I spent 3 weeks cycling in the Peloponnese region of Greece. It's an amazing landscape to cycle through, which I'd love to share with you here.
My bike route through the Peloponnese in Greece took me past ancient sites where King Agamemnon ruled, through olive groves and by coastal roads. If you're planning to explore the Greek Peloponnese by bicycle this guide might be a useful read.
Bike Touring in Greece
I've been living in Greece now for over four years, and during that time, taken a number of bike tours around the country.
Greece is both a fantastic and slightly strange place to cycle. Unlike many other European countries, there is no cycling infrastructure to speak of. So forget any ideas of bike paths and well marked trails you may have!
Instead, picture countless quiet country lanes, amazing hills and mountains to endure and then enjoy, and lots of clean fresh air.
It's a challenging country to cycle for sure – it's a rare day you'll have got away without cycling up and over one hill or mountain. But it's rewarding, whether as a bike touring destination in itself, or as part of a long distance bike tour.
Cycling Peloponnese Region
The Peloponnese peninsula of Greece is, in my opinion, an ideal destination for a bike tour. You can start and end the tour in Athens with its international airport, and you can plan a tour of almost any length of time.
If you are from the UK, you could also consider flying into Kalamata and using that as your start and end point, avoiding the hassle of cycling in Athens.
Whilst I spent around 3 weeks cycling in the Peloponnese, the route I took could be adapted to a shorter two week tour, or a longer one of four weeks.
For people who want to spend even longer cycling in Greece, there's also the option to continue through mainland Greece.
Peloponnese Bike Tour Route
This part of Greece has an abundance of famous ancient ruins such as Mycenae where the mythical King Agamemnon was said to rule, Epiduarus, and of course Ancient Olympia.
The route I chose when cycling around the Peloponnese was based in part on the legend of Hercules and the 12 Labours. This combined my interest with ancient history and bike touring perfectly, whilst taking me around the varied landscape of the region.
There's not just the archaeological sites left to us by the Ancient Greeks. The Peloponnese also has some stunning medieval castles such as Methoni and Koroni which I stopped by at along the way.
You could create your own themed tour as well if you wanted. Some ideas you could consider include a Venetian Castles bike tour, Ancient Greece bike tour, or best beaches bike tour.
It's an amazingly varied region of Greece, which you can find out about here – Things to do in the Peloponnese.
Greece Cycling Vlogs
During my bike tour of the Peloponnese in Greece, I made a vlog a day. I think this is the best way to show the landscapes I cycled through, as well as describe what I got up to on a day by day basis.
I've included the cycling vlogs below. Each one has a description and you can click through to watch it on YouTube. If you are planning a ride around the Peloponnese it's worth watching so you can get a feel for what to expect.
Cycling in the Peloponnese Videos
During my bike tour, I made a vlog a day whilst cycling in the Peloponnese of Greece.
Cycling in the Peloponnese - Athens to Corinth Day 1 Hercules Bike
Day 1 of my bike tour in the Peloponnese of Greece began from Athens. I chose to cycle all the way through to Corinth from Athens. If planning your own tour, you could choose to skip this section and take a train instead. Here's my vlog from the day.
Cycling in the Peloponnese Episode 2 - Corinth to Nafplion
Day 2 of my bicycle tour around the Peloponnese region of Greece. On this leg, I cycled from Corinth to Nafplion, stopping at the UNESCO site of Mycenae along the way.
Cycling in Greece Episode 3 - Tiryns and Lerna
Day 3 of my bike tour in the Peloponnese in Greece. Basing myself in Nafplion, I took the bike out without panniers to visit the sites of Tiryns and Lerna. These two sites were connected with the myth of Hercules and the 12 Labours. It's this myth that I in part based my cycling route of the Peloponnese on.
Cycling the Peloponnese - Episode 4 Nafplion to Stymphalia
On day 4 of my Peloponnese bicycle tour, I moved on to another location connected with the myth of Hercules and the 12 Labours. This time it was Lake Stymphalia.
Cycling the Peloponnese in Greece Episode 5 - Stymphalia to Akrata Beach
On Day 5 of the bicycle tour, I cycled on from Lake Stymphalia and headed toward the Greek coastline. Today's destination was Akrata Beach, a place I had previously visited when cycling from Greece to England.
