Greece is made for road trips. You can enjoy pebble and sandy beaches surrounded by turquoise waters, but nothing tops taking a road trip around Peloponnese or Athens to Meteora. A road trip in Greece is usually punctuated by picturesque villages, dense forests, ancient sites, and beautiful national parks.
If you are looking for road inspiration in Greece, we had compiled our itinerary from when we visited the country at the end of last year.
This road trip starts in Patras and ends in Ioannina.
Let’s get started.
Our road trip began in as here we arrived by ferry from Bari (a town in Puglia) to Patras – the third-largest city and the capital of Western Greece. We found Patras being a bit crazy, double parking arund all streets, hectic traffic and muggers. Yes, that’s the only place where we got mugged during our road trip around Europe.
This city is great for starting a road trip, lying in the foot of Mount Panachaikon and overlooking the Gulf of Patras. The setting of Patras is simply calming and usually offers an excellent starting point for many Greek road trips.
Before starting the journey, visit sites such as the Cathedral of Agios Andreas, Roman Odeon, and the archaeological museum.
From Patras, drive about an hour to the next stop, Castle Tornese.
Caste Tornese or Chlemoutsi in Greek is a medieval castle located some 75 kilometres from Patras. The castle was built in the 1220s by the Crusader leaders of the Principality of Archaea as their fort.
Located on a plateau 226 meters above the sea level, Castle Tornese comprises a hexagonal keep erected around the inner square and containing double-storied halls along its length.
The castle forms a breathtaking example of fortress design during the Frankish era.
In the same region of Elis, you will find the town of Olympia.
Now the Peloponnese road trip is starting to get interesting. Ancient Olympia is one of a historically important city in Greece, having been the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Before the games began to be staged across the world, they used to be held in Ancient Olympia, and every four years, each city in Greece used to send its outstanding athlete to take part in the games in honor of Zeus, the father of gods and men. During the games, any war or conflict would be ceased, and the winners would walk away with an olive garland and everlasting glory.
So a visit to Ancient Olympia gives you an opportunity to learn about the history of the Olympic Games and have a race at the remnants of ancient stadiums as we did.
- Google Map Location
- Opening hours
- Daily 08:00 – 08:00
- Typical Entry and Other Prices
- Adult: 6€
- Child (from EU):free
Archaeological Museum of Olympia
When you are here to not miss the Archaeological Museum of Olympia it’s a great museum which has lots of artefacts from Olimpia. It’s a perfect place for worldschoolers to have a history lesson.
- Museum Website
- Google Map Location
- Opening hours
- Daily 08:30 – 03:30
- Typical Entry and Other Prices
- included in the entry price to Archeological site
This small town is an excellent place to stop and relax as you explore what it has to offer. Check out the Olympia Land Winery and sample some of the famous Greek wines.
Where to stay in Olimpia?
Insider tip: – next to Olimpia you can find an Open Theater Floka – its a great site to visit. During summer you can see here a play or a concert, in winter you can act and be public yourself.
Lagkadia or Lagadia is a beautiful mountain town at the centre of Peloponnese and is amphitheatrically built on a vertical wooded slant of Mainalon, with 70 degrees inclination.
This small town is also known as the “hanging village” since it appears to hang over a gorge formed by the Touthoa River.
Lagadia has a storied history and played a central role in the liberation struggle of Morea against the Turks.
While here, enjoy some of the region’s best delicacies including splenandero, lamb, intestines, and salted meat.
From one mountain town to another, Dimitsana is a small village in Arcadia. With a choir of red-roofed building s across two hills at the start of Lousios Gorge, Dimitsana is a great stop for learning more about Greece’s struggle for self-determination.
If you have time, and packed sports gear, check out the recreational activity at the River Lousios.
Enjoy the crisp mountain air before embarking on your journey.
Karytaina is another picturesque village in Arcadia. It is also built atop of a hill and around a medieval castle, 580 meters above the ground. It is located just 54 kilometres from the city of Tripoli and 20 kilometres from Megapolis.
This village will impress you with its mountainous views. If that is enough to get you excited, the two or three-story pebble houses sure will fascinate you.
Be sure to check the Frankish castle in the south of the village and atop a cliff.
Basses – Apollo Temple
This archaeological site is a must-visit during a Greek road trip. It is located in Oichalia in the northeastern region of Messenia but used to be part of Arcadia during the ancient time. This site is famous for the 5th BC Temple of Apollo – one of the most studied ancient temples in Greece due to its multitude of rare features.
