bike to dramatic sites from Greek mythology
Cycle tours in the Peloponnese are like cycling on a huge island. In 1893, engineers cut the four miles of land attaching the peninsula to the Attica mainland, and voilà, an island was created. Actually that’s what Peloponnese means in Greek: «Pelops Island.» Pelops was the mythical king of Greece who inspired the created of the Olympic Games.
It is no surprise that Lonely Planet named the Peloponnese the #1 European destination in 2016.
Just about every town in the Peloponnese has evidence of an ancient presence, the most famous being Mycenae where King Agamemnon ruled who launched the Trojan War. All over the region one finds illustrious sites — Nemea, Sparta, Epidavros, Mystra, Argo, Corinth — as well as unheralded ruins with barely a plaque that you just stumble across. Its safe to say that the Peloponnese is the richest regional source of antiquities in Greece.
Because there is so much to see in the Peloponnese that stretches over some 8300 square miles, it is not possible to cover so much ground in one week. You would need three weeks to properly probe the island by bicycle. And that is why we created Drive & Bike to give you the opportunity to reach into the depths of this magical region on four wheels and then switch to two wheels for intimate explorations.
|2017 Dates||choose your dates|
|Duration||7 nights, 8 days for standard route. Possible to add or subtract days; minimum 6 nights
||yes, Athens Day Tours and Athens-Add-on
|Arrival transfer||For Athens, see Extras tab
|Tour Start Point||Athens, drive to Nafplio
|Tour End Point||Loutraki, drive to Athens
|Total Mileage||388 km, 240 miles for 8 day standard route. Mileage depends on optional routes sought and itinerary destinations.
||987 meters, 3238 feet (Kalavrita)
|Rating||Advanced. See Rating System|
Below is a standard Cross Peloponnese tour, but it can be adjusted to add or subtract days or substitute overnight destinations, as these examples indicate: Opt for a longer tour by staying overnight 1-2 nights in Monemvasia because the «island» is such a unique, no-place-like-it spit of land. Or add an extra day in Dimitsana because you are in the heart of the Peloponnese, the Arcadian mountain villages which are so endearing.
You can receive the vehicle, bike rack and the bikes either in central Athens or at Athens Airport directly upon arrival.
Day 1: Nafplio
Once you reach Nafplio you will be tempted to stay and skip a bike ride. The old car-free town of Nafplio is just lovely with its huge plaza, the original Parliament (as Greece’s first capital) and the 17th century Venetian Palamidi Fortress overlooking the entire bay. Yet, an exciting bike ride awaits to ancient Mycenae, home of King Agamemnon who launched the Trojan War. 46 km, 29 miles Drive Athens Airport or central Athens to Nafplio 170 km, 105 miles 2 hours
Day 2: Nafplio
Bike to ancient Epidavros Theatre, built in the 3rd century as but one part of the Epidavros healing complex. There were over 400 such Asclipion healing sites in ancient Greece and Epidavros was the largest. Some cyclists feel the grounds emanate powerful energy. Ride there and find out for yourself. 55.40 km 34 miles
Day 3: Sparta
We Are Sparta! Welcome to Leonido’s land, the warrior king who led the battle at Thermopylae against the Persians. The cycle route is peppered with historical points of interest. There’s the Trypi hole where Spartans are said to have thrown deformed babies. There’s Mystra, an abandoned Byzantine town that is a World Heritage Site. There’s Menelaus Tomb, the husband of Helen of Troy. Back in Sparta, visit the ancient town’s ruins and theatre. There’s also an exquisite olive oil museum. Short loop 18 km, 11 miles Long loop 37.30 km, 23 miles Drive Nafplio to Sparta 120 km, 75 miles 1.40 hours
Day 4: Sparta
You will swoon when you visit Monemvasia «island» or «the rock,» as it is affectionately called by the locals. First there is the short causeway (200 meters, 656 feet) before reaching the sole entry gate. When you step through it you feel as if you have entered a fantasy theme park, but the medieval mansions, fortresses and labyrinthine walkways are real. If you manage to tear yourself away from Monemvasia, a short ride awaits you to delightful Gerakas, site of perhaps the only fjord in Greece. 24 km, 15 miles Drive Sparta to Monemvasia 86 km, 53 miles, 1.30 hours one-way
Day 5: Dimitsana
