SARONIC JEWELS
3 islands, legendary Peloponnese sites
guided with vehicle support

 Epidavros.   Nafplio.  Spetses.  Hydra.  Poros.

In the southeastern Peloponnese Peninsula is found the Argo Saronic region where everything encourages you to pedal at a gradual pace, or siga-siga (slow, slow) as the Greeks say.  We bicycle, swim, smell the lemons, shop for quality souvenirs and take enlightening archaeology tours of legendary antiquities.

The tour introduces you to three islands, two World Heritage Sites, the incredibly lovely city of Nafplio which you will rate your favorite. The region is known for its Nemean wines where wine-making from ancient days continues to inspire and delight visitors.

During the tour you will also get in the kitchen to learn how to make a traditional Greek meal, and then you will get to eat it.  There will also be a Greek spirits night of liqueur flavors you’ve probably never tried before and whose tastes are unique to Greece.   Learn a few handy phrases during a one hour Greek language lesson, and then you can greet the locals.

We recommend you take the Athens Add-on which precedes the Saronic Jewels tour.  You will immerse yourself in the culture of Athens and Attica region with exciting activities:  Historic Central Athens bike tour (90% traffic free), Acropolis & Acropolis Museum with professional guide, Temple of Poseidon coastal cycling, Attica wine tasting, Temple of Artemis.

If you have only one spare day in Athens and want to see the region by bicycle, we recommend Athens Day Tours.

Details

2017 Dates May 6 – 13 and Sept 10 – 17
Duration 7 nights, 8 days
Add-ons
Athens, see Add-on tab
Arrival City Athens
Arrival transfer see Extras tab
Tour Start Point Athens
Tour End Point Athens or Athens Airport Hotel
 Minimum Age
18
Minimum Pax
8
Maximum Pax
14
Total Mileage 242 km or 150 km for standard route.  Possible to vary most daily routes to add mileage, or lessen miles with vehicle transfer.
Highest Elevation
767 feet 234 m (or higher if other routes taken)
Rating Moderate – see Rating System

Itinerary

Due to morning departure on Day 1 prepare to arrive at least one day early to Athens to test ride your bike.

Bike mileage listed for each day is that day’s standard bike route.  Depending however on the cycling level of the participants, routes may vary by adding mileage or minimizing mileage with vehicle transfers.

Day 1  Epidavros

One hour vehicle transfer from central Athens to out of the city.  Cycle the mostly flat coastal road to Corinth Canal and from there bike to Loutraki beach for lunch and swimming.   1 hour vehicle transfer to Epidavros hotel.   36 km, 22 miles

Day 2   Nafplio

A gradual climb brings us to Ancient Epidavros, the 3rd century BC outdoor theatre seating 13,000 spectators with impeccable acoustics.  Epidvaros was the most famous healing center in ancient Greece, focusing on mind, body and spirit. Continue biking to Napflio, the first capital of modern Greece, and the prettiest city in the Peloponnese.  48.50 km, 29.80 miles

Day 3  Nafplio

Bike Napflio to Ancient Mycenae on mostly flat back road.  Tour Mycenae with a professional guide.  After lunch cycle back to Nafplio.  Pre-dinner wine tasting of famous Nemean wines.   46.60 km, 30 miles

Day 4   Spetses island

Bike Nafplio to Iria going inland and along the coast.  Vehicle transfer over a mountain 1994 feet high (607 meters) and resume biking to the southern coast of the Argo Saronic region.  Lunch on the beach before taking a water taxi to Spetses island.   45 km, 28 miles

Day 5  Spetses

Spetses is so small you can circumnavigate the island by bike in a couple of hours.  At a half-way point enjoy swimming at a beach with a marvelous sea cave accessible from the water or from a hole in the earth.  Honeymooners hire horse drawn carriages in Dapia, the romantic harbor town.  24 km, 15 miles

Day 6   Hydra island

A half hour hydrofoil transfer to car-free Hydra, an elegant island attracting high-end artists whose paintings, jewelry and clothes fill the local shops.  As Hydra is also bike-free, the day’s activity is a hike up to a monastery offering tremendous views.   hike 6 km, 3.7 miles, from sea level to 1561 feet, 476 meters 

Day 7   Poros island

Return to the Peloponnese mainland by hydrofoil and hug the coast eastward on mostly flat terrain to reach Galatas, the port opposite Poros, from where you take a ten minute ferry to the island.  Put on your aprons for dinner to prepare your meal in a traditional Greek cooking class.  26 km, 16 miles or 30 km, 18.50 miles depending on whether you climb hills up to 740 feet high (225 meters) for 4 km, 2.50 miles

Day 8   morning Poros, afternoon Athens

Bike a loop around Poros island before hotel check-out by noon.  You will have a few hours to walk around the lovely little harbor town before taking a hydrofoil to Athens, arrive around 4:00 pm.    15 km, 9.50 miles

For those needing an early departure, there are several morning hydrofoils from Poros to Athens.

Athens Add-On, 4 Nights

For Spring and Autumn 2017 the Athens add-on occurs before the Saronic Jewels tour starts.  May 2-6 or September 12-16

Day 1:   Athens  (May 2 or September 12)

Arrival to Athens from abroad.   No activities.   Evening meet and greet.

Day 2:   Athens (May 3 or September 13)

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 the Pynx where democracy was born and Socrates’ prison.   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.  Tour lasts three hours.

Day 3:   Athens (May 4 or September 14)

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 Sounion, 60 km or vehicle transfer to Vari and bike from there,  42 km.

