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Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

NY, NY
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Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

My friend and I are meeting up in Athens, renting a car and exploring Peloponnese, which sounds beautiful, for a week. We've never been and we're very excited to explore, learn and discover this ancient and vibrant region. After a ton of research here's my latest itinerary. I'd be grateful for any insights by more seasoned travelers.

Saturday:

Arrive in Athens, stay at Athens Gate Hotel.

Sunday:

Explore Athens historical sites, dinner somewhere fun.

Monday:

Get a rental convertible, drive to Kardamila via Mystras

Sleep in Kardamila

Tuesday:

Day hike in Kardamila, check out Diros caves, leave for Monemvasia

Sleep somewhere in or near Monemvasia.

Wednesday:

Explore Monemvasia. Sleep there again.

Thursday:

Day trip up the coast to Nafplio. Sleep there.

Friday:

Explore Mycenae or Epidauros from Nafplio base. Sleep in Nafplio again.

Saturday:

Sadly, drive to Athens airport from Nafplio and leave. Sigh.

I'm getting a bit worried that we're packing in too many sites, and not leaving enough time to just explore and let things happen.

Any thoughts? I'm thinking that Monemvasia looks pretty, but might be a bit boring. Maybe it's best for a single night? Are the Diros caves worth it? Should we do two nights in Kardamila, then a day trip to Monemvasia, then three nights in Nafplio?

Thanks very much in advance.

Molaoi, Greece
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for Naxos, Peloponnese
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1. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

There's nothing wrong with your schedule although you won't have a huge amount of time to catch your breath.

Don't leave it until the Monday before you arrange your hire car as you'll lose a chunk of the day sorting out the paperwork. You've probably already thought of this.

The Tuesday might be a bit rushed in which case you could check out the Diros Caves the next day if you head for Monemvasia via Areopoli and Gythio. Personally, caves don't do anything for me but don't let me put you off as the Diros Caves are pretty spectacular.

The best place to sleep near Monemvasia is in Gefira at the land side of the causeway. Don't miss Monemvasia which is a wonderful place and quite unique.

The drive up the coast from Monemvasia to Nafplio is fabulous but don't be fooled by maps which show a road between Kiparissi and Poulithra. You have to go inland via Skala, Geraki, Kosmas and Leonidio. Kosmas is a lovely spot for a break but you'll probably arrive in Leonidio about lunchtime in which case, head to Plaka (just south of the riverbed) where there's a lovely fish taverna right by the car park.

On the Friday, you will have time to see both Mycenae and Epidavros if you want but make sure that you give yourselves sufficient time to explore Nafplio.

NY, NY
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2. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

Thanks so much for the advice! I agree that we're not giving ourselves much time to catch our breaths, I'm just not sure where to fit in a three day visit. Maybe we'll just do overnights in Kardamila and Monemvasia, and then spend three nights in Nafplio, which seems the most interesting of all the places. My instinct is to skip Monemvasia in favor of more time at Kardamila which gives us time to explore the Mani peninsula, but everyone says Monemvasia is worth it. At least for a day trip, which I bet we could do... So many lovely places, so little time!

usa
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3. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

I would do Athens and Athens sights at the end instead of at the beginning. That's the advice we were given by ta detination experts, and it turned out to be right on the mark. Since you're already at the airport, you can rent the car from there and use that day to get to your first destination. You have to fly out of Athens at the end, so you return the car at the airport and fly off. It saves a ton of time. Enjoy the trip, I wish I was going back there!

Old Forge, New York
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4. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

I am an enthusiastic road triper in Greece, but I think I would agree, that you have a lot on your plate. You also should consider that if you are going in the heat of summer, a convertible may fry you a bit. (I did it once, but, hey, I have no hair..ouch)..but good ac and a car that is fun to drive, (we got a Volvo with a sunroof from Budget)...and safe can make the trip less stressful. Your day to Monemvassia is really hectic. I'd go from the airport to Naplion, crash for the night in a good hotel (wonderful introduction to Southern Greece, and then do the rest from there. Don't forget to leave room in your plans for no plans! Greece can do that to you. Have a great time, the above posts are great advice...stop in Gythion for at least a coffee, or grilled octopus (its the local specialty) on your way to the "Gibraltar of Greece"..you are going to love it! p.s. I'd be in Athens Thursday night, as Athens is so worth at least a couple nights.

