Separated from the north part of the country by the Gulf of Corinth, surrounded by the Aegean Archipelago on the east and the Ionian on the west, Peloponnese,the southernmost part of the Greek mainland, welcomes us to explore its rich history and geographical diversity on an eight day 4x4 off-road holiday adventure. From the mountainous and densely forested region of Arcadia, to the wild and rocky south coast of Mani, we experience the warm hospitality and local cuisine of traditional villages scattered across the Peloponnesian land. We visit historic monuments and archaeological sites of paramount importance and become acquainted with the everchanging nature of the Peloponnesian landscapes. A 4x4 road trip adventure designed for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, seeking to connect with the authentic culture of beautiful Peloponnese.
During the first day of your trip, you get a chance to explore the sights of downtown Athens. The world famous Acropolis hill, with the magnificent Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum, the Roman Agora and the Temple of Zeus are all within walking distance from your hotel.
For those of you who want to get a first culinary taste of Greece, the nearby neighborhoods of Monastiraki and Plaka are bustling with traditional tavernas and are popular year round.
If you feel like immersing yourself further into the history and culture of Athens, there is the option of joining a walking tour that guides you through the main archaeological sites and areas of cultural interest in the center of Athens. Alternatively you could take part in our Historical Athens Treasure Hunt , a three hour walk through history game that includes visiting the most iconic of Athenian landmarks.
In the evening a welcome dinner takes place at a local bistro. As the chefs prepare delicious interpretations of traditional Greek dishes, we introduce you to the detailed schedule of activities and sightseeing opportunities the rest of your trip holds.
Overnight: 3* - 4* Hotel in the historic center of Athens
Meals Included: Welcome Dinner at a local bistro
Today we leave Athens for the great outdoors and our adventure begins. In the morning, we pick up our vehicles and the tour leaders briefly introduce the group to the itinerary and the security regulations of the convoy.
We drive along the national highway, crossing the Isthmus of Corinth. Our first stop for the day is the town of Diakofto, at the mouth of the Vouraikos Gorge, one of the most beautiful natural settings in Greece. We continue driving off-road, crossing the canyon, towards the scenic village of Zachlorou and the town of Kalavryta.
You can optionally choose to take the Cog Railway from Diakofto to Zachlorou, a world famous ride among train lovers. Going through the canyon, the little train travels through streams, crossing mountain tunnels, over waterfalls, along cliffs and through forests of pine and oleander.
In the evening we have the option of visiting the 'Cave of the Lakes', near the village of Kastria, where we explore the caverns and admire the unique stalactite formations and the string of cascading subterranean lakes.
The day ends with a late evening walk in the centre of the mountain town of Kalavryta, a popular destination for nature lovers throughout the year.
Overnight: 4* Hotel in Kalavryta
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Early in the morning we drive over Mount Helmos to the picturesque village of Planitero and its breath-taking surroundings, a dense plane-tree forest. There, we visit the traditional watermills at the sources of Aroanios River.
After a short break, we continue driving past the old villages of Kleitoria, Aroania and Lampeia, towards the oak forest of Foloi, a unique ecosystem entirely covered by deciduous oaks. The mysterious atmosphere in the forest made ancient Greeks believe it was inhabited by Centaurs and Fairies.
Leaving Foloi behind us, we drive off road, crossing the river Erymanthos, towards Vytina, a picturesque small town on Mount Mainalo in Arcadia, where we arrive late in the evening.
Overnight: 4* Hotel in Vytina
Meals included: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner
Leaving Vytina early in the morning, we drive to the historic village of Dimitsana and the Gorge of Lousios, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Arcadia and a popular destination for adventurers interested in hiking and water activities.
Along the dense forest surrounding the Lousios river, numerous hiking trails lead us to the Byzantine monasteries, Moni Prodromou and Moni Philosofou, built on the steep rocks overlooking the river banks.
Depending on the season and the weather conditions, we have the option of rafting in the Lousios river. Lousios canyon is an ideal place for a short break, before we continue our off-road driving, crossing Mount Mainalo, the highest mountain in Arcadia and an ideal place for an unforgettable 4x4 off-road driving experience.
We return back to our hotel in Vytina later that evening.
Overnight: 4* Hotel in Vytina
Meals included: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch
A morning drive across central Peloponnese takes us to Mani, the south part of the peninsula.
