PELOPONNESE SELF-GUIDED
epicenter of Greek myths and legends

The Peloponnese Peninsula has been inhabited for millennia and is the source of many of Greece’s most beloved mythological figures and real life heroes, from Jason and his Argonauts to King Leonidis of Sparta.   No wonder Lonely Planet named the Peloponnese the #1 European destination in 2016.

You will visit the region’s most legendary sites as you ascend mountain roads, hug gorges, follow seacoast roads and overnight in memorable accommodations where the hosts make you feel proud to have arrived by bike.  Most of the route consists of rural back roads.

Like Crete, the Peloponnese terrain beckons the seasoned cyclist.  The highest elevation is 2985 feet 909 meters, on a long cycling day, 107 km 66 miles, from Nafplio to Dimitsana.  If those numbers are within your ability,  you will love pedaling across the Peloponnese.

Before or after your self-guided tour, we recommend booking the four day, four night 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 6 days)
Add-ons
yes,  Athens – see Add-on tab
Arrival City Athens
Arrival transfer see Extras tab
Tour Start Point either Corinth or Poros island
Tour End Point Loutraki
 Minimum Age
18
Total Mileage 595 km, 370 miles for standard 8 Day tour
Highest Elevation
1103 m, 3618 feet
Rating Advanced – 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, but it can be changed to add days or delete destinations.  For example, if you want to stay two nights in the Arcadia Mountains in Dimitsana, either add one more day to the tour or delete the second night in Kalavrita.

Day 1:  Napflio

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

Nafplio is the prettiest city in the Peloponnese. You will yearn to stay more than two nights, but you must move on. En route cycling to Nafplio you make a pit stop at the day’s highlight, the 3rd century BC Epidavros Theatre whose acoustics are impeccable.

Day 2:   Nafplio

The rural route to ancient Mycenae passes through orange groves to bring you to the home of Agamemnon who launched the Trojan War.  On your return to Nafplio don’t fail to climb the 999 steps to the Palamidi, the formidable 17th century Venetian fortress.  48.50 km, 29.80 miles

Day 3: Dimitsana

Today is all about climbing. The first mountain is “bald,” no trees, which permits a panoramic view of a series of distant mountains reminiscent of sea waves.   After lunch in Tripoli, you climb into the heart of Arcadia where the landscape is more verdant and the villages charming.  118.50 km, 73.70 miles,

Instead of biking to Olympia tomorrow, option to stay a second night in Dimitsana instead of two nights in Kalavrita.  With a second day in Dimitsana you can bike to the trailhead of the Lousios Gorge and spend the day hiking to a fascinating monastery in a cliff and the “secret school.”    See the video on this page of the lovely bells at the monastery.

Day 4:  Olympia

Before leaving Dimitsana make a visit to the truly fascinating live-action water power museum which brings alive what pre-industrial life was like  in Arcadia. The ride ends cycling past the Ancient Olympia stadium, the ruins lying within a discus throw of your bike route.  Tour the grounds and its great museum.  77 km, 47.80 miles

Day 5:  Lampei

If you didn’t have time to tour Ancient Olympia yesterday you can do so this morning because Lampei is less than a four hour ride.   Lampei is a true mountain village with no bank, no post office, no pharmacy, but it does have a guesthouse and the residents hang out at several cafes and the Balcony taverna.  No tourists!   42.25 km, 26 miles  Add 8 km, 5 miles for a side detour to the marvelous Foloi Oak Forest.

Day 6:  Kalavrita

.You’re in the middle of the Peloponnese, up in the mountains, but riding a ridge so it is basically flat almost the entire ride, except for the last ten miles when you face a steep ascent for about ten miles. Before tackling that climb, best to stop at the natural phenomena known as Cave of the Lakes, a series of underwater lakes inside a cave.  74.50 km, 46 miles

Day 7:  Kalavrita

A hilly route surrounded by imposing mountains. Your destination is a little village church whose interior will amaze you. We’ll keep it a secret until then.  Be sure to visit the Kalavrita museum detailing the German massacre of the town’s male visitors during World War II which is still a very potent memory to the locals.   51 km, 32 miles

Day 8:  Departure  Athens or Athens Airport

The longest cycling day is the last day of the tour, from Kalavrita to Loutraki.  But don’t fret, it is mostly downhill and all flat hugging the Corinth Gulf sea coast biking eastward towards Athens.  End the ride at the glorious Loutraki Bay with its expansive beach and seaside fish tavernas.  112.50 km, 70 miles

Day 8 Logistics   We meet you in Loutraki for a transfer back to central Athens as part of your tour price.  Alternatively, for a fee, we can meet you in Xylokastro which shaves some mileage off your ride so you bike only 72.50, 45 miles  If you have an early morning flight the next day, for an additional modest fee, we can also transfer you to Athens Airport to overnight either at the Holiday Inn (20 minutes shuttle to airport) or the Sofitel (walk  across the street to terminals).  Contact us for info about transfer fees fees.

 

Day 1 LogisticsOn 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 Nafplio (69 km, 42 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 Nafplio (77 km, 47.80 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 Nafplio from there (77. 50 km, 48 miles).

Ambitious cyclists can disembark the train earlier at Agio Theodoro 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 (92.50 km, 57 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 Theodori 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
2320 euros per person
3 riders
2050 euros
4 riders
1900 euros per person
Single Supplement
450 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:  5 luggage transfers

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

Day 8 transfer:  from Loutraki beach to your central Athens hotel, with bikes and luggage

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.

GPS device:  Oregon 450 with programmed routes, arrow indicating route and turns. Bike mount for GPS. One device/mount per group.

Cue sheets   turn by turn directions plus distance/elevation profiles

MealsBreakfasts are included at each hotel.

Maps of the region

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

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 to/from airport before and after the tour – see Extras tab

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

• All meals except breakfast

• 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

  • 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.

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.

Accommodations
An indicative hotel for the Peloponnese Self-Guided is the family run Kynaitha Hotel in Kalavrita.

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.

Peloponnese Photo Gallery

  • Monastery
  • Cyclist
  • Monastery
  • Cyclist

Pre & Post Tour Add-Ons

Tour Highlights

Cycle directly to Ancient Olympia and run the length of the stadium

Ascend up to the traditional villages in the Arcadia Mountains

Visit the underground Cave of the Lakes near Kalavrita

Indulge in the famous Nemean wine while in Nafplio

Stand in the last tier at Epidavros Theatre and hear whispers from the stage

Arcadian Bells

Other Self-Guided Tours

TOUR RATING SYSTEM

FAQ’s FOR SELF-GUIDED TOURS

ALL TOURS

CONTACT US