I would appreciate advice from a visitor to Greece who has rented a car and actually driven to Mystras from Kardamyli. One route is to go north to Kalamata, then east on 82 to Mystras, supposedly a 90 km, 2.5 hr drive over a winding mountain road. I've heard the scenery is stunning, but how good is this road? The other route is to go south from Kardamyli to Areopoli, then to Gythio, then north to Sparta, and west to Mystras, a 100 km, 2 hr drive. Any recommendations?
I haven't driven from Kardamyli but I have driven to Mystras from another direction.
From driving from Sparta (near Mystras) to Kalamata is the Langada Pass which is spectacularly awesome.
Very slow going not just through the pass but before and after it also, and for me it was worth the ride. May depend on your time available.
I don't know how long it took but it will be longer than you think.
Have you used Google Maps for directions? It does a good job of giving alternative routes and time but don't depend that the time given will be fully accurate.
One route shows going north from Kalamata (65) then looping south all the way to Mystras. According to directions it's 104 kilometers and will take 1 hr and 12 minutes.
The Langada Pass road which is 54 kilometers and will take 1 hr. and 22 minutes.
We drove from Kardamyli to Mystras. I think we must have driven the northernmost route because we passed through Sparta (it's the one that comes up on Google Maps as 1hr 54 min). I only recall the road in and out of Kardamyli being somewhat hairy--in fine condition, I am just a nervous passenger on windy roads in mountainous areas. A confident driver will be fine. We found the roads excