The region of the Peloponnese lies in the southern part of Greece, an enormous peninsula connected to the mainland with the Isthmus of the Corinth. A popular destination all year round, Peloponnese offers stunning beaches, valuable archaeological sites, and amazing mountain landscapes as well. The best way to explore its variety and diversity is by car.
A road trip around Peloponnese is a worthwhile experience, with breathtaking views, countless destinations, and time-travel back in history. Here’s a proposed itinerary for a 9-days-trip, with additional options for a 2-days-extension.
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A 10 to 12 Day Comprehensive Peloponnese Road Trip Itinerary
Driving in Greece- Renting a car
The road network in the Peloponnese region is relatively new so safe and comfortable, although some mountainous destinations have lots of zig-zags and sharp turns. Generally, the central routes, like route 8 connecting Athens with Peloponnese and big routes such as 66, E65, 7, 111, 33, and 74 are asphalt routes for a smooth road trip. Renting a car is easy and cheap for such a trip, ensuring you will have the luxury of planning your trip, stopping wherever you wish, and changing course any time. The best option would be to rent a car from the center of Athens and begin your journey from there.
Tip: Remember, in Greece, they drive on the right-hand side of the road, always with seatbelts and safety precautions taken.
I recommend booking a car through rentalcars.com where you can compare all rental car agencies’ prices, and you can cancel or modify your booking for free. They also guarantee the best price. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Day 1: Athens to Nafplio
The trip from Athens to Nafplio lasts approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes, and the distance is 138 km. Route 8 will lead you from Athens to the Isthmus of Corinth, which is an amazing spot to make a stop and enjoy the scenery of the two steep cliffs on each side, connected by the land bridge. Take photos and catch a snack before you head off towards Mycenae, a stunning archaeological site in Argolis only 48 km away from Corinth.
The Ancient Citadel of Mycenae
The marvelous ancient citadel of Mycenae of King Agamemnon is known from Homer and it was at its peak in 1600 BC. Its imposing architecture and royal complex, combined with the awe-inspiring landscape of high hills and raw nature make it a once-in-a-lifetime visit experience.
Ticket prices for the site can be found here analytically, but generally begin at 6 Euros reduced and 12 Euros full ticket.
In Mycenae you can marvel at:
- The Lion Gate of the Citadel
- The Archaeological Museum of Mycenae
- The Treasury of Atreus
- The Tomb of Clytemnestra
- The Tomb of Agamemnon
- The Grave Circle A
- The Cyclopean Walls
Only 24 km away from the ancient citadel, you can find Nafplio, the first capital of the newly-founded state of Greece. Nafplio is surely a place in Greece to see, with its picturesque neoclassical architecture, pastel colors, and Venetian influence.
During your first visit after a long day on the route, don’t miss:
- Strolling through Nafplio’s alleys
- Enjoy your coffee at the central square with great views
- Eat a traditional Greek meal in a cozy tavern
- Visit the Archaeological Museum or the War Museum
- Stroll the Arvanitia Promenade by dusk for some sea view.
Stay in Nafplio – Recommeded Hotels
Hotel Ippoliti: Located in the Old Town of Nafplio, this hotel has an overall score of 9.1 on Booking, with a 9.5 for cleanliness. Located only 450 meters from the seaside, it offers balconies overlooking the Bourtzi Castle, a swimming pool, and various facilities. – Click here for more information and to book your stay.
Nafplia Palace Hotel & Villas: Located in Akronaflpia, this hotel is practically built by the sea, offering stunning views of the Argolic Bay. It offers room service, breakfast, and landmark views, as well as two swimming pools. Click here for more information and to book your stay.
Day 2: Nafplio – Epidaurus
Setting off early in the morning, you can hit the road again, this time to Epidavros, another iconic ancient site of immeasurable value. Located 26 km away, it is the perfect destination only 31 minutes away. Dating as back as the 6th century BC, the small city and the theatre were dedicated to Asclepius, the God of healing, used for therapeutical ceremonies and rituals.
Sites to see in Epidaurus:
- The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus
- Roman Baths
- Sculpture of Asclepius
The ticket price for the theatre is 12 Euros full and 6 Euros for the reduced version. Find more here.
