Cycling Ancient Greece: Sparta to Kardamyli Plus! Pylos

Cycling Ancient Greece: Sparta to Kardamyli Plus! Pylos

Our bicycling tour of the Southern Peloponnese starts in ancient Sparta and covers the regions of Laconia and Messinia focusing on the Mani Peninsula, an area bursting with ancient and mythological history. The Mani Peninsula also has some of the most dramatic and varied scenery in Greece, much of it still wonderfully unexplored. You will bicycle through diverse landscapes including the lush, steep foothills of the Taÿgetos Mountains, pristine coastal coves dotted with tiny villages nestled amid olive groves, and arid landscapes peppered with abandoned stone towers in the south of the peninsula. We begin our cycling adventure in Mystras, home to one of Greece’s most beautiful archaeological sites, and ride along hilly coastal roads, staying in the picturesque villages of Gythio and Areopoli before retreating to the charming village of Kardamyli. From Kardamyli, we extend our journey along the Akrita Peninsula. This peninsula is known for its idyllic coastline and the medieval castles of Koroni, Methoni and Pylos.

***If this sounds great but you'd prefer a shorter tour, check out our 8-day Cycling Ancient Greece: Sparta to Kardamyli, featuring the first 8 days of this tour.

Tour Dates & Prices

Private Room Fee
Oct 6-17, 2023
Sold out. Waitlist available.
Apr 19-30, 2024
Book now and save $200 per person
Oct 11-22, 2024
Book now and save $200 per person

* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

** For information about what your tour status means please see our FAQ page.

Tour Style: Classic Hold A Space Request Private Departure Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 12 Days
  • Total Distance / 488 km (303 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 49 km (30 mi) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 3.0 Classic
  • Countries / Greece
  • Begin/End / Mystras/Pylos
  • Price / From USD$5350
More Photos
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    UNESCO World Heritage site of Mystras, History of the Ancient Spartans, Mysterious tower houses of the Deep Mani, Cycling on quiet roads, Spectacular coastal scenery and views, Experience traditional Greek village life; Nestor's Palace.
  • Includes
    12 days, 11 night's accommodations; meals as noted in itinerary; Admission to the Archaeological site of Mystras with guided tour; Nestor's Palace admission; and the usual (see below).

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Athens International Airport (ATH)
  • Overall Tour Level
    3.0 difficulty level 3.0
  • Daily Ride Summary




    Day Level


    Test ride
    41km / 620m
    difficulty level 3.0
    64km / 656m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 3.0
    49km / 927m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    55km / 691m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    Longer optional ride available
    47km / 667m
    difficulty level 3.0
    35km / 877m
    difficulty level 4.0
    37km / 631m
    difficulty level 3.0
    52km / 470m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    52km / 1016m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 4.0
    56km / 934m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 4.0
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to Greece!

Highlights: Test ride through olive groves of Sparta, welcome dinner.

Meet this morning in Athens to transfer together to the town of Mystras, or the 'wonder of the Morea'. Mystras is just down the hillside from a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an ancient fortress considered to be one of the best-preserved medieval walled towns in the region. Built in 1249, the fortress sits on the slopes of the Taygetos Mountains overlooking Sparta and is where the last Byzantine emperor was crowned. Following your bike fitting, take a scenic test ride. This evening we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner together.

DAY 2: Mystras loop ride

Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mystras, foothills of Taygetos mountain range

Today we will take a loop ride through traditional villages and the land of the Ancient Spartans. We’ll pedal through the foothills of the Taygetos mountain range, these mountains surround the Evrotas river valley and created a natural defense - one reason Ancient Sparta was never sacked. After our loop ride we will take a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Mystras fortress. The fortress was conquered by many including the Byzantines, Turks and the Venetians, and was finally abandoned in 1832.

  • Distance: 41km (26mi)
  • Gain: 620m (2034ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Cycle from Mystras to Gytheio

Highlights: Ancient Sparta and Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil

We leave the foothills of the Taygetos this morning and travel south towards the coast to Gytheio. This colorful town features a waterfront promenade with several restaurants and cafés that are buzzing with activity until late into the evening hours. Dinner is together tonight.

