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Classical Greece Tour

Discovering the main stages of ancient Greece + Meteora

Our departure city was Thessaloniki, but this itinerary is also perfect starting from Igoumenitsa or Patras for those arriving by ferry; while from Athens it can be done in reverse with Meteora and Pelion as the last stops.


Meteors is one of the most amazing places in Greece. Built on rocks more than 500 meters high, 6 Orthodox monasteries soar towards the sky suspended in time and surrounded by wild and imposing nature.

Epirus and Acheron River

Epirus is a mountainous area of outstanding scenic beauty, but which intimidated the Greeks in ancient times. In fact, here flows the Acheron river which, according to mythology, carried the deceased to the kingdom of Hades. A day out in Epirus allows you to see a different Greece from the usual postcards. Forests, perched villages, Roman stone bridges, trekking, small monasteries hidden in the rock…a magical place.

Koronisia, Missolonghi, Patras

Finishing our tour of Epirus in Arta, we decide to stop in two places suggested to us by our Greek friends: Koronisia and Missolonghi.

Koronisia is a small island connected by a spit of land, very beautiful to travel by motorbike. In Missolonghi we stop to sleep and discover a beautiful seaside town with the wind in the narrow streets, the salt pans and an important story. Here in fact there was a key episode of the Greek war of independence: between 1822 and 1827 the city was besieged by the Ottomans until it capitulated, an act that helped to lean European public opinion in favor of Greek independence. Among the supporters and financiers of the Greek people was also Lord Byron who died here in 1824.

Nearby is Lepanto, from the historic battle. We enter the Peloponnese thanks to the new Rio Antirion bridge which allows us to reach Patras without ferries, as was a must before the 2000s. The toll is expensive for cars while it costs less for motorbikes.

Olympia and the Olympics

It is the first true "classic" destination of the tour, a place of worship and of the famous Olympic Games. The Olympic torch ceremony is still held here today. In a single complex are the museum and the archaeological excavations, which are extensive and well cared for. Rediscovered in 1776, Olympia fascinates us with the numerous temples to Hera and Zeus, the places reserved for athletes to train, those to host illustrious guests, others for treasures, the altar of sacrifices and the stadium for competitions. A harmonious place between nature and ancient ruins. From the parking lot, going up the hill a little, we also see the amphitheater.

Kalamata and Mistra

We go south towards the seaside town of Kalamata, famous for its beach and good food especially in the port area: here they make very good fish risottos. We rest only a few hours in the sun and then set off again towards Sparta. We decide to take the old road which however gets interrupted and sends us into the mountains: exciting but steep and we don't recommend it to everyone. When we are closer to Sparta, we find a beautiful canyon where there is a climbing park and next to Mistra the Cave Kaiadas, a famous hole where legend has it that the Spartans threw enemies, traitors, unhealthy children. Alongside Tripi with nice panoramic restaurants.

We stop in Mystras, a medieval fortified city, a UNESCO heritage site. In the mid-1200s it was the second most important city of the empire after Constantinople and attracted numerous artists and men of letters. Due to various vicissitudes, in 1832 the first King of Greece decided to rebuild nearby Sparta and so Mistra slowly depopulated. Now it is a suggestive abandoned citadel to be covered between steep descents and ascents; beautiful at sunset. I recommend checking the opening and closing times. Downstream there are typical restaurants and guest houses, nicer than those you would find in Sparta.

Sparta and Leonidas

Our Greek friends told us that Sparta is one of the ugliest cities in the Peloponnese, but we still wanted to stop. They were right. In any case, it is worth a stop of 30m/1 hour to see the archaeological excavations on a small hill decorated with many centuries-old olive trees. Next to the stadium where the statue of Leonidas is located and the billboards of the winners of the Spartan races.

From Sparta you can go down to the sea to visit the famous Ghyheio and Malvasia.

Mycenae and Agamemnon

We go up the Peloponnese passing through the forests of Arcadia, a bucolic place celebrated in mythology and literature. The roads are new with gentle curves and beautiful scenery. We arrive in Mycenae and we are lucky to find parking in front of the excavations. The archaeological site of Mycenae is located on a small hill overlooking the sea (about 12km). It was discovered in the 19th century thanks to the work of archaeologists, who first found the gate of the Lions and later the tombs of some kings with funerary objects such as the famous mask of Agamemnon. The medieval ruins and houses built above the ancient Greek polis can still be seen today. Of great impact the tomb of the Treasury of Atreus with its imposing door and its interior covered in black because it was used as a shelter and probably lit fires inside for cooking.

Nemea, Hercules and the Lion

Following the places of Greek mythology, we go to visit nearby Nemea, place of the first effort of Hercules who killed the golden-skinned lion here. The village offers little but it is worth going there for: 1) photos of the statue of Hercules and the Lion in the city centre; 2) the archaeological excavations with the ancient stadium where there is still the tunnel that the athletes used to go through to enter the stadium in front of the public.. we went through it and it thrilled us; 3) the monastery-castle nestled in the mountain; 4) vineyards and good wine.

