Bicycle through Classical Greece: Athens to Olympia

  • Itinerary Summary

    Our appreciation for Greece began in the early 1970s when Rick and Paola crossed the Peloponnese with their donkey Benjamin. Almost 30 years later, we still can't get enough of this beautiful country - with its whitewashed villages, endless stands of olive groves, and historic ruins that date back to the beginnings of Western history. Join our bicycle tour through classical Greece and you too will feel the wonder of this ancient land and its friendly people.
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    1. Day 1: Arrive in Athens

      Highlights: Introductions, visit the Plaka and Acropolis

      Meet today at our hotel in the heart of Athens, where you can take a stroll through the Plaka (old Athens), people-watch from a café, and visit the Acropolis. We'll gather this evening at 6:30 for introductions, a glass of ouzo, and a special introductory dinner together.

    2. Day 2: Ferry to Poros

      Highlights: Fit bicycles, beautiful beaches, and a ride around Poros

      Our ferry to Poros is scheduled around 1:00PM so you have time this morning to visit the New Acropolis Museum, or join us for a walk on Phillopapou Hill where we'll enjoy unique views of the Parthenon, and the temple to Athena Nike. We'll arrive in Poros by mid-afternoon, fit bicycles, and you can go out for a ride and explore the island. The ruins of a temple to Poseidon, the sea god, a 17th-century Byzantine monastery, and beautiful swimming beaches are highlights of this afternoon's ride. Dinner is together this evening. Distance: 16km (9 miles).

    3. Day 3: Back on the mainland

      Highlights: Visit the ruins of Epidauros, whitewashed villages

      A very short ferry ride takes us to the mainland this morning. Our route follows the coastal plain amidst orange and lemon groves for about 15 kilometers. After we climb steeply up and turn inland, rural Greece begins to unfold. Rolling limestone hills, whitewashed villages, olive groves, and pastures of grazing sheep lead us to Epidauros, where you can visit the ruins of the ancient healing site of Askleipeion and the famous theater, before checking into our hotel. Dinner is together. Distance: 63km (39 miles).

    4. Day 4: Nafplio

      Highlights: The first capitol of modern Greece, Palamidi fort, beaches and relaxing cafés

      Nafplio, the first capital of modern, independent Greece, is our destination today. The first half of the ride follows an isolated road nestled among forested mountains with sheer cliff faces. We are gradually making our way back to the sea. Keep your eye out for walnut and pistachio trees! You'll want to stop for a swim at one of the beaches before heading into town. This afternoon, you are free to explore Nafplio's imposing fort, cobbled streets, and seaside cafés on foot. Be sure to check out the square in the heart of town, paved with variegated marble! Distance: 36 km (22 miles).

    5. Day 5: Akrocorinth

      Highlights: Palace of Agamemnon in Mycenae, Nemea and Akrocorinth

      Our morning ride takes us to the site of Mycenae, one of the most powerful kingdoms in archaic Greece (1600-1200BC). Famous for its "Cyclopean" walls, immense underground cistern, and the ruins of Agamemnon's palace, it represents one of archaeology's greatest finds. From there, it's on to our next stop, the ancient city of Nemea, best remembered for its athletic festivals (as well-known as the Olympian games). We will enjoy a picnic lunch of fresh bread, olives, local produce and seasonal fruits together in Nemea. Be sure to take in the Temple to Zeus, the ruins of the bathhouse, and the excellent museum on the grounds. From there it's mostly rolling terrain to ancient Corinth, a modern town that includes the ruins of Corinth, a bustling city in classical times and then under Roman rule. We'll enjoy dinner together at a family-run taverna famous locally for its cuisine and lovely gardens. Distance: 71 km (44 miles).

    6. Day 6: Ride the Gulf of Corinth from Akrocorinth to Xylokastro

      Highlights: Enjoy the spectacular views along the Gulf, visit the ancient ruins of Akrocorinth

      You can ride your bike or take the shuttle this morning to the ruins of ancient Akrocorinth, which towers 565 meters above us. The defensive wall around the site runs more than 2km, and there is time to explore the ruins of what was once one of Greece's richest cities, occupied later by Romans, Byzantines, Frankish Crusaders, Venetians, and Turks. From there, we'll enjoy spectacular views as we pedal to Xylokastro. There will be many swimming opportunities at secluded beaches along the Gulf of Corinth, so be sure to pack your suit and towel. Distance: 42 km (26 miles).

