The Best Peloponnese Road Trip Itinerary for Uncovering Greece

You are here Home > Destinations > South Europe > Greece > The Best Peloponnese Road Trip Itinerary for Uncovering Greece

Forget island-hopping through Greece: if it’s culture, natural beauty, beaches and a sense of discovery you’re after, it’s time to hire a car and hit the road through the Peloponnese. If it was good enough for the ancient gods and the Olympians, it’s good enough for you.

The Peloponnese Road Trip Itinerary 

The Big Greek Road Hop - Itinerary through the Peloponnese


The Big Greek Road Hop: 10 day Greek itinerary

a recommended itinerary for a driving holiday in Greece

There’s a reason those ancient gods chose this olive and sun-soaked land for their sweeping adventures and mediterranean marauding.

Long before Athens built its Acropolis, the people of the Peloponnese set set stony labyrinths on teetering outcrops. They made history through the Corinthians, Olympians and Spartans and all the while those blue seas glittered, pink flowers tumbled down cafes and mountainsides and the people who tended the land knew how to make olive oil, feta cheese and seasoned meat taste the very best.

A trip to the Peloponnese allows you to relish the basics that Greece does so well: great weather, landscape, and shockingly good food away from the crowds, while gliding between names that have stood the test of time.

I’ll be back with individual travel pieces on the food, the accommodation, the history.

But first, here’s the travel toolkit that will help you turn a 10 day itinerary into a luxury journey back in time.

Seatbelts buckled? Let’s go!

Heads up! If you book or buy through the links on this page, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for that! 

The Peloponnese Map: Getting Your Bearings

The Peloponnese stretches away from Athens like a three fingered gloved hand, the thumb being glitzy Porto Heli near the island of Spetses, and each of the fingers representing a separate stretch and character of land.

Inland, the main roads are sleek, well tarmac-ed and easy to follow, the central arteries passing through Tripoli, Kalamata and Sparta.

Away from those roads, well, dry and dusty is often the way. The mountains are steep and the roads winding. Along the coast, expect twists and turns and sudden drops into the ocean as well. Well, routes that look like sudden drops. The roads are quiet and clear but certainly not for the faint-hearted. I would say it’s similar to driving in Spain, but not as challenging as driving in Morocco.

The best view in Athens from the St George Lycabettus The best view in Athens – a brief pit stop before driving the Peloponnese

Related: 7 Beautiful and Unusual Things To Do in Greece

Getting started: Athens or Kalamata?

Kalamata sits in the heart of the Peloponnese, reducing your travel time to places like Costa Navarino or east to Monemvasia. However, the flight schedules are often seasonal and so your options can be limited (and much more expensive.)

It’s only a two or so hour drive to reach Villa Vager from Athens and you have many more car rental and flight options this way. Plus, Athens is hardly a shabby stop off point. If you’ve never been before, it’s worth spending a couple of nights in the city to relax, explore and put the rest of the trip into context.

Even though I’d visited Athens several times before, I opted to fly into Athens again this time. We travelled in October, just at the end of the season, which was the perfect time in terms of crowds, walking temperatures and picking up a bit of Vitamin D before the winter kicked in.

Days 1 & 2: Arrive in Athens

Explore like mad or just kick back in the sun. Here are a few ideas for you before you pick up your hire car (don’t bother getting it before you’re ready to leave Athens. The city is not one for motorists…)

How to be Happy – Exploring Ancient Philosophy in Athens

7 of the Best Things to Do in Athens – a 3 Day Itinerary

The Best of Greek Food in Athens – Cooking Lessons, Museum and Recipes

Villa Vager in the mountains in the Peloponnese

Day 3 – Drive from Athens to Villa Vager

Brace yourself for the frenetic trip from the car hire pickup to the city outskirts but once you’ve left Athens, driving couldn’t be easier.