  • Distance: 64km (40mi)
  • Gain: 656m (2152ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 4: Cycling from Gytheio to Areopoli

Highlights: Coastal cycling and the Mani Peninsula

Today’s ride takes you along dramatic coastlines passing several traditional villages on your way to Areopoli, in the heart of the Mani Peninsula. Areopoli’s narrow, winding city streets, restored pyrgi (fortified tower homes), and its delightful village plazas make this traditional settlement a charming place to call home for the next two days.

The April 18 departure stays at the Kastro Maini Hotel

DAY 5: Areopoli loop ride

Highlights: Byzantine churches, tower houses, Vatheia

We are in for a special day, as we ride from Areopoli to Gerolimena. As you cycle past Byzantine churches and sleepy fishing coves the quiet roads of the peninsula gives you a taste of peaceful Mediterranean lifestyle. Cyclists looking to add more miles will have the option to take a longer ride back to Areopoli.

The April 18 departure stays at the Kastro Maini Hotel

DAY 6: Cycling from Areopoli to Kardamyli

Highlights: Messinia, olive groves, Old Kardamyli, visit with a local farmer

A beautiful descent leads us to the picturesque fishing village of Limeni. After Limeni we have a challenging climb, but will then be rewarded with a stunning descent into Kardamyli during the second half of the ride.

DAY 7: Kardamyli - Rest Day or Ride

Highlights: Explore old Kardamyli, olive oil tasting

Today is an ideal day to rest and enjoy the elegant seaside village of Kardamyli. Take in its picturesque neighborhoods of stone built houses and restored medieval towers, or grab a book (our hotel has many) and lounge on the beach. Or if you prefer a ride, we’ll offer a loop option that will stun you with its panoramic views of the sea and views towards Mt. Taygetos. Explore remote villages and find an opportunity to talk to some of the few remaining but very friendly inhabitants before dropping back to the coast and treating yourself to a refreshing and leisurely swim and lunch. This afternoon, learn everything there is to know about Kardamyli's most famous product during our visit of a local olive-oil producer. Dinner tonight will be a special one.

The September 21 departure will stay at Diapori Suites hotel.

DAY 8: Kardamyli to Kalamata

Highlights: Olive groves, Kalamata (home of the famous olive), beach hotel

We have a challenging climb, but once over our mountain pass, we will be amply rewarded by a seemingly endless downhill all the way to Kalamata. Tonight, you can enjoy Kalamata's rich culinary traditions and famous local products.

The April 18 departure stays at the Grand Hotel Kalamata.

DAY 9: Cycling from Kalamata to Agios Andreas

Highlights: The Peloponnese coastal route, views of the Taygetos mountain range, Beach-front hotel.

We cycle west along a scenic coastal route passing several traditional villages that compete for our attention. The destination today is the small village of Vounaria. Our hotel this evening is perched above a beautiful coastline, and offers fantastic views of Mount Taygetos and the bay of Messinia.

The April 18 departure uses the Akroyali Hotel

DAY 10: Cycling Agios Andreas to Pylos 

Highlights: Castles of Koroni, Methoni. Castle of Pylos

We pedal on a fabulous route around the Western side of the peninsula past Koroni, home to one of the last inhabitable castles in Greece. We’ll then cycle past Methoni, another picturesque castle town of the Peloponnese, and finally to Pylos, known for the famous naval battle of Navarino in 1827. This afternoon, we'll explore Pylos on foot.

DAY 11: Pylos loop ride

Highlights: Nestor's Palace, Voidokilia beach (one of the most impressive beaches in all of Greece)

Our last ride will connect not only some of Pylos' most beautiful sites but will also allow you to appreciate the various periods of this region's history, from the Mycenaean period to the Middle Ages. The Palace of Nestor, home of the king of Pylos, who took part in the Trojan War, is one of Greece’s best-preserved Mycenaean palaces. Towards the end of our ride, we will have a chance to enjoy a swim at one of Greece's most beautiful beaches. We’ll celebrate the end of our bike ride in style tonight with a special dinner together.

