CROSS PELOPONNESE
  bike to dramatic sites from Greek mythology

view from AreopagosCycle 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.

Before or after your Peloponnese excursion, when in Athens we recommend the Athens Add-on tour or any one of the entertaining Athens Day Tours in the Attica region.

Details

2017 Dates choose your dates 
Duration 7 nights, 8 days for standard route.  Possible to add or subtract days; minimum 6 nights
Add-ons
yes, Athens Day Tours and Athens-Add-on
Arrival City Athens
Arrival transfer For Athens, see Extras tab
Tour Start Point Athens, drive to Nafplio
Tour End Point Loutraki, drive to Athens
Minimum Age
18
Total Mileage 388 km, 240 miles for 8 day standard route.  Mileage depends on optional routes sought and itinerary destinations.
Highest Elevation
987 meters, 3238 feet (Kalavrita)
Rating Advanced.  See Rating System

Itinerary

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

Cost in euros based on double occupancy
1 or 2 riders
8 Days – 2300 euros per person
3 riders
8 Days –   2180 euros per person
4 riders
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.

See daily exchange rates

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

TOUR EXCLUSIONS

  • 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

TAKE NOTE

  • 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

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 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

EXCLUSIONS
All dinners

Airport transfers on arrival – see Extras tab

Accommodations

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.

Electric Bike

  • E-bikes for an 8 day tour cost 300 euros.   See Our Bikes & Gear for more info

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 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.

Click map to open in Google Maps

BLUE Sacred Sites overnight destinations

PURPLE Important historical sites

RED Athens Add-on destinations

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

In order to make payment online with your credit card, we first need to set up an online account for you after finalizing your tour itinerary.  Once the itinerary and cost is established, 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 credit card (AmEx, Master or Visa) or a PayPal account if you have one.   You have the option to pay in dollars or euros.  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.

Cross Peloponnese Photo Gallery

Pre & Post Tour Add-Ons

Tour Highlights

Cycle from Sparta to the abandoned Byzantine city of Mystras

Roam the romantic, magical, medieval “island” of Monemvasia

Stare upward at the marvel of the “beehive” tomb of Atreus at Mycenae

Fill up your water bottles from the pristine clear water of the Lousios River

Take a run in the Olympic Stadium as if it were 766 BC

Epidavros Theater

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