Knights & Kings , Mythical Peloponnese Tour

Days: 10

Location: Peloponnese

Price: Starting from €3.000

Age: For all ages

Dates: Available all year round

General info

Greece, A world of Knights & Kings, Mythical Peloponnese.Off the beaten track.

In the extreme south of Europe is Greece. And in the south of Greece, a short drive from Athens is the Peloponnese, a peninsula barely hanging from the mainland.
Peloponnesia was the heartland of ancient Greece. Its wild and mountainous landscape has hosted the interminable rise and fall of cultures, which makes for fascinating sightseeing today.
Anciently known as the Moreas, from the resemblance of its outline to the leaf of a mulberry tree (mouriá), the Peloponnese was home to some of the most powerful rulers in ancient Greece. During the Mycenaean period (around 2000–1100 BC), the peninsula hosted the semi-legendary kingdoms of Agamemnon at Mycenae, Nestor at Pýlos and Menelaus at Sparta. In the Dorian and Classical eras, the region’s principal city-state was Sparta, which, with its allies, brought down Athens in the ruinous Peloponnesian War. Under Roman rule, Corinth was the capital of the southern Greek province.

Peloponnese tours by Grecianlux
Its modern name derives from ancient Greek mythology, specifically the legend of King Pelops who was said to have conquered the entire region. The name Peloponnese means ‘Island of Pelops’.
Rocks and stones, myths and legends, surround this land of dramatic and bold beauty.
Medieval castles, Byzantine towers and fortresses, blue crystal-clear waters and unique culinary trails and wine roads.
Peloponnese seems to have the best of almost everything Greek. From the palaces of Agamemnon to the fabulous Venetian, Frankish and Turkish castles of Nafplio, Methoni and ancient Corinth, to the well-preserved Byzantine enclaves of Mystra and Monemvasia, Peloponesse is an “old world” ready to be re-explored.

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Our tour includes cities and castles lost in time. Touring routes that will lead us back to the past, unspoiled villages, but also a nature that mesmerizes with its simplicity and beauty. We will explore Mycenae, Nafplion, Epidavros, Olympia, Kardamyli, the rugged Mani Peninsula, and Monemvasia.

Highlights
  • Athens: Lunch at the Stoa Athanaton, at a restaurant that only locals visit, listen to live “Rebetico” music and discover secret corners of this multifaceted city.
  • Athens: Dinner with traditional Greek dances at a traditional restaurant, and why not dance with the Greeks?
  • Nafplion: Visit the ancient Epidavros Theater.
  • Nafplion: Visit to Bourtzi Fortress Isle.
  • Nafplion: Visit a distillery where we will have the opportunity to visit the stills where ouzo and tsipouro are produced and have a taste.
  • Nafplion: Visit the mighty ruins of ancient Mycenae.
  • Nemea: We will visit an impressive winery for wine tasting and lunch.
  • Monemvasia: We will explore The Castle Town of Monemvasia which is among the most impressive places in Greece.
  • Mani: Visit Cape Tenaro; the southernmost point of mainland Greece and Europe.
  • Pylos: Explore The Diros Caves. Perhaps the most important natural site in Greece.
  • Pylos: Explore Mystra: a medieval ghost town most famous for its several Byzantine churches.
  • Pylos: Go back in time while visiting Pylos and Methoni fortress-ports.
  • Gortynia: Visit Nestor’s Palace and ancient Olympia.
  • Corinth: Explore Ancient Acro-Corinth fortress.
What to know

What to Know

What’s Included

  • Breakfast daily, all lunch and dinners as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Private sightseeing (including all entrance fees) as outlined in the itinerary.
  • All the activities as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Comfortable private transportation with driver. Other modes of transportation include 4 WD vehicle .
  • Snacks and refreshments along the way.
  • Tipping & porterage taken care of .
  • Airport meet and greet service.
  • Departure transfer.

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Airport taxes
  • Laundry
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance (Please see our link)
Itinerary

Day 1  Arrive at Athens

Start / End Points
Tour starts at Athens. The tour ends Athens. If you want to extend your trip, please inform us upon booking about your starting and ending point so as to be quoted the final price.

Check in time at your hotel in Athens is after 14:00 so we recommend choosing a flight that arrives in the early afternoon.

Check out time upon departure is 12:00 p.m. We will meet you at the airport and you will enjoy your private transfer to the hotel. We have also arranged private transport back to the airport on your last day.

