Those looking to get off the beaten path in Greece can’t go wrong with planning a 5 to 7-day Peloponnese road trip itinerary. The majority of Greece outside of the islands and Athens is relatively untouched by tourists. One of these areas is the southern Peloponnese peninsula.
The Peloponnese region is a vast peninsula in Greece full of pristine rugged beaches, mystic ancient sites, and dramatic landscapes from just about every corner. This route will take you through many of the most bucket-list-worthy destinations and truly show you Greece off the typical tourist trail.
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How Many Days in the Peloponnese?
When planning a trip to the Peloponnese peninsula, you’ll want to know how many days to plan for your trip. A lot of the main sites worth visiting in the Peloponnese and on this itinerary are spread out (about a 1.5-hour drive on average), so you’ll want to arrange for at least 5 days in the Peloponnese.
If you’re hoping to dive deeper into the region and explore, 7 days in the Peloponnese is the perfect amount of time for your trip. But with that being said, you can easily spend a 2-week trip in the region without being bored or lacking things to do.
Getting To & Around the Peloponnese
The most convenient mode of transportation for getting around the Peloponnese is by car.
Hiring a car will undoubtedly make for the most flexibility when exploring this region of Greece, giving you the freedom to come and go from each destination as you desire.
There may be somewhere on the itinerary that you wish to spend more time in, and having your own car will give you this flexibility. You can browse options on Rentalcars.com which aggregates prices across a number of car rental companies.
On top of that, the Peloponnese region is pretty cut off from the train system in Greece, so your only options come down to hiring a car or taking public buses.
There are buses through many of the main towns in the Peloponnese by the KTEL bus system, but they do fill up quickly and costs can also add up quickly if you’re touring throughout the entire region.
As for getting to the Peloponnese, this itinerary leaves from Athens as the Athens International Airport is the main airport on mainland Greece. There is also the Kalamata Airport on the western side of the Peloponnese, which has quite a few European routes throughout the summer months.
5 to 7-Day Peloponnese Road Trip Itinerary
Dating back to Prehistoric times, the Peloponnese region holds strong importance for Greece, its culture, and history.
A Peloponnese road trip is the perfect way to discover this rugged part of the country, delicious home-cooked Greek food, and of course, where the Spartans battled and the Olympics were born.
You may prefer to stay in a few or more of these stops longer than the allotted time on the itinerary, so feel free to move the itinerary around according to your travel preferences.
Day 1 – Ancient Corinth & Nafplio
The first day of this Peloponnese itinerary begins in Athens before making your way to Ancient Corinth. Ancient Corinth is known for its ancient city and today visitors come from all over to visit its archaeological site which is home to the famous Temple of Apollo, built in 550 BCE.
Corinth is just an hour away from Athens and on the start of your trip, you’ll head through the Corinth Canal, connecting the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea to the Aegean Sea. It’s truly a sight to see and definitely worth the stop.
If haven’t had enough of incredible ancient sites, then also consider stopping at the Archaeological Site of Mycenae before making it to Nafplio.
After about an hour south of Corinth, you’ll find yourself further into the Peloponnese and in one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in mainland Greece, Nafplio. Nafplio has a wonderful medieval feel and almost feels like you’ve been transported to a Greek island, especially as you take in the imposing Palamidi Fortress.
I recommend spending 2 nights in Nafplio as it’s a lovely place to wind down from your first day on the road and it’s also a great base for a day trip.
Where to Stay in Nafplio
Amymone and Adiandi – Located in the old town of Nafplio, this cute hotel is a great mid-range choice. There are plenty of single, double and family rooms on offer along with a superb breakfast and an on-site bar.
Carpe Diem Boutique Hotel – Situated within 600 metres of Arvanitia Beach in Nafplio, this hip boutique hotel is perfect for travelers looking for a luxe stay. There are plenty of plush rooms to choose from along with amenities like room service, a bar, and a great breakfast.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Nafplio hotels!
Day 2 – Nafplio & Epidaurus
On day 2, I recommend heading out about half an hour from Nafplio to the Ancient town of Epidaurus. Epidaurus is home to one of the most famous ancient Greek theaters and is an incredible spot to visit even if you’re someone not super keen on ancient history.
The theater was built in 340-333 BCE and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering visitors a glimpse into what “wellness” was like for Ancient Greeks.
