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Driving from Nafplio to Monemvasia / maps

I will be a first time newbie driver in Greece.

Is the coastal route from Nafplio to Monemvasia particularly difficult? Will it be more difficult than driving via Sparta and Mystra? I realize it is highway to Sparta on E65 /A7. (What about E65 / E961?) Is the road from Sparta to Monemvasia much different than the coastal route as afar as switchbacks, narrow roads on cliff walls, etc?

If I go thru Sparta, I can stop at Mystra. If I take the coast, well it is the coast and scenic.

I like to have a physical map. Is the Freytag and Berndt Peloponnes Map a good detailed map?

I will have gps in the car, probably also on my phone, and I also have the via.michelin website, but I like a real hard copy map to write on.


Posted by
1386 posts

The route through Tripoli and Sparta is a good one with pretty decent roads. The road south from Sparti was a good one as well. Once you turn east towards Monemvassia it gets narrower and more windy but not bad or difficult to drive. Interestingly when we did that drive we average 23 Km per hour. Just so much stuff to see so we stopped way too many times. And Mystras will take a good 4 hours to explore.
The coastal route is spectacular on decent but secondary roads. Lots of curves and switchbacks but not much traffic. It will probably take twice the time as the Sparti route.

Last trip we used the map and the GPS in combination. In Greece there are many places with the same names and or variations on spelling. We used the map to be sure we were inputting the correct destination and so we could confirm we were on the right path as we traveled. Our GPS actually worked extremely well but you do need the map as a safety net. It is pretty funny listening to the poor computer voice trying to pronounce Greek names.

Here are some images of our trip
Nafplio and Peloponnese

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks, stanbr,
Are you talking about the route that takes the highway A7 from Tripoli to Sparta or the E961 road which goes straight south?

And Sparta all the way to Gytheio and then go east to Monemvasia?

I'll just have to get a feel for the roads and then decide which route to take.

Posted by
1386 posts

We actually took the coastal road from Nafplio to Astros and cut across to the E961 which is below Tripoli and then south to Sparti.
After visiting Mystras we continued south on it but cut away to the left near dafnio and and then picked up the road towards Monemvassia at Elos.

On the way back we went north at Gythio on the 961. In the end I think that was the better route as the 961 is a superior road.

Posted by
3335 posts

Al you are getting good advice. One thing Stanbr did not mention -- because he's so used to it by now -- is that VERY seldom do Greek roads have their Route NUMBER on roadside signs -- more often the destination. Another thing to be aware of is that your navigator, sitting shotgun, must keep his/her e yes peeled, if you are planning an exit to another road. The road signs are FIRST in Greek, and then about 200 yards onward, there's a sign in English, and then almost IMMEDIATELY, there is the exit ramp ... whew! If you are not alerted to this, you could zip right by before you react.

I think in North American we assume all drivers are a little bit A.D.D. (or maybe texting on their phones). So our highway depts "baby us." our signs start WAAY ahead -- "1 mile to Stamford exit" then "1/2 mile to stamford exit" then "1/4 mile" ... well you get it. Greece they say WHOOP -- GET OFF HERE!.

Another "funny" thing we Anglophones have to get used to ... unexplained abbreviations we don't immediately catch on to. I remember my 1st trip when 2 of us drove out of Heraklion and were told to watch for "National Road 1", which was then the # for the Biggie NOrth Highway in Crete. We kept seeing signs for "Eth 1" but thought "That can't be it!" We finally tumbled: The greek worth for NATIONAL is ETHNIKI. Duh. So keep alert to anything

Another confusing thing is that a sign may substitute a "V" in a name, for a "B". I remember looking in vain for the Church of St Barbara, and wondering who this odd unknown St. Varvara was. Duh again. A learning experience!! But FUN.