DAY 12: Farewell!

Highlights: Transfer to Athens

Our adventure ends today with a transfer back to Athens.

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Welcome to Greece!

Your tour starts with a complimentary ExperiencePlus! shuttle pick-up in downtown Athens on Day 1 (your spot is already reserved on this shuttle):


There will be a reminder note at the Meeting Hotel's front desk about the shuttle pick-up. The transfer will take around 3 to 3.5 hours and the driver will stop along the way for a quick snack and bathroom break.

We will be glad to arrange your pre- and post-tour stay at the Meeting Hotel for you upon request. Note that we will not sleep there as a group and the stay there is not included in the tour price. We have a special arrangement with the hotel and would ask that you contact us for details as soon as possible.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Athens Airport (ATH)

How to get to the Meeting Hotel:

  • Taxi (45 min/EUR 40)

Or public transportation:

  1. Metro Blue Line from the Athens Airport to Syntagma (Consitution Square), change to Red Line (direction Elliniko) and exit at Acropoli station (1 hr/EUR 10)
  2. Walk from metro station to hotel (3 min)

For more travel planning tips, including our packing lists, visit our Travel Planning Pages.

Day 12: Departure Information


We spend our last night of the tour in Pylos, about 170 miles from Athens. 

The tour ends on the final day with a complimentary ExperiencePlus! shuttle drop-off at either
  • Athens Airport (ATH); arrival at *1:30 p.m. (3.5-hour transfer)
  • or back at the Meeting Hotel (see arrival instructions); arrival at 2:00 p.m. (4-hour transfer)

Shuttle reservations 30 days prior to the tour start are required. Reserve by emailing us. If you can't make the shuttle, you will be responsible for your own transportation.

*Note: Book your flight out of ATH after 3:30 p.m.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Refer to your Tour Packet/Itinerary to see step-by-step arrival and departure information for your tour, meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • Begin your chosen training program.
  • Final payment is due 90 days (120 days for Bike &Barge/Boat tours) prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail we send 10 days prior to the due date for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Start reading one of the books or watching one of the movies from our Reading and Movie Lists:
  • Plan what you are going to pack and start packing! Refer to the Packing Lists on our website at
  • We'll email you your access code to Digital Daysheets, Hotel Itinerary, Participant Roster, names and contact information of your Tour Leaders, emergency phone numbers, and other important departure information about 2 weeks prior to your tour start date. All this will be provided to you via a feature called Experiences via the RideWithGPS App (tracks available but not necessary for navigation on Classic, Expedition and Bike & Boat tours).

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Classic Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic page.





  • The whole tour was my favorite experience.

    Jim B., Incline Village, NV - October 2019
  • This may be the best vacation I have ever had. I had no idea of the beauty of this part of Greece. The trip has everything - great and challenging cycling, outstanding leaders, one beautiful vista after another, beautiful, uncrowded towns and beaches, great food.

    Jim H., Birmingham, AL - Oct 2019
  • Gorgeous scenery, wonderful food, excellent peek into Greek culture.

    Carol O., Menlo Park, CA - Oct 2019
  • The Peloponnese is a hidden gem with beautiful beaches and sparkling clear water. The weather in October was perfect and the water still warm enough for swimming. Cycling is a great way to see the countryside. The pace of this tour was almost leisurely, with lots of time to enjoy coffee breaks and lunches along the route. There are a couple of longer climbs but most days are not overly challenging.

    Nancy L., Calgary, Canada
  • Spectacular scenery, good food, wonderful beaches. Lots of hills--long but not especially difficult. Be prepared for warm weather--it could be hot, even in late September.

    Susan C., Berkeley, CA - Sept 2019
  • This tour gets full marks in all the things that make a bike tour great. Breathtaking scenery? Check. Interesting/challenging rides? Check. Great food & drinks? Check. Fascinating history? Check.

    Nathan H., Fort Collins, CO - May 2019

Awards, Memberships and Reviews