You can stop off at Mycenae or save that for your return trip, depending on how keen you are to relax rather than stride around the sights. (To the uninitiated, Mycenae is an archaeological site that reflects the city that thrived here between 1600 – 1000 BC. Although mostly rubble now, it has an impressive view, unique and intriguing stone gate and a visitor’s centre with enough curious artefacts to keep you busy for a couple of hours.)

Petrol stations and roadside cafes are plentiful for the first part of the journey but tail off as you head into the mountains. Make a note of the directions to Villa Vager before leaving Athens as Sat Nav will struggle with the final part of the journey.

And get ready to take photos along the road. It’s simply beautiful.

About Villa Vager

Villa Vager is a gorgeous little bolthole high in the village of Levidi with heart-aching views across the pine-soaked foothills that surround Mt Mainalon in the central Peloponnese.

It deserves a review in its own right (and will get one, watch this space,) as a restored Greek farmhouse run by a passionate couple, Nikolaos and Marina.

This is Greece away from the crowds: a short walk into the village of Levidi shows not a tourist in sight but instead reveals a couple of local tavernas and pharmacies to cater to your needs.

Although it’s not on the coast, that’s something of a blessing as it sits straight in the heart of the mainland, making a good base for day trips across the Peloponnese.

This itinerary stays for just two nights so you can reach the south without feeling rushed, but I could easily have spent a week here, taking day trips out and back again.

Villa Vager Review - Communal Area in Arcadia

Villa Vager Review – Communal Area in Arcadia

Villa Vager Review

High in Arcadia in the foothills of Mount Mainalon, on roads so winding the Sat Nav can’t cope, you’ll find the perfect antidote to over processed coastal Greece: a restored farmhouse and family home surrounded by scented pine.

The stone walls are honeyed and weather worn. The views sweep left and right across olive groves and rocky peaks dotted with fir. And the people who run it, the Vagers of the Villa’s name, are warm, friendly and very much down to earth.


We stayed in the Elatos Suite on the ground floor, a mix of period furniture with designs in relief and modern touches like a fully functioning shower and angular glass lights. Small touches like under floor heating made the stay particularly luxurious, while the desk and wifi meant I was also able to get some work done.

The eight other rooms and suites have similar white and stone walls with lace and patterned fabric touches but some have fireplaces for a real sense of rustic charm.

Villa Vager in the mountains in the Peloponnese


On the highest hill in the quiet Greek village of Vitina, a small place with a town square just a short walk away. Despite the remote feel, the roads connect Vitina to several of the main cultural sights of the Peloponnese making Villa Vager a great base for exploring the region.


Homemade stone-baked pizza available on site, otherwise it’s a short walk into the village for a range of authentic Greek dishes. Think plenty of souvlaki, feta and wonderfully fresh Mediterranean salads.

Travelling with children at Villa Vager

Child friendly?

Very much so in the original sense of the phrase: people are very friendly towards children. The steps and layout of the lounge may make it a challenge for mobile toddlers. We had our first bad experience with travel with a baby here as Rosa fell ill with a rash and cried all night long. Awful for her and probably awful for the other guests and owners. The staff were still wonderful and welcoming, though, and an early morning stroll into town saved our sanity while the rhythm of the dawn walk seemed to soothe her.

Gorgeous Nafplio in the Peloponnese

Day 4 – Day trip from Villa Vager to Nafplio

Sometimes it seems as though Greece just isn’t Greece without a glimpse of the sea.

The seaside town of Nafplio is a firm tourist staple with its narrow cobbled streets and seaside promenade that glistens in a gorgeous shade of Greek blue.

Even at the end of the shoulder season in October, restaurants overlook the water and souvenir stalls stock trinkets from shells to spirits and sugary treats.

If you’re organised, there’s another chance to head into Mycenae on your way back to Villa Vager.

Or, you could just slow down the pace, take your time and chill at the beach before you go “home.”

