The Peloponnese is the land of legends. This stunning yet little explored peninsula in south-west Greece was the playground of ancient gods and the inspiration for Homer's epic Iliad. It is here where the Olympic Games were founded and the legendary wars of Sparta were fought. Dotted with ancient ruins, and clifftop castles, the region also boasts picturesque guesthouses on some of the Mediterranean's most beautiful beaches.
This trip aims to reveal Peloponnese's gems. It starts from Athens, heading towards two of the most interesting archaeological sites in Greece, Mycenae and Epidaurus. We spend the night at Nafplio, once a capital of the newly-liberated Greece, graced with attractive narrow streets and elegant Venetian architecture. Later, continue in the direction of Monemvasia, the Greek equivalent to France's Mont Saint-Michel, and on the way we will have a look at the past, in the ruins of the Byzantine city of Mystras. In the days that follow,we explore the wild and barren landscape of Mani, before ending up in Kardamyli and hike around the place where the British author Patrick Leigh Fermor chose to spend a great part of his life.
Soak the past and present of Nafplio and Monemvasia
Meander through the magical Mystras, a World Heritage listed site
Stay in handpicked guesthouses that bring out the character and charm of the region
Walk in the remote and rugged Mani and marvel at the Maniot tower houses
Dates: September 1-September 8
Days/Nights: 8 days / 7 nights
Price: 4 participants: 1670 euros/Person
For less participants please contact us
Single supplement: Cost based on request. Availability limited.
Condition grading: Moderate to strenuous
Arrival in Athens and welcome dinner
Athens, it's a city where the new blends in bizarre harmony with the ancient. You may wander through modern areas, squeezed with bars, tourist shops and restaurants and then stumble upon a little fenced-off area that's an extraordinary ruin almost as if it,s not a big deal. On almost every street corner you get an eerily present sense of the rich history that has marked the development of the town.
Today we will meet at our hotel for an introductory talk, with a walking tour to follow that will reveal the city's riches. Our dinner features delicious local produce and traditional Greek dishes.
Overnight in Athens, Athenian Callirhoe (D)
Drive towards Nafplio and visit Mycenae and Epidaurus on the way
World heritage-listed Mycenae is one of the most ancient places in Europe. As you walk through the 13th-century BC Lion Gate -the oldest coat of arms in the world- it's easy to sense that the ancient Greek myths have a strong connection with reality. Spend the morning visiting the archaeological site with a specialized guide and after lunch drive to Epidaurus which was famed and revered far and wide for centuries, from ancient Greece to the Roman empire, as a place for miraculous healing.
In the afternoon stroll in Nafplio, the town where Greece meets Italy. Built with stepped streets overhung with balconies dripping bougainvillea, handsome neoclassical buildings and enticing shops and restaurants, it is the most charming town in the Peloponnese.
Overnight in Nafplio, Grand Sarai (B,L,D)
Athens center to Mycenae 120km / 2 hours
Mycenae to Epidaurus 40km / 1 hour
Epidaurus to Nafplio 23km / 40min
Mystras visit and Monemvasia
The fortress town of Mystras with the captivating ruins of churches, libraries, strongholds, and palaces is another Peloponnese UNESCO World-Heritage listed site. Lying on a hill as if it was spilled from a spur of the Taygetos Mountain, Mystras is overlooking the city of Sparta. Among the most important historical sites in the Peloponnese, here is where the Byzantine Empire's richly artistic and intellectual culture made its last stand.
Visit the site, have lunch in the tiny village of Mystras and then drive towards Monemvasia, a Gibraltar-like rock, which forms a small island linked by a bridge, with a medieval village at its base. The village is enclosed within the walls of a castle, with narrow, cobbled streets, flanked by winding stairways that weave between a complex network of stone houses.
