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Self-guided 8-day Cultural Cycling Tour in Peloponnese Level 2
This is a fascinating bike trip for the admirers of Greek Archaeology and cultural experiences. It is unique as you start biking high in the mountains and you end up cycling next to the sea for a couple of days. It combines the magnificent fir trees of Mainalon mountain with the marvelous endless beaches lying along the Argolic Gulf. You will visit some of the most important archaeological sites in Peloponnese such as Epidaurus with the famous theatre, Mycenae that conquered during the Bronze Age, ancient Mantinea, ancient Tegea, Argos, ancient Lerna with the homonymous lake where Hercules killed the mythic beast, and the walls of ancient Tiryns.
Your destination is the Central-Eastern Peloponnese where the mythical perpetual mountains meet the fantastic blue sea. Your start point is Vytina, a small traditional village in the mountains, among the trees where you have the chance to breathe the fresh air and listen to the sound of the birds. The next day you will cycle from Vytina through the mountains, most of it uphill passing through picturesque villages and then downhill to Tripoli, a small purely Greek town still unaffected by mass tourism, located in the heart of the Peloponnese peninsula. Passing by the small picturesque fish village of Paralio Astros you end up to the dreamy seaside town of Nafplio situated in the eastern part of Peloponnese where you spend 3 amazing days. You will experience not only modern Greece but also the Classical one.
A Cycling Tour that is suitable for anyone fitness wise, since the daily routes are easy enough to be made. So pack your bags and get ready for this unforgettable tour!
Please book your bikes when you book the tour: [email protected]
Slow Tours offers a number of other Cycling Tours in Europe
Arrival in Vytina
Transfer under request from the Athens airport to Vytina, which is a beautiful traditional settlement that played an important role during the Greek Independence War in 1821. The village is located at the foot of the mountain range Mainalo at an altitude of 1.033 metres and thanks to its excellent nature is considered one of the most famous tourist resorts of Peloponnese and one of the best in Greece. In the winter it is often covered with snow and offer a unique insight to the visitor. When you arrive you will get your bikes and equipment at the hotel. Overnight Vytina.
Vytina – Alonistaina – Piana – Tripoli 37.9Km | +552m -910m
In the morning, you will begin the trip to Tripoli. The route, uphill at the beginning, will take you through mountain Mainalo, a magnificent cycling route among fir trees to the village of Alonistaina, 6km southeast of Vytina. Alonistaina is situated at about 1200m elevation making it one of the highest villages in the Peloponnese and is considered to be a traditional settlement. After a small stop to enjoy the beautiful landscape you continue to Piana, another traditional and historical settlement at 1090m elevation. In the centre of the village built on a big rock you will find the big church of Saint Georgios.
The body of the church is made of stone and it was a fort in 1821 during the Greek War of Independence. It is worth walking round the church to admire the view of the plain downhill. Next to the church you will find a traditional "kafeneio" (café) that we recommend have a rest, drink coffee or have a snack. In the historical village of Piana, Theodoros Kolokotronis the Greek general and the preeminent leader of the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829) against the Ottoman Empire organised the Greek troops that supported the Battle at Valtetsi, and later dominated the town of Tripoli. After visiting Piana you continue cycling downhill to Tripoli. Tripoli, the capital of Arcadia in central Peloponnese built at an altitude of 650m in the plateau of Mantinea. It is a modern town that nowadays manages to maintain the pure Greek way of living away from mass-tourism! It used to be the capital of Peloponnese during the Ottoman Empire due to its strategic geographical location in the centre of the peninsula with a significant role during the Greek Independence War (1821-1828). You will have the chance to walk around the promenade centre of the town before you return to the hotel and get ready for the following 5-day exciting ride. Overnight Tripoli.
Tripoli round trip (Ancient Mantinea - Kapsia Cave 46.9Km | +270m./- 285m)
In the morning you will begin the trip around the plateau of Tripoli. You will cycle through scattered vineyards and apple trees until you discover the excavations of the ancient city of Mantinea, one of the most important ancient Greek cities regarding its size and conservation. You can walk around the preserved archaeological site and admire the sanctuaries in the centre of the city and the ancient Greek theatre which could hold up to 6,200 spectators.On the opposite side of the site you shouldn't miss a visit to the extravagant surreal church of Saint Fotini which combines several architectural elements (Classical, Byzantine, and Minoan) and was built in 1972.
The flat ride continues through small fruit crops, before your arrival at Kapsia settlement. There, a true underground marvel of nature is situated, the Kapsia cave which is registered among the ten most notable Caves of Greece. Multi-coloured stalactites and stalagmites created gradually through millions of years, bright red, yellow and sky blue bring out masterpieces of unequal beautifulness made by Mother Nature. Then return to Tripoli passing through the narrow provincial roads! Overnight Tripoli.