We take a guided tour at the Byzantine castle town of Mystras, near Ancient Sparta, in the shadow of Mount Taygetos. We have plenty of time to admire the architecture and experience the captivating medieval atmosphere of the place. Being a Unesco World Heritage site, the historical importance of Mystras is enormous. It was the seat of the Despotate of Moreas during the 14th century, as well as the place where the last Emperor of Byzantium was crowned.
The afternoon finds us in the beautiful coastal village of Itilo, in Laconian Mani, relaxing on the beach or having a swim depending on the season.
Overnight: 3* Hotel in Itilo
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
On that day we explore the unique and challenging scenery of the second peninsula of Mani, the southernmost part of the Peloponnese. Mani is the place where the Aegean blue meets the grey of the wild and, with its rocky beaches and stonebuilt castles, is a truly stunning scenery to explore.
Our first stop is the Caverns of Diros, one of the most beautiful lake caves in the world, believed to be the entrance to the Underworld in ancient times. We punt for about 45 minutes, in small boats, through narrow passageways, gazing at the snow-white columns rising from the water and the pink and red stalactites and stalagmites.
We continue our Mani exploration with a drive towards the town of Areopolis, along country roads and trails, becoming better acquainted with the unique and wild landscapes of this part of southern Europe.
From there we take a scenic route to the abandoned village of Vatheia, which is situated in a hilly setting and is famous for its grand stone towers. From the viewpoints and narrow alleys between the towers await breathtaking views of the Aegean.
Our last stop for the day, before we return to Itilo for a taverna dinner and rest, is the coastal village of Porto Kagio. There is the start of a 40 minute hike to Cape Tainaron, the southernmost point of the Greek mainland. Watching the views from the serene lighthouse is an essential experience for everyone traveling in the Peloponnese.
Overnight: 3*Hotel in Itilo
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
After breakfast, we drive along the coast of Mani, past the town of Gythio, following off-road alternative scenic routes. Our destination is the Castle Town of Monemvasia, one of the most impressive places in the Balkans.
Its name means 'single entrance' and the old town is entirely built on a sea rock that connects to the mainland via a narrow 200m causeway. This 6th century settlement has a rich history, having withstood countless invasions over the centuries. Even today, walking through the narrow cobbled streets beneath stone gateways, one gets the feeling that nothing has changed in a thousand years.
With its abundance of Byzantine churches, traditional architecture, impressive fortifications and an array of discreetly hidden modern comforts, such as numerous cafes, bars and restaurants, Monemvasia delivers an unforgettable traveling experience.
Overnight: 4* Hotel in Monemvasia
Meals included:Breakfast, Dinner
Our convoy departs from Monemvasia and, leaving Mani behind us, we head for another unique 4x4 off-road experience: the crossing of Mount Parnonas, the greatest mountain range of the Peloponnese.
The mountain slopes are almost entirely covered with dense forests, while three rivers and several streams create numerous small waterfalls. We drive off-road towards the peak, while enjoying magnificent panoramic mountain views. Along the way, we have a chance to relax at a wonderful natural setting.
Early evening finds us on the other side of Mount Parnonas, on the east coast of north Peloponnese and the town of Nafplio. First capital of Greece and one of the most elegant and romantic cities of the country, the old city of Nafplio welcomes us with a lovely seafront promenade along its narrow scenic alleyways and a traditional dinner at one of its beautiful tavernas at sunset.
Overnight: 3* Hotel in Nafplio
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
In the morning, we have the option of taking a short boat trip to the fortress of Bourtzi, a beautiful small island very close to the port, built by the Venetians to provide protection against pirates.
Our last stop on our way back to Athens is Epidaurus, a small fishing village on the east coast of the Peloponnese, surrounded by orange and olive groves. Due to its strategic location it was one of the most important harbors in ancient times and a Unesco World Heritage site today.
Depending on the time of year, we may visit the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, a 13.000 seat, 2350 year old theater. In ancient times, ceremonies in honor of Dionysus, God of wine, were held at the theater, while nowadays, the Epidaurus Festival takes place every summer, the most important of all Greek cultural festivals.
Early evening our convoy arrives back to Athens, where we drop off the vehicles and our 4x4 adventure ends.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
In order to guarantee a memorable overall experience throughout your adventure with Bearing True South, we have carefully handpicked a mix of family-run, traditional hotels and guesthouses for your accommodation.