What to do in Nafplio upon return:
- Climb the stairs to Palamidi Fortress
Built in 1714, this baroque fortress by the Venetians is an imposing sight over the town. To reach it, you can either climb 913 steps or grab a taxi and get to the top of it to enjoy the amazing views of the surrounding area and take awesome photos.
- Take a boat to Bourtzi Castle
A fort, but this time built in the sea, Bourtzi is an Italian Castle-Island, decorating the horizon opposite the city. Built in 1453, the site is in excellent condition, and you can visit it by grabbing a boat with only 4,50 Euros to get closer in 10 mins and drop anchor to enjoy the views.
- Swim at Arvanitia Beach
You might also like: The best beaches in Peloponnese.
Stay in Nafplio
Day 3 Nafplio – Mystras – Monemvasia
Starting from Nafplio in the morning, you will reach Mystras is approximately 149 km, almost 2 hours away.
The city of Mystras was the capital of the Morea Region of the Byzantine period dating back to the 13th-15th century. The fortified city surrounded by mountains and untamed nature is a historical visit one cannot forget. It is protected by UNESCO as a Historical World Heritage site.
Check out the churches and their interior architecture as well as the ruins.
Things to See in Mystras:
- Cathedral of Agios Demetrios
- The Palace of the Despots
- The Archaeological Museum
- Church of Panagia Perivleptos
- Cave of Kaiadas
From Mystras, you can then head to Monemvasia, where you will stay overnight. Monemvasia is about an hour and a half away approximately, separated by 91 km from the site of Mystras.
The stunning old town in Laconia is like a travel back in time. The small rock Island with its Medieval castle, preserved at its finest, is connected to the mainland via a pathway. Incredible views, traditional architecture, and lovely beaches nearby are surely worth the visit!
Things to do in Monemvasia
- Stroll around the medieval city
- Visit the Castle of Monemvasia
- The Church of Agia Sofia
- Learn history at the Archaeological Museum
- Swim at Xifias Beach
Stay in Monemvasia – Recommended Hotels
Kalnterimi Suites: Located close to the gate of the Medieval Castle, Kalnterimi Suites offers luxurious rooms with windows to the sea, air-conditioning, WiFi, and an equipped kitchen. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
House in the Castle: Exceptional reviews of 9.7 with the castle apartments air-conditioned with facilities, terrace views of the sea, and amazing traditional architecture. Each apartment comes with a dining and sitting room, as well as a kitchen with a coffee machine and stove. WiFi is also provided. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Day 4 Monemvasia-Elafonisos
On the fourth day of your trip, you can head to Elafonisos from Monemvasia, and reach the destination in about an hour and a half. The fastest route is taking the route via Eparchiaki Odos Monemvasias-Neapolis, which is 41.6 km long and includes a ferry to the island.
Elafonisos is a heavenly destination, especially during the summertime, when it’s worth diving into the crystal-clear waters or simply sunbathe on the sandy shore. Its beaches are peaceful and ideal for nature lovers, with colorful flowers and an amazing seabed to explore by snorkeling.
Things to see around Elafonisos:
- Simos Beach
- Pounta Beach
- Agios Spiridon Church
Stay in Elafonisos – Recommended Hotels
If it is summer and the weather permits, then stopping here to stay overnight is the best option. If you are planning to visit it during wintertime, you should head to Limeni through Gythio, which is the next day’s destination for this itinerary.
Here are some accommodation options for the summer:
Element Hotel Elafonisos: Ideally located only 500 meters away from Panagia Beach with its golden sand and unforgettable sunset, this three-star hotel has an overall score of 9.2 thanks to the ideal location, sea view, breakfast, and excellent amenities. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Capari Suites: At the greenest part of Elafonisos, this secluded resort offers great views of the mountains and hills and the whole Laconian Gulf. Only 350 meters away from Kalogeras beach, with a swimming pool, breakfast, and air-conditioning, it lacks in nothing. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices,
Day 5 Elafonisos – Gytheio–Navagio Dimitrios – Limeni
Starting early, you will then head to Limeni in Lakoniki Mani, found at the middle peninsula of the Peloponnese. The route is more or less three hours, almost 124 km, and although the road is well-built, it will not be an easy trip, so prepare with some snacks and refreshments, and make stops when you have to.
