ARGO SARONIC SELF-GUIDED
islands, antiquities, rural roads

view from AreopagosBike in the Argo Saronic region which lies in the southeastern “finger” of the Peloponnese Peninsula, a stimulating region to cycle in that Lonely Planet named the #1 European destination in 2016.

In this predominantly rural region you bike directly to two World Heritage Sites, the Epidavros Theatre and the tombs at Ancient Mycenae.  Enjoy healthy Mediterranean food and local hospitality.  You immerse yourself in slow-moving Greece where most of the route is on back roads with negligible traffic.

Your favorite mainland town will be Nafplio, modern Greece’s first capital, with elegant neo-Classical Venetian homes and a towering 17th century fortress, the Palamidi.  From Nafplio, the legendary sites of Ancient Mycenae and Epidavros Theatre are only about an hour bike ride away.  You will also be endeared to the little islands of Spetses and Poros, both of which are low key and easy to discover on two wheels.

Before or after your self-guided tour, we recommend booking the Athens Add-on that immerses you in the culture of Athens and the 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 only have one day in Athens, check out the one-day bike rides available at Athens Day Tours

Details

2017 Dates choose your dates
Duration 7 nights, 8 days standard tour — opt for more days or less days (minimum 5 days)
Non-Riders Welcome
yes, at no extra fee – see Cost & Inclusions tab
Add-ons
yes, Athens – see Add-on tab
Arrival City Athens
Arrival transfer see Extras tab
Tour Start Point either Corinth or Piraeus port
Tour End Point Poros island to Piraeus port
Minimum Age
18
Total Mileage 347 km, 215 miles for standard 8 day tour
Highest Elevation
496 meters, 1627 feet
Rating Active to Moderate – see Rating System

Itinerary

Arrive at least one day early to Athens to test ride the bikes.

Leave your luggage  in the hotel and it will be transferred to your next destination.

The itinerary below is standard for 7 nights, 8 days, but it can be changed to add days or do the tour in less days.  If less days, then you will only be spending one night at certain destinations instead of two.

Day 1:  Epidavros 

See Day 1 Logistics tab for how to reach the start point of the Argo Saronic self-guided tour.

There are two ways to cycle to the coastal town of Epidavros and both take you biking along the sea coast with  stunning views of the Aegean Sea. Cycling the north to south route via a land transfer to the Corinth Canal is 55 km, 34 miles.  Starting at Agio Theodoro involves more mileage but 15 km extra mileage, but it is mostly flat.  70 km, 43 miles, or even starting from the Corinth Canal .  When you cycle the south to north route via a sea transfer to Poros is less mileage but the transfer lasts longer so you don’t get an early start.   35 km, 22 miles  

Day 2:  Nafplio

A gradual gentle climb takes you to Ancient Epidvaros, the 3rd century BC outdoor theater seating 15,000 spectators with impeccable acoustics. Stand at the stage, whisper, and those high in the last row will hear you!   After touring the grounds, it’s all downhill to Nafplio, the prettiest city in the Peloponnese.  45.60 km, 28 miles

Day 3:   Nafplio

cycle the rural route to ancient Mycenae passes through orange and lemon groves to bring you to the home of King Agamemnon who launched the Trojan War.  When you’re back in Nafplio don’t fail to climb the 999 steps to the Palamidi, the formidable 17th century Venetian fortress.  43 km, 26 miles

Day 4: Spetses island

The route from Nafplio to Spetses (via Kosta port) is the most challenging to cycle of the tour but also exhilarating to reach the top of the climb at 608 m (1994 feet) and biking 83 km, 52.50 miles.   Or for an extra fee our driver can be transfer you to the summit and bike the rest of the way 30.60 km, 22.70 miles  to Kosta port to catch a 10 minute water taxi to Spetses.

Day 5:  Spetses

Spetses is a small, classy island with beautiful mansions built by 19th century shipping magnates and wealthy merchants. Spetses has only one town which is car free and one asphalt road which circles the island.  At the halfway point, stop to swim in a sea cave.  45 km, 28 miles

Day 6:  Poros island

Take a water taxi back to the mainland and hug the sparkling coastline to cycle all the way to Galatas port to catch another quick water taxi to Poros. The 62 km route, 38 miles is somewhat flat until the 40 km, 25 miles point which begins a challenging 202 meter, 600 foot climb.  The thrilling descent ends with a tremendous view of Poros from across the sea.  59 km, 36.60 miles

Day 7:  Poros

Poros has two hilly cycling loops to choose from — or do them both!   One route is 13.60 km, 8.40 miles.  The other loop is 15 km, 9.30 miles and passes by the Temple of Poseidon whose ruins are not so interesting but the views are exceedingly scenic.   In Poros, enjoy swimming at sandy beaches with sea sports, a weaving class, the archaeology museum, strolling the long harbor front.

Day 8:  Departure

Leave the bikes in Poros and take a 90 minute high speed boat to Piraeus.  Boats depart morning, afternoon and evening.

Day 1 Logistics

On Day 1 of the tour, there are two means to reach the Peloponnese, two different start points.