Arriving in Eumelia Agroturismo Farm in the Peloponnese

Day 5 – Drive to Eumelia Agroturismo in Laconia via Mystras

It’s another short drive today so there’s time to make the very worthwhile detour to Mystras to stretch your legs and stop for a bite of lunch.

Mystras - ancient site in the Peloponnese

And stretched your legs will be on the rocky outcrop-hugging Mystras.

This stunning archaeological site stands in better shape than Mycenae while also offering expansive views across the central Peloponnese.

From there, it’s it’s just 45 minutes on to Eumelia, another place that deserves a full review of its own. Also couple-run, Eumelia is an eco-farm set in the blood-and-rust-red earth of Laconia that offers an unusual combination of rural life, quality food, design and communal living.

It’s another spot that requires a combination of careful SatNav calculations and written directions before you set off, though.

With a stop off at Mystras, you should arrive just as the sun sets and get to see a resplendent deep-red sun.

A focus on olives in the Peloponnese

Day 6 Day in Eumelia & Rural Life in the Peloponnese

Forget the car for the day and recharge by getting back to basics on the farm.

Luxury basics, of course, since someone else does all the hard work for you but you do get the chance to roll up your sleeves and join in the fun through a number of different farm-related experiences.

Soap making, local cooking techniques and olive oil tasting are all on the menu. Plenty more to come about each of those as well, but you can make a start by catching this Lonely Planet video on Facebook with an olive oil sommelier:

Shipwreck beach in the Peloponnese

Day 7 – Day Trip from Eumelia into the Mani

Leave the farm for a day trip into the Mani peninsula, heading towards the working port town of Gythio and the impossibly picturesque town of Areopoli with steep cobbled streets, cute cafes and quiet lanes made for cats to prowl around.

Like so many parts of the Peloponnese, there is more to see in the Mani than these stop-off points but this plan should give you a taste of the region without spending all of the time in the car or packing and unpacking every single night.

Stop off at Valtaki beach on the way back to the farm to find the curious Dimitrios shipwreck. And learn more about its story here:

Stop off at Mystras in the Peloponnese

Day 8 – Drive to Costa Navarino

It’s a longer drive today (around 4- 5 hours) so make sure to stop off for a leisurely Greek lunch in any one of the towns en route. It’s a friendly, unthreatening area and many restaurants have pictures or can help with translations so don’t worry if you feel you’ll get stuck!

You’ll have a good chance to decompress once you reach the grandiose resort at Costa Navarino.

Culture in the Peloponnese at Costa Navarino

Day 9 Day in Costa Navarino

The Westin Resort at Costa Navarino is closer to the more typical Greek holiday than the other accommodation spots mentioned so far.

Instead of the feeling of staying with a family, this is a slick, well-run production with teams of people available around the clock.

Like every self-respecting resort, it features swimming pools, a beach, tennis courts, several different restaurants and a spa but it also features an unusually rich and diverse cultural programme.

Philosophy walks, Messinian cooking lessons, Karagiozis shadow theatre and olive harvesting are just some of the activities on the menu that can help you feel more closely involved with the land on which you sunbathe.

Plus, the regular art tours explore more about the identity of the region as you can see on the short broadcast over below:

Mycenae in the Peloponnese

Day 10 Drive back to Athens

From Costa Navarino, it’s another 4-5 hour drive back to Athens (although another option, of course, is to leave the car at the airport in Kalamata and fly from there instead.)

Depending on the time of your flight, you may have time to visit Mycenae en route if you haven’t walked beneath that Lion’s Gate yet on your trip!

Sounds great but can’t someone else organise it all for me?

Of course they can. Trips to the Peloponnese can be organised by creative travel company Original Travel*, for example, who include many of the hotels mentioned here and who can work with you to create your perfect trip.

Walking along the beaches of the Peloponnese

Optional Adjustments for the Peloponnese Itinerary

Stop off at Villa Vager or Spetses or Porto Heli en route back to Athens to break up the drive and extend your trip.

Fly back from Kalamata to avoid the return drive.