One such stop that is also perfect for photos is Gytheio, almost at the 92nd km. Its vibrant colors and promenade by the seaside are pretty Instagram-able.
The next stop would be Navagio Dimitrios, which is an amazingly picturesque shipwreck, perfect for photos and worth exploring. The ghost-like abandoned shipwreck stranded there since 1981 frames Valtaki beach outside of Gytheio.
Limeni of Aeropoli is a small port, with bright turquoise waters and taverns and cafes onshore. The shore is accessible by steps, and there is no beach practically. The place is perfect for trying traditional cuisine, strolling around, and enjoying traditional architectural views.
What else to do in Limeni:
- The Old Tower of Mavromichalis Family
- The Church of Panagia
Stay in Limeni – Recommended Hotels
Pyrgos Mavromichali: You can stay at the restored 18th-century tower known as Pyrgos Mavromichali, which is now a 4-stars-resort. The vintage architecture with wooden and stone elements offers many modern amenities, and breakfast is served in the traditional monastery dining room. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Vasilios Apartments Hotel: Situated just 200m from the coast, another beautiful stone-built, and traditional resort, this hotel offers fully equipped apartments with a great view. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Day 6 Limeni – Oitylo, Pyrgos Dirou, Gerolimenas, Vathia
The sixth day of your Peloponnese itinerary is a day for excursions around the area. Setting off from Limeni, the very traditional and picturesque village of Oitylo, rich in history and mentioned by Homer, is only 10 minutes away at a distance of almost 7 km.
Things to do in Oitylo:
- Walk the paved alleyways
- Visit the Church of Saint George
- Marvel at the 18th-century frescoes at the Monastery of Dekoulon
From Oitylo, you can reach the amazing destination called Pyrgos Dirou in 18 kilometers. This will take 23-25 minutes approximately, but with sharp turns along the route.
Pyrgos Dirou is a coastal location of extraordinary natural beauty, visited by many travelers who wish to explore more of Peloponnese. This village carries the history of a fight against the invasion of Ibrahim back in 1826.
- The famous Cave of Diros
- The beach nearby
- The Neolithic Museum of Diros
- Hiking to Profitis Ilias from Pyrgos Dirou
- Sklavounakos Tower in Pyrgos Dirou
Next stop: Gerolimenas! Going southern, you will find Gerolimenas after 18 km and approximately 20 minutes of driving.
Situated at “Cavo Grosso” Gerolimenas is yet another coastal traditional village with a small harbor, from which it took half of its name.
Things to do:
- Eat and drink at local taverns by the seaside
- Swim at Gerolimenas beach nearby
- Visit the Church of St. Nikolaos and the chapel
- Taste and buy local virgin oil, honey, and more
The last stop of the day is the village of Vathia, known as the most photographed village in Mani. It will take 16 minutes to reach the village via a coastal route of 10 km.
Vathia is not like the typical Greek villages. It is fortified so much so that the houses resemble small towers or bastions, used to protect the inhabitants from invasion and enemies. Everything is built in stone upon a hill, looking as medieval as could be. Although the village is abandoned, it is generally restored well.
Stay in Limeni
Plan your return to Limeni, as it takes approximately 50 minutes. The distance is a little less than 40 kilometers. Spend the night in Limeni.
Day 7 Limeni, Kardamyli, Ancient Messini, Methoni
Located 42 km away from Limeni to the north is Kardamyli, a beautiful fishing village with great beaches and lush nature. The road trip will last approximately 54 minutes.
Places to visit in Kardamyli:
- Mourtzinos tower
- Hamlet of Kalamitsi: poet Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor’s house
- The small port
- Foneas Beach
- Church of Agia Sophia
Buckle up because you are headed to Methoni, on the left “leg” of Peloponnese, where you can also find Ancient Methoni. The distance is exactly 100 km and the trip will last 2 hours more or less.
From Kardamyli to the Ancient City of Methoni, you will have to cross 70 km and drive for about 1 hour and 21 minutes.