In all our trips, accommodation is operated on a twin share basis. This means that travelling as an individual, you will be sharing accommodation and room facilities with another person of the same sex or your partner, spouse, family, friend etc. There is also the option of booking a single room for an additional cost depending on availability at the time of booking. Our usual accommodation as described on the extra info of our tour may alter due to lack of availability. On such an occasion accommodation of similar standard will be arranged.
When travelling with Bearing True south, you will experience a great variety of delicious food, based on traditional Greek cuisine. Emphasizing on the regional cuisine of our destinations, we have carefully selected local, family run, restaurants for our groups.
Generally all breakfasts, picnic lunches as well as some lunches and dinners are included in the standard tour price. This gives our groups the opportunity to enjoy their meals all together and taste a larger variety of local dishes in each destination we visit. When a lunch or dinner on a specific day is not included, you are free to explore at your own expense, the food options in the town or village we are staying. Feel free to ask your tour leader to suggest a local restaurant. On a camping day or when we have a picnic lunch, we usually buy local cheeses, vegetables, meat and bread from local markets so you don't miss out on the specialities of the region.
For the meal plan of the tour please refer to the day to day itinerary and the extra info of the tour. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, have any food allergies or any special requests when it comes to food, please let us know at the time of booking.
The style of travel in our adventures provides a great deal of excitement, however it is dependent on several factors, such as weather, terrain conditions and technical problems of our transportation. These may create unexpected circumstances throughout our tours that we have to deal with by making minor changes to the tour itinerary or the activities included in a particular day. For that reason the described day to day itinerary is used as a guideline which gives us the flexibility to make changes when needed.
Some of the activities listed in the day to day itinerary are included in the standard tour price, while there are also optional activities at your own expense. When a guided tour at a historical/cultural site is mentioned, the cost of a professional guide is included in the standard tour price. In every outdoor activity we work with fully qualified operators whose safety track has been extensively assessed personally by us. The necessary equipment needed for every outdoor activity is always provided by the local activity operators. For your personal gear please refer to prepare for your trip below. Please note that all activities are subject to availability, while due to the time limit in each destination, it may not be possible to do all the optional activities listed in the itinerary. In the following list you can find the tour activities, included or optional as well as the approximate prices of the optional ones:
Activities included in the standard tour price:
Mystras Castle Town Guided tour
Epidaurus Archaeological site
Hiking in Lousios Canyon
Hiking in Cape Tainaron
Optional activities at your own expense:
Historical Athens Treasure Hunt: 35 euros pp
Acropolis Hill and Parthenon: 12 euros pp
Acropolis Museum: 5 euros pp
Half day (4 hours) Athens guided walking tour
Cog railway ticket (one way from Diakofto to Kalavryta): 10 euros pp
Cave of the Lakes: 9 euros pp
Rafting in Lousios River: 35 euros pp
Horseback riding in Mani: 20 euros pp
Guided tour in the castle of Monemvasia: 10 euros pp
Fortress of Palamidi in Nafplio: 4 euros pp
Boat trip to the fortress of Bourtzi in Nafplio: 4 euros pp
Please refer to What's included/What's not included section for the services that are included or not in the standard price of your tour. For the optional activities of our tour, outdoor activities and cultural sites? entrance fees, take a look at the Tour Activities.
In appreciation to the outstanding quality of services provided throughout your adventure, you may also consider tipping your Tour Leader and Local guides. Although tipping is not compulsory and it may not be customary to you, it works as a kind voluntary gesture to the people who will guide you throughout your adventure.
Each traveller is different when it comes to spending money while travelling. Take your spending habits and requirements into account and prepare your tour budget allowing for food, drinks, souvenirs and participation in activities not included in the tour price.
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in Greece. You can exchange your currency for Euros at the airports or in major towns. Cash may also be drawn for ATMs available in most of our destinations. Credit cards are widely accepted in Greece. However, you should always have some cash on you, as in some remote villages no ATMs may be available.
At Bearing True South, we operate 'Land Only' based adventures. This means that flights to Athens International Airport (ATH) are not included in the tour price. Travellers are responsible to make their own travel arrangements and make sure that they will be able to join the group at the joining point and time announced when booking, as described at the overview of the tour. Please note that the finishing point of the tour is always the same as the joining point
Our 'Land Only' adventures provide you the flexibility to join one of our tours as part of longer holiday in Greece. You may spend a couple of days before or after your tour in Athens or even visit another Greek region, combining adventure, leisure and rest. If you want post tour accommodation for Athens let us know and we can arrange it for you.
