No part of mainland Greece is more than 150km from the sea!
- Athens & Acropolis (high city); The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Acropolis is the most striking and complete ancient Greek monumental complex still existing in our times.
- Ancient Olympia; inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century B.C., Olympia became a centre for the worship of Zeus. The Altis – the sanctuary to the gods – has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces from the ancient Greek world. In addition to temples, there are the remains of all the sports structures erected for the Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia every four years beginning in 776 B.C.
- Peloponnese Region; Great archeological sites, amazing castles, natural beauty in the form of mountains, forests, rivers and caves surrounded by the sea, beautiful beaches (sandy and smooth on the west coast – rocky on the east) make this part of Greece ideal for motorcycle touring.
- Magnificent Pindus Mountain Range & National Park; The biggest mountain range of Greece, stretching from the Greek-Albanian borders (NW) to the northern Peloponnese (SE). It is roughly 160 km long and is considered the backbone of mainland Greece.
- Stunning Coastal Routes
- Gorges & Canyons galore
- Twisty mountain passes
- The Corinth Canal; An important navigational route which once allowed ships to enter the Aegean Sea. Dug through the isthmus at sea level, the canal is 6.4 kilometers long with a width of only 25 meters and took apporx. 12 years to construct. Impossible for modern ships to go through, the canal has now lost any significant economic importance it once had.
- Greek Cuisine
- Greek food spreads its culinary influence throughout Europe and beyond. It is known as some of the best food in the world! With an age old tradition, Greek cuisine has been greatly influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures. With each successive invasion and settlement came culinary influences – from the Romans, Venetians, Balkans, Turks, Slavs, and even the English – and many Greek foods have names with origins in those cultures, most notably the Ottoman Empire.
This tour starts and finishes at the quaint and picturesque seaside town of Nafpaktos on the Gulf of Corinth. Private shuttle from / to Athens Airport is provided.
Nafpaktos is considered to be amongst the most scenic and romantic destinations of the Greek hinterland with natural beauty and important history. Nafpaktos is an idyllic setting in the shadows of the mountains of South Central Greece. Those feeling a little more energetic may wish to climb up to the Venetian Castle overlooking Nafpaktos and the Corinthian Gulf.
Nafpaktos to Karpenissi
Leaving our base and the coast behind we head north along twisty roads through gorges and into the mountains which will be the backdrop for the next 4 days. Karpenissi is one of Greece’s last undiscovered corners; tranquilly enfolded in the arms of its pine-clad mountain slopes and snowy peaks. This most isolated and mountainous region of Greece is no more than a 3 hour drive from the sandy beaches of either coast, and from Athens. Alpine peaks rear up over 6,000 ft and are gashed and studded with ravines, rivers, meadows, waterfalls, lakes, thick forests, byzantine monasteries, and lovely traditional villages. As befits a vast natural park, designated by UNESCO as one of Europe’s cleanest areas, there are activities of all kinds – White water rafting in the Trikeriotis and Tavropos rivers, canyoning in Vothonas, skiing and paragliding in Velouchi, riding, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, trekking in the Pantavrechi ravine, fishing for trout in the Karpenissiotis river, shrimping on the coast of Acarnania, truffle hunting – Karpenissi offers it all but more importantly the region has excellent motorcycling.
Karpenissi to Meteora
Our route today takes us further north and around the man made marvel of Lake Plastiras – An artificial lake in perfect harmony with nature, embraced by picturesque rural villages, fir forests and the imposing Agrafa mountain range. Our destination today is the spectacular and jaw dropping UNESCO World heritage site of Meteora, one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece.
Meteora to Monodendri
Today is a day for exploring the Pindus National Park with some fantastic routes around and through the park. A trip to Northern Greece wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Metsovo – a quaint and picturesque alpine like village nestled on the fringes of the Pindus National Park and an idyllic location for lunch! Our destination this evening is at the entrance to the Vikos Gorge – which begins 600m after Monodendri village and constitutes a true natural monument. Its overall length exceeds 30km (Tselepovo-Kleidonia). Its depth varies but is regarded as the wolrd’s deepest canyon in relation to it’s width. In Monodendri it reaches 600m and is the narrowest point and in Vikos village it reaches 1.200m (more than 1.300m in its east part and approximately 1.100m in its west part). In its deeper part the gorge reaches approximately 2.200m in width. Due to its geological isolation and the absence of human presence, Vikos gorge includes rare plant and flower species of Epirus. There has also been more than 110 bird species, 19 serpent and amphibian species recorded, as well as many rare butterfly species.