Dating as back as 371 B.C, Ancient Messini is a valuable archaeological site, and the birthplace of Zeus, as the legend goes. Built near the village Mavromati in the mountainous Ithoni, Ancient Messini is a significant cultural heritage.
The ticket price is 10 Euros per adult person. Reduced tickets are 5 Euros. Find more details here.
What you’ll find there:
- The theatre
- The agora
- The Arcadian Gate
- The Sanctuary of Asclepius
- The Museum of the site (included)
Your next and final destination for the day, Methoni, is 78 km and 1 hour and 25 minutes away.
The ancient city of Methoni is mentioned in the Iliad as the location was offered to Achilles by Agamemnon to lure him to participate in the Trojan war. The village is rich in history and beautiful in architecture, with the fortified castle standing imposingly on the promontory.
What to see in Methoni:
- Methoni’s Castle
- Methoni beach
Stay in Methoni – Recommended Hotels
Niriides Luxury Villas: located just 100 meters from Methoni beach, this three-stars-resort offers luxurious villas with air-conditioning, WiFi, and free parking on site. It boasts a beautiful outdoor pool and a side-bar to relax and enjoy. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Abeloessa Methonian Hospitality: This resort is ideally situated near town, with an outdoor swimming pool and beautiful garden. All amenities are included, as well as continental or à la carte breakfast. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Day 8: Explore Methoni, Koroni, Pylos, Voidokilia
If you wish to explore more of Methoni, you could go on a morning boat trip to Sapientza island opposite. It has stunning virgin beaches and wild landscapes to explore.
Head to Koroni, the opposite medieval of this peninsula, only 36 minutes and 30 km away to the east. Koroni’s medieval Venetian castle was built in the 13th century and still lies preserved, decorating the area. Stroll around and discover its secrets.
What to see in Koroni:
- Koroni’s Castle
- Zagka Beach
- Karapavlos House
- Agios Ioannis Monastery
- Kolonides beach
Hit the road again towards Pylos, another unforgettable destination located 45 minutes and 40 km away from Koroni.
Built in as an amphitheatrical seaside town, beautiful Pylos is on the bay of Navarino, where the famous battle of Navarino took place.
What to do in Pylos:
- Explore Koroni’s Castle
- Visit Niokastro (New Castle)
- Grab something to eat around the Square of Trion Navarchon
Nearby, you will find the region of Voidokilia, one of the most popular beaches in mainland Greece. It is exactly 17 km away and it will take you 16 minutes to get there.
Voidokilia is a protected region that also hosts the Wildlife Park of Lake Ntivari, and it has an extraordinary natural beauty, shaped in a semicircle of dunes and emerald waters.
What else to see:
- Discover the secrets of Nestor’s Cave
- Enjoy the Gialova Lagoon
- Visit the Paleokastro (Old Castle)
Spend the night in Methoni.
Day 9 Methoni – Neda Waterfalls, Bassae Apollonas – Ancient Olympia
Rising early is a good choice for the eighth day of the road trip, as the next stop of Neda Waterfalls is 2 hours and 10 minutes away at 102 km.
The magical Waterfalls of Neda in Kyparissia, at the Mountain Lycaio, with their frisky water and magnificent beauty is a very popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s a great destination for hiking, swimming, and enjoying pure nature.
Don’t miss the Temple of Bassae Apollonas, dedicated to the god of sunlight and healing, at the mountains of Arcadia. The imposing temple of Archaic Style also has some Doric elements and is surely worth a visit.
Head towards the final destination of the day, Ancient Olympia, where you can explore ancient civilization at its finest. It is 1 hour and 48 minutes and 87 km away. The best solution would be to rest after a long day of hiking.
Stay in Ancient Olympia – Recommended Hotels
Hotel Europa Olympia: This four-stars-resort is built on Drouvas Hill of ancient Olympia, with a swimming pool, a tavern, bars, and a pool-bar. Its breakfast is rated as Exceptional, and its location is only 1 km away from the ancient sites. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
The Mansion of Dionisos and Dimitras: Located 6 km away from Ancient Olympia, this secluded residence hotel has a private pool and a garden, with mountain views of the Arcadian Mountains and the valley. English/Irish breakfast is served. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Day 10 morning explore Ancient Olympia – drive back to Athens
You’ll need a full day to marvel at the site of Ancient Olympia, whose rich history and natural beauty are worth your time. This is also the last stop of the planned itinerary, so make it count.