In Athens, you may also consider joining one of our day activities. Take a dive at one of Greece's numerous wreck sites, easily accessible from downtown Athens, or participate in our Historical Athens Treasure Hunt, a 'walk-through-history' game around Athens.
Bearing true South travellers are required to be in good physical health in order to be able to participate in one of our adventures. Please read through the day to day itinerary carefully and take into account the 'Level of Difficulty' icon that appears on each one of our adventures, before booking your place.
If for any reason you are not able to participate in activities included in the tour itinerary, please inform us before booking. For any other important health issue please don't hesitate to contact your tour leader.
Travellers with Bearing True South are required to hold valid travel insurance, covering a minimum medical expenses due to accident or sickness and 3rd party liability. We strongly advise you to ensure that your insurance covers you for all outdoor activities you intend to participate in during your adventure. There might be an additional charge for certain ones. Your travel insurance needs to be evident when you join our tours.
Holding a valid passport and visa in order to visit Greece is your responsibility. Generally EU citizens or citizens of Member-States of the Schengen Agreement do not need to display a visa in order to travel to Greece.
Visas are not required by holders of valid passports from the following non-E.U. countries if they want to visit Greece and remain in the country for up to 3 months (90 days): Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Israel, Monaco, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein
For travellers not coming from the above countries, please contact your local Greek embassy/consulate for visa information. Please also note that most countries expect you to have at least 6 months validity on your passport in order to be issued a visa.
Before you travel, we encourage you to learn about the region you'll explore while on a tour. From local weather conditions to information on geography, local history and culture, all are essential in order to make the most out of you tour, while minimizing the possibility to face unexpected, unpleasant circumstances.
Greece in general has warm and humid summers lasting from May till October while temperatures reach mid thirties Celsius especially between June and August and the possibility of rain is generally low. In May and October weather can be less predictable with some rain and chilly temperatures being possible especially in Greek mainland. Greek winters are generally mild, with temperatures rarely getting lower than 5 degrees Celsius in most of our destinations. In the mountains, weather can be tough to predict all year round. Generally, cool temperatures and occasional rainfalls occur especially at night, a fact that you have to take into account when packing for your adventure.
When touring with us, you are expected to bring with you a backpack or suitcase that you should keep as light as possible, as well as a daypack for your personal items and valuables (for the times when long outdoor activities are part of the tour).
Travel documents: Passport, visa if required, valid travel insurance,valid international driving license (for self-driving tours), diving certificates (for diving tours)
Personal health care items: personal medication, sunscreen, insect repellent, travel sickness tablets, sunglasses, insect bite gel
Clothing/walking/camping gear (depending on the season and tour): fleece/soft-shell jacket, waterproof & windproof jacket, thermal underwear, waterproof trousers, wool hat, gloves, sun hat, long trousers (wearing shorts is not permitted in monasteries), shorts, swimming costume, t-shirts, hooded tops, waterproof hiking shoes/boots, trainers/walking shoes, wool socks, personal mattress and a 3-4 seasons warm sleeping bag (when camping is included in the itinerary), torch, umbrella.
If our dates don't suit your plans, or if you want to experience one of our adventures with your family or group of friends, we can arrange a private tour just for you on the dates that suit you, based on one of our existing itineraries.
Furthermore, with a minimum number of 8 participants, all of our tours can be customised as far as date of departure, activities and itinerary are concerned, according to your group's requirements. For groups of less than 8 travellers, standard tour prices are subject to change. In that case, please contact us in order to get a new quote.
For more information don't hesitate to contact us with your ideas at : firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you shortly with detailed information and pricing.
Duration: 9 days
Level of Difficulty: 2/5
Group Size: Generally 8-24, maximum 4 persons per vehicle, a minimum of 8 persons is required
Ages: 8 years and older, younger kids travel at the parents' discretion and responsibility
Please have a valid EU or International Drivers Licence with you if you intend to drive your 4x4 vehicle
4 nights 4* Hotel / 4 nights 3* Hotel
7 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches (days 2,6,9) / 2 Picnic Lunches (days 3,4) , 5 Dinners (days 1,3,5,7,8) , welcome snacks
4x4 vehicles rental costs, 4x4 vehicles full insurance (4 drivers per vehicle so you can share driving with your fellow travellers), leading vehicle expenses, fuel costs, toll costs, Airport transfers
Bearing True South Tour Leaders, Outdoor Activities Instructors, Local Guides
For outdoor and cultural activities included please refer to Tour Activities
Optional activities as listed in Tour activities