If you want to travel at your own pace, the best thing to do is rent a car. Greece has an excellent infrastructure, so renting a car is a great idea. If you rent a smaller car, you won’t get stressed out when searching for parking spaces or on very narrow and winding roads. (Greece has few multiple-lane highways; most of the main roads are two lanes in opposite directions separated by a double white line.) So rent small and go big!
There are plenty of roads you can take during your road trip and many towns to visit. We have created a simple plan that you can mold into your own.
Here is our suggestion for a 14-day road trip in continental Greece:
Athens: 2 days of art and history
Where else to start than in the birthplace of Western Civilization? Athens is the capital of Greece. It has a 3,500-year history which is alive today and which can be seen and felt in the city's culture, art and philosophy, so there is no doubt that you can do and see plenty of interesting things here.
You have to see:
- The Acropolis is a universal symbol of classical civilization and the most important site in the city, situated on a 156 high hill with a nearly flat top and rocky sides. On this hill, democracy, philosophy, theatre, and freedom of speech were born, so you really must visit it.
- Grab lunch at an archaeological museum (the new Acropolis Museum). Sounds strange, but the food there is delicious. Try it!
- The Agora Central Market is known as the liveliest place in Greece. Fresh food, meat, and vegetables, crowds of people and energy will change how you feel about shopping. You can also find good food at cheap prices in restaurants here.
- In the evening you should walk through Plaka, which is the oldest neighborhood in Athens, filled with shops, restaurants and nice little ouzeries (a type of Greek tavern which serves ouzo, a Greek liquor).
Tip: On your way to Nafplion, you can stop and visit Corinth, one of the most charming towns in Greece, known for the best-preserved old towns to be found anywhere.
Nafplion: 2 days of eating and sightseeing
First, we must cover the food because a road trip makes you hungry. Stop at 3Sixty café, a perfect place to be if you want to eat special food made from fresh, local ingredients and to choose from a wine list consisting of only local wines. When you’re done eating, head to Antica Gelateria di Roma, the only true gelato shop. Again – only natural and local ingredients. Talk about an authentic experience.
Okay, now that your stomach is full, take an easy walk on sandy Karathona Beach. Enjoy the rest of your day. The next day, head to Komboloi Museum to see tiny wooden skulls and prayer beads. You can also buy yourself a worry bead (komboloi) in the shop below the museum.
Kalamata: 3 days of relaxing on the beach and dancing
Kalamata is a town on a coastal plain of Antassi beach, which has been awarded the Blue Flag as one of the cleanest beaches in the EU. One tip: If you’re planning just a quick stop in the city, you’re not planning it right. Kalamata city can be a bit tricky to get around, so read the road maps and take your time. One thing you don’t have to worry about is accommodation because there are many hotels and rooms to rent and lots of outdoor activities. Food? If you love olives, this is the place to eat them – the city is famous for its delicious olives.
Kalamata is also known for the Kalamata International Dance Festival, held every July. During the festival, you can join workshops and enjoy performances of contemporary dance.
Patra: 1 day of partying
Patra is a port city in western Greece where entertainment, history, and culture mingle to create a destination full of interesting discoveries. Start exploring it from Aghiou Nikolau, which is the best-known pedestrian street and from where 192 steps separate you from the old city, where you can admire a medieval castle built in the sixth century. But Patra is known for something other than history. It has the most diverse eating and nightlife scene in the Peloponnese because of the presence of 20,000 university students. Do you really need any other reason to stop and party here?
Kalambaka: 2 days of monasteries
This is a lovely and modern town, situated at the foot of the Meteora peaks and known for the Meteora monasteries. This is a complex of six monasteries that are built on natural sandstone pillars. It will take you at least a day to see all the monasteries of Meteora, so we recommend that you stay at least two nights in Kalambaka.
The next day you can go rock climbing on Doupiani Rock, the main landmark of Kastraki. The road up is full of paths of every level of difficulty. Choose yours and enjoy the walk.
Tip: You can stay one day in Kalambaka and one in Kastraki Village, located just two kilometers away. It’s an unspoiled village where new building is restricted. You’ll find several houses with rooms to rent and many traditional tavernas. You can also reach the monasteries from here; just follow the marked footpath.
Delphi: 2 days of history
Delphi is the second most popular archaeological site in Greece. Many people go to Delphi, but few actually know that in ancient times this was where heaven and earth met, the place where man was closest to God (once again, Zeus has something to do with it – read the myth about two eagles). It will take you approximately three to four hours to complete a tour of the Temple of Apollo, the stadium and the Oracle of Delphi.
The next day visit the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, located in the new part of town. If you are a fan of Greek mythology, you shouldn't miss it.
Drive back to Athens, return your rental car and head back home. Safe trip, everyone!