Bicycle Touring In Greece – Cycling From Athens to Messolonghi

Although I have lived in Athens for over a year, this was my first time bicycle touring in Greece! Leaving from Athens, I cycled to Corinth, Rio, and then to Messolonghi during my first week. This was the first section of my longer bike tour from Greece to England.

This photo was taken at the very start of my cycling trip from Greece to England, on May 8th 2016.

Bicycle Touring in Greece

Sunday May 8th 2016 Day 1 – Cycling from Athens to Camping Glaros 

It has to be said, that Athens is not the most cycle-friendly city in the world. Working out how best to avoid the traffic as I cycled through was always going to be a challenge. Especially when a general strike which included ferry workers effectively blocked off my preferred route of using the island of Salamina to dodge some unpleasant sections of road.

Some re-routing was in order, and so I settled on one which took me north through Athens, and then westward through the suburbs. It actually worked out great, and so I have included the route map below in case anyone else bicycle touring in Greece needs to cycle out of Athens.

I would also strongly recommend cycling out of Athens on a Sunday as early as you can to avoid the traffic.

As far as cycling goes, this was a pretty easy day. It was for the most part flat or downhill, and the road was good quality, and sealed all the way.

Once I had cleared Athens, and the area with the oil refineries, the road more or less followed the coastline. Inspirational views always help the pedals turn that little bit easier!

My destination for the day, was Camping Glaros, which is just past Kinetta Beach. It has access to a little beach, so it only made sense that I went for a swim! If bicycle touring in Greece is always going to be this easy, this trip will be a breeze!

Monday May 9th 2016 Day 2 – Cycling from Camping Glaros to Blue Dolphin Camping

This was a really short and easy day of cycling. I was in no particular rush, and had planned a shorter day so that I could ‘ease' back into bicycle touring. It's just like riding a bike though, if you will forgive the pun!

All the old routines come back, such as packing the tent away, strapping the gear to the bike, filling up with water etc. I was pleased with how I immediately felt comfortable with it all again. I guess I really am in my environment when bicycle touring!

The route was mostly flat, and took me over the famous Corinth Canal. I have been here perhaps half a dozen times now, and the scale of it never fails to amaze me.

The desire to build a canal had been there for centuries, as it would act as a ‘short-cut' between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf. In fact, Ancient Corinth amassed its wealth and power by man-handling boats and goods over the sections which were not connected by a natural inlet. Completed in 1893, it is now used mainly by tourist ships due to size restrictions, and a one-way traffic system.

Corinth canal is just one of the sites you get to see when bicycle touring in Greece

I finished the day at Blue Dolphin Camping, which was another place by the sea. All in all a great day, and so far, a perfect start to bicycle touring in Greece!

Tuesday May 10th 2016 Day 3 – Cycling from Blue Dolphin Camping to Akrata Beach Camping

I've been really lucky with the weather on this tour. Although I figured that May would be a good month for bicycle touring in Greece, the weather can always be unpredictable.

So far though, clear blue skies, and warm but not insanely hot temperatures. It is also very early in the tourist season, and so there is an absence of large numbers of other tourists. This all combines to make for some great cycling!

Today's route took me from the Blue Dolphin campsite to Akrata Beach. For large parts of the journey, the road followed the coastline. A recent fast highway has taken much of the traffic away from the original route 8 highway, making it far more enjoyable!

Again, I was taking things at a leisurely pace – There is no need to rush something that can be enjoyed. (That applies to many things !). I found this wall collage along the way. A good sign I was on the right track!

I must be on the right track for my bicycle touring in Greece trip!

I eventually found Akrata beach camping, and set up. Although this is the best campground out of the three so far, the ground was solid. As my tent is not a free standing one, the pegs have to go in the ground in order for it to keep its shape. Luckily, there were plenty of rocks to use as a hammer!

Wednesday May 11th 2016 Day 4 – Cycling from Akrata Beach to Messolonghi

At just short of 100kms, this was my longest day of bicycle touring in Greece so far. I think that the 100km mark is a psychological barrier of some sorts, although physically, I seem to be pretty capable of cycling this distance with all the added weight of my panniers, even at the ripe old age of 44!

The day was a bit of a mixed bag. There were some wonderful stretches of coastal road, but also a number of sections of roadworks and busy traffic as I neared Patras.

Stopping just before at Rio, I had to catch a ferry, as bicycles are not allowed on the bridge. Crossing with a bicycle from Rio to Antirrio on the ferry is free though. Sweet!

It also gave me a chance to see this marvel of design and engineering from a different angle as I took the boat across the water.

In this photo, you can see the bridge on the right, and my bicycle in the bottom left of ferry. Yes, it was an overcast day!

Ferry from Rio to Antirrio with a bicycleOnce on the other side, I had 40kms to cycle to Messolonghi. Or Mesologi depending on how you want to spell it. I wish they would just settle for one version!

There were a few uphill sections during this stretch of road, but nothing I couldn't handle. I will need to get used to the hills soon in preparation for cycling in Albania!

Thursday May 12th 2016 Day 5 – Day off in Messolonghi

Today, I took a day off from cycling. The reason being, that bad weather was quite literally forecast to follow my ride northwards out of Messolonghi! Am I a wimp? Possibly, but it might also be common sense.

I was due to take a day off from cycling a couple of days later in any case, so I might as well bring it forward, and dodge the rain and thunderstorms. Especially when the following days were all predicted to be fine again!

I spent most of the day online catching up with some work, with a couple of short breaks to wander around the bicycle friendly town of Messolonghi.


