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Destinations

Top 3 self-drive tour routes in Greece

If you’re planning holidays in Greece, you have probably heard of the unique charms offered by this ancient country nestled in the Mediterranean. However, you may not be aware that one of the best ways of getting to know Greece is by renting a car.

There are several points of interest in different regions of the country, but you’ll need good mobility to see everything. Additionally, you will be treated with some breath-taking natural sights as you drive from one place to another.
Having access to a week of vacations in Greek territory and a rental car, you will get a chance to enjoy one of the most relaxing and fascinating escapades in your entire life. This guide will provide you with information on some of the most interesting places to drive between, as well as showing the routes you should follow and pointing out how long the trip will take. You will also learn a valuable tip that will help you save considerable money, if you plan to visit different islands.

 

Route 1: a week across classic Greece

If you want to get familiar with all the charms and landmarks of the ancient Greek civilization, this is the most recommendable tour. This self-drive getaway begins on Athens, and will take you through Nafplion, Sparti, Olympia, Delphi, and back to Athens. You will drive approximately 100-150 miles between each destination.
The first stretch in this tour will take you to Nafplion, which is about 100 miles down from Athens through the Corinth Canal and into Ancient Corinth – this location features a vast offering in terms of archeological sites and museums. From there, drive through the Argolis province heading towards Myceane. Points of interest in this area include Palamidi Fortress, Bourtzi Castle, and the Epidaurus Theater. From there, head out to Nafplion – a lively little town that was once the original capital of Greece.
For the second part of this tour, you will drive to Sparti, and while heading there you want to focus on visiting the Byzantine city Mystra.
The third part of this self-drive will take you from Sparti to Olympia, the place where the Olympic Games originated. This stretch of road is full of break-taking natural landmarks that will show you the best Greek has to offer in this respect.
In the fourth section of this tour, you will drive from Olympia to Delphi (approx. 100 miles), and once again you’ll get to marvel at the beautiful coastal landscapes available during most of the way.
Next, you will drive from Delphi to Athens (150 miles); in between, we recommend you stop in the unique village of Galaxi, as well as enjoying a waltz through town of Arachova, which is nestled at the foot of Mount Parnassos.
Arachova is just a few miles away from Delphi, so you might spend the night in either place. The next day you will drive the final stretch in this tour: roughly 130 miles back to Athens.

Route 2: Excursion through Classic Central Greece

If you want a smaller tour that will allow moving around leisurely and spending more time in each locale, this will probably make you happy. In this tour, you will be driving from Athens to Delphi, then Kalambaka – Meteora and back to Athens.
The first section of the tour will take you in a 130 mile drive from Athens to Delphi. On the way, you may want to check Thebes, Arachova and Parnassos; in these towns you will find a lot of things to see, from archeological landmarks to natural landscapes and even some interesting samples of local culture and artisanship.
While driving from Delphi to Kalambaka and Meteora (roughly 160 miles), you will come across rather impressive geological formations, and several picturesque monasteries along the way. In some cases, you may find guided visits to the monasteries, but it’s a good idea calling in advance to make the necessary arrangements.
From Meteora to Athens you’ll drive another 200 miles, which we recommend doing without rushes, making several stops along the way. In this stretch of road, you’ll come across some of the very best samples of what Greece has to offer in terms of natural wonders, so make sure to feast your eyes on the available scenes!

Route 3: Drive around Central Greece

This tour will take you from Athens to Delphi (130 miles), then towards Olympia (140 miles), from there to Nafplion (130 miles) and back to Athens (100 miles). It’s a variation of the first self-drive route presented in this article, with some important differences: this route is comprised of shorter stretches of road; and it features a more diverse, richer mixture of cultural and natural landmarks.
In the first stretch of road (Athens to Delphi), you want to visit Thebes, Arachova, and the Delphi archaeological site; next, while driving to Olympia, you should stop in the beautiful fishing village of Galaxi and you might just be compelled to spend the night there. While driving from Galaxi to Olympia, you’ll pass through the largest suspended bridge in Europe… that’s a nice reference you may want to watch for.
While driving from Olympia to Nafplion, you should take time to marvel at the natural sights in Argolis, and visit Mycenae and Epidavros if you’re interested in archaeology. Finally, when driving from Nafplion to Athens you should not miss the Ancient Corinth archaeological site and museum. The Corinth Canal will then lead you back to Athens.

Renting a car in Greece? Remember this.

If you’re planning to visit different islands during your self-drive tours, you should plan your journey accordingly, and rent a car in each island; that will be considerably less expensive than paying freighter charges to have the same car transported between different islands. This simple tip will help you save a lot of money, without sacrificing your comfort or convenience; you will easily be able to find a car hire in each island, you just need to plan ahead to avoid losing time looking for the next car hire service on the next island.