Overnight in Monemvasia, Likinia Hotel (B,L,D)
Nafplio to Mystras 125km / 2h 30min
Mystras to Monemvasia 90km / 2 hours
Hike in Monemvasia and drive towards Mani
Monemvasia is a great place to wander. In the morning explore the medieval village, hike around the rocky hill, and finally ascend to the citadel of the town. From there enjoy the truly spectacular views down to the red-tile roofs of Monemvasia, out across the sea and deep into the mountains of the Mani peninsula.
Have lunch and get excited about the journey's next stop: Mani, a vast, mountainous piece of land, wild and windswept. It feels like the end of the road, stark and sparse. Its inhabitants, known for their toughness, hid out in the folds of the mountains, far from the coast marauding pirate ships
Overnight in Koita, Citta dei Nicliani (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 3km / Hiking Duration: 1h 30min
Monemvasia to Koita 110km / 2h 30min
Exploring Mani and hiking to Cape Tainaron
Mani is as it ever was: stunning and desolate. The road down the eastern side of Mani's rugged spine is dotted with small villages notable for their Byzantine churches and clusters of stone towers -ancient mini-Manhattans built to defend against invaders and to protect citizens when local blood feuds emerged.
We drive to Cape Tainaron, and hike towards the southernmost point of mainland Greece, where a sea cave is said to be the mouth of Hades, the ancient god of the underworld.
Overnight in Koita, Citta dei Nicliani (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 4km / Hiking Duration: 2 hours
Koita to Kokkinogeia 20km / 40min
Kokkinogeia to Koita 20km / 40min
Drive towards Kardamyli, visit Diros Caves
Diros caves are one of the most extraordinary caves in Greece. The crystal-studded stalactites and stalagmites are spectacular, in shades of rose, green, amber, black, blood red, and purple. They are one of the oldest inhabitant spots in Greece, but were abandoned after an earthquake in 4 BC and weren't rediscovered until 1895. After visiting the caves, we will drive towards Kardamyli. This tiny village is located in one of the prettiest settings in the Peloponnese, nestled between the blue waters of the Messinian Gulf and the Taygetos Mountains.
In the afternoon put on your bathing suits and take a refreshing swim in the turquoise waters, in one of the idyllic beaches around Kardamyli.
Overnight in Kardamyli, Kalamitsi hotel (B,L,D)
Koita to Diros 17km / 30min
Diros to Kardamyli 52km / 1h 20min
Hike in Kardamyli and drive back to Athens
Hiking has become Kardamyli's greatest drawcard, as the hills behind the village are crisscrossed with an extensive network of cobblestone paths, hidden among the coastal flora. Our path starts at the old quarter of Kardamyli and soon passes the so-called Tombs of the Dioscouri, the alleged burial spot of Castor and Pollux. The two rock-cut tombs are probably Mycenaean in origin. A half-hour uphill finds us by the church and the outskirts of the village of Agia Sophia. The views from here back down to Kardamyli are more than worth the effort. Walk through stunning landscapes of villages, olive groves and wild flower fields all the way down to a gulf where Patrick Leigh Fermor lived.
After lunch we will drive towards Athens for our last stop and the farewell dinner.
Breakfast is at your leisure at the hotel and with that, your trip with Tripin Adventures concludes. Transfer independently from our accommodation to the international airport for the return flight, or continue with your journey in Greece.
Price includes: All accommodations as listed (or similar) based on double occupancy
Hotel taxes and service charges
All transportation during the trip
All activities mentioned in the program
Entrance fees to the Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Mystras archaeological sites and Diros Caves
Tourist guide for the archaeological sites of Mycenae, Epidaurus and Mystras
Services of a guide throughout the tour
Transport and handling of one reasonably sized suitcase and one carry-on per person
Included meals: Breakfast, lunches and dinners as indicated in the itinerary, snacks during activities.
Not Included: Domestic and/or international air fare
Travel or emergency evacuation insurance
Gratuities for leader/guide or driver
Alcoholic beverages and meals other than outlined in itinerary
Visas if needed
Transfer to and from the airport/port
Other items of a personal nature
Anything not mentioned in above program
We are constantly updating our unique itineraries based on new information and experiences available. The walks, accommodations, and visits listed may be adjusted. The itineraries presented are subject to modification and change by Tripin Adventures. We reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in our judgment, conditions warrant, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants, anything not mentioned in above program.