Welcome to Athens. You can enjoy your afternoon at your leisure and why not walk around with us in Athens.We will take an orientation walking tour which will take us past the Parliament buildings, through Syntagma Square and we head for a guided tour of the Acropolis. Here are the majestic ruins of the Athens of Pericles – the Propylaea (or marble entrance hall), the Parthenon (built by Ictinos 2500 years ago), the Temple of Athena Nike (the Wingless Victory), and – the monument most venerated by the ancient Athenians themselves – the Erechtheion. Tradition relates that gods Athena and Poseidon quarreled here. The sea-god struck the rock with his trident, causing salt water to gush out, while Athena struck it with her spear and brought forth an olive tree. As olives were deemed to be more useful, the other gods let her take the city under her protection.
We will have lunch at the Stoa Athanaton, at a restaurant that only locals visit, listen to live “Rebetico” music and discover secret corners of this multifaceted city.

In the evening, we head towards the Plaka neighborhood, to soak up the atmosphere of this old and historical part of the city. You’ll notice the contrast between the modern capital and the old city – the well-heeled inhabitants of Kolonaki on the one hand, and the vibrant Plaka quarter on the other. We will have dinner with traditional Greek dances at a traditional restaurant, and why not dance with the Greeks?

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Overnight suggestion: https://www.electrahotels.gr/en/athens/electra-palace-athens

Included Meals: Dinner

Day 2 Nafplion

Leaving Athens after an early breakfast, we travel to Nafplion – the first capital of modern Greece and one of the most beautiful coastal towns in the Peloponnese. We stop at Epidavros. Dedicated to Asclepius, the healing god and legendary son of Apollo, the sanctuary here was one of the most important of the ancient world, and it remained a site of pilgrimage from the sixth century BC to Roman times. Epidavros is home to one of the greatest and best preserved of all ancient Greek theatres. With its backdrop of rolling hills, this 14,000 seat arena merges perfectly into the landscape, so much so that it was rediscovered and unearthed only in the last century. The acoustics of the amphitheater is so incredible, it’s said that even those sat on the highest tier will hear a coin drop on stage! After exploring the site, we will continue to Nafplion.

After checking-in to our centrally located hotel, we will go for lunch at one of Nafplion’s most famous traditional restaurants. No trip to Nafplio can ever be complete without a visit to Bourtzi Fortress the small Venetian fortress tirelessly guarding the entrance to the port.An island-fortress originally built by the Venetians, captured and modified by the Ottomans, then the Venetians again and the Ottomans… again and finally the Greeks.
Probably the only monument in the world that’s been used as a fortress, a prison, a residence for executioners, a luxury hotel, a restaurant, a concert venue and a tourist attraction over the course of more than 5 centuries since the islet was first fortified in 1473.We will take a small boat trip to it.Once we get off the boat and onto the islet, we only have 20 minutes to look around and take photos of Bourtzi, Nafplio and the rest of the Argolic Gulf.
In the evening we will visit Karonis Distilleries where we will have the opportunity to visit the stills where ouzo and tsipouro are produced for the last 140 years, taste the products and be shown around the museum.

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Overnight suggestion: http://amphitryon.gr/
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch /Dinner

Day 3 Nafplion

Leaving Nafplion behind us, we first travel north to visit the mighty ruins of ancient Mycenae then south towards the heart of the Mani Peninsula. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the modern city, Mycenae is connected to the legend of King Agamemnon who commanded the 10-year long expedition against Troy. The site was unearthed by the archaeologist Schliemann in the 1870’s and is prized for its Lion Gate and Royal Tombs. Equally impressive are the ‘beehive tombs’ which include the Treasury of Atreus: the lintel over the monumental Atreus door weighs over 120 tons! Inside, the structure is awesome: the principal chamber dates from about 1350 BC and emulates the grandeur of the Egyptian pharaohs. Homer’s epithets of ‘well-built Mycenae, rich in gold’ are well born out in the superbly crafted gold and architecture of the tombs found here which can be seen at the museum.

After Agamemnon’s palace, we take the road to Nemea where the heart of the Peloponnesian wine beats, and visit the impressive winery Semele SA in Koutsi, the most famous vineyards of the region, for wine tasting and lunch.
In the afternoon, back at Nafplion, we will take a photography tour of Palamidi Fortress. We ascend to the Palamidi Fortress and admire the great views. The Palamidi is actually consisted of three separate fortresses walled together. It was built in 1714 by the Venetians, taken by the Turks the following year, and held until they surrendered it to Kolokotronis after a 15-month siege during the War of Independence. After we make the 850-step descent from the fortress (taxis are available!)
In the evening you are free to stroll around in this magnificent city.

