Get ready for gorgeous views and a healthy dose of history on this 10-day self-drive tour of Athens and the Peloponnese. You'll learn about ancient Greek mythology at the Acropolis, visit the home of Helen of Troy, and see where the Olympics were born. Along the way, you'll sample wines at the vineyards of Nemea, explore the Byzantine castle of Mystras, and consult the oracle at Delphi.


  • Take a deep dive into Greek mythology on a tour of Athens
  • Sip native varietals at the wineries of Nemea
  • Tour the ancient archaeological sites of Sparta, Olympia, and more
  • Seek the oracle of Delphi on a historical tour of the UNESCO-listed ruins
  • Soak up some sun on the beaches around Pylos

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens, Welcome Dinner Athens
Day 2 Acropolis & Ancient Greek Mythology Tour Athens
Day 3 Drive to Nafplio, Free Afternoon Nafplio
Day 4 Day Trip to Nemea Wine Region Nafplio
Day 5 Day Trip to Ancient Mycenae & Epidaurus  Nafplio
Day 6 Drive to Mystras, Explore the Ancient Byzantine Citadel Mystras
Day 7 Drive to Pylos, Palace of Nestor & Voidokoilia Beach Pylos
Day 8 Visit the Olympia Archaeological Site, Drive to Nafpaktos Nafpaktos
Day 9 Drive to Galaxidi via Delphi Galaxidi
Day 10 Return to Athens, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Athens, Welcome Dinner

Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis
The view across Monastiraki Square toward the Acropolis

Welcome to Greece! Upon arrival at the airport, meet your driver and transfer to your hotel in downtown Athens. Greece's buzzy capital city is an eclectic mix of ancient and modern, with towering temples to ancient deities rubbing shoulders with lively nightlife, crowded flea markets, and contemporary cuisine. Settle in and relax after your flight, then head out to discover the city's sights.

It's impossible to miss the Acropolis, a vast fifth century on a rocky hilltop overlooking the city, and along with the Parthenon (the temple dedicated to Athena), this should be top of your list of places to visit. Don't miss the sacred Temple of Erectheion, regarded as one of the world's finest examples of classical architecture. Wander back down to stroll the colorful stalls of the Monastiraki flea market before settling in for a cold drink at one of the neighborhood cafés. In the evening, you'll sit down to enjoy either a welcome dinner with views of the Acropolis or wine tasting at a local bar. 

Day 2: Acropolis & Ancient Greek Mythology Tour

Temple of Olympian Zeus
Hear the myths surrounding the ancient Olympian Temple of Zeus on today's tour

Delve into Greece's ancient history today and explore the legends surrounding Athen's iconic sights with a half-day guided mythology tour. Meet your guide and storyteller at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, then discover the city's landmarks, including the Acropolis, the ancient Kerameikos Cemetery, and the Roman Agora. As you explore the archaeological sights your guide will share the stories of Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and Dionysus alongside the historical facts behind the ruins. 

At the end of the tour, head to the nearby Acropolis Museum, named one of the 10 best museums in the world by National Geographic, to discover the delicate statues and artifacts found at the site. Pause for lunch and refreshments at the on-site café, then wander back into downtown Athens via the picturesque Anafiotika neighborhood on the northeast slope of the hill. In the evening, choose one of the local neighborhood tavernas that catch your eye and feast on chargrilled souvlaki, kleftiko (baked lamb), or delicious saganaki

Day 3: Transfer to Nafplio, Free Afternoon

Nafplio, one of the prettiest towns in the Peloponnese
Nafplio, one of the prettiest towns in the Peloponnese

It's a two-hour drive southwest to Nafplio today, one of the prettiest seaport towns in the Peloponnese peninsula, and according to legend, founded by the son of Poseidon. About 30 minutes before reaching the town, you'll pass Mycenae, the ancient city referenced in Homer's "Iliad" for its role in the Trojan War. It's worth a short detour to see the ruins and tombs of Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra as you soak up the myths surrounding Helen of Troy and her husband, Menelaus, King of Sparta.

Check into your hotel, and after a quick refresh, stroll through the Old Town, where you'll find Ottoman fountains, Venetian architecture, and the 15th-century Bourtzi Castle in the middle of the harbor. Accessible only by boat, the castle was built in the 1470s to defend the city, and it still keeps watch at the entrance to Nafplio Bay. Don't miss the 1,000-step climb to see the view from Palamidi Castle, and afterward, reward your efforts with dinner at one of the family-run tavernas that line Syntagma Square.

Day 4: Day Trip to Nemea Wine Region

Fruit of the vines
Nemea's wine-growing history is shrouded in legend

Spend today on a guided tour of Nemea, one of Greece's most important wine-producing regions and known for its indigenous variety agiorgitiko, whose grapes have grown in the region for thousands of years. Legend has it they were first grown from a vine brought by the god Dionysus. Meet your guide and make the 40-minute drive north to two boutique wineries in the area, where you'll be greeted by the owners and accompanied on a guided tour of the vineyards and observe the winemaking process.

There'll be plenty of time to taste the varietals, too, and after your tour, you'll head to the tasting room overlooking the Nemean Valley with its endless rows of vines. Enjoy a lunch of traditional Greek dishes paired with a selection of vintages from the estate, and if there are any bottles you particularly enjoyed, you'll have the chance to purchase directly from the winery's cellar. On your return to Nafplio, you'll stop at an organic balsamic vinegar producer, where you'll learn about the area's organic farming methods and taste their top-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 

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Day 5: Day Trip to Ancient Mycenae & Epidaurus 

See the magnificent theater at Epidaurus, dating to the fourth century

Step back into ancient Greece with a short 30-minute drive to Mycenae, the ancient city referenced in Homer's "Iliad" and home to King Agamemnon, older brother of Menelaus, King of Sparta, whose wife Helen sparked the Trojan War when she fell in love with Paris of Troy. Pass through the Lion Gate to enter the ruins and see the tombs of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra and the Treasury of Atreus. You can decide for yourself whether the city's ancient Cyclopean walls were made of boulders so strong they could only have been lifted by the mythical Cyclops!