This trip level is Easy Active and is suitable for most people that are in fairly good physical condition. The itinerary includes walking tours in cities and villages, and 3 days with easy hikes of 1½ -3 hours.
Although the paths are quite well-kept the terrain often tends to be very stony and rocky. You will mostly be walking on footpaths, and on some tarmac roads and be prepared for few steeper passages.
Trips designated "Easy Active" are perfect for first-timers, or travelers looking for a mild physical challenge. A typical day will consist of 1-3 hours of activity.
Getting There & Away: Athens airport Eleftherios Venizelos, is about 27km east of Athens. Athens is connected with direct flights with various cities in Europe, North America and Asia. .
Getting around: We can arrange for a transfer from the airport to your hotel. If you want to come by yourself, the metro and the suburban rail provide quick connections to central Athens (1 hour / 10 euros ticket). The bus option is cheaper though it takes longer (1h 30 min / 5 euros ticket). You can also take a taxi (1 hour / 35-50 euros).
Simple, nutritious and flavorsome, the food is one of the pleasures of travel through Greece. Rustic Greek Cuisine reflects the history and bounty of its diverse regions and relies in the fresh, seasonal home-grown produce and generally simple, unfussy cooking that brings out the rich flavors of the Mediterranean.
Greece's relaxed and hospitable dinning culture makes it easy to get into the local spirit. Greeks love to eat out and share impossibly big meals family style. Given the long summers and mild winters, alfresco dining is central to the dining experience. Service could be slow by Western standards, but why being in rush either way.
As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own. Note that alcohol and soda are not included.
Spring, summer and fall in Greece are sunny and warm. The daytime temperatures average 25-30 C though temperatures in the 35s are possible in the summer months. Nighttime temperatures cool off slightly to 20° C. Rain showers are rare in the islands, but it's often breezy and rainy on the coast.
Greece has a temperate climate. Base your clothing on the "layering system", if it is hot you can "peel off" layers quickly, if it is cooler and windy you can quickly
"dress up". The lighter you travel, the easier you travel. Use your best judgement and pack as lightly as possible. You will appreciate light luggage towards the end of your trip.
Please consider taking along the following items on your trip.
Duffel bag or rolling luggage
Daypack to carry camera, water bottle and snacks etc.
Luggage locks and tags
Midweight polar fleece sweater
Rain jacket and rain pants, or poncho
Casual clothing made of light-weight fabrics
Hiking pants, loose and easy to move in
Sun hat or baseball cap
Lightweight and supportive hiking boots, broken-in with good ankle support
Casual, comfortable shoes for evening
Sunscreen and lip protection
Sunglasses and retainer strap
Security pouch or money belt
Trekking poles or walking staff
Camera, memory and batteries
Reading and writing materials
Watch with alarm or travel alarm
Motion sickness remedies
Personal first-aid kit
Insect repellent (lowrisk)
Electric adapter plug/converter
This is not a fixed list, but more of a guideline, so feel free to add and remove items as you see fit.
CURRENCY & BANKING
Greece has adopted the Euro as its currency. The easiest way to obtain local cash is from an ATM. Greek ATMs accept cards bearing the Cirrus, EC, Euro card, Visa and Plus symbols. If you take cash, US or Canadian Dollars can be easily exchanged at banks. Most major credit cards, Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.
It is advisable to have some Euros with you upon arrival to be used for a taxi if necessary.
You may want to check the website www.xe.com for current exchange rates.
You must have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the conclusion of your trip. Please make sure that you have blank pages in your passport for your visa (if required), entry and exit stamps (one for each). Please make a copy to take with you in the event yours is lost or stolen and keep it separate from your actual passport.
Currently a Greek Tourist Visa is not required for citizens of Canada, United States, Britain and Australia. If you hold another passport, please check online http://visacentral.com/visas.php