Day 4:   Athens (May 5 or September 15)

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. Six hour tour, total leisure pace.

Day 5:   Athens Add-on ends.  Day 1 of Saronic Jewels tour.   (May 6 or September 16)

COST

1250 euros per person based on double occupancy.   440 euros for single supplement

INCLUSIONS

Accommodations: 4 nights in 4 star hotel within walking distance of Acropolis with daily breakfast.

Athens Bike Tour:  3 hour guided Athens bike tour, includes hybrid bike, helmet, water bottle, front handlebar bag for cellphone, wallet, camera

Lunch after bike tour, before Acropolis tour

Acropolis & Acropolis Museum:   3 hour private tour with professional guide, includes entry fees to Acropolis and Acropolis Museum

Temple of Poseidon Ride:  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

EXCLUSIONS

  • All dinners
  • Airport transfer: on arrival or departure, requires minimum 4 persons, maximum 8 persons.  See Extras tab
  • Travel Insurance.  See Extras tab

Cost in euros based on double occupancy

Saronic Jewels Cost 2250 euros per person
Saronic single supplement
500 euros
Athens Add-on
1250 euros per person
Athens Add-on single supplement
300 euros

See daily exchange rates

TOUR INCLUSIONS
Accommodations: 3-4 star hotels, primarily family owned and operated, ranging from boutique hotels to seaside upscale hotels. Tasteful, clean, air-conditioned, private bath, abundant hospitality, comfort. All accommodations are standard doubles with option for upgrade.  All accommodations serve breakfast, usually buffet style. Tour prices are based on double occupancy. Check single supplement price for a single room.

Sea transfers:    Piraeus to Hydra (hydrofoil), Hydra to Spetses (hydrofoil), Spetses to Kosta port on mainland (water taxi), Galatas port on mainland to Poros (ferry or water taxi), Poro to Galatas (ferry or water taxi).

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 on request. 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: helmet, water bottles, handlebar pouch, odometer

Support vehicle: (“sag wagon”) with bilingual driver who is also a bike mechanic.  Vehicle carries spare parts, spare fully pumped wheels, floor pump, ice cooler, water, nutritious snacks, bike tools, first aid kit, day packs, luggage and gives you a lift if you get tired.

Tour Leader / Bike Guide:  the Tour Leader handles all the tour logistics and bikes with the group.

Meals:  Breakfasts are included at each hotel.  Dinners eaten at trusted establishments within walking distance of the hotel.  Dinner consists of 2-3 appetizers and a salad shared by the group and chosen by us.  You are offered an entrée choice, usually a meat, fish or vegetarian dish. Dessert, house wine, water or a beverage for those who don’t drink wine.

Cue sheets

Maps of the region

Trip packet:  useful and interesting information about the region

Archaeology tours:    Private one hour archaeology tour with professional licensed guides at Epidavros and Mycenae.

Entrance fees:  Entrance fees to Epidavros and Mycenae.

Wine Tasting:  Nemea wine tasting with local expert

Traditional Greek Cooking Class:   takes place in Poros, led by local cook

CycleGreece jersey: short sleeved, rear pockets, locally made

Gratuities, tips and VAT taxes

TOUR EXCLUSIONS

  • Airfare to/from Greece
  • Transfers Athens Airport to Athens — see Extras tab
  • All lunches
  • Travel insurance — see Extras tab

TAKE NOTE

Travel Insurance is required as a condition for participation in a CycleGreece tour.

Electric Bike

Travel Insurance

  • 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 or residence, your age, dates 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.

Athens Hotels

  • If you stay in Athens pre or post tour, we can recommend a hotel and book your room. We patronize a range of Athenian hotels in different neighborhoods and different budgets.

Accommodations

An indicative hotel for the Saronic Jewel tour is the elegant Grande Bretagne Hotel in Nafplio

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.

Click to open in Google maps
Overnight destinations and points of interest

BLUE Saronic Jewels overnight destinations

PURPLE  Points of interest

RED Athens Add-on destinations

Guided tours require a deposit of 400 euros per person with the balance due 90 days prior to departure.

To make payment, click on the Book Now link which takes you to the secure Aegea Booking page to input your credit card information via PayPal. You may pay with a major credit card or Visa or Mastercard debit card or a PayPal account if you have one. You have the option to pay in euros other currencies. We pay all bank service fees although your credit card company may charge you a foreign transaction fee.

Alternatively, if you are reluctant to pay online, we can take your credit card information by phone. Please contact us to arrange a mutually convenient date and time for us to call you. We can also give you our bank account details if you opt to pay by bank wire transfer which usually has lower fees than those charged by a credit card company .

See details in the Booking Agreement which you must agree as a condition to participation in a CycleGreece tour. Participants are also required to sign a Waiver & Release of Liability.

Saronic Jewels Photo Gallery

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Pre & Post Tour Add-Ons

2017 Tour Dates

Spring: May 6 – 13
Athens add-on May 2-6

Autumn: Sept 16-23
Athens add-on September 12-16

Groups of 8+ riders, choose your own date for a guided tour.

Tour Highlights

Circumnavigate the entire island of Spetses with a pit stop at a pirate’s sea cave

Climb the 999 steps to Palamidi, a 17th century Venetian fortress in Napflio

Attend a wine tasting session of the famous Nemean wines led by a local expert

Enter King Agamemnon’s remarkable beehive tomb at Ancient Mycenae

Listen to a stage whisper from the highest tier at 3rd century BC Epidavros Theater

Epidavros Theatre

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