Monodendri to Lefkada Island
Southward bound for the first time on this tour we traverse the Tzoumerka mountain region, the wildest and most remote mountainous area in the country that is passable by paved roads. In the afternoon we find the Ionian sea on our right and travel along the quiet coastal roads to Lefkada Island and beach paradise.
Lefkada to Vytina
Travelling further south we reach the Gulf of Corinth and the gateway to the Pelopennese region.Today we cross the Gulf of Corinth by ferry (as opposed to a boring bridge) and immersing ourselves in the Pelopennese we travel leisurely cross country through the Vouraikos Gorge and some remote mountainous regions to Vytina – a strategic base for the next 2 nights.
Vytina rest day (optional rideout to Olympia)
Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympic Games, which were celebrated every four years by the Greeks. Olympia is situated in a valley in Elis, in western Peloponnisos (Peloponnesus), through which runs the Alpheus River. It’d be a shame to visit Greece and not visit Olympia and if Olympia doesn’t excite you then the roads to and from certainly will!
Vytina to Areopoli
Over the years we’ve compiled an absolutley spectacular zig-zag route central Pelopennese. It takes us along some of our favourite roads through beuatiful gorges and never ending twisties with the odd traditional restuarant serving hearty food.
Areopoli to Monemvasia
On the menu today is a loop of the Mani Peninsula, passing nearby the southernmost point of mainland Greece, and the 2nd most southern point of continental Europe.Our destination today is easily one of the most impressive places in Greece. Located on the south eastern side of Peloponnese, Monemvasia was entirely carved on the back of an island in medieval times. The village is not visible from the mainland which allowed locals avoid enemy attacks. Originally the only way to reach Monemvasia was by boat but is now connected by a short causeway. At first glimpse you’ll understand why it’s commonly referred to the ‘Gibraltar of the East’ and more importantly why it’s our favourite destination in Greece.
Monemvasia Rest Day (optional rideout)
A walk around the Castle Town is a travel to the past, while the sea view from the castle top is breath-taking. An opportunity to soak up the beauty of Monemvasia and get lost in its labyrinth of cobble alley ways or perhaps some local exploration to the likes of Elafonisos Island with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Monevasia to Corinth Canal
Leaving Monemvasia behind us we traverse the Oros Paronas, the greatest mountain range of Peloponnese. Mount Parnon extends along the east side of the peninsula, separating the Laconian plain from the Argolic Gulf and ending at Cape Maléa in the southeast. About 86% of its area consists of forests – mostly black pine, cephalonian firs, oaks, maples and chestnut trees- and grasslands, while the rest is cultivated land. The protected forest of Juniperus drupaceae- a species of the cedar family- close to Malevi monastery is the only one of its kind in Europe. The range is also home to 113 rare plants, including 16 locally endemic ones, as well as one of the few remaining populations of jackals in the country. As we travel north we prepare to leave the Pelopennese but not without a visit to the Great Theatre of Epidaurus which is defined as the most beautiful and best preserved of all ancient theatres. We will also have to oppurtunity for a photo stop at the Corinth Canal. A fitting end to the day!
Corinth Canal to Athens
Todays ride is short and intentionally so as we arive in Athens at lunch time with the afternoon set aside for an optional guided tour of the Acropolis and / or open top bus tour of the Ancient city of Athens, home to the Greek Civilisation for more than 4,000 years. Our local guides, Anna & Dimitris, are a wealth of information and certain to keep your attention. A must do when in Athens.
Athens to Nafpaktos
Time to leave the big smoke behind as we head north and west (along the north coast of the Corinthian Gulf) to our finish point in Nafpaktos. It’s also possible to visit the Temple of Apollo in the acrhaeoligical site of Delphi on route, which in ancient times was considered the centre of the known world, the place where heaven and earth met. This was the place on earth where man was closest to God…
All we know is that by the end of this tour you will have (like us) fallen in love with Greece and that it will exceed your expectations. The Adriatic/Ionian sea combined with the less travelled Balkan countries, to the north, are likely reasons this beautiful country is less frequented by motorcyclists from central Europe and hence doesn’t get the publicity it deserves in the world of motorcycle touring. While thats bad for the tourism industry in Greece it’s good for the few motorcycle tourists who do visit and have the roads virtually to themselves.
We will be providing a more detailed itinerary on arrival to include hotel info and GPS co-ordinates. Please note that this is an outline route and maybe subject to change.