Sea Transfer
Ιf there is a morning ferry, you take it from Piraeus port to Methana (2 hours) and from there bike to Epidavaros   40 km, 25 miles

If the ferry doesn’t stop in Methana the day you depart, take it to Poros island (2.45 hours). On Poros you catch a quick 5 minute water taxi to the mainland at Galatas port, and bike from there to Epidavros 40 km, 25 miles

Before departing we rendezvous with you in Piraeus (Athens’ port) to hand over the bikes. Piraeus is a twenty minute drive from central Athens. The luggage transfer driver meets you at either Methana port or Poros port to collect your luggage.

The ferry fee is included in the tour cost.

Although there is a thrill to start your tour with a boat ride on the beautiful Aegean Sea, the drawback is that you will not get an early morning start.

Land Transfer by Train
From your Athens hotel, take a 30 minute taxi ride to the SKA stop of the suburban railway (proastiakos) where we meet you and hand over the bikes. Ride the railway for 53 minutes to reach Corinth train station and start biking to Epidavros from there (55.70 km, 34.60 miles).

Ambitious cyclists can disembark the train earlier at Agio Theodori station (43 minutes) and bike an additional 15 km on the flat coastal road. On this route you get to cycle across the Corinth Canal and stop to admire it (70.70 km, 44 miles).

Which ever train station you disembark at, In either instance, the luggage transfer driver meets you there to collect your luggage.

The train fee is included in your tour cost.

The advantage of a train transfer is that you can get as early a start as you wish. The trains begin running from SKA at 6:00 am and depart every 20 minutes.

Land Transfer by Company Vehicle
In lieu of the labors involved in making your way from your Athens hotel to SKA station, and riding the train with your luggage and bikes next to you, for a fee a company driver can transfer you from your hotel to either the Corinth train station or Agio Theodoro or the Corinth Canal.

This is the easiest solution because (1) you are conveniently picked up at your hotel, (2) you get to choose the time of departure instead of depending on train or ferry schedules, and (3) you can get dropped off on the road from whichever point you wish to start cycling.

Transfer cost depends on number of riders. For two riders, the cost is 75 euros per person. For three riders the cost is 80 euros per person. For four riders the cost is 60 euros per person.

Athens Add-On, 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 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

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

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.

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

1-2 riders
2040 euros per person
3 riders
1830 euros per person
4 riders
1700 euros per person
Single Supplement
400 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.  See Accommodations tab to request more info about tour’s accommodations

Luggage transfers:  4 luggage transfers

Day 1 transfer:   If by sea, ferry ticket.  If by land, suburban railway ticket

Day 8 boat ticket:  boat ticket Poros to Piraeus

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:  2 water bottles, helmet, handlebar pouch, odometer, lock, rear rack on request. For hygienic purposes we encourage you to bring your own helmet.

Bike tools:  hand pump, patch kit, tire irons, spare tube, multi-tool. 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.

Mobile phone:  one per couple with 10 euros phone card.  One phone per group.

MealsBreakfasts are included at each hotel.

Maps of the region

Trip packet useful and interesting information about the region

CycleGreece jersey:  short sleeved, rear pockets, locally made

Gratuities, tips and VAT taxes

TOUR EXCLUSIONS

• International airfare to/from Greece

• Transfers from Athens Airport to Athens – see Extras tab

• All meals except breakfasts

• Poros route on Day 1, water taxi or ferry from Poros to Galatas on Day 1 (about 1.50 euros)

• If Corinth route on Day 1, taxi from your hotel to SKA railway station (about 20-25 euros)

• If Corinth route on Day 1 by company vehicle, see Day 1 Logistics tab and Extras tab

• Private licensed guides at archaeology sites – see Extras tab

• Additional GPS device, 50 euros per device

• 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, 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.

Athens Hotel

  • 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.

Optional Transfer on Day 1

  • Private transfer from your Athens hotel to Corinth Canal or Agio Theodoro with luggage and bikes at your choice of departure time.  For two riders, the cost is 75 euros per person.  For three riders the cost is 80 euros per person.  For four riders the cost is 60 euros per person.

Optional Transfer on Day 8

  • Private transfer from Xylokastro to central Athens.  50 euros per group
  • Private transfer form Xylokastro to Athens Airport   80 euros per group
  • Private transfer from Loutraki to Athens Airport.   50 euros per group

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.

Greek Cooking Class on Poros

  • With a big smile and lots of pizazz, Katerina will teach you how to make remarkable dishes of traditional island cuisine.   Learn prep tips and special recipes from this local master, and then eat the fruits of your labor.  100 euros per person for 2-3 persons,  80 euros per person for 4-6 persons.  70 euros per person for 7-8 persons.

Weaving Class on Poros Island

  • Meet Eleni, the only traditional weaver on the island, and perhaps in the Argo Saronic region.   She has several looms and teaches you techniques traditional weavers still use as well as types of local wool and yarn.  20 euros per person for one hour session.

orloff_hotelAccommodations

An indicative hotel for the self-guided Argo Saronic tour is the classy Orloff Resort on Spetses island.

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

 

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

To make payment, we must first set up your online account.  Once your itinerary and cost are finalized, go to 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.

Argo Saronic Photo Gallery

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Pre & Post Tour Add-Ons

Tour Highlights

cycle to Lion’s Gate at Mycenae, Europe’s oldest monument

Visit Bourtzi island with lovely views of Nafplio

Swim in the underwater sea cave on Spetses island

Listen to a stage whisper at 3rd century BC Epidavros Theatre

Climb the 999 steps to 17th century Palamidi Fortress

Saronic Coast Cycling

Other Self-Guided Tours

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