Peloponnese Road Trip Itinerary – See the best places in the Southern Peloponnese, Greece

This Peloponnese road trip itinerary is based on a trip I took in the south of the Peloponnese Peninsula in Greece. Highlights include Monemvasia, Gythion, Mani, Mystras, Ancient Messene, Foinikounta, Methoni, Koroni, and finally Mycenae on the way back to Athens.

South Peloponnese Road Trip Greece - Planning the next place to go, whilst listening to the waves on the beach.

If you're thinking of a road trip in the southern Peloponnese, Greece, you might find this Peloponnese itinerary useful.  I share lots of insights and tips to help your travel planning, as well as links to full guides for specific attractions and destinations in the peninsula.

Of course, there is much more to see in the Peloponnese than just the places I mention here. For example, this road trip itinerary doesn't even include Olympia or Epidaurus, two of the most important historical sites in Greece.

Take this itinerary as something of a base from which to build on. After all, you could spend months driving around the Peloponnese and never see it all!

Want to know where to find rental cars? Take a look at: Discover Cars

Southern Peloponnese Map

Here's a map of the route we covered in the Peloponnese, Greece. We followed a roughly clockwise route, starting and ending in the Greek capital of Athens.

South Peloponnese Road Trip in Greece

Peloponnese Travel Planning

Before leaping into the southern Peloponnese road trip itinerary itself, I thought I'd give a bit of background information. The main point being, I have been living in Athens, Greece for a few years now.

As such, I'd already visited some of the important sites and places of interest in the Peloponnese, so didn't need to include them on this itinerary.

Road trip in Peloponnese

Additionally, I have my own car so don't need to worry about car rentals or the novelty of driving in Greece.

These are things you may need to think about, and so I've included a FAQ section at the end of this travel blog post. I've also a guide here on renting a car in Greece that's worth reading.

Related: Travelling by Car: Advantages and Disadvantages

Our Peloponnese Itinerary

Let's set the scene…

The Mrs and myself had a couple of weeks free for a vacation which coincided with a wedding we were attending in the Peloponnese. It seemed a good opportunity to take a road trip, and so we planned around the set dates we had at the wedding.

We had previously travelled through parts of the Peloponnese only a few weeks before. On that occasion, it was mainly in the centre of the region, and you can read about it here – A 2 Day Peloponnese Tour.

Peloponnese tour beach

As a result, we didn't need to include Ancient Olympia in this itinerary which most people would do Instead, the idea was to get some beach time, and see as many key highlights of the southern Peloponnese as possible in 2 weeks, before finishing back in Athens.

During our 2 week road trip along the south of the Peloponnese, we would use our own car, and stay in a mix of accommodation which ranged from camping through to medium priced hotels and apartments.

Our South Peloponnese Road Trip Itinerary

We spent the first three nights of our road trip in the coastal town of  Neapoli Vion. This is one of the southernmost towns in mainland Greece, and was a pleasant enough place to stay.

The reason for being here, was that a couple of friends were getting married. It was my first Greek wedding, and despite the uncertainty of the referendum in Greece looming in the background, was a great day.

There were a couple of strange customs, such as the grooms friends taking it in turns to shave him, and then slapping him. Yes, I did have a go, and was gentle both with my shaving and the slap!

Dave Briggs in a suit

Most notably on a personal level though, this wedding was the first time I had worn a suit in 20 years since my grandmother got married (long story!). What's your verdict?

The wedding was on the Saturday, and on the Sunday, we took a day trip over to Elafonisos island. The stretch of sand out on Simos beach was one of the best I have seen in all my travels. It's an easy day trip to make, although taking the car on the ferry as well costs 10 euro extra.

Leaving Neapoli Vion Greece

So, the Peloponnese road trip resumed proper again on the Monday. Leaving Neapoli Vion, we drove to some nearby caves at Kastania. These were really quite spectacular, but spoiled by the fact that the guide was clearly bored with her job, and that no photos were allowed.

A real shame, because otherwise it is a little gem of a place to visit, quite off the normal tourist trail. Never mind. Onward after that to Monemvasia, where we spent two nights.


Monemvasia is a small town housed in a medieval fortress on an island, connected to the mainland by a bridge. Strolling around the lower town area, there are now all manner of shops and bars catering for the many tourists that visit each year.

For my tastes, it was a little ‘too' touristy, but beautiful nonetheless.

The streets of Monemvasia in Greece

Unfortunately for us, the upper town and fortress were closed for repairs, so we didn't get to climb to the top. Not to worry though, as we went to a couple of beaches in the area instead!

Our favourite, was Pori beach, so if you are staying in the area, just ask someone how to get there.