    7. Day 7: Xylokastro to Kalavrita

      Highlights: Enjoy the views

      The striking contrast of whitewashed villages against the blue sea forms the backdrop for this morning's easy ride along the shore as we continue west to Diakofto. From there it's a 3,000-ft. climb to Kalavrita where you'll pedal by cherry trees - be sure to stop if they're in season. As we continue our climb be sure and turn around and look all the way back to the sea you've left behind. Bird-song encourages you on your way and before long you'll cross over to the forested rock canyon that leads to Kalavrita. Distance: 44 or 73 km (27 or 45 miles).

    8. Day 8: Day off Kalavrita

      Highlights: Ride if you'd like, or relax at our spa hotel. Cooking lesson

      We will stay in the mountains today for an optional rest day. For those of you who want some more cycling we will be on hand to recommend several loop rides, depending on how long and hard you want to ride. Enjoy the afternoon in the spa at our hotel, and be ready later for our cooking demonstration, by a local chef. She will teach us how to make the traditional spanakopita (spinach pies). We will enjoy eating what we made later when we join her for dinner at her taverna.

      Optional Distance: 30-50 km (18-31 miles).

    9. Day 9: Kalavrita to Lambeia

      Highlights: A spectacular ride

      Cascading mountain villages greet us today as we make our way through the heart of the central Peloponnese. This challenging ride rewards us with some of the best scenery of the trip. We will point out a traditional village taverna for lunch on your own. Then it is onto the village of Lambeia at the head waters of the Erymanthos River. It was here where Hercules was put to one of his labors; capturing the Erymanthian Boar. We'll walk to dinner at a local taverna well-loved by the locals. Distance: 56 km (35 miles).

    10. Day 10: Lambeia to Ancient Olympia

      Highlights: Olympia

      Our ride begins with a short climb to the ridge beyond our hotel. After that it is a gradual downhill all the way to Ancient Olympia. Here we will pass towns punctuated by Cyprus groves, olive orchards and vineyards before arriving at the site of Olympia. You can get a peek at the Olympic stadium before arriving at our hotel. In the afternoon we will gather and walk to the site for a guided tour. Take your time and imagine yourself yourself journeying to the Olympic games 2,000 years ago. There was no bicycling event then, but we can imagine our "team" ready to participate. We bid farewell to Greece with a special dinner tonight. Distance: 43 km (27 miles).

    11. Day 11: Tour ends in Olympia

      Highlights: Shuttle back to Athens we'll arrive by 4:00PM

      After breakfast together, we'll provide a shuttle to Patras for those ferrying to Italy, or back to Athens. We will arrive in Athens between 2PM and 4PM, please schedule international flights after 6PM. Of course, the Greek Islands are close by if you have some more time. Thanks for joining us!

    • Highlights

      Athens, Poros, Legendary Epidauros, Akrocorinth, Ancient Nemea, & Olympia, 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Cooking lesson, Spa hotel
    • Includes

      11 days, 10 nights accommodation; 7 dinners with wine, 1 picnic lunch, 10 breakfasts; cooking demonstration; shuttle back to Athens plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

    • Arrive/Depart

      Athens Int'l Airport (ATH) / Athens or Patra (Araxos Airport (GPA))
    • Total Distance

      401 - 450 km (248 - 277 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      See itinerary for daily mileages
    • Rating

      301 A variety of hilly and challenging terrain mixed with by-the-sea flat rides almost every other day
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * 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.

  • Stories

    • I can't tell you how grateful I am to be able to travel with your outstanding company.

      Nancy H., Santa Barbara, CA
    • One of our most favorite bike tours ever. Keep up the good work.

      Ray C., Denver, CO
    • Three favorite rides were Day 2 to Epidauros and to and from Kalavrita. Among my favorite rides ever! Guided tour of Olympia was also very memorable.

      Susan C., Berkeley, CA
    • This is my favorite ExperiencePlus! tour so far!

