SACRED SITES 
cycle directly to legendary ruins in the Peloponnese

Sacred Sites on this tour:  Temple of Poseidon, Ancient Corinth, Ancient Nemea, Ancient Isthmia, Ancient Mycenae, Epidavros Theatre, Ancient Olympia

Overnight Destinations:  Athens, Corinth, Nafplio, Dimitsana, Olympia, Lampeia, Kalavrita, Pireaus

Rural cycling prevails.  Tour highlights include 3rd century BC Epidavros Theatre, once the largest healing center in the ancient world and Ancient Mycenae where King Agamemnon ruled who launched the Trojan War.   Athletic competitions were held in four cities; on this tour you visit three of them — Olympia, Nemea, and Isthmia, but regrettably no time for Ancient Delphi.

Lonely Planet named the Peloponnese peninsula the #1 European destination in 2016.  Outside magazine named our Sacred Sites  tour one of the 6 Best Cycling Tours in Europe.

After a vigorous bike tour which ends on Thursday morning, we recommend the Hydra Island Escape for three nights of pure R & R.    

Details

2019 Dates May 19-30,

October 15-26

Duration 11 nights, 12 days
Add-ons
Hydra Island Escape see Add-on tab
Arrival City Athens
Arrival transfer see Extras tab
Tour Start Point Athens
Tour End Point Piraeus
Minimum Age
 18
Minimum Pax
 8
Maximum Pax
16
Total Mileage 676 km, 419 miles
Highest Elevation
 1103 m, 3618 feet
Rating Active to Advanced  see Rating System

Itinerary

Sacred Sites 11 nights, 12 days  

Day 1 Athens 

Arrival to Athens, one of the world’s oldest capital cities.   The welcome dinner takes place in the Plaka, the center of historic central Athens.

Day 2 Athens  

Temple to Temple ride.  Start at the Temple of Athena (Acropolis) to take the car-free bike path to the coast and follow the coastal road to the tip of the Attica peninsula to the Temple of Poseidon.   70 km, 43 miles   Lunch at a fish taverna.  Vehicle transfer back to Athens.  Riders do not enter Acropolis (it would take too much time) but do enter the small Temple of Poseidon site with its magnificent 360 degree views of the Aegean . Look for Lord Byron’s signature carved in the marble Temple column.

Day 3  Corinth — Kalamaki Beach

At Perama port we catch the 20 minute ferry to Salamina island where the important Battle of Salamis took place that changed the course of Western Civilization.  Cycle across the island to catch a ten minute ferry back to the mainland, hugging the mostly flat coastline to Corinth Canal for terrific photo ops.   A final stop is Isthmia, one of four sites where athletic competitions were held in ancient times.   62 km, 38 miles

Day 4 Nafplio 

Cycle to three archaeology sites in one day!  Bike to Ancient Corinth where St. Paul preached and then to Ancient Nemea, site of one of four Olympic-style games.  Finally, cycle to Ancient Mycenae for private with professional guide.  After the tour, bike to Nafplio, the prettiest little city in the Peloponnese and modern’s Greece’s first capital.    82.70 km, 51 miles

Day 5 Nafplio

Bike to the healing site of Epidavros Theatre for a private tour with professional guide, 26.80km, 16.60 miles.    On the return route, a detour to lovely Vivari beach with lunch at seaside taverna, swimming in sea.  45.15 km, 28 miles.   Before dinner, learn about Greek wines in a wine tasting session with a local professional.

Day 6 Dimitsana

Today is the hardest day of the tour, biking deep up into the Arcadia Mountains, a region brimming with tradition, history and mythology.  107.60 km, 66.80 miles

Day 7 Dimitsana

After yesterday’s long haul, today is a rest day.   Option to bike to the amazing St. John the Baptist Monastery, 30 km, 18 miles, hike a dirt path 4 km in the Lousios Gorge to visit the “Secret School” and Philosopho Monastery.  Lunch in cute little Stemnitsa village.

Day 8 Olympia 

From Dimitsana to Olympia there’s a thrilling descent hugging the Lousios Gorge.  You are now leaving the Arcadia Mountains to lower elevations.   The biking route is flatter but with several hills too.  At the end, before you know it, you are cycling past the ancient Olympic Stadium.   Pre-dinner honey tasting at a honey farm 76 km, 50 miles

Day 9 Lampeia

Morning tour with professional guide at ancient Olympia whose Temple of Zeus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Afternoon biking we return  to the mountains, traditional villages, goat herds, gushing water sources.  Lunch is at Foloi, a rare oak forest inhabited by centaurs!   54km, 33.50 miles

Day 10  Kalavrita

Bike Lampeia to Kalavrita, cycling a mountain ridge with lunch at a special river side taverna with fresh trout.  After a guided tour inside the fascinating Cave of the Lakes, a steep 15 km climb ensues approaching Kalavrita.   Don’t worry your hotel has spa services, including massages.   76.50 km, 47.50 miles

Day 11  Piraeus

Leaving Kalavrita cycle down the mountain and along the flat coast hugging the sea all the way to Loutraki Beach  115 km, 71 miles.   Vehicle transfer to Piraeus port with a farewell dinner at one of the loveliest marinas on the Athenian coastline.