Shipwreck on Valtaki beach

On the Wednesday, we drove out of Monemvasia and to the lagoon at Limenas Ieraka. This was a another really pretty location, but it got overshadowed somewhat later on, when we discovered a shipwreck!

Dimitrios shipwreck on valtaki beach, near Gytho in Greece

We genuinely didn't know anything about this shipwreck at all, before glimpsing it out of the corner of our eyes as we drove by the coast. Stopping to have a look, it is a vast, rusting hulk, washed up on the shoreline of Valtaki beach, near Gythio.

There are a lot of urban legends surrounding this ship. The main one, seems to be that this was a cigarette smuggling ship, which was at one point impounded, and then broke free in a storm to end up stranded on the shore.

Whatever the actual truth is, the shipwreck is a must see when driving along this section of the coast on a Peloponnese road trip!

Mavrovounio Beach

We stayed just the one night in Gythio (by the way, the spelling of this name varies a lot!). After a bit of sight-seeing the next day, we drove on to Mavrovounio Beach, where we had the first night camping together at Camping Kronos.

After having spent literally years camping alone in tents during my various trips around the world, I wondered how this would go, but it worked out just fine!

I would describe Camping Kronos as a ‘rustic' camp site. It does have all the facilities, but they are not particularly well cared for. The upside though, is that the place does have a nice, laid-back vibe to it, and that it is right on the beach. Excellent!

We based ourselves here for two nights, and the next day visited the Diros Caves. These are perhaps the most famous caves in Greece, made all the more memorable because a tour there is taken on a small boat, which is paddled through the caves by a guide.

Sorry, no photos as they didn't turn out too great. I do have some video footage which I may put on YouTube at some point though.

Vathia in Mani, Peloponnese

Our drive away from the caves and back towards the coast, took us through the town of Vathia, which is famed for its stone houses which look like castle towers.

Vathia in the Mani area of the Peloponnese

In fact, many of the villages in this area of Mani have houses built in a similar fashion.

A restored stone house in Vathia in Greece

We also checked out a few beaches before heading back to the camp site. Gerolimenas, Marmari, and Skoutari. Many people rate Skoutari quite highly, but we weren't super impressed with it.

That's not to say it was a bad beach though – There is a lot of competition when it comes to the best beaches in Greece!

A couple of years later, we spend more time in Mani. Read our travel guide here: Road trip in Mani, Greece


The Saturday saw us break camp, and resume our Peloponnese road trip as we drove to Kalamata. This would be another two night stay at a camp site, and the next day, we visited Mystras.

Dave Briggs in Mystras Greece

Mystras is a Byzantine hill fortress, spread out over three levels. There will be a full blog post coming over the next couple of weeks, but suffice to say, it is a major place of interest which should be visited when on a Peloponnese road trip in Greece.

Also read: Best day trips from Kalamata

Ancient Messene in the Peloponnese

Monday we left Kalamata, and drove to Ancient Messine. Surprisingly, this ancient site is little visited, even among Greeks. It is a real shame, as I feel that it is one of the best archaeological sites I have seen in Greece.

I've written a fuller travel blog post, which you can read about here >> Ancient Messene.

It took between 3 and 4 hours to see the site, and when done, we drove on to Foinikounta beach, where we camped for 3 nights.

Camping at Foinikounta Beach

Camping Thines was my favourite camp site of our entire Peloponnese road trip, and I could quite easily have stayed there a week. Or a month. The site was well set up, and the beach was right on the doorstep. It was a nice beach as well, with some lovely natural shade under some trees.

digital nomad on the beach

Tuesday was a bit of a chill day, although I did work from the beach on my tablet computer. Nice to see that this is actually possible to do! I don't want to use the term digital nomad, but, well I was for one day. You have to embrace the laptop lifestyle!

The following day, we visited Koroni Castle. This is one of a pair of castles known as the Eyes of Venice, and I will be writing more about them in a few weeks time.

Methoni Castle

Methoni castle is the other ‘eye' of the pair, and we visited this after packing up from the campsite. Of the two castles, I found this to be far more impressive.

In a way, it felt like a scaled down version of Gondor from the Lord of the Rings films. I will just include the one photo here, because as I mentioned, it will get its own write up a few weeks from now.

Methoni castle

At night, we stayed in Pylos, where the next morning we briefly visited the castle. This had two museums in dedicated to underwater archaeology. Then it was on to an area called Terpsithea, just outside of Kyparissia.

Here, we stayed in what was easily the best accommodation of the entire Peloponnese road trip. The accommodation was called Terpsi Apartments, and we got an incredibly well maintained, clean and immaculate apartment which included washing machine and kitchen for just 30 euros for the night. Highly recommended!