Corinth Canal

How not to go and admire the famous Corinth Canal? Inaugurated in 1893, the canal is 6,343 meters long with a width of between 24 and 21 meters and a depth of 8 meters in the central part. The idea of the canal already existed since ancient times, the first to attempt it was the Emperor Nero and the current canal was built right on the route marked by him by the newborn Greek state. We recommend passing by the sea where it borders on the water and then heading back inland to see the extraordinary height. You can also bungee jump.


The capital of Greece, beautiful, chaotic and lively. Let's take a hotel near the Technopolis, a new neighborhood with cafes and a convenient metro. The best places to visit are Monastiraki for its clubs and restaurants, stroll in the evening along the ancient Agora admiring the illuminated monuments and stopping to admire the view in the cafes, Plaka with its narrow streets full of small shops, Syntagma square with the beautiful park nearby and the monument to the unknown soldier where you can see the changing of the guard and on Sunday morning at 11 am there is a big ceremony of the changing of the guard with the band and about 100 soldiers.. The place we liked the most was the extraordinary view of the city and the Acropolis from Mount Lycabettus (there is the cable car).

Cape Suonion

The Attica peninsula offers some beautiful beaches, especially along the scenic road from Vouliagmeni to Cape Sounion (Sunio). Here, even in November, you can swim when the sun is shining. In less than an hour's journey you arrive at the end of the peninsula, where the Temple of Poseidon dominates the Aegean Sea from above. The view is spectacular. This temple housed a bronze statue of Poseidon over 6 meters high and was a symbol for sailors returning home. In mythology he is linked to Theseus and his father Aegeus. To enter the temple you pay a ticket or you can also just have a coffee and admire the temple and the panorama.

Returning to Athens from the hinterland, there is the Apivita store (really quality cosmetics and leather products).

Thebes, Arachova and Delphi

We leave Athens to go to the ancient Oracle of Delphi. We read that there is nothing in Thebes but we try to stop anyway.. the result is that the stop doesn't even last 5 minutes because the ruins are 1 m2 large and badly maintained, not even some nice place for a coffee or drinks.

The area where Delphi is located is naturally magnificent with endless hills of olive trees. Before arriving we discover Arachova, a famous and beautiful mountain village, the Greek Curtain. Had I known earlier, we would have preferred to spend the night here.

If Arachova is full of life and people, in Delphi there are few tourists staying and the village is very quiet. However, you can enjoy a spectacular view and be able to walk to the excavations. As a restaurant we recommend: To Patriko Mas

Let's go to visit the archaeological site early in the morning to enjoy it in peace without tourists and groups. It takes us the morning to see the whole complex and the museum; let's imagine the Phytia and the rich little votive temples all over the area. The Temple of Apollo was the centerpiece of the religious center; from it an underground tunnel led to a private room where the Phytia was consulted. She did not confer directly with those who questioned her but it was the priests who translated the Oracle. The best known Delphic maxim is "Know thyself", but 147 others have been found. Science has found that under the temple there was a fault that exhaled gases, which could have helped Phytia go into tranche.

Parnassus and Thermopylae

Next stop is Thermopylae and we get there passing on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, where there is a ski center in winter. At Thermopylae we find a large monument to Leonidas and his brave warriors to celebrate the battle of Thermopylae which took place in 480 BC. against Xerxes. Due to the sediments carried by the rivers, 4 km of land have been created, moving Thermopylae away from the original position next to the sea. Obviously in the evening we watched the film 300 again and imagined ourselves fighting in Thermopylae.

Mount Pelion, the place of the Centaurs

We close our tour with the sacred mountain of the centaurs: Mount Pelion. This place is loved by the Greeks, especially in the summer, because you can enjoy both the quiet of the mountains and the heavenly beaches. The villages are jewels with stone houses, centuries-old trees, panoramic views of the sea and nature. Our favourites:

  • Portaria and we recommend doing the centaur route (30 minutes, suitable for everyone), eating at Kritsa in the main square and sleeping at Archontiko Pantou (a dreamy, romantic b&b with a unique view of Volos and the gulf).

  • Makrinitsa, very typical with local artisan shops and a lively little square; to eat we recommend Cardamo and for a coffee the Art Cafe with a view.

  • Tsagkarada, seems to have stood still in time with its alleys and stone houses covered in ivy. Here there is one of the 3 oldest trees in Europe, an imposing and magnificent secular plane tree which releases its energy and which you can climb.

Useful tips:

  • When visiting the archaeological sites there is little shade and a lot of walking, so be aware of the heat.

  • October 28 is a national holiday in Greece and you can enter all museums and archaeological sites for free.


In the Peloponnese: Gytheio, Malvasia, Nauplia, Epidaurus, Elafonisos.

Near Athens: Ancient Eleusis. Towards Thessaloniki: Temple of Zeus in Dion.




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