Today you arrive to the heart of Arcadia. In English the word connects a pastoral scene, harmony with nature. That is the best description of this mountainous area dotted with traditional red-tiled roof homes and gentle villagers. If you feel like switching activities, there’s a marvelous hike in the Lousios Gorge that takes you to the «Secret School.» If biking is still your purpose, take a loop ride to Vytina town, known for its traditional natural produce. 78 km, 48 miles Drive Sparta to Dimitsana 92 km, 57 miles 1.30 hours
Day 6: Olympia
Don’t all cyclists harbor a self-image of an Olympian athlete? Today you meet your inner spirit at Ancient Olympia, the event that caused the warring city-states to stage a peace truce every four years so that participants and fans could travel safely to the Olympic Games. After paying homage to the grounds and the museum, you have two bike options. There are two bike options. The Lake Kaifa ride takes you down to the coast and back to the lake next to the sea that has hot springs. 48 km, 30 miles The Foloi Forest ride takes you deep into the mountains to one of the few oak forests in all Greece. 38 km, 23.50 miles Drive Dimitsana to Olympia 77 km, 48 miles 1.40 hours
Day 7: Kalavrita
Situated at 2300 feet, 700 meters in the Achaea region of western Peloponnese, the town of Kalavrita is a popular retreat center for outdoors enthusiasts who bike and hike and ski. Be sure to sample the unique local liqueur tentura which tastes like Christmas! The bike route is to Plataniotissa, a village with a very very special tree. No spoiler alerts here. 54 km, 32 miles Drive Olympia to Kalavrita 96 km, 60 miles, 2 hours
Day 8: Departure — Athens
Drive to Loutraki beach and park at one of the many seaside tavernas where you’ll likely dine after a bike loop that passes through and stops at many arousing sites, including Ancient Corinth where St. Paul preached and wrote his Corinthian Letters, the Akrocorinth Fortress with spectacular 380 degree views of the two surrounding gulfs and finally you bike across the Corinth Canal bridge and look down to see boats passing. 46 km, 28 miles Drive Kalavrita to Loutraki 120 km, 75 miles 1.45 hours. Drive Loutraki to Athens Airport 110 km, 68 miles or Loutraki to central Athens 84 km, 51 miles 1.30 hours Return vehicle by 7:30 pm at either central Athens or Athens Airport
|1 or 2 riders
||8 Days — 2300 euros per person|
||8 Days — 2180 euros per person|
||8 Days — 2090 euros per person|
|5 or more riders||contact us for cost|
|Single Supplement||8 Days — 650 euros|
The above costs are based on the standard Itineraries. Cost may vary if Itinerary varies.
TOUR INCLUSIONS for 8 day itinerary
Accommodations: 9 nights in 3-4 star hotels ranging from upscale to family run guesthouses. Tasteful, clean, air-conditioned, private bath, abundant hospitality, comfort. All accommodations come with breakfast. Tour price is based on double occupancy. Single supplement costs apply for individual rooms. Triples may or may not be available depending on the hotel.
Vehicle: 4 door vehicle for 1-3 guests similar to a Nissan Note. Mini-van for 4 — 8 guests similar to a Nissan Prima Star. Includes standard vehicle insurance, GPS guidance, manual steering (automatic steering is an upgrade), road assistance. Does not include gas or parking fees.
Bikes: Specialized road bike or hybrid bike. Triple chain ring, 27 gears. Road bike has carbon fiber fork. Hybrids have front suspension. E-bike available as an upgrade for 300 euros. Regular pedals or toe clips on request. You are welcome to bring your own clip-in pedals and shoes. See Our Bikes and Gear
Bike gear: rear bike rack for vehicle, 2 water bottles, helmet, handlebar pouch, odometer, lock, rear rack on request, helmet. For hygienic purposes we encourage you to bring your own helmet.
Bike tools and parts: hand pump, patch kit, tire irons, spare tube, multi-tool, helmet. One set per group.
Cue sheets: plus distance/elevation profiles
GPS device: Oregon 450 with programmed routes, arrow indicating route and turns. Bike mount for GPS. One device/mount per group.
Maps: road maps in English and Greek
Trip packet: useful information, such as, recommended tavernas, points of interest, phone numbers for region’s bike shops
Mobile phone: one per couple with 10 euros phone card. One phone per group.
CycleGreece jersey: short sleeved, rear pockets, locally made
Gratuities, tips, VAT tax
- Airfare to/from Greece
- Transfer from Athens Airport to Athens hotel on arrival, or from hotel on departure to port or airport
- Private licensed guides at archaeology sites — see Extras tab
- Additional GPS device, 50 euros per device
- Meals except breakfast
- Travel Insurance – see Extras tab
- Participants are required to sign our Waiver.
