Peloponnese; the Grand Tour. A self-drive adventure

F-D Pel GT Road tripsSelf-driveFamily adventuresCulturalSelf guided OlympiaMethoniPylosKiparissiaGithioManiMystrasSpartaNafplioMonemvasiaAthens


  • Olympia: The cradle of the Olympic Games
  • Ancient Messene: a significant ancient city, a “must-see”
  • Methoni: The huge Venetian fortress
  • Mani: The tower houses in the rugged landscape
  • Mystras: Byzantine ruins, with frescoed churches
  • Crossing Mt. Taygetos
  • Monemvasia: the peninsula with the medieval town and fortress
  • Gythion: The picturesque harbor town
  • Driving on the scenic routes though Mt. Parnonas
  • Mycenae: The citadel of Atrides
  • The theater of Epidaurus: A marvel of acoustics and harmony
  • Nafplio: The picturesque old capital
During this 11-days “fly-drive”, self-guided Grand Tour, you will have the pleasure to explore some of the less known, yet of great importance, hidden treasure of southern Greece and the cultural and historical highlights of the Peloponnese as well. As the tour starts and ends in Athens, you will have the time to discover the essence of the Greek capital. You will have the opportunity to explore the major cultural highlights, visit the archaeological sites and museums, and enjoy its dazzling night-life.


Day 1: Arrival in Athens

Arrival in Athens International Airport and transfer to your hotel by metro, bus or taxi. 2 overnights in Athens.

Day 2: Athens; the “cradle of the western civilization”

Sightseeing city tour. We suggest to begin in the morning by visiting the Acropolis of Athens and then walk down to the Agora; the political and commercial center of the classical era, with the restored portico of Attalos and the very well preserved ancient temple of Hephaestus. Continue to Monastiraki and Plaka. Lunch break. In the afternoon you may visit the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum; its sculpture collection permits us to discover the evolution of Greek art during one millenary.

Day 3: Trip to Western Peloponnese. Isthmus of Corinthos, Patras and Olympia

In the morning, pick up the car from your hotel. You leave Athens and via the canal of Corinth (short stop recommended) you pass to the Peloponnese. In Patras you may visit the Archeological Museum and St. Andreas Cathedral. Arrival in Olympia. 1 overnight.
Total driving distance approx. 330 km, 4h 30 min

Day 4: Olympia; the “cradle of the Olympic Games”. To the west coast

Half-day visit to Ancient Olympia. In Olympia since the earliest times sport competitions took place, recorded for the first time in 776 B.C.; that was the year of the first Olympiad. Since then and for over a millenary, every four years the Olympic Games took place; until the day when they had been banned by the Christian emperors of Byzantium. It took 1500 years, until 1896, when they were relaunched. You visit the sanctuary of Zeus with its temples, the stadium and the palestra. The museum houses sculptures from the temple of Zeus, the Nike (Victory) of Paionios and Hermes of Praxiteles. It is time to get to the beautiful west coast and drive to Kyparissia. 2 overnights.
Total driving distance approx. 60 km, 1h

Day 5: Messenia. Exploration of the extreme southwest

For this day we propose you a circular excursion in Messenia. At first you get to Ancient Messene and visit the Archaeological Site and Museum, you drive to the Mycenaean Pylos and visit Nestor’s Palace and then to modern Pylos (medieval Navarino). There you have the opportunity for boat trip in the bay of Navarino, between Pylos and Sphacteria Island; or just a short stop at the seaside. Finally, you visit Methoni with its beautiful medieval fortress, before returning to Kyparissia along the SW coast.
Total driving distance approx. 175 - 200 km, 3h 30min - 4h

Day 6: Driving to the land of Laconia. Kalamata, Mystras, Sparta and Gythio

It’s time to leave the west coast driving towards the city of Kalamata. You continue further to the south, you cross Mt. Taygetos and arrive in Mystras where you visit the byzantine citadel, the “Pompeii of Greece”. Short stop in Sparta; opportunity to walk to the ancient theater on the slopes of the acropolis hill. Arrival in Gythion on the Laconian Gulf. 2 overnights.
Total driving distance approx. 170 km, 3h

Day 7: Discover the rough region of Mani

We propose you a circular excursion on the peninsula of Mani. Crossing the Mani peninsula from the Laconian to the Messenian Gulf you arrive to Areopolis; short visit of the old town. Opportunity to visit the Caves of Diros; an underground boat trip. Travelling along the Messenian Gulf you get to the village of Vathia and visit the traditional settlement with its tower-houses. Drive to Kokkinogia; opportunity to walk till Cape Taenaron, the southernmost edge of mainland Greece. Return to Gythion along the Laconian Gulf.
Total driving distance approx. 140 km, 2 h 15 min

Day 8: Further to the east. Monemvasia

Drive to Monemvasia. Time to explore the “Gibraltar of Greece”, visiting the Medieval Town and Fortress. 1 overnight.
Total driving distance approx. 67 km, 1 h 10 min

Day 9: Travelling towards the region of Argolis

You take a spectacular route to cross Mt Parnon and, passing by the villages Geraki, Kosmas and Leonidio you get to Argolis. Accommodation in Tolo or Nafplio. 2 overnights.
Total driving distance approx. 195 km, 3 h 50 min

Day 10: Discovering the legendary land of Argolis

Time to explore the historical highlights of Argolis. Mycenae was homeland of Agamemnon, military leader of the Greeks during the Trojan War; you visit the Citadel of Atrides with the “Lion Gate” and the Dome Tombs. The sanctuary of Asclepius in Epidaurus was known in the entire “known world”, as Greeks and foreigners prayed to the god for a miraculous cure or even expecting to receive medical treatment. The Theatre of Epidaurus is worldwide famous for its acoustics. Nafplio was the first capital of modern Greece; you visit the old picturesque city with its Venetian and neoclassical character and the fortress of Palamidi.
Total driving distance approx. 100 km, 1 h 50 min

Day 11: Departure. Goodbye!

Drive to Athens International Airport via the canal of Corinth. Drop off the car in the airport. End of services. Departure.
Total driving distance approx. 180 km, 2 min


Tailor Made


- 9 Days Car Rental
- 10 Overnights
- Breakfast in the hotel
- Road book / detailed descriptions
- Professional liability insurance
- VAT 24% and all taxes


- Flights to/from Athens
- Meals (others than breakfast)
- Drinks / beverages
- Visits and excursions
- Boat trip in Navarino
- Entry fees
- Fuel / Tolls
- Insurance and deposit auto rental (to be paid on the spot by credit card)
- Second driver (on arrangement / to be paid on the spot)
- GPS (upon request / to be paid on the spot)

For our 8-days Classical archeological self-drive tour click here.

  • Olympia
  • Methoni
  • Pylos
  • Kiparissia
  • Githio
  • Mani
  • Mystras
  • Sparta
  • Nafplio
  • Monemvasia
  • Athens
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