Peloponnese Bike Tour Episode 6 - Akrata Beach to Kalavrita
My time cycling along the coastline in the Peloponnese was short lived, as it was to head up into the mountains. In the winter, the area around Kalavrita is known as a ski resort. At this time of year though, it's a great place to cycle!
Cycling in Greece Episode 7 - Kalavrita to Olympia
You could say there was lots of up and down on this long day's cycling! My ultimate destinations was Ancient Olympia, where I aimed to stay for a couple of nights. As such, I could afford to put in the extra effort needed to do the combined distance and elevation required, knowing there was a nice bed ready for me at the end of the night!
Cycling in Greece Episode 8 - Ancient Olympia
Zero cycling today, as I spent the day walking around Ancient Olympia and its museum. This was one of the most important centers in the ancient Greek world, and of course, the place where the Olympic Games was born.
Cycling in Greece Episode 9 - Olympia to Gialova
After the day spent at Olympia, it was time to resume my bike tour around the Peloponnese in Greece. This vlog covers the places I saw as I cycled to Gialova.
Cycling in Greece Episode 10 - Gialova to Finikounda
Not many people realise that Greece has some marvellous Venetian castles. During today's section of the Peloponnese bike tour, I stopped by one of them, and also visited a few other places along the way.
Cycling in Greece Episode 11 - Finikounda to Petalidi
Another day, another cycling vlog! Although Finikounda is an area I could easily spend longer in, I was on something of a schedule when it came to this bike tour. Today, I cycled on to Petalidi.
Cycling in Greece Episode 12 - Petalidi Beach to Megalopoli
Leaving the coastline, I cycled inland across the Peloponnese and to the town of Megalopoli. Perhaps this name is a joke or a Greek version of sarcasm, because it wasn't really that big!
Cycling in Greece Episode 13 - Megalopoli to Tripoli
Cycling across the inland Peloponnese once more, my destination for the day was Tripoli. This cycling vlog details what I got up to, and some thoughts from the road.
Cycling in Greece Episode 14 - Tripoli to Tolo
Time to head to the coast, as I wanted to eventually visit another archaeological site. In today's episode, I cycled between Tripoli and Tolo.
Cycling in the Peloponnese Episode 15 - Tolo to Epidaurus
Epidaurus is one of the more remarkable sites in Greece. It's a UNESCO World Heritage designated site, and perhaps most famous for the acoustics in the theatre. People sitting far away in the high seats can literally hear a pin being dropped!
Cycling in Greece Episode 16 - Epidaurus to Camping Glaros
With the bike tour in the Peloponnese coming to an end, it was time to complete the loop, and start the route back to Athens. In this episode, I finished the day at a campsite by the sea. This is a campsite I had stayed in a couple of years earlier when cycling from Greece to England.
Cycling in Greece Episode 17 - Camping Glaros to Athens
And finally, the bike tour ended back in Athens. There's always mixed feeling when finishing a tour - Satisfaction that it is complete, happiness for the things seen and achieved, and also that seed of thought that it's time to start planning the next bike tour!
Bikepacking Greece – Planning
While I don't have exact GPS routes from this tour, the videos have a lot of information you need. If you're looking for more information on this bicycle tour in Greece, these other articles may also be of interest.
- Introduction – Here, I explain the concept of the bike tour, along with a few other details.
- Bike Touring Gear – In this post I review the bike touring gear I took with me. This might be useful when planning your own tour.
- The Bicycle – I used a ‘classic' style steel touring bike for this bike tour in Greece.
Are you thinking of cycling in the Peloponnese and have any questions? Please feel free to comment below, and I'll be happy to answer them if I can!
– Dave Briggs
Dave has cycled around most of the world, including long distance bike tours such as riding from Greece to England, and cycling from England to South Africa. Now living in Greece and working as a travel writer Dave has a somewhat ambitious goal of visiting every Greek island (there's over 200!) and writing about them all.
Follow Dave on social media for travel inspiration from Greece and beyond:
10 thoughts on “Cycling Peloponnese of Greece – Bikepacking Guide”
Thanks for your answer.