After checking in, there was still a little beach time, so we spent a few hours on Elaia beach before catching an awesome sunset.

awesome sunset

Weird Buildings of the Peloponnese

On leaving the great apartment, Saturday turned into a very strange day in terms of buildings. It seemed that we discovered every weird looking building in Greece all in one day.

Fairy tale castle in peloponnese

Perhaps this Fairy Tale castle was more creepy than weird though! I have written a full blog post about the buildings we saw, and you can read that here >> Weird looking buildings in Greece.

Even the hotel we stayed at in Xiropigado that night was a little strange. The owner was really nice and friendly though.


On to Sunday, and the last day of our Peloponnese road trip. It was an initial short drive to Mycenae, which is arguably one of the more important archaeological sites in Greece. Between 1600BC and 1100BC, Mycenae was a military stronghold, and influential centre of ancient Greek civilisation.

I have always wanted to visit here, and it was a great feeling to finally wander around the site. Again, I will write a fuller blog post later, but for now, here is a photo teaser.

The Lion's Gate in Mycenae Greece

And that brings our Peloponnese Road trip in Greece to an end. It would have been nice to have 3 weeks. Or 4. Or 5. It's all there for next time however!

Note: A recent attraction you might want to check out, is the Patrick Leigh Fermor House in Kardamyli.

Peloponnese Peninsula Road Trip FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions about taking a road trip in the Peloponnese region of Greece.

Is it safe to drive around Greece?

Driving in Greece can be quite an experience the first time! Cars are driven fast, and with a ‘might is right' mentality. Driving in Athens is particularly challenging, but on the Greek islands, there is far less traffic and it is easier to drive.

What side of road do you drive in Greece?

Traffic in Greece drives on the right side of the road. 

Do you need an international driver's license to drive in Greece?

If you have a valid licence from an EU country you do not need an IDP. Drivers with licences from non-Eu countries (including the UK in 2021) will need an International Driver's Permit (IDP).

How do you pay tolls in Greece?

You can pay toll roads in Greece by card or cash. Motorway tolls have signs above the lanes indicating of they are open, and the payment method they accept. Some toll gates offer payments by card or by coins using automatic cashiers.

How long is the drive from Athens to Nafplio?

The driving distance from Athens to Nafplio is 138 km. It takes around 1h 47m to drive from Athens to Nafplio in the Peloponnese of Greece.

Other Greek Road Trip Articles

I've written several other Greek road trip articles, but this one is the best of them all – The best places to see on a Greek road trip. It details 4 Greek road trip itineraries, and has tonnes of useful information.

Please pin this Peloponnese Blog for later

A great road trip itinerary to see the best of the southern Peloponnese in Greece

Finally, if you would like some additional info, or think we drove right by something we should have seen, then leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Next read: What is Athens famous for?

13 thoughts on “Peloponnese Road Trip Itinerary – See the best places in the Southern Peloponnese, Greece”

  1. Just leaving Lesvos so can meet friend in Athens who can’t join me due to quarantine! So last minute road trip planned ..2 weeks..following you. Anything new to add..not camping but is there glamping at any sites. Any more hotel recs? Or air b n b
    Ta you a godsend have day to plan!!

    • Hi – I think this itinerary covers most – you might want to visit Ancient Olympia as well though.
      In September you should still have great weather – enjoy those beaches!
      I’m a Booking fan rather than AirBnB – and they do apartments now.
      I hope you have a good time – I love the Peloponnese and this is a fantastic time of year to visit!

  2. Hi,

    My husband and I will be driving in September, 2020 from Ancient Olympia to Bassae. Then to Kalamata. Can you comment on the safety of the roads? Mainly the hairpin turns near Bassae or anything of concern .Thank you. Great site you have!

    • Hi Nancy,
      The road quality is improving, but the signposting to Bassae is not the best. Google maps will be your friend on the road I think!
      In general, the roads are good to drive on, and any hairpin turns you will have slowed down way in advance for so they won’t be of any concern.
      Glad you enjoyed the site – Bassae is lovely, and Kalamata is obe of our favourite towns/cities.
      I had a new post live here you might also like: Things to do in Kalamata
      Enjoy your time in Greece!

  3. My husband is a Classic professor in the United States, so seeing the ancient sites in the Peloponnese is a must before a cruise to Ephesus, Troy, Istanbul, etc. we have been to Athens and Delphi on previous trips.

