Mythical Peloponnese

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Trip Highlights
Tour details
Itinerary
What's included
Itinerary Changes
Terrain
Condition Grading
Starting point and getting there
Food, Weather
Gear checklist
Currency & Banking
Passports, Visas

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. We start in Athens and we drive towards the prefecture of Arkadia, a tangle of medieval villages, remote monasteries, precipitous ravines and narrow roads that wind their way through the valleys of the Menalon Mountains. Here we are going to hike for on the historic trail along the scenic Lousios river. Next stop is Kardamyli, where the British author Patrick Leigh Fermor chose to spend a great part of his life. In the following day we will explore the wild and barren landscape of Mani, which forms the southernmost tip of mainland Greece and really does feel like the end of the road. After Mani, we will drive to Neapoli, and from there we will hop on our ferry to Kythera. Lying on its own at the bottom of the Peloponnese peninsula, this island has managed to preserve it’s cultural identity and it’s impressing natural sceneries of fertile valleys, waterfalls and pristine beaches. Heading back to Peloponnese we will first visit Monemvasia, the Greek equivalent to France’s Mont Saint-Michel, and the next day on our way to Nafplio, which is graced with attractive narrow streets and elegant Venetian architecture, we will have a look at the past, in the ruins of the Byzantine city of Mystras.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Meander through the magical Mycenae, a World Heritage listed site
  • Discover the delights of charming mountain-top villages in the Arcadia region
  • Sample local dishes that pay tribute to the rich gastronomic tradition of the region, and gain insight to the philosophy of the fresh local products
  • Walk in the remote and rugged Mani and marvel at the Maniot tower houses

TOUR DETAILS

  • Days/Nights: 8 days / 7 nights
  • Single supplement: Cost based on request. Availability limited.
  • Condition grading: Moderate

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Drive to Arcadia and hike in Lousios gorge

In the morning we depart from Athens and we will head towards Arcadia prefecture, where we going to hike part of the Lousios gorge. The hike starts from the isolated monastery of Prodromos, which is built into the side of a rock and looks absolutely stunning, the path unfolds in parallel with Lousios, a river with crystal clear waters that runs through an incredibly steep gorge towering up above you. The path is finishing back to Dimitsana, and just before entering the village we will do a stop to visit the Open-Air Water Power Museum, a thematic museum which highlights the importance of water-power in traditional society. Focusing on the main pre-industrial techniques that take advantage of water to produce a variety of goods, it links them to the history and daily life of the local society over the ages.

Overnight in Dimitsana in a boutique hotel
Lunch and dinner included
Hiking distance: 8 km / Hiking Duration: 3 hr
Driving distance:
Athens to Dimitsana 210 km / 2 hr 30min
Dimitsana to the Monastery of Prodromos 15 km / 30 min

DAY 2

Drive to Kardamyli and hike

Today 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. 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. 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 in a boutique hotel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Hiking distance: 10 km / Hiking Duration: 3 hr
Driving distance:
Dimitsana to Kardamyli 131km / 2hr 30min

DAY 3

Drive to Mani and hike to Diros caves

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. In the morning we will hike through fields and olive groves in the area around Areopoli, the capital of Mani having acquired its name from the ancient Olympian god of war Aris. During the walk we will encounter many famous Maniot Towers, military hallmarks of a glorious era. These fortifications are an expression of the fighting spirit of the region and they were the center of life in the world of Mani.The highlight of the hike though, is the visit to Diros caves, 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.

Overnight in Mani in a boutique hotel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Hiking distance: 8 km / Hiking Duration: 3 hr
Driving distance:
Kardamyli to Aeropoli 50 km / 1 hr
Aeropoli to Alika 30 km / 40 min

DAY 4

Ferry to Kythera and hike from Kapsali to Chora

Located in the crossroad of the Aegean and Ionian seas, the island of Kythera lies just off the southern tip of the Peloponnese’s Lakonian Peninsula. With its population of fewer than 4000 spread between 40 villages, Kythera it's an unspoilt island of lush valleys, deep gorges, crystal clear waters and medieval settlements. In the afternoon, we will hike from the village of Kapsali to Chora, the capital of the island which is set on a hill above it. It is one of the most beautiful villages of the Aegean that stands out for its architectural blend of Cycladic, Venetian and Cretan architecture. Before completing the loop walk to Kapsali, we will explore its white-washed lanes up to the Venetian castle with stunning views over to Hyrta, a sea-girt rock that lays claim to being the birth place of Aphrodite.

Overnight in Kythera in a boutique hotel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Hiking distance: 3 km / Hiking Duration: 2 hr
Driving distance:
Alika to Neapoli 77 km / 1hr 30min
Diakofti to Potamos 20 km / 45 min
Potamos to Kapsali 20 km / 35 min
Kapsali to Potamos 20 km / 45 min
Ferry:
Neapoli to Kythera 12:00-13:15

DAY 5

Hike the Mylopotamos loop

The mountainous village of Mylopotamos, is one of the most beautiful medieval villages of the island and it is famous for its waterfall. Our path starts from the village square and we follow the river down the gorge past the ruins of numerous mills that once ground the local wheat and numerous waterfalls. We end up in the castle of Kato Chora, one of the most significant monuments of the island, which was built by the Venetians in 1565 A.D. Inside one can admire the layout of the two-story houses and part of fortified walls, as well as a large number of Byzantine churches.

Overnight in Kythera in a boutique hotel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Hiking distance: 8 km / Hiking Duration: 3 hr
Driving distance:
Kapsali to Mylopotamos 10 km / 15 min
Mylopotamos to Kapsali 10 km / 15 min

DAY 6

Ferry to Neapoli and drive to Monemvasia

In the morning we will take the ferry back to Peloponnese and then we will 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. In the afternoon we will explore the medieval village,hike around the rocky hill, and finally ascend to the citadel of the town. From there we will 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.

Overnight in Monemvasia in a boutique hotel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Hiking distance: 3 km / Hiking Duration: 1hr 30 min
Driving distance:
Potamos to Diakofti 20 km / 45 min
Neapoli to Monemvasia 30 km / 45 min
Ferry:
Kythera to Neapoli 12:00-13:15

DAY 7

Hike next to Mystras and drive to Nafplio

Today we will drive from Monemvasia towards the fortress town of Mystras with the captivating ruins of churches, libraries, strongholds, and palaces is another Peloponnese UNESCO World-Heritage listed site, and we will walk from the tiny village of Parori, located on the eastern slopes of Taygetos, to the church of Panagia Zagouna, which is located within a large cave. From there we will walk to the monastery of Faneromeni, and then we will descent the dramatic Langadiotissa gorge, through a curved path in the rock to the cave church of Panagia Laggadiotissa with the 14th century frescoes, and eventually the village of Parori. In the afternoon we will head to 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 Naxos in a boutique hotel
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Hiking distance: 10 km / Hiking Duration: 4 hrs
Driving distance:
Monemvasia to Mystras 90 km / 2 hr
Mystras to Nafplio 125 km / 2hr 30 min

DAY 8

Visit Epidaurus and Mycenae and drive back to Athens

Epidaurus, is the best-preserved theater of Ancient Greece, and the place were Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles presented their tragic poets. Every single summer people still return to see the same plays, a genuine testimony of the Greek culture that it is still alive. We will spend the morning visiting the archaeological site, which was also famed and revered as a place for miraculous healing. After that, we will drive to the World heritage-listed Mycenae, one of the most ancient places in Europe, and as you walk through the 13th-century BC Lion Gate, it’s easy to sense that the ancient Greek myths have a strong connection with reality.

Breakfast and lunch
Driving distance:
Nafplio to Epidaurus 23 km / 40 min
Epidaurus to Mycenae 40 km / 1 hr
Mycenae to Athens center to 120 km / 2 hr

WHATS INCLUDED

Price includes:
All accommodations based on double occupancy
Hotel taxes and service charges
All transportation during the trip
All activities mentioned in the program
Ferry tickets
Entrance fees to the Mycenae, Epidaurus,Mystras archaeological sites., the Open-Air Water Power Museum and Diros Caves
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,

Not Included:
Domestic and/or international air fare
Medical expenses
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

ITINERARY CHANGES

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.

TERRAIN

This trip level is Moderate and is suitable for most people that are in fairly good physical condition. Although the daily distances are not that far, it has been rated moderate as there are quite significant elevation gains and losses. The itinerary includes walking tours in cities and villages, and six days with moderate hikes of 2-4 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, mountain trails and on some tarmac roads and be prepared for few steeper passages.

CONDITION GRADING

Moderate
Trips designated “Moderate” are more active and require a bit more endurance. Hikes and treks include occasional steep ascents. Trip members should be experienced hikers in good physical condition, capable of walking 3-5 hours

STARTING POINT AND GETTING THERE

Starting point is: Athens.

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).

FOOD

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.

WEATHER

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.

GEAR CHECKLIST

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.

OFFICIAL PAPERS

  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets

LUGGAGE

  • Duffel bag or rolling luggage
  • Daypack to carry camera, water bottle and snacks etc.
  • Luggage locks and tags

OUTERWEAR

  • Midweight polar fleece sweater
  • Rain jacket and rain pants, or poncho

CLOTHING

  • Hiking shorts
  • Casual clothing made of light-weight fabrics
  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Hiking pants, loose and easy to move in
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit

CLOTHING ACCESSORIES

  • Sun hat or baseball cap

FOOTWEAR

  • Lightweight and supportive hiking boots, broken-in with good ankle support
  • Beach sandals
  • Casual, comfortable shoes for evening

ACCESSORIES

  • Sunscreen and lip protection
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Beach towel

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

  • Security pouch or money belt
  • Trekking poles or walking staff
  • Camera, memory and batteries
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Watch with alarm or travel alarm
  • Travel pillow
  • 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.

PASSPORTS

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.

VISAS

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

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