With Mountain Kronios as a background, this city was dedicated to Zeus, Father of all Gods. There are not only artifacts from the 8th century B.C but also neolithic findings on site. It is an archaeological site of great significance to the legacy of the ancient civilization of Greece.
What you’ll find on-site:
- Temple of Zeus
- Temple of Hera
- The Ancient Stadium and Ancient Gymnasium
- The Palaestra
- Pheidias’ Workshop
- The Archaeological Museum of Olympia
The trip back to Athens is lengthy: 291 km of distance which will normally take you 3 and a half hours.
Day 11 Ancient Olympia – Nafpaktos (Rio-Antirrio Bridge) – Galaxidi – Delphi
If you can afford the luxury of time, then this trip can be extended by two days and you can get to discover more popular locations.
A suggested next stop from Ancient Olympia would be driving to Nafpaktos, which is 2 hours and 141 km away. To get there, you will have to cross the Rio-Antirrio Bridge, which is one of the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed fully suspended bridges in the world. The photos you can take there are awesome.
This town looks as if it came out of a fairy-tale, with its Venetian architecture and the medieval vibe. Built upon a hill but overlooking a port, Nafpaktos has everything to offer, and great coffee shops and restaurants to enjoy the lovely view.
What else to find in Nafpaktos:
- Venetian Fortress
- Tower of Botsaris
- Statue of Anemogiannis
- Statue of Miguel de Cervantes and other monuments for the 1571 Battle of Lepanto
- Local Museum
The next stop is Galaxidi, at approximately 66 km and 54 minutes.
Built on the ruins of ancient habitation, this bricolage of cultures and eras is mesmerizing for visitors. Vibrant copper-painted and pastel houses and the endless bright blue sea create an unforgettable contrast to the eye. Enjoy the serenity.
What is there to see?
- The famous Kapetanospita (old stately houses)
- The Archaeological Collection
- The Maritime and Historical Museum
- Tomb of king Locros
- Remains of the walls of ancient Oianthi
Head to Delphi, your final destination, where you will stay overnight. The distance is 33 km and the drive will last 35 minutes.
Stay in Delphi – Recommended Hotels
Acropole Delphi City Hotel: Ideally located only 450 meters away from the archaeological site and in the center of Delphi. The rooms have lovely views of the gorge of Delphi, with terraces hanging from the air. Amenities are included and breakfast is reviewed as very good. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Nidimos Hotel: With breathtaking mountain views, three-star-hotel Nidimos has an exceptional score of 9.3. Rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, flat TVs, and balconies to enjoy the views. It also has a coffee bar and it serves a superb breakfast per visitors’ reviews. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Day 12 explore Delphi – Arachova – Athens
During the last morning, seize the opportunity to unravel the mysteries of Delphi, a most known ancient site, formerly described as the “navel of the world.” There used to lie the oracle of Priestess Pythia, who foresaw the future according to the myths. It is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site as one of the places where Greek unity as a concept of nationality was formed. It is built near Mount Parnassus. The site is laden with monuments and artifacts, and the suggested visit is 4 hours.
Ticket prices for the site are 12 Euros and 6 Euros for the reduced. Find details here.
What you will see in Delphi:
- Temple of Apollo
- Treasury of the Athenians
- Stoa of the Athenians
- The Ancient Theatre
- The Sacred Way
- The Castalian Fountain
- Tholos of Athena Pronaia
- The Museum of Delphi
Just 12 km and 15 minutes away from Delphi, you will find Arachova.
Built on the slope of Parnassus, almost 1000 meters in altitude, Arachova is a picturesque mountain town, whose center has a steep cliff with a clock on its peak. Known as the most popular (winter) destination thanks to its proximity to Athens, it offers everything a visitor could need.
Things to Explore:
- Parnassos National Park
- Eptalofos Village
- Ethnographic Museum
- Corycian Cave or Sarantavli
Upon return to Athens, you will need 2 hours and 5 minutes, as the capital lies 171 km to the East.