Tripoli - ancient Tegea - Paralio Astros 54.6Km | + 700m./- 1276m
Today you leave Tripoli and pretty soon you arrive through the meadows at Tegea settlement, another very important city-state of ancient Greece. What is unique here is the fact that you can see history in layers! The Byzantine church of Madonna Dormition built in the mid-10th century AC is constructed exactly over the ruins of the ancient theatre dated the Hellenistic era and using parts of it! You can also see the Agora and on the south the temple of Athena Alea, one of the most celebrated temples of the Classical period and the second larger ancient temple after the one of Zeus in ancient Olympia! You continue the descend towards the sea cycling through Parnonas Mountain among olive groves, passing by picturesque small villages and visit olive oil factories if you wish.
On your way you will also meet the ancient city of Eva where lays the recently excavated ruins of Herodes Atticus mansion with dozens of sculptures and partially colourful mosaics to see. Soon, you arrive in Paralio Astros, a beautiful small fishing village with no more than 900 inhabitants built almost artistically along the so called 'Island' peninsula. You can spend the rest of your day swimming or sunbathing on the sandy beach, wandering around the streets, visit the castle on the top of the hill or walk by the picturesque harbour which accommodates small boats. Don‟t forget to relax at the cafes and taverns where you can always find fresh fish and other homemade local specialties. Overnight Paralio Astros.
Paralio Astros - Nafplio 45Km | +457m -443m
Today get ready for an amazing coastal ride towards Nafplio. Fascinating images of deep blue sea today while cycling along the Argolic Gulf coastline with slight ups and downs. Soon you reach Mili, a small seaside resort where you can relax enjoying a beverage or a meal facing the sparkling sea. In addition you can visit the archaeological site of Ancient Lerna with exhibitions of prehistoric and Bronze Age. The lake of ancient Lerna where Hercules killed the mythical beast with the many heads, Lernea Hydra lies just in the entrance of Mili. The ride continues through the vast plains before you arrive in Argos, one of the oldest Greek cities, hometown of Hercules. There, up on Larissa Mountain, the imposing fortress stands with the Cyclopean walls while at the foot of the mountain you can visit the ancient theatre of Argos, one of the biggest in Greece.
You continue for the last kilometres to Nafplio, the famous and incomparable seaside town where natural beauty, history and modern way of living are all combined harmonically narrow old streets, the marbled main square, neo classic buildings, modern cafes, the vivid night life and of course the dominating castle “Palamidi” and the Bourtzi fort in the sea! The beautiful promenade right along the characteristic harbour is full most of the day with small fishing boats and luxurious yachts. Overnight Nafplio.
Round trip to Mycenae 51Km | +358m - 368m
Today, riding through the beautiful countryside you are going to explore the great city of the Bronze Age, Mycenae, over 3500 years old! On your way you can make a stop at the huge castle remains at Tiryns, which was considered to be one of the most important centres in the Eastern Mediterranean. Then you cycle through orange and lemon groves till you reach Mycenae the kingdom of mythical King Agamemnon, which was for a long time the centre of Greek civilization. The Acropolis of Mycenae-fortress with the old Cyclopean walls was built 3360 years ago in an altitude of 280m. The uphill part at the edge of the mountainside is quickly forgotten as you marvel at impressive excavations and important findings.
The world famous Lions Gate at the main entrance of the Acropolis which constitutes the first example of monumental sculpture in Europe and the shaft graves such as the well preserved vaulted Atreus Grave, Agamemnon's father, are among the major cultural and historical attractions of Greece. Return to Nafplio and overnight there.
Round trip to Epidaurus 41.8Km | +331m -631m
The last biking day of your journey begins with a transfer to Epidaurus, which counts among the historical highlights of every trip to Greece. You will quickly understand why. You will be impressed by the huge and well preserved over 2300 year old ancient theatre which could hold up to 14,000 viewers in its time and in which nowadays during summer time hosts theatrical plays! Epidaurus is considered to be the birthplace of medicine as it was the most important healing centre of antiquity with a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing. A visit through the archaeological site indicates the view that ancient Greeks had about medicine and healing which concentrates on the principal: “healthy mind in healthy body”.
Watching theatre plays was an important part of that process. You will also discover the remains of the ancient city with temples, porticoes, houses, shops and spas. After having met Epidaurus you cycle mostly downhill through mountainous landscape and through the vast pistachio growing region to the coast. Enjoy again a dip in the crystal clear sea water and look forward to another night in Nafplion. Overnight Nafplion.
After a good breakfast, you will take you luggage and get ready for your way back to the airport. If you wish, you can add extra days in this trip, like a guided tour to the Acropolis of Athens or just staying a couple of days more in Athens. In addition, you can check the rest of our programs and combine another one if you are interested such as our Archaeology Tour of Greece, Multi-Activity Holidays or just spend some days relaxing in a sea-side destination.
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