Day 12  depart  

Add-on Hydra Island Escape

May 30 – June 2   after Sacred Sites Tour

October 12 – 15   before Sacred Sites Tour

Hydra is one of Greece’s most popular islands for many reasons.  For one, it is very near Athens, only a two hour sea transfer.  For two, it is car-free, not even any motorcycles, which means serenity prevails.  For three, it is an artists island, a place where talent gravitates as reflected in the beautiful architectural landscape.  The fact that artists abound means fine shopping whether for original clothes, jewelry, or artwork all crafted in distinct Greek tones.

Activities on Hydra

Swimming at four different beaches where the water is very blue and very pristine

Hiking various trails including up to Prophet Ilias Monastery where the guerrilla leader Kolokotronis was held in a cell that still commemorates his presence there.

Visiting museums, including the Deste Foundation’s Slaughterhouse art gallery, the Historical Museum with a focus on Hydra’s naval history and the elegant 18th century Lazaros Koundouriotis Mansion.

Horseback riding tours to the monastery or a beach

Strolling one of Greece’s most gorgeous island towns, walking the labyrinth streets, getting lost and not caring because it’s always easy to head for the sea

On day 4 you return to Piraeus port.

COST

760 euros per person based on double occupancy for 2-4 persons

720 euros for single person

INCLUSIONS

3 nights accommodations:    4 star hotel on Hydra, upscale hotel with swimming pool in beautiful, romantic, restored old mansion.

Luggage transfers: Between Hydra port and Hydra hotel.

2 sea transfers: Piraeus to Hydra on Day 1 and Hydra to Piraeus on Day 4

Transfers  between airport and Piraeus port

EXCLUSIONS

  • All meals except breakfasts
  • Port & airport transfers
  • Activities on Hydra
  • Travel Insurance.  See Extras tab

Cost in euros based on double occupancy

Sacred Sites Tour Cost
4290 euros per person
Sacred Sites Single Supplement
1170 euros

See daily exchange rates

TOUR INCLUSIONS

11 nights 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

Bikes: Specialized road bike. Triple chain ring, 27 gears, carbon fiber fork. Carbon Tarmac bikes are available as an upgrade for 400 euros.   Electric bikes are available as an upgrade for 350 euros.   Regular pedals or toe clips on request. You are welcome to bring your own clip-in pedals and shoes.  See Our Bikes and Our 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, 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:  Tour Leader handles all the tour logistics and rides with the group

All Meals:

  • Breakfasts are included at each hotel
  • Ten lunches — you choose from the menu
  • Eleven dinners consisting of 2-3 appetizers and salad chosen by us and shared by the group. You are offered an entrée choice, usually a meat, fish or vegetarian dish. Dessert, house wine or beer, water or beverage

Archaeology Guide:  Private tour with professional guide at Epidavros Theatre, Ancient Mycenae, and Ancient Olympia

Entrance fees:  Temple of Poseidon, Ancient Nemea, Epidavros Theatre, Mycenae, Olympia, Cave of the Lakes

Wine Tasting Session:  Wine tasting with local expert in Nafplio

Honey Tasting Session:  Honey tasting at a honey farm in Olympia

Cue sheets for daily rides

GPX tracks for those bringing their own Garmin device

Trip packet:  useful and interesting information about the regions, packing tips, general travel info for Greece

CycleGreece jersey: short sleeved, rear pockets, locally made

CycleGreece lite backpack:   17” x 13”,  43cm x 33cm

Gratuities & VAT taxes

TOUR EXCLUSIONS

  • Airfare to/from Greece
  • Transfers to/from airport – See Extras tab
  • Alcoholic beverages (other than house wine)
  • Drinks and coffee at café pit stops
  • Travel insurance – required. We are official Travel Guard agents and can book a policy or provide a quote for U.S. citizens.  See Extras tab 
  • Tips for CycleGreece guides and drivers, at your discretion

TAKE NOTE

  • Participants are required to sign our Waiver
  • Participants are required to agree to the Booking Agreement
  • Travel Insurance is required as a condition for participation in a CycleGreece tour

Electric Bike

Carbon Road Bike

  • Upgrade to a Specialized Tarmac Sport, carbon fiber frame and fork. Cost is 440 euros for a 12 day tour. See Our Bikes and Our 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 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.

Accommodations

An indicative hotel for the Peloponnese Self-Guided is the family run Kynaitha Hotel in Kalavrita with balconies overlooking the town plaza.

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 Sacred Sites 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.

Sacred Sites Photo Gallery

  • Ssroads
  • Ssroads

Pre & Post Tour Add-Ons

2019 Tour Dates

Spring: May 19 – 30

Autumn: October 15 – 26

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

2019 Dates for Hydra Island Escape Add-on

Spring: May 30 – June 2

Autumn: October 12 – 15

Tour Highlights

Stand on the last tier at Epidavros Theatre and hear a stage whisper

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

Put on a jacket to enter the amazing underground Cave of the Lakes

Peloponnese Cycling Scenes

Other Guided Tours

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