The Peleponnese, Greece
Byzantine Architecture, Mystras
King Leonidas of Sparta
Some Highlights of this Tour:
Join us as we travel to Greece and the Peloponnese, an area that is literally the stuff of legends. The Peloponnese is where Hercules fought the Nemean lion and gods walked the earth, meddling in mortal affairs. It’s where Paris of Troy eloped with Helen. And on the Peloponnese, the Argonauts set sail in search of the Golden Fleece. Celestial and mythological charms aside, this region bears tangible traces of the many civilizations that once called it home, witnessed in its classical temples, Mycenaean palaces, Byzantine cities, and Ottoman, Frankish and Venetian fortresses.
- Cycling in undiscovered Greece in the land of the ancients.
- Visit to Acropolis and Museum, with guided tour. (Admission included)
- Gythio, Areopoli & Kardamyli, a few of the picturesque villages where we’ll stay.
- Visit to Ancient Ithomi. (Admission inlcuded)
- Mani Peninsula, an area bursting with ancient and mythological history.
- Mystras, Byzantine fortress city and one of Greece’s most beautiful archaeological sites. (Admission included)
- Sparta, ancient land of classical Greece.
Sunday: Arrival Day
Shuttle to Methoni. After arrival in Athens we transport our group to the enchanting coastal town of Methoni and the start of our Greek adventure. Located in western Messinia on the Peloponnese peninsula, Homer included this region in the Odyssey as a place where King Agamemnon offered Achilles a resting place. Methoni enjoys beautiful, calm beaches, where you can walk in knee deep waters. Streets lined with flowers, fig, lemon and pomegranate trees frame the picturesque low stone houses. Make sure to visit the Methoni Castle, originally built by the Venetians in the 13th century.
Monday: Methoni Loop Ride
66 km – 987 m gain & 986 m loss
Our ride takes us through the seaside village of Pylos dating back to the Mycenean period, Gialova’s lovely beaches, and Voidokillia beach where you find the ruins of the old Navarino castle. Stop for a refreshing cold coffee drink at a local taverna in Pylos as you enjoy the stunning clear blue waters of Navarino Bay.
Tuesday: Bike Methoni to Bouka
65 km – 1,147 m gain & 1,149 m loss
We leave Methoni for the beach resort of Bouka where we’ll spend 2 nights, relaxing, cycling the area and enjoying the sights in the region with our local tour guides.
Wednesday: Loop Ride from Bouka to Ancient Ithomi (Messini)
58 km – 977 m gain & 976 m loss
Our ride from Bouka takes us to Ancient Ithomi, and the chance to explore one of the largest archaeological sites in Greece and a hidden gem, still relatively undiscovered. Your admission to the site is included.
Thursday: Bouka to Kardamyli
60 km – 940 m gain & 940 m loss
It’s on to the Mani Peninsula today as we make our way to Kardamyli. The Mani is a world of contrasts. The scenery is dazzling, stark, powerful. Rocky hillsides with fascinating shapes descend to jewel-colored seas. Castles, turrets and tiny villages dot the hillsides at every turn, as small winding roads zigzag along the coast. Gorgeous, rugged landscapes and plentiful outcrops of archaeology welcome the visitor at every turn. The innermost of the Peloponnese's three tridentlike prongs and the southernmost tip of mainland Greece, the Mani is still one of the least visited areas in Greece. Home to the Maniotes, who claim descent from the ancient Spartans. The Maniotes chose to live in tower houses because they were easy to defend, an important consideration for these feuding Peloponnesians who spent much of their time until the early 20th century lobbing cannonballs at their neighbors. Fortunately, many tower houses survived.
In the Mani, travelers discover a timeless region of rustic villages and untrampled beaches. At the end of the day, we’ll retire to charming Kardamyli. The village of Kardamyli is considered the gateway to the Mani Peninsula. On Kardamyli's humble but fascinating main drag, you’ll discover locals-only mom-and-pop shops that mingle beside trendy tourist stalls.
Friday: Loop Ride to Proasteio, Exochori, Saidona and Stoupa
38 km – 1,140 m gain & 1,133 m loss
We’ll continue to explore the Mani Peninsula as we visit Proasteio, Exochori, Saidona and Stoupa. In the Outer Mani, set amid olive groves, Stoupa sits below rocky peaks of the Taygetos mountains. Once a sleepy little town, in the past few years more and more tourists have discovered Stoupa with its medieval tower houses.