Edited: 31 March 2010, 02:47
Molaoi, Greece
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5. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

stonefort - the advice to leave Athens to the end of the trip is given to island hoppers who may be stranded if their ferry doesn't turn up. It doesn't matter if you're on the mainland.

usa
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6. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

I was thinking more about saving time and using it in the best way.

NY, NY
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7. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

This is pretty funny -- what I'm hearing from everyone is to see all the sites, but they are too many to see! It really seems that the Peloponnese requires far more time than I'm giving it, but that's a nice problem to have. Also, for the record, we'll be traveling in a few weeks -- late April. Hopefully it will be warm but not hot. My latest thought is this:

Saturday - Athens arrival from NYC, sleep in Athens.

Sunday - explore in the AM, rent the car and drive to Nafplio. Sleep there.

Monday - Explore Nafplio. Sleep in Nafplio again.

Tuesday - Drive down to Kardamila via Mystras. Sleep in Kardamila.

Wednesday - Explore Mani, drive to Monemvasia. Sleep in Monemvasia.

Thursday - Drive up the coast back to Nafplio. Sleep in Nafplio.

Friday - Explore Nafplio environs. Sleep in Nafplio again.

Saturday - Sadly leave Greece!

I still feel like I'm doing a bit too much, but I'm loathe to miss Kardamila because the mountains and gorges seem too beautiful to miss. I'd skip Monemvasia, but everyone says not to. So that's the latest and greatest. Please share your comments with me, it's much appreciated.

Philadelphia
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8. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

IT would help if you said what time of day you arrive at Athens airport ... and what time of day your departure is... If you arrive on one of those morning planes, or early afternoon -- it might be more efficient to meet your friend at the airport, rent that car immediately and leave for Nafplio... and do the whole Athens bit at the end.

Why? (1) Because going in/out of city & checking in/out can waste valuable hours -- up to a half-day in your all-too-short visit; (2) It puts "exploring Nafplio" into Monday -- when the excellent Arch. Museum will be closed & perhaps other things u may wish to see ... moving Nafplio early would make Monday a "driving day" with visit to outdoor site (Mystras) which is open every day.

BTW, on your drive TO Nafplio, if you have that morning start, you may enjoy stopping at NEMEA Enroute... a few miles past Corinth, just a mile off the highway to the right -- it's the "sister site" to Olympia as a Sacred Games site... temple, museum, stadium, no crowds... u can see it in 30-45 minutes. Also, Nemea area is "winery Central" for the best red wine of Peloponnese.

be sure to leave enough time for your drive back to the airport.

I also s

NY, NY
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9. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

TravelerJan -- Thanks for your comments; they seem to been nipped at the end. I love wineries after living in Northern California, so I'll be sure to check them out in the Nemea region.

I arrive Saturday at 2pm, so getting a car, picking up my friend and driving to Nafplio will probably take four or so hours, to be realistic. That means no sight seeing along the way, but it means I'm not spending any time in Athens. I have nothing against the city, but I live in Manhattan and am a little tired of being in huge metropolitan areas. Spending a few nights in Nafplio seems the right way to kick off this adventure!

NY, NY
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10. Re: Road trip around Peloponnese itinerary - advice please!

Final itinerary achieved!

My friend and I worked out a great itinerary, here for your reading pleasure:

Saturday: Arrive in Athens. Stay in the Athens Gate hotel. Hang out nearby.

Sunday: Explore Athens all day and adjust to the time zone. Stay again at Athens Gate.

Monday: Pick up a rental convertible (woo-hoo!) and drive to Mystras. Explore the Byzantine ruins, then push south to Kardamili, where we'll stay at Hotel Vardia.

Tuesday: Explore Kardamili, take a hike, enjoy life. Stay at Vardia agian.

Wednesday: Get up early, go to the Diros Caves, then drive to Monemvasia and press on to Nafplio. It's a long day driving, but hopefully do-able. Then sleep at Hotel Aetoma in Nafplio.

Thursday: Enjoy Nafplio environs, Argos, Mycenae, whatever. Sleep a second night at Aetoma.

Friday: Enjoy more Nafplip environs, explore and relax. Sleep a third night at Aetoma.

Saturday: Sadly, depart!

Thanks again for all insights!

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