Performance was seen as a type of medicine prescribed by doctors and there was no better place to head to than Epidaurus to experience the pure acoustics that made this theater so special. The natural beauty surrounding the area is stunning as well, making for a tranquil day in the Peloponnese.
Every summer, the Athens Epidaurus festival is held here allowing you to experience its birth-sake and otherworldly acoustics and performances.
Afterwards, head back to Nafplio to enjoy a local dinner at sunset in the old town before heading to sleep to move onward on day 3 of your Peloponnese road trip.
Day 3 – Sparta
You don’t have to be an Ancient history fanatic to know who the Spartans were. On the morning of day 3, you’ll head to the city of Sparta, about an hour and a half away from Nafplio. Consider stopping off at the beautiful Loukos Monastery while en route.
While Ancient Sparta was known for its warriors triumphing over the Athenians in the Peloponnesian war, not much is left of Ancient Sparta in the modern day. Albeit, it’s a great spot to stay for an excursion from Sparta as well as the perfect mid-point between Nafplio and Monemvasia.
In Sparta, you can enjoy a nice meal, wander around the remaining archaeological sites, and maybe check out the Olive Oil Museum, as the Peloponnese is incredibly dense in olive trees and is a huge part of the culture.
About 10 minutes away from the city center of Sparta is the ancient castle town of Mystras. Mystras is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its importance being the last center of Byzantine Culture and is a great stop on any Peloponnese itinerary.
The ruins, churches, and architecture of Mystras are incredibly well-preserved making it a worthy destination for your trip. Mystras is one of the lesser-known important sites from Ancient Greece and will easily have fewer tourists than Olympia or Delphi.
Where to Stay in Sparta
Menelaion Hotel – This 3-star hotel is an excellent option for a base when exploring the historic town of Sparta. They have a number of plush rooms available and there is even a lovely swimming pool for guests to enjoy – perfect for hot summer days!
Laconian Collection Dorieon – If you’d like your own space while on your Peloponnese road trip, then this three-bedroom apartment in Sparta is a great option. Great for families and larger groups, it is fully furnished with everything you may need and in an excellent location.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Sparta hotels!
Day 4 – Monemvasia
After one day in the famous town of Sparta, I recommend heading to the southeastern coast of the Peloponnese and the island town of Monemvasia for the day and night.
Monemvasia is located on a small island connected by a short bridge to the mainland and is truly something out of a medieval fairytale. Time freezes when you wander through the small streets of this fortress town carved into the natural gray rock of the area.
Monemvasia has stunning boutique hotels and accommodations as well as local artisan shops, wine bars, and some of the best food in the southern Peloponnese and many traditional tavernas. Whether you walk around Monemvasia at twilight or day, it’s a town that will undoubtedly capture your heart and beg you for more time.
Where to Stay in Monemvasia
Ritsos Guesthouse – This quaint guesthouse is the perfect place for those looking for a local, cosy and authentic place to stay in Monemvasia. They have a number of lovely, air-conditioned rooms on offer, a fantastic outdoor patio and rooms with both garden and sea views available.
Malvasia Traditional Hotel – Located directly on the sea, this hotel is an excellent choice for those looking for an unforgettable stay in Monemvasia. They have a range of clean and comfortable rooms available, an on-site bar to enjoy and an unbeatable location.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Monemvasia hotels!
Day 5 – Mani Peninsula
Day 5 of this itinerary will bring you to the southern central Peloponnese peninsula of Mani, about 2 hours away from Monemvasia. Mani is home to the direct descendants of the Spartans as well as some of the best Greek hospitality, food, and blue waters.
When in Mani, I recommend heading to the village of Limeni to enjoy this picturesque gem of the Peloponnese and its village feel with absolutely beautiful rock beaches and views.
Another great stop when in the Mani Peninsula, are the Diros Caves. Due to the Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts found here, the Diros Caves are possibly one of the first inhabited places in Greece.
A visit to the caves on a guided tour by boat truly feels like a trip back in time to the beginnings of civilization and cannot be missed during your time in the Mani Peninsula and the Peloponnese.
For those spending 5 days, your time in Mani will wrap up your trip with a unique and unforgettable Greek experience. If you’re flying out of Greece, you’ll likely be heading to the Kalamata Airport, about 2 hours away, or the Athens International Airport, about 3 ½ hours away.
Where to Stay in Mani
The Olive Yard – This lovely hotel is an excellent choice for those looking for a chic and comfortable place to stay on the Mani Peninsula. They have a range of wonderful rooms to choose from (some with sea views), plenty of great amenities and they are even pet-friendly.