- Participants are required to agree to the Booking Agreement
Athens Add-On, 4 Days / 4 Nights
Day 1: Athens
Arrival to Athens from abroad. No activities. Evening meet and greet.
Day 2: Athens
Start the morning with a three hour Athens Bike Tour that is 90% traffic free and stops at 25 points of interest, including famous sites like the changing of the guard at Parliament and unheralded sites like Socrates’ prison and the Pnyx where democracy was born. Bike tour is 11 kilometers. After lunch in an outdoor taverna at Plaka, you now visit the incomparable Acropolis with a professional archaeology guide and the Acropolis Museum holding the monument’s treasures. Acropolis + Museum Tour lasts three hours.
Day 2: Athens
We take an excursion to the magnificent Temple of Poseidon in Sounion at the southern tip of Attica Peninsula. Lord Byron carved his name in the marble but the graffiti cannot mar the temple’s geometric precision nor its stupendous views. Bring your swimsuit for a dip in the sea before returning to the city. Includes lunch at a seaside taverna. Option to bike from the Acropolis to Poseidon Temple, 60 km or vehicle transfer to Vari and bike from there, 42 km.
Day 3: Athens
Taste of Athens. This is a walking tour that immerses you into Greek food, wine, local products, spirits. All things that stimulate the palate. Greek cuisine is one of the healthiest diets on the planet. Includes a visit to the Greek Gastronomy Museum. Four hours. Leisurely tour.
Day 4: Athens Add-On ends. First day of Sacred Sites Tour
1250 euros per person based on double occupancy. 440 euros for single supplement
Accommodations: 4 nights in 4 star hotel within walking distance of Acropolis with daily breakfast
Athens Bike Tour: 3 hour guided tour, includes hybrid bike, helmet, water bottle, front handlebar bag for cellphone, wallet, camera
Acropolis & Acropolis Museum: 3 hour private tour with professional guide, includes entry fees
Temple of Poseidon: Full day excursion, includes road bike, helmet, water bottle, odometer, handlebar bag, vehicle support, entry fee to Temple, lunch at seaside taverna, transfers to/from hotel
Taste of Athens: 4 hour walking tour, includes all tastings, plus lunch
Lunches: three lunches during each day’s activities
Gratuities, tips and VAT taxes
Airport transfers on arrival — see Extras tab
An indicative hotel for the Cross Peloponnese tour is the Menelaion Hotel in Sparta named after the local king who played such a prominent role in the Trojan War. The hotel has a pool.
We select the accommodations for guided tours based on quality, comfort, cleanliness, hospitality, location and charm. Most of the hotels on this tour are family owned and operated.
Hotels are included in the tour cost based on double occupancy. A single room entails an additional cost. Standard double rooms are provided but upgrade options are available.
All hotels are dependent on availability. In the event of no occupancy, we patronize comparable accommodations in the same location.
- E-bikes for an 8 day tour cost 300 euros. See Our Bikes & Gear for more info
- For travel insurance for U.S citizens, we are official agents of Travel Guard. Contact us to receive a policy quote. Cost of coverage depends on various factors including your state of residence, your age, your days of travel. Travel insurance is not provided for flights booked using frequent flyer mileage. Some policies require booking within 15 days of paying your trip deposit, such as, cancel for any reason or coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
Airport transfer on Arrival
- Private transfer from Athens Airport to Athens hotel. You are met at the arrivals exit by one of our team holding a sign with your name on it. We wait for you regardless of how late your plane may arrive. No waiting in taxi or bus lines. 170 euros per transfer for up to 8 persons.
Private Archaeology Guides
- Visiting famous ancient ruins without a professional guide is like watching a movie with the sound turned off! The guides we work with make the archaic stones and temples come alive. Costs below do not include entry fees.
- Epidavros Theatre: 1 hour, 120 euros per group
- Mycenae: 1 hour, 120 euros per group
- Ancient Olympia: 2 hours, 160 euros per group
Wine Tasting in Nafplio
- A professional certified oenologist enlightens your taste buds at a one hour wine tasting session in his “cava” (wine store). The focus is on the famous Nemean wines of the region, including the incomparable agioritiko, affectionally known as “Blood of Hercules.” Cost is 20 euros per person. Includes tasting of 3 reds, 3 whites. Rusk & cheese served.
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