As it turned out, it was a good job that I took the day off. I later discovered that the campground I intended to head for had been closed down for five years. So not only would I have been wet, I also wouldn't have anywhere to stay!

Additionally, I had messed up some dates with a hotel in Parga I am due to stay at and review. Again, I had the chance to put this right also. So all things for a reason and all that. The only slight downside, is it means I now head out on Friday the 13th. Superstitious types cross your fingers and toes for me!

The first week of bicycle touring in Greece, on my trip to cycle from Greece to England. Planning a bicycle tour in Greece? Check out this useful information as well as my route maps.

You might want to check out these bike touring guides

11 thoughts on “Bicycle Touring In Greece – Cycling From Athens to Messolonghi”

  1. Hi, Dave! I’m planning on heading from athens to Patras in April/May. i’m planning on going primarily on route 8 once i’m in corinth/the peloponnese. Because i’m coming from the US, my plan is to connect with a shop in Athens that can rent me a trekking bike for a week and then head out. This is my first trek (I’m very familiar with greece – my family lives there and I’ve traveled this route many times by car), and I’m wondering about any key things you might have to offer? mostly, re: repairs, extra tubes, wheels, etc. Thank you for your expertise and wisdom!!

    • Hi Andreas,
      For hiring a bike, you might like to try Athens by Bike. I took a city tour with them last year, and at the time, they had a few trekking bikes with panniers they were happy to hire out. It might still be the case. You can find them on Google.
      In terms of what to take – It will come down to if you want to camp or stay in rooms. If staying in rooms, you’ll have the benefit if traveling lightly. I did a minimal one week tour in Greece a few years back. Here’s a look at the gear I took with me: Bike Touring Gear
      I hope this helps!!

  2. Hi Dave,

    I’m planning on cycling from London to Athens this summer, and during my planning, came across your videos. They’re a really nice watch, and useful too, so thanks for those. I’m hoping to follow a similar route to yours (in reverse) for the Greece part of my tour, and had a couple of questions I was wondering if you might be able to help me with.

    Firstly, how common were the campsites along your route? Did you stop where you did because they were the only places that there were campsites, or was it more ad hoc?

    Also, when I reach Athens, I’ll need to pack my bike up to fly it back to England. I’m planning to go to a local bike shop and get a cardboard bike box to pack it in, hopefully having contacted them in advance to check that they’ll have something. Could you recommend any bike shops, or would you suggest a different plan altogether?

    Thanks in advance,
    Best wishes,


    • Hi Rob,
      Great to hear you are planning the cycling trip!
      There are lots of campsites or even wild camping availability along most of the route I took. I chose to stay where I did based on cycling distance (I like to cycle a base of 80 kms a day… a little less if there is obviously something or somewhere to stay, and a little more if it makes more sense to push on for 20kms for camping etc). There were also some places of interest I wanted to added. Routes tend to come together naturally after a while.
      In some countries, cheap hotels were just as cheap as camping. Montenegro for example surprised me with how affordable rooms were.
      Regarding bike boxes in Athens – There are a few bike shops to try, normally outside of the historic center itself so it might involve a metro journey to get one. is a chain of shops which have places all over. Getting in touch with one of their stores a few weeks prior so they could reserve you an empty box would be the way to go I think.

      • Hi Dave,

        Thanks for your reply. That’s good to know, I should be able to be fairly flexible then. That’s great about, exactly the sort of thing I was looking for, I’ll be sure to get in touch with them.

        Thanks again,
        Best wishes,


  3. I am going to bike around Greece from 14 May through 15 August 2018 (this year). Please tell me; is there a non-toll less traveled road from Athens to Mycenae; from Mycenae to Sparta; from Sparta to Githio? I plan to travel north from Messene up to Patra and across to Naufpactus. Then I plan to travel from Naupaktos to Delphi to Larissa and onto Thessaloniki. Do you know if the roads are good for biking up there? Does the National Highway systems run through these areas, or will I always be stuck on large motorways? I f I am stuck on a motorway do I have to pay a toll for its use? Is it easy to get off of the motorways and National Highway roads, or will I be blocked and trapped on the roads. I plan to spend most of my time getting away from touristy spots and, when necessary, sleeping alongside the road in a sleeping bag, but not camping out. I would appreciate any info you can provide. aaaaaaaaa

    Thank you for your time;


    • Hi JD,

      I Hope you are well. Apologies for the late reply – The holiday break got the better of me!
      There is no need to use the tollways (and actually as a cyclist it is illegal to do so). If you look at Google maps and zoom in, you will see that virtually every tollway has a smaller road running alongside it. This was the old highway and is little used now, and is toll free.
      If I am to be honest, one of the things that Greece lacks is a good cycling infrastructure. This ‘old’ main road is a good option though.
      Love the route you have planned out – It includes some great places! I visited Delphi recently on another bike tour. My advice is to take a day off here if you can, as seeing the site takes longer than you might think. Whilst you mentioned free camping along the way, you’ll find accommodation in Delphi to be quite affordable – I think i picked up a hotel room for around 20 euros for the night!

  4. Interesting trip Dave whe go to cycle in Greece in June. So your video’s are very welcom to us. We are waiting for The next day’s of your trip,

    Thx a lot have a goed time,

    Ellen and Markus’ form The Netherlands

    • Hi Guys,
      I hope you enjoy your time bicycle touring in Greece! I have lots of contacts in Athens, so if you ever need anything, just message me, and I will put you in touch with them.
      Happy tailwinds!!


  5. Very interesting trip Dave! Greece is full of wonderful routes if you know where to look and if you don’t mind climbing the mountains! Thanks for your great videos. Have a nice trip!


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