      Robert P., Bellevue, WA
    • This tour was an excellent blend of cycling, cultural visits, coast and mountains. All three tour guides were outstanding. They were very helpful and attentive, courteous and considerate as well as patient and encouraging! In addition they were well informed, interesting and very well organized. They were friendly and fun to be with. I cannot praise them highly enough, as you gather, and may well run out of adjectives to describe them! Nothing was too much trouble - from mending punctures to organising champagne for a special anniversary, from ensuring we had enough snacks and water at appropriate points on the route to giving us all a momento of our trip at the end. The chalk marking was excellent - nobody got lost or took a wrong turn - and it made it so easy to enjoy the ride rather than spend time looking at a map.

      Heather B.
      Kirkcaldy, Scotland
    • The dinners were to die for!

      Bob C.
      San Luis Obispo, CA
    • [My favorite parts?] There were many, but to mention a few: the food, beautiful scenery, cultural experience. The trip was fantastic and our tour leaders were exceptional!

      Wayne D.
      Minnetonka, MN
    • We came away feeling like we really had experienced the country and people!

      Lesley B.
    • There were so many favorite moments, it would be hard to list them all.

      Susan D.
      Lakewood, CO
    • The tour leaders, maps and day sheets were EXCELLENT. You could not ask for better tour leaders than Patricia and Manolis. Both enriched the tour culturally with their knowledge of Greece and its history. Overall the route was well chosen, a challenge and wonderfully interesting.

      Diane C.
      Nepean, ON
    • This was a great tour. The guides were terrific, and the itinerary was wonderful. I have highly recommended the tour.

      Curtis H.
      Austin, TX
    • Can't say enough good things about our trip leaders. Only took minutes to feel like we'd known them for a lifetime.

      William M. and Karen H.
      Reno, NV
    • [What was my favorite part?] The morning we biked to the ruins of Akrocorinth. We climbed to the sounds of chanting from a Greek Orthodox Church somewhere in the town and were greeted to fields of red poppies when we arrived at the ruins. We enjoyed the cog train ride and our evening in Kalavrita.

      Lou Ann R.
      Saint Paul, MN
    • We would like you all to know that our trip was absolutely perfect! We had a wonderful time. The tour leaders were knowledgeable, organized and always ready to be so accommodating to everyone on the trip. Quite simply, your Greek tour guides are gems!

      Christy M.
      Fort Collins, CO
    • The tour leaders for Greece are wonderful - knowledgeable of the local culture, fun, and helpful!

      Cheryl P.
      Atlanta, GA
    • I cannot say enough about our tour leaders who made our trip so much fun by sharing their knowledge of Greece as well as their passion for their country and biking.

      Kathy E.
      Peterborough, ON Canada
    • Loved all three leaders! They really went above and beyond the call of duty to make it a great trip.

      Carole R.
      Palmyra, PA
    • [What was my favorite part?] Interacting with the local people and with the people in our group; touring the ancient sites was equally important; it's always the human contact that determines the quality of the trip for me.

      Ed R.
      Palmyra, PA
    • The tour leaders were superb, they have mastered the art of leading without seeming to do so and were delightful people to be with while travelling. I am consistently delighted with the quality of tour leaders at ExperiencePlus!

      Carl N.
      Portland, OR
    • Riding the countryside was just wonderful. The olive orchards, vineyards, farm land, the sea, the beautiful poppies in bloom, the ruins, etc. Oh and the greek salad, yum.

      Judy H.
      Austin, TX
    • Everything was so well planned -- I was very impressed. All parts of the tour ran smoothly, without a hitch. Tour leaders were a fantastic resource for cultural and historical knowledge, as well as being fluent or native speakers -- a huge advantage for us. I also really appreciated getting a map and being able to map out the route each day. It will help me remember the tour. The rides were a good mix of scenery, challenge, and interesting stops. Most of the towns we stayed in were great places to explore, as well as convenient to the route. A fantastic combination or history, culture, great cycling, fantastic tours leaders and the wonderful company of others on the tour.

      Rainy L.
      Denver, CO
    • The guides were superb, friendly, enthusiastic, and doing their best to ensure we had a good time.

      Pat & Patty S.
      Charlotte, NC

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