of worship. The richness and quality of the unearthed findings witness the existence of a populous society in Alepotripa, which developed over time into an important centre that engaged largely in trade, maritime travel, farming and stockbreeding. Strangely enough, human skeletons were found on the surface, meaning that entombment had not taken place.
This led archaeologist G. Papathanassopoulos to the conclusion that these Neolithic people died suddenly during a strong earthquake, which in turn generated huge rockslides from the ceiling, thus blocking the cave's entrance. The passageways of Alepotrypa, decorated with stalagmites and stalactites, measure 500 m in length. The cave covers an area of 6,500 m2. The central cave ends in a very beautiful lake attaining a maximum depth of 6 m. The cave is not open to the public, yet.
The cave of Vlychada covers an area of 16,700 m2 and since 1949 about 2,800 water passages have been explored. A 2.5-km-long winding passageway is the main route for sightseeing. During a 40-min boat trip, the visitor comes across an intricate network of passages and galleries, decorated with gleaming stalagmites and stalactites, whose reflection in the water accentuates their natural beauty. The guided tour into the cavern of Vlychada takes place by boat and on foot - part of it is on land.
4th day: Nafpakto-Meteora
Departure from the hotel and direction to Meteora. Immense, breathtaking rock formations, 'sculpted' by the very hand of God, with high tops conquered by men of strong faith and will, who sought to find the immortal life. No wonder why Meteora is truly a place 'out of this world'…,
This place has been amalgamating and the monasteries occupy many of the rocky terraces, most of which were built during the Byzantine era and have changed little over the centuries. Check in at the hotel and in the afternoon short walk around the monasteries. Night in Kalambaka
5th day: Meteora-Mt. Olympus
Breakfast at the hotel and after we leave for the mountain of Gods… Mt. Olympus. In 1938, Olympus, the highest Greek mountain, the residence of the twelve ancient gods, was the first area which was declared as a National Park. About 50 years ago a special regime was enforced to protect this unique part of our country.
The aim was the preservation of the natural environment; of the flora, fauna and natural landscapes, as well as of its cultural and other values. Scientific research had to be supported and people had to become aware of the environmental conditions. Furthermore tourism had to be developed in the wider area. Specific laws prohibit any kind of exploitation in the east side of the mountain, about 10,000 acres, which constitutes the core of the National Park.
The wider area around it was designated as “peripheral zone of the National Park” so that its management and exploitation won’t affect negatively the protection of the core.
Olympus is internationally known as for its important ecological characteristics and incomparable natural beauty as well as for its strong relationship with ancient Greek mythology. The importance of the National Park has been recognized not only in Greece and Europe but all over the world. In 1981 UNESCO declared “Olympus a Biosphere Reserve”. The European Community has included Olympus in the list of “The Most Important Bird areas of the European Community”.
Mount Olympus is located on the border of Macedonia and Thessaly between the prefectures of Pieria and Larissa. The highest point of Mount Olympus, Mytikas, is located 263 km from Athens and 78 km from Thessaloniki as the crow flies and 18 km from the coast of Pieria and 24 km from Katerini.
6th day: Litochoro-Prionia-Volos-Pelion
Breakfast at the hotel and departure for Prionia where the path to Olympus starts. Optional hike Enipeas gorge, from Prionia all the way to Litochoro. An amazing gorge which will bring us to the village.
Afterwards, we will visit Dion and departure for Volos and Pelion mt.
Pelion, a mountain of relatively low elevation and levels of wildness, is almost an equivalent of the district (prefecture) of Magnesia and of its capital, Volos. Its highest summit, Stavros, is 1.624 metres ams, running for approximately 50 Km. Mount Pelion forms a natural borderline between the district of Magnesia and the Aegean Sea.
Its soft slopes and easily accessed peaks make Mount Pelion a popular destination for hiking lovers and weekend mountain climbers. Two mountain shelters, the one at Agriolefkes and the other at Agios Georgios of Zagora host weary climbers and hikers. In Agriolefkes, near Hania, there is also a skiing resort for skiing lovers, whereas an abundance of mountain routes and trails are ideal for mountain biking and horseback riding.
One gains an exhilarating experience all year round when visiting Mount Pelion or its traditional villages, whether it’s in mid-winter when everything is covered in snow, or in spring or summer when colourful wild flowers cover its slopes, which are full of fir, chestnut, oak and beech trees. Night in Pelion (Portaria or Chania)
7th day: Volos and visit the villages of Pelion
We will explore the most amazing villages of Pelion. Portaria Portaria is one of the most cosmopolitan villages of Pelion, bustling with life since it hosts visitors throughout the year. Situated at the foot of Mount Pelion, it’s the first village one gets to from Volos. Its popularity as a travel destination and its accompanying cosmopolitanism spring from its vicinity both to a skiing resort and also to the sea. Luxurious hotels, traditional hostels, rooms to let, restaurants and tavernas, coffee shops, bars, and shops selling souvenirs and traditional folk art items meet all visitors’ tastes and needs.