I think I’ll have 7 or 8 days so it should be enough to cross the Peloponnese
I mentioned Methana because I had been advised to visit Epidavros, Methana and maybe Aegina on my way to Athens. And I thought Nafplion could be nice too, as you wrote, and Olympia of course. From Olympia, Komoot and Mappy.cz suggest that I follow the Alfeios river valley to Megalopolis and then head east to Nafplion. If I do that I’d miss Nemea and Mycenea but if I visit a site or two it’s enough for me. What do you think of this option? And why would you rather recommend the train that the ferry? I may need to take the train if the ferry schedule is not working for me in any case.
It all depends on your timings and interests. Epidavros is certainly worth spending time at for the theatre for example, but I’m not sure I would personally choose to go via Aegina – but then my interests are in ancient sites! Instead I would go via Mycenae and Nemea, perhaps stay in Corinth and cycle into Athens or get the train if it was my last day.
Perhaps seeing how ferry crossings line up for you would be a good way to balance it.
Thanks for all the info! I’m currently cycling from France to Athens and I am wondering how to cross the Peloponnese. I plan to follow the North West coast until Preveza, then take a bus to go to Lefkada and cycle Lefkada and Kefalonia. From there I could take a ferry to Kyllini but then I’m not sure. I won’t have too much time (not sure how much exactly yet) and I could enter Athens by train (from Corinthe for example, or ferry from Porto Cheli or Poros).
Would you recommend any route to cross the Peloponnese? I won’t have time to go all around. Is the peninsula where Poros/Port Cheli are interesting compared to the rest? Or better stay north?
Any tip would be helpful, thanks in advance!
Tricky one to answer without knowing what time you have to play with.
In general, I prefer the south of the Peloponnese and find it more interesting.
From Kyllini I think heading to Olympia makes the most sense first of all.
Then, depending on time, you could either follow the west coast heading south (you’ll see great beaches and then 3 amazing castles such as Koroni castle).
If you’re short on time, you could head directly eat towards Nemea and then Mycenae (both recommended to see!).
Keep in mind that the center of the Peloponnese is basically all mountains, so it might affect how far you can cycle each day.
I would choose the surburban train from Corinth over a ferry from Poros to get into Athens.
Not sure if any of that helps!
I haven’t done any European bike travels. I haven’t done any bike packing in 30 years! I’m still an avid cyclist and have been travelling with my bike again for the last three years. I have free accommodation in Athens and on the Island of Paxos available to me. I’d like to travel from Athens to the ferry at Igoumenitsa. I figure 7 days , staying at small hotels along the way. Google maps doesn’t have anything for cyclists but they do give a route for walking. LOL
Do you have a suggestion for picking a route and using a map, gps, smart phone app?
Getting started with a route and making reservations to rest would be the first step to getting myself organized.
I’m thinking a bike bag and handle bar bag as well as a back pack that I have already used and is a good size and aero enough.
No cycling specific routes there I’m afraid – it will be a case of using Google to identify the minor roads to keep you away from traffic (but not too minor, else you’ll be in an overgrown field – I speak from experience!!).
One word about the Preveza area – there is a tunnel there that you won’t be able to cycle through – so plan a route around this.
For planning this route, I’d start by backtracking from Igoumenitsa for a couple of days first, and then look at a route out of Athens.
Where you see a main tollroad/highway marked on Google maps, there is always a parallel older road running by the side of it – this is great for cycling as in most cases the traffic uses the newer toll road.
Thanks for sharing all the information!
I am thinking of planning a 5 day bike trip with two friends in the Peloponnese in October. Are you aware of any bike rental stores in Athens providing a similar bike as yours?
Thanks and best regards,
I’d suggest contacting: https://athensbybike.com/
They might be able to help you out with bikes and panniers. They have a lot of bikes for their city tours which might be suitable for an extended bike tour as well as panniers. Also, it’s getting to off-season for them so they may have availability for you.
If they can’t help you, they might at least point you in the right direction!
Hi Dave, love the route!
Do you have a downloadable version of the route? I’m going to do Peloponnese in a couple of weeks and I’d love to do a similar one. I’ve only got 10 days to do it though — is there anywhere you’d leave out?
All the best!
Hi James – No downloadable route – sorry!
If I was to leave anything out, it would be the north of the Peloponnese, and maybe even Olympia.
If time restricts you from a circular route, you could always get a bus from Kalamata back to Athens (or get a bus to Kalamata and ride back from there).
If you decide to add the Mani peninsula on to your route, it would be perhaps 3 days of hard riding – but very rewarding!!
Happy tailwinds wherever you decide to ride in the end 🙂