Neda Waterfalls are one of the most popular in the South Peloponnese and offer a nice stop for relaxing before you continue with your road trip.
Palace of Nestor
The Palace of Nestor used to be an important centre during the Mycenaean periods. It is the largest structure in the region surrounded by ruins of ancient settlements. The settlement here dates back to 1300 BC, but this palace was once ravaged by fire in around 1200 BC.
The roof of the palace has since been replaced by a modern structure, and now the palace is open to the public from 2016.
Chora – Museum of Chora
This archaeological museum is located in southern Greece with collections focusing on the Mycenaean civilization. Some of the items on display include the Murals from the Palace of Nestor, Casts from Clay plates, and two impressive pithamphorae.
Polilimnio Waterfalls are often termed as one of the most beautiful destinations in the Peloponnese peninsula. It offers a fascinating experience if you want to get out of an ordinary lifestyle.
This small town in Laconia is also a must-visit during your Greek road trip. It is located on an island linked to the mainland by a 200 meters causeway. Monemvasia is usually touted as the town for Lovebirds due to its raw magic.
The town used to be a fortress during the times of Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, and Ottomans.
Monemvasia is the only castle in Europe that has never been vacant since its construction.
Sparta is a town in Laconia and lies at the site of ancient Sparta. The town has a number of museums such as the Archaeological Museum of Sparta, Archaeological Museum of Mystras, and the Angakis Art Gallery but the best we visited was the museum of Olive.
Kyparissi is a small village town along the northeastern shores of Laconia. What you can do here is enjoy the beach, particularly Kiparissi Beach, which is long and quite.
Nafplio and Fortress of Palamidi
Fortress of Palamidi can be accessed by either a car or by foot and having been built 216 meters on a hill; you will have to work your way up there. Up there, you will get to enjoy the views of the Argolic Gulf and Nafplio. The fortress was constructed by the Venetians around 1711 and 1714 and is believed to be one of the most striking masterpieces of military architecture despite being stormed in by Greek soldiers in 1811.
Mycenae is an archaeological site that you must visit during your road trip to Greece. It located near Mykines in Argolis northeastern Peloponnese. The fortified citadel is situated on top of the fertile plain near the coast.
Named after “Mycenaean” it is the largest and most important centre of Greek civilization.
Located near Mycenae is the Epidaurus, a former city in ancient times. The points of interest in this site include Stadion, Gymnasium, Odeon and Public Baths.
Ancient Corinth and Corinth
Ancient Corinth is a famous site with ruins of Apollo temple.
Modern Corinth is a successor to a medieval city of the same name in Peloponnese. The city was founded in 1858 as New Corinth after a devastating earthquake destroyed the old city.
There are plenty of things to do in Corinth, but the most common site is the Canal.
Choros Hraion is also another archaeological site in Peloponnese, 15 kilometres northwest of Ancient Corinth. The temple of Hera was found during an excavation process in the area. The temple is one of the most significant ruins of the ancient Corinth.
The largest and capital of Greece, Athens has a lot of to offer, including museums, parks, and many ancient sites. This classical city usually attracts plenty of curators and digital nomads. There also numerous fine restaurants where you can enjoy some of the best Greek delicacies.
Read our article on things to in Athens With Kids
Cape Sounion is a promontory in the southernmost end of the Attic peninsula and a few kilometres south of Lavrio. It is known for its Temple of Poseidon, one of the most important monuments of the Golden Age of Athens.
Other temples include the Temple of Athena Bastion Delta.
This ancient sanctuary is used to the capital of Pythia, the oracle from the ancient classical world.
Visitors can check out the Temple of Apollo, Treasuries, and Amphictyonic Council.
Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage site in a place that means “suspended in the air.” It is basically an eroded rock on which monasteries were built by monks. Meteora is a popular rock climbing destination and attracts people from all over the world.
It is believed that the rocks in Meteora were formed around 60 million years ago due to the action of weathering and earthquakes.
Ioannina or Yannena is the largest and the capital of the Ioannina region in north-western Greece. Some of the landmarks in Ioannina include the Isle of Lake Pamvotis, Ioannina Castle, Municipal Art Gallery of Ioannina, and the clock tower in the central Dimokratias Square.
Road trip around Greece – Conclusion
We spent over a month traveling through Greece, and every place we have seen was better than the other. Greece is full of amazing archeological sites all close to each other making it perfect for a road trip.
From Greece, we went to explore Albania in a camper.