Zagora is situated on the eastern slopes of Mount Pelion, with a great view to the Aegean. A densely-populated village, Zagora consists of four districts, all meeting around the central square of Ag. Georgios, having taken its name after the adjacent small church, famous for its excellent altarpiece. This very square also hosts, since the end of 18th century, the famous Public Library, which nowadays operates as a lending library with many and great, rare books, while there is also a reading room within its premises.
At a short distance visit Drakopoulou Mansion, which houses on its ground-floor, the food preparation facilities of the Women’s Agrotourism Cooperative of Zagora. This is where nature meets tradition, since the thriving orchards of the surrounding area offers abundant citrus-trees, essential ingredient of many delicacies, such as spoon sweets, home-made marmalades and liqueurs, the recipes of which have been handed down from older generations. Treat yourself one of these delicacies after a hard going hiking so to get some of your strength back or get some to treat your beloved ones back home.
Tsagkarada lies 500m above sea level on the eastern side of Mt. Pelion, along a densely wooded area, looking out to the Aegean. Here, nature is dominant with chestnut and plane trees, being twisted around every single old and new construction of the sparsely-populated village. Treat yourself a cup of coffee at the central square of Agia Paraskevi, where the great Plane Tree counts a life of at least ten centuries. One of the things a visitor should see exiting the village is the arch bridge constructed by builders from Epirus. Some historic sites of special interest are also the Achillopouleios Commercial School and the Nanopouleios School. Before departing don’t forget to gather mushrooms as well as chestnuts or join the Chestnut Festival held in November, if you happen to be around.
Famous Vyzitsa, a village of Pelion enjoying major tourist development since the 80s, is typical of its Pelian scenery, its stone-paved alleys, its renovated lordly mansions (archontika), its lush greenery and its stone fountains. Climb up its central cobblestones alley heading for the central square. Walk around the picturesque neighbourhood of Argyraiika and if weather permits go hiking to Milies or to the coastal village of Kala Nera. The scenery is breathtaking… Visit also Esperides, the Women’s Agrotourism Cooperative of Vyzitsa, very popular within and without Vyzitsa’s borders for its catering services, and taste its traditional products ranging from marmalades to home-made pastas.
Milies is the starting point of the legendary steam train of Pelion, the so-called "Moutzouris” (i.e. smudgy) extending up to Ano Lechonia. Its rail track runs along a route of natural beauty connecting the centre of Volos to the fertile district of Western Pelion. In Winter , when the train stops operating, walk along its rail track and take pictures of the iron bridge constructed by Evaristo de Chirico, the chief engineer and mastermind of the Pelian steam train and father of the surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico. Take the path heading towards Vyzitsa and enjoy the panoramic view of the Pagasetic Gulf. It is also worth paying a visit to the Church of "Pamegiston Taxiarchon", typical of the Pelian architecture with post-Byzantine icons of artistic and historical significance. Makrinitsa, the balcony of Mt. Pelion Makrinitsa known for offering one of the best panoramic views to Volos and the Pagasetic Gulf has retained the traditional Pelian architecture and construction. So one can admire its renovated lordly mansions, its romantic stone paved alleys, its elaborate fountains, its super centenarian plane trees and its lovely flowers, which all make Makrinitsa one of the most breathtaking destinations of Pelion. There are also interesting art cafes and galleries revealing the artistic interests of its local people.
Pinakates, a village out of a fairytale
Pinakates, a village almost untouched by men, on the southern slopes of Pelion, pictures like a little secret hidden in the Mountain of Centaurs. People hardly knew of this place up until 1999, when a road from Vyzitsa to Pinakates was constructed to give access to this wonderful village. Its majestic nature, its serenity, its small central square sheltered under a big plane tree combined with its authentic scenery lure every visitor. Night in Portaria or Chania.
8th day: Departure for Athens
From Volos, we drive south to Atalandi and Athens, drive to the airport according your departure!
Have a nice flight back home!!!
Drive throughout Athens.
Athens-Corinthos 78 km 1 hr
Corinthos-Mycenae 38 km 20 min
Mycenae-Nafplio 21 km 15 min
Nafplio-Diros caves 167 km 2hr + 44min
Diros Caves-Kalamata 91 km 2 hr
Kalamata-Nafpakto 241 km 3 hr
Nafpaktos-Meterora 311 km 4hr. +22 min
Meteora-Litochoro 154 km 2hr
Litochoro-Prionia 19 km 40 min
Prionia-Volos-Pelion 142 km 2 hr
Pelion 100 km
Volos-Athens 327 km 3 hr
Total km in the program 1.689
Total driving time 24 hours + 35 min
Insurance: Participants should be covered by their own personal travel-health insurance and prior to the trip. The personal insurance must at least cover medical expenses.
Alpine Travel is not responsible for any accidents or mishaps directly or indirectly related to the tour.
(See Terms & Conditions)
Period: From March to November 2017.
Transportation: We travel by our Land Rover.
Accommodation: Hotels 4 stars
The trip prices are based on double occupancy.
Food: Every morning we have breakfast in the hotels, lunch en route and a dinner at local tavern. (Vegetarians are welcome on the trips)
Group Size: 4-12 participants.