Luxury tours in Greece

Overnight suggestion: http://amphitryon.gr/
Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 4 Monemvasia/Mani

Today we drive south to Monemvasia. Monemvasia is located in the southeastern Peloponnese in the prefecture of Laconia, 400 meters from land having been separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 375 A.D. Its name derives from two Greek words, mone and emvassi, meaning “single entrance”. It was founded by the Byzantines in the sixth century and shortly after it became an important port. It remained in Byzantine possession for almost seven hundred years until it was captured by the Franks in 1249 after a three-year siege. However, it returned to Byzantine hands ten years later and become the chief port of the Despotate of Mystra.

We will have the opportunity to explore this mystical stone-built settlement, nestled at the edge of a big rock by the sea, and immerse ourselves in a unique medieval atmosphere! In the lower part of the town, we will explore the ruins of the historic buildings situated there – among which the Muslim Mosque, a preserved 16th-century building housing the Archaeological Museum–, as well as the magnificent Byzantine churches.

In the (uninhabited) upper part of the town, we will come across the remains of old Byzantine buildings. A rocky twisty path leads you to the Fortress of Youlás offering an outstanding view of the city! We will have lunch and continue our journey towards Mani.

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Overnight suggestion: http://www.kyrimai.gr/en

Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 5 Mani

Mani is a naturally isolated and traditionally independent area and the people who inhabit its wild landscape have always resisted change and clung to their ancient traditions. In addition to its interesting history of piracy, the feudal society which developed around the 14th century has left a unique architectural legacy in the form of many marble-roofed tower houses, once used as a defense against enemy clans and as a sign of family prestige.

Today we will discover this fascinating region, visiting Cape Tenaro; the southernmost point of mainland Greece and Europe. Tenaro is a place, rich in history, such us, the Battle of Cape Matapan, that happened in March 1941. The overview from the lighthouse is magnificent. We will stroll around Girolimenas and Vathia, which are fortified villages.

luxury tours in Greece

Overnight suggestion: http://www.kyrimai.gr/en

Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 6  Pylos

Before leaving Mani, we visit the Diros Caves. The Diros Caves are perhaps the most important natural site in Greece and in their own way as spectacular as the caldera of Santorini. The Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts found here, many of which are on display in the museum, mean that the caves were one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece. The known part of the caves covers an area of around 33000 square meters of which only 5000 square meters have been explored. Some say that the caves go even further, maybe as far as Mount Tagetos and Sparta.
After we head north to the abandoned medieval town of Mystras. Clinging to a steep flank of the Taygetos range, some 150 m above the plain, Mystras is silent and ruined today but nevertheless evocative of the people who once lived here and made it prosperous. We wander the cobbled alleyways, exploring the various sun-bleached palaces and houses along the way. Although only ruins remain, the architectural styles and artistic excellence of many wall paintings, mosaics and decorative sculptures are worthy of close inspection. In the Upper Town is the vast arched hall of the Palace of the Despots, with its two standing towers. The beautiful Pantanassa Church, still used by a few smiling nuns, combines both Byzantine and Gothic elements and has some rather fine frescoes. Crowning the summit is the original Frankish Castle (Kastro) with its breathtaking overview of the plain of Sparta. Walking through this phantom city with its scattered ruins is like taking a journey back through time. Later we continue to the delightful little harbor town of Pylos.

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Overnight suggestion: romanoscostanavarino.com

Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 7  Pylos

We spend the day in this picturesque place set amid olive trees, rocky meadows, and offshore islands. The area around Pylos is ideal for personal explorations. In Pylos, we will visit the well-preserved Venetian fortress (Neo Kastro).The Neokastro or New Castle, on the south end of the Bay of Navarino, was built in 1572 by the Turks on the site of an earlier structure and rebuilt by the French in 1829. It sits near the port of modern Pylos, at the city’s southwest end, and is comprised of a large crenelated enceinte which encloses a citadel with six bastions, a domed mosque converted into a church and a small hotel.
The southwestern most bastion, with a platform over the sea, affords good views of the entire complex as well as the entire bay. It was a prison during much of the 18th and 19th centuries, with it inner courtyard divided up into segments enclosed by high walls, a design quite unlike that of most Greek prisons, but which is explained by the need to keep Mani prisoners from different clans from killing each other. After we drive to Methoni (10 km to the south) and visit possibly the most beautiful Venetian stronghold in Greece and home to an imposing 15th-century castle.Methoni is a fortress-port occupying a spit of land surrounded by the sea on 3 sides.