    We will have a car rental. Does this trip look doable to you? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Oct. 15 – pick up car at airport and drive to Olympia; 3 hours and then drive to Mystras; overnight
    Oct. 16 – Mystras and Messene; drive to Monemvasia; overnight
    Oct 17 – Monemvasia and then onto Nafplion; Mycenae if time;
    Oct 18 – Mycenae and Epidavros on route to Old Corinth ; drive to airport to get late flight to Heraklion; overnight
    Oct 19 – Explore and board cruise ship

    • Hi Jackie,
      It sounds like you’ve got a great trip planned in this part of the world!
      At first glance, I would say that your proposed road trip looks ‘ambitious’.
      I think a lot will come down to how much energy you’ve got after your flight into Athens. Also, Monemvasia is quite out of the way.
      Rather than drive a long distance on day one,perhaps you could look at reversing the route?
      Something like
      Oct 15 – collect car, then corinth and mycenae. Overnight in Nafplio
      Oct 16 – Epidaurus and Tiryns (on the outskirts of Nafplio), drive to Mystras and overnight.
      Oct 17 – Mystras and Messene drive to Olympia via archaeological site at Bassae. Overnight Olympia
      Oct 18 – Sightseeing in Olympia, drive back to Airport

  4. Hello! A friend and I are planning to do a road trip from the 11th of June till the 7th of July. We want to do the Peloponnese and maybe up to Meteora to finish. We want to travel cheaply and I’ve been looking at hostels and air bnbs but for many towns, I can find accommodation online. Is that something we would be ok to wing a bit? Or maybe just book a day or two in advance. My fear is we will get to places and find nothing available/in our price range. I’m hoping that we can avoid this by not really doing the islands and staying away from places that are too touristy… What do you think about this?


    • Hi Myla,
      It really depends what towns you are visiting. Some very small places may not have anywhere at all to stay. Others may have places that aren’t online, but you’d need to search deeper for them online.
      If you have’t already, I suggest using – if there are two of you traveling, you may find a twin room is cheaper than hostels in many cases especially in smaller towns.
      When cycling through Greece, I’ve for the most time just winged it by booking a night or two before, and it’s worked out fine.

  5. Hi Dave,

    Great website! I’m loving it. I’m thinking of doing the Peloponnese tour, or some thing similar. I’ve done a couple of overnight trips before on my road bike with a backpack. I took camping gear but no cooking stuff. I’m struggling to find a touring or hydrid bike that I like that fits me well enough, so I’m considering sticking some panniers on the road bike and taking that. How are the roads on this route? Will I shake my little road bike to bits if I try it?


    • Hi Sarah,
      I hope you are well!
      Lovely to hear you are planning to cycle Greece, and I’m sure you’ll love those well earned views!
      If you want to take your road bike, travelling as light as possible is going to be key i think. If you could possible ‘credit card tour’, you might even get away with just one or two very light panniers which would be much better. Cheapy hotels can be picked up for around 30 euros a night in most places (just check Booking). This way you could leave your tent at home.
      If you want to go all in on camping, then I’d suggest taking spare spokes and a cassette removal tool.
      The roads themselves are of good quality, and you can avoid gravel roads entirely.
      Not sure if you came to the site through YouTube, but I have a playlist on my Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese.
      It lists the kit and also has a day by day vlog where you can see the roads, routes etc.
      Here’s the playlist – Bike tour of Peloponnese

      Happy tailwinds for your cycling trip in Greece!

  6. Hey there, we’re planning a road trip in this same part of Greece, and are wondering about the practicalities-getting gas, road conditions, renting an automatic car (we can’t drive stick!), cell service. Any details you can provide there about would very helpful.


    • Hi Noah,
      I hope your trip planning is going well! A couple of tips that may help you:
      You can get gas in most large towns, and certainly you are never more than 100kms away from a gas station.
      The road conditions come in four general types:
      1. New EU funded highway roads – Such as the road from Athens to Kalamata. Condition excellent.
      2. Older Greek roads – Not as high quality. Road signs can be hard to spot.
      3. Mountain roads (sealed) – There are a lot of hills and mountains in the Peloponnese. The roads twist and wind upwards and downwards – You might need a break every now and again!
      4. Unsealed roads – some remote country and beach access roads will be unsealed. Take you time as you drive down these.
      Other road facts – Read about the ’roundabout’/’traffic circle’ rules for Greece beforehand! Some highways will have tolls, so have some cash in the car.
      Cell service is generally good throughout, although some operators service seems to never quite cover the final 100metres on a beach (seriously!). You can buy local SIM cards when you arrive. I use WIND, and top up online through the English part of the website using paypal. Super easy. Keep in mind that the US uses an antiquated cell system on some carriers, which may not be compatible with world standards. (research tri and quad band).
      Finally car hire! Most people here drive manual gear (stick). It is much better that you reserve a manual transmission before you arrive. You could use someone like Hertz to do this,and you could even collect the car from Athens airport.

      I hope all this is of help! I will be cycling around the Peloponnese in June, so if you see me on my bike, give me a wave!



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