Saturday: Kardamyli to Areopoli
49 km – 1,117 m gain & 907 m loss
Named for Ares, the Greek god of war, in old town Areopoli it seems that time has stopped. Considered the crossroads of the Mani and its capital city, Areopoli has wonderful stone alleys, preserved tower houses, old historic churches and picturesque stone guesthouses. Like the rest of the Mani settlements, Areopoli is known for the contribution during the battles of Greece against the Ottoman Empire.
Sunday: Areopoli Loop Ride
73 km – 1,147 m gain & 1,146 m loss/ 55 km – 691 m gain & 691 m loss
Today well enjoy a loop ride that takes us to the Diros Caves, considered one of the most spectacular caves located on the west coast of the Laconian Peninsula.
Monday: Areopoli to Gythio
48 km – 672 m gain & 894 m loss
Gythio is a delightful seaside town where life revolves around the harbor and the fine beaches found here. On our evening in Gythio, you can enjoy walking the port, eating and drinking in the fish tavernas or sitting and watching the sea. It is a port town with lots of good fish restaurants, some great ouzerias. Gythio is a pleasure to wander through with the neo-classical houses, shops and spectacular old apartment buildings, hugging the side of Mount Koumaros all the way down to the sea. On the small island of Kranai, connected to Gythio by a causeway, Paris and Helen left for Troy after he abducted her from King Menelaus in nearby Sparta. Gythio was the original port for Sparta in the days of the Iliad and the Odyssey. On Kranai you can visit the Tzanetakis Tower, built during the Ottoman rule and which now houses the Ethnological Museum.
Tuesday: Gythio to Mystras
64 km – 1,180 m gain & 656 m loss
Welcome to Mystras! Spread over a steep, verdant mountainside and surrounded by olive and orange trees, this former Byzantine capital and fortified city is the single most compelling set of medieval ruins in Greece. Treading the cobblestones, worn smooth by centuries of footsteps, you can walk with the ghosts, ducking into the ruins of palaces, monasteries and churches, most dating from between 1271 and 1460. We’ll enjoy a guided tour of this tremendously important historical Greek site.
Wednesday: Loop Ride from Mystras to Sparta
20.4 km – 441 m gain & 443 m loss
Today we visit ancient Sparta, the kingdom of Menelaus and his queen, the most beautiful of all mortal women of her age, Helen. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite had promised Paris of Troy the most beautiful woman on earth in return of a favor, so the Trojan prince came to Sparta to claim his trophy. He abducted Helen and travelled back to his homeland. Menelaus wanted his wife back and talked all the other kings of Greece into fighting against the Trojans. That’s pretty much how the most celebrated war of the myths started.
Thursday: Mystras to Kalamata
56 km – 1,667 m gain & 1,942 m loss
Kalamata, our final cycling destination, is the capital and central port of Messinia, situated at the site of ancient Farai. Following independence from the Turks and thanks to the exploitation of the fertile Messinian lands producing olive oil, raisins, and figs, it developed into a wealthy urban center and a significant port. The point of reference par excellence in the city of Kalamata is the legendary “castle of Isabeau” where the renowned International Dance Festival takes place annually. It is amphitheatrically constructed on the site of the Farai acropolis offering a bird’s eye view of the city. Constructed in the 13th century, today it is an ideal open air venue for theatre, music and dance shows. No less beautiful is the exquisite Palia Poli (Old City) at the foot of the Castle. The wider region boasts the Metropolitan Panagia Ipapanti church (1873), the patron saint of Kalamata celebrated on February 2nd, the 12th century Kalograion Monastery with the renowned silk weaving workshop, and the Byzantine church Agioi Apostoloi (13th century) with the brick enclosed masonry.
Friday: Pack Bikes & Transfer to Athens
Saturday: Guided Tour of the Acropolis and Museum
Sunday: Departure Day
We are now taking bookings for this tour. If you are interested in this tour, please Contact Us for more information or check out our info page to see what's included on a Tandem Bicycle Tour.
Tandem Bicycle Tours strives to find quiet, paved secondary roads/bike paths for cycling and to avoid busy roads as much as possible. The description listed here is a very good approximation of our trips but hotels and routes may change marginally to improve the trip experience.