Continue on to the archaeological site of Epidaurus, a Greek city celebrated throughout the ancient world for its sanctuary of healing and its magnificent theater. See the UNESCO-listed ruins where pilgrims would travel to and seek healing at the Sanctuary of Asklepios, the god of medicine and healing. Make time to explore the city's third-century theater, one of the best remaining examples of its type due to its acoustics, and one-time stage to performers such as Sophocles and Euripides. 

Day 6: Drive to Mystras, Explore the Ancient Byzantine Citadel

Ruins at Mystras
Ancient Mystras is your next stop—where you'll explore its UNESCO-listed citadel

You'll say goodbye to Nafplio today, and after one last coffee along the waterfront, drive 1.5 hours over the slopes of Mount Taygetos to the well-preserved Byzantine citadel of Mystras—a UNESCO-listed Heritage Site. Stroll the labyrinthine paths to discover medieval churches, intricate frescoes, and fortifications that saw attacks from Byzantines, Turks, and Venetians over the centuries. Explore the Palace of the Despots, where you'll find a blend of Byzantine and Gothic architectural styles then spend a few hours discovering the Lower City, Metropolis, and Outer City. 

After a morning wandering the site, seek refreshments at the modern village of Mystras at the foot of the hill. Check into your accommodation and spend the rest of the day relaxing in the village and enjoy a light lunch in the picturesque square. If you're in the mood for more ancient history, don't miss an opportunity to visit nearby Sparti, a bustling town built over the once formidable city-state of Sparta, and the Archaeological Site of Sparta, a five-minute drive from the town and surrounded by beautiful olive groves and backed by mountains.

Day 7: Drive to Pylos, Palace of Nestor & Voidokoilia Beach

Beautiful lagoon of Voidokilia
Beautiful lagoon of Voidokilia

It's a two-hour journey west this morning as you drive to Pylos, a charming town on the shores of Navarino Bay. Just before reaching the village, you'll find the Palace of Nestor, one of the best-preserved Mycenaean sites of its time. Explore the remnants of the palace complex and the late Helladic settlement, which still has remnants of its fortified walls. When you're done, continue on to your hotel, where the rest of the day is yours to unwind or explore at leisure. 

If the sea is calling, head to the crescent-shaped Voidokoilia Beach, whose smooth sands and turquoise waters make it a popular spot for an afternoon spent swimming and relaxing on the beach. In the evening, wander over to Plateia Square, where you'll find plenty of al fresco cafés or tavernas serving local specialties such as ladenia, a savory pastry topped with tomatoes, onions, and herbs. 

Day 8: Visit the Olympia Archaeological Site, Drive to Nafpaktos

Nafpaktos port
End the day in the charming coastal town of Nafpaktos

Drive two hours north up the coast this morning to the site of the first Olympic Games at the Archaeological Site of Olympia. There's plenty to cover, as it's one of the largest archaeological sites in the country, surrounded by wild olives and plane trees. Your comprehensive guided tour will take you under grand temple columns, past the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, and through the on-site museum. There will also be free time after the tour to explore the site on your own. Scope out the treasuries, sacrificial altars, and stadiums once used by the ancient world's best athletes.

The natural landscape surrounding the site is also full of opportunities for a day hike if you'd like to put your muscles to use. Once you've completed your explorations, continue the drive north over the Rio-Antirrio Bridge, crossing over the Gulf of Corinth, one of the world's longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges. After two hours of driving, you'll arrive in Nafpaktos, a charming town nestled on the north shore of the gulf. Spend your evening wandering down the waterfront promenade lined with tavernas and restaurants offering panoramic views of the water to find somewhere for dinner. 

Day 9: Drive to Galaxidi via Delphi

Temple of Athena at Delphi
See the Temple of Athena at Delphi, now a sprawling archaeological site

 Follow the gulf for 1.5 hours today as you drive to the Archaeological Site of Delphi, once home to the priestesses of Apollo, who ancient Greeks believed could predict the future. When you arrive, set off on a guided tour through the sprawling archaeological site, with stops at the Athenian Treasury, the Temple of Apollo, and the expansive theater. Follow the ancient footpath once used by worshippers of the god Pan, who started from the temples of Delphi and proceeded to Corycean Grotto for their religious rites.

Stroll downhill to the Archaeological Museum of Amphissa to find the bronze charioteer of Delphi, the marble Sphinx of Naxos, and what may be the first recorded notation of a melody once inscribed on the walls of the Athenian Treasury. After exploring the site, drive 15 minutes to the popular mountain resort town of Arachova at the foot of Mount Parnassus for lunch, enjoying grilled formaella cheese amid the traditional stone-built houses. Then, drive 45 minutes to the small port town of Galaxidi, your destination for the evening. Wander among the neoclassical houses and harborfront to find your ideal dinner spot.

Day 10: Return to Athens, Depart

Until the next time, Greece

Sadly, it's time to say goodbye to the Aegean. After one last stroll around the village, you'll get back on the road for the roughly three-hour drive back to Athens in time for your flight home or onward journey. Safe travels!

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