From Eumelia, travel to the eastern “finger” of the Peloponnese and consider a stay at the Kinsterna in Monemvasia.

Spend longer at Villa Vager and factor in a day trip to Olympia and Epidaurus or try some quad-biking in the local mountains.

Beautiful scenes of the Peloponnese

Did you enjoy this Greek road trip itinerary? Bookmark this Peloponnese itinerary and plan your next trip to Greece.

Greek Road Trip - Peloponnese Driving Itinerary
A road trip through Greece
Eumelia Agro Turismo Greece

Agroturismo in the Peloponnese

Deep beneath the scorched sun of the Peloponnese, the Eumelia luxury eco-farm comes from a couple jaded by politics who, quite literally, decided they wanted to get back down to earth.

The earth in question is red and dry and crunches underfoot. Rippling boardwalks surf across the dust to connect the five cabins to the main building where boutique chic mixes with an informal, folksy homestay.

Greece’s financial troubles and the EU brouhaha around them have few silver linings – but the birth of Eumelia Agroturismo is one. Or perhaps “gold” lining would be more appropriate since that’s the nickname of the olive oil that flows so freely here.

Eumelia Farm and Guesthouse

Recommended reading: 27 Ways Food and Travel Go Together (Not just for “Foodies”)

Striking Design, Authentic Activities at Eumelia

The rooms themselves are striking, blending raw cement starkness with soft linens and an unsurprising urge to recycle as you cook.

But it’s the landscape and the activities that make a stay, in fact, a journey here worthwhile.

Making soap in the Peloponnese greece

For it’s here that you get the chance to experience what I’d otherwise only been able to guess at as I’d watched olive grove after olive grove roll by the window.

Exploring more of those olive groves. Cooking with local ingredients. Hearing local stories. Making friends with children. And stirring into a fever to make my own, ever so softly scented soap.

Cooking lessons at Eumelia

Related: Bringing Art to the Beach: Hotel Costa Navarino, Greece

Olive Oil Tasting with an Olive Oil Sommelier

You’ve heard of a wine sommelier, but have you heard about an olive oil sommelier?

Olive oil is big, big business in the Mediterranean with tastings, contests and a clash between cultural history and modern farming practice that shows no sign of fading out any time soon.

I’d previously been olive picking and helped crush my own olive oil in Andalusia, Spain. Here in Laconia, I got the chance to explore the more refined end of the spectrum of olive oil production: the tasting.

Catch the video below (if for some reason, you can’t see it – do head to the review on the main blog.)

Olive oil tasting Eumelia Greece

A Stay at Eumelia in Review

Family Friendly?

Absolutely! We felt so welcome with Rosa, she could join in the classes and wander around the main room, playing with toys. She even made friends with the owners’ little one.


In Laconia in the Peloponnese. Check out this article for a guide to driving the Peloponnese, complete with map and suggestions of things to do nearby.

Unusual Fact

A lot of philosophy went into the design of the complex, including the prompt to take stock and remember to look up at the sky.

Rooms at Eumelia Agrotourismo in Greece

Who is it for?

People who want to get off the beaten track and explore farming practices in Greece with a chic twist.

Who is not for?

People looking for busy nightlife or the trappings of a large hotel resort.

More on Travel in Greece

Start with our collection of beautiful and unusual things to do in Greece and then delve deeper into the Greek archives.

In particular, look for the Peloponnese road trip itinerary and guide to things to do in Kalamata.

And don’t forget Athens (as if you could!) Find unusual things to do in Athens, retrace the steps of Plato with a philosophy tour and indulge with our Athens Food Guide.

Finally, don’t forget the obvious. What to pack for Greece!


*Disclosure – I travelled through the Peloponnese as a guest of many of the hotels mentioned here, with some activities provided for free for review purposes. I received flight support from Original Travel. As ever, as always, I kept the right to write what I like. Otherwise, what is the point in this world?!

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.