The ancients knew it as Pedasos and Agamemnon promised it and 6 other cities to Achilles for his aid during the Trojan war and to appease his anger over the captive woman Briseis of whom he was enamored. The Byzantines held it for centuries and in 1209, by the treaty of Sapienza, it came into possession of the Venetians for nearly 3 centuries. The Venetians built a castle on the site of the ancient acropolis.
The Knights of Malta held Methoni for a period during the 16th century. Later the Turks controlled it until 1825 when it was returned to the Greeks.

The castle is one of the best preserved medieval buildings in Europe and in a remarkable state of completeness. It also has a fine clean beach nearby. After a mouth-watering lunch, we visit another famous castle in the area Koroni.Koroni was founded as Korone by Epimelidies in 365 BC who in turn came from Koronea in Boeotia. He built it upon a still more ancient town called Asine.In antiquity, Korone was independent and minted its own coins.

In the afternoon you will have the option to walk or swim along Gialova Lagoon to a medieval castle, and on to Nestor’s Cave, finishing at a beautiful horseshoe-shaped white sand beach.

Methoni grecianlux

Overnight suggestion: http://www.romanoscostanavarino.com/

Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 8  Gortynia-Ancient Olympia

This morning driving north, we stop briefly at Nestor’s Palace. Nestor, King of Pylos was one of the strongest and richest leaders of the Greeks during the Trojan War and built this once lavishly decorated palace in around 1500 BC. We continue to the mainland of Peloponnese where the landscape dramatically changes.We check-in at a traditional hotel and for lunch, we go to the mountainous village of Andritsena. It is a picturesque and historic village of Ilia, which combines natural beauty and tranquility.

We will begin with a coffee in the square , the traditional cafe ” Epicurean Apollo ” in the shadow of the plane trees, will quench our thirst in the stone double ” Big Spring ” (built on 10.08.1724 ) and then we will visit the famous Public Library Nikolopouleio founded in 1838, donated by Adritsanou descent benefactor Agathofrona Nikolopoulos , born in Smyrna in 1774 and lived all his life in Paris. It has approximately 40,000 volumes of books, including a rare Bible of 1657. We will pass by the amazing Folk Museum, housed in the restored mansion of the family of George Kanellopoulos . The collection includes more than 4,000 exhibits, including traditional costumes, war relics, tools, scripts, costumes, textiles, photographs, pottery and copper and many more.

Our excursion in the area will finish by visiting the remarkable ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Bassea, on a pair with the Parthenon in Athens. Located on a remote mountainside surrounded by deep ravines, or bassae, the Temple of Apollo Epicurious is an exceptionally large, well-preserved and mysterious classical temple.

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Overnight suggestion: http://www.mandolarosa.com/

Included Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 Gortynia-Ancient Olympia

After breakfast, we travel to the ruined monuments of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic games and one of Greece’s most renowned historical sites, for a guided tour. The site lies in an enchanting valley setting close to the modern-day town of Nea Olympia.

The first monuments to be constructed were in the Altis, or sacred grove, and date back to the 10th – 9th century BC. Estimates indicate the games first began in 776 BC after the worship of Zeus was established. Initially, all the principal Greek cities took part in the Olympiads (which were held every four years). As well as wandering through the remains of the gymnasium, wrestling school, stadium and the Temple of Zeus, you could visit the excellent Archaeological Museum (optional) which has many remarkable exhibits on view.

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Overnight suggestion: http://www.mandolarosa.com/

Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Day 10 Athens

Leaving this land of legends behind us, we make the last stop at the Ancient Acro-Corinth fortress.Only 2 km south of modern and ancient Corinth stands Acrocorinth which remained in use as a fortification and refuge until the mid 1800’s.
Even though modern Corinth is spread for kilometers along the banks of the Gulf of Corinth, its acropolis, Acrocorinth is impossible to miss. It dominates the surrounding area and controls access between the Peloponnese and the mainland.
The view is truly stupendous and on a clear day, you can see the Acropolis in Athens and the island of Aegina to the east and far across the Peloponnese where other mountaintop bastions unfold before your eyes. The Gulf of Corinth is to the north and the Saronic Gulf to the west.

The hill upon which Acrocorinth rests is huge limestone butte 575 meters high. In its glory, the fortress walls extended almost 3,000 meters and enclosed 240,000 sq. meters of area. Acrocorinth is one of the most imposing natural fortresses in Europe not only for its natural advantages of size and height but because It has a good water supply collected in cisterns. After this breathtaking walk, we will head for lunch in Ancient Corinth before reaching Athens. You will have the evening free or you can have a last drink with us on a terrace overlooking the Acropolis by night.

Athens by night tours

Overnight suggestion:  Hotel Grande Bretagne

Included Meals: Breakfast /Lunch

Enargon ecotourism village - Rethymno