Cycling Ancient Greece: Sparta to Kardamyli

Cycling Ancient Greece: Sparta to Kardamyli

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 ending the tour with a two-day stay in charming Kardamyli.

***If this sounds great but you'd prefer a longer tour, check out our 12-day Cycling Ancient Greece: Sparta to Kardamyli Plus! Pylos, where we’ll continue our our journey along the Akritas peninsula. This peninsula is known for its idyllic coastline and the medieval castles of Koroni, Methoni and Pylos.

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Sep 16-23, 2020
USD$3950
USD$550
Sold Out!
Oct 4-11, 2020
USD$3950
USD$550
Only 1 space for a woman willing to share a room.
May 22-29, 2021
USD$3950
USD$550
Book Now and Save $200!
Sep 22-29, 2021
USD$3950
USD$550
Contact Us for Availability.
Oct 9-16, 2021
USD$3950
USD$550
Book Now and Save $200! 

* 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.

Tour Style: Classic Book This Trip Now Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
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Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 291 km (181 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 49 km (30 mi) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 3.0 Classic
  • Countries / Greece
  • Begin/End / Mystras/Kardamyli
  • Price / From USD$3950
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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
  • Includes
    8 days, 7 nights' accommodations; meals as noted in itinerary; Admission to the Archaeological site of Mystras with guided tour; 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 (AIA)
  • Overall Tour Level
    3.0 difficulty level 3.0
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    41km / 620m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 3.0
    3
    64km / 656m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 3.0
    4
    49km / 927m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    5
    55km / 691m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    Longer optional ride available
    6
    47km / 667m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 3.0
    7
    35km / 877m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 4.0
    8
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
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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, Dinner
  • 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. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight in one of the many local restaurants in Gytheio.

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.

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 longer ride back to Areopoli along the east coast of the peninsula.

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.

DAY 8: Transfer to Athens

Highlights: Transfer to Athens

Your tour ends after breakfast. We'll transfer you back to Athens today - unless you are staying in the region and touring more of ancient Greece. Whatever you decide to do, safe travels.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
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):

Note:

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 (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 8: Departure Information

Transfer to Athens

We spend our last night of the tour in Kardamyli, 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 2 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 Today!

3–6 Months Prior to 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. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and 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.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • Greece was beyond our expectations. Want to go back and try another Greek tour.

    Xenia W., South Melbourne, Australia - May 2019
  • Cycling in Orange groves with fragrant blossom everywhere. Scenic. Lush and friendly.

    David W., South Melbourne, Australia - May 2019
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