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)
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Overnight in Athens, Athenian Callirhoe (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 8km / Hiking Duration: 3 hours
Kardamyli to Athens 258km / 3h 45min
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.
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.