Limeni Village – This beautiful hotel located in the village of Limeni overlooking Limeni Bay is the perfect escape on the Mani Peninsula. They have a number of plush rooms available, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool to splash around in and an unbeatable waterfront location.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Mani hotels!
Day 6 – Kalamata
For those continuing onward to 7 days in region, day 6 of this road trip around the Peloponnese will take you to the major city of Kalamata, about 2 hours from the Mani peninsula.
As the namesake of the world-famous Kalamata olives (you can learn more on this tour) and the second biggest city in the Peloponnese, Kalamata is a great city to get to know city life in Greece further than Athens.
Visit the 13th-century Kalamata castle, soak up the sun, salt, and sand at one of Kalamata’s blue flag-awarded beaches and maybe even visit the Archaeological Museum Of Messinia to learn more about the history of the region.
The Old Town of Kalamata is also the perfect glimpse into city life in the Peloponnese and a great area to wander and grab a coffee or lunch.
Where to Stay in Kalamata
Kalamata Art Hotel – Located in Kalamata’s central square, this 3-star hotel makes for an excellent base in the city. Offering both basic rooms and fully furnished apartments, they have a number of options to choose from and are also pet-friendly!
Pharae Palace – If you’re looking for luxury while staying in Kalamata, then this hotel is a great choice. Located in the centre of the city, they have a myriad of wonderful rooms to choose from and plenty of other amenities to ensure you have the best stay possible.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Kalamata hotels!
Day 7 – Ancient Olympia
On the 7th and final day, you’ll head to one of the most famous and important sites of Greece, Ancient Olympia.
The first Olympic games took place in 778 BCE and were dedicated to the Greek God, Zeus. Every 4 years these games were repeated and that has amazingly lasted until today, one of the only Ancient Greek traditions to carry through to modern day.
When visiting Ancient Olympia, you can wander the UNESCO Archaeological Site with remains of the Temple of Zeus, and the studio of Phidias. You can also visit the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games and the Archaeological Museum which houses the majority of relics from Ancient Olympia. You can pre-book tickets here.
This is the final day of your trip, and If you’re flying out of Greece, you’ll likely be heading to the Kalamata Airport, about 1 ½ hours away, or the Athens International Airport, about 3 ½ hours away.
Have More Time?
If you have more time to spare to tack onto your Peloponnese travel itinerary, I recommend taking advantage of the islands that are in close vicinity to the Peloponnese. From the northwest port town of Kylini, you can reach the stunning blue Ionian island of Zakynthos in just over an hour.
Spend time at the local sandy beaches (some rated the best in the world), the Blue Caves, and head to the 1980 shipwreck on Navagio beach by boat to have a unique experience from your time in Greece.
Another island to visit close to the Peloponnese is the small Ionian island and one of the alleged birthplaces of Aphrodite, Kythira (the other place that lays claim to being the birthplace of Aphrodite is Cyprus).
Kythira is just a 2-hour ferry ride away from Neapolis at the southern point of the Peloponnese and is certainly a Greece destination off the beaten path. With immense Venetian influence due to its occupation, Kythira is an especially beautiful island full of history, idyllic scenery, and of course, turquoise Ionian beaches.
Another option if you’re looking to spend more time in the Peloponnese, is to visit the largest city in the Peloponnese, Patras. If you decide to head to Patras, this will put you on a different route, circling the perimeter of the Peloponnese through Patra and back to Corinth where the itinerary began.
Points of interest in Patras worth visiting are the Patras Castle, the Archaeological Museum, and the Apollon Theater.
If you’re a wine drinker, a unique experience in Patras is to head to the Achaia Clauss, a winery dating back to 1861 that creates the famous Greek Mavrodaphne wine. Spend time on a tour of the winery and take part in a wine tasting to get to know this sweet wine further.
You also could opt to visit the lovely seaside town of Methoni, which is a great place to unwind and feel as if you’re on an island without having left the Peloponnese or the mainland of Greece.
When traveling to famous, world-loved destinations such as Greece, it can be hard to find a trip that’s off the beaten path. The Peloponnese is easily one of the best parts of the country to experience Greece off the typical tourist trail and a road trip only enhances this experience.
The turquoise sea and tranquil mountain scenery will hold you in its grasp while you breathe in the beauty of the region, and the food will keep you in your seat just waiting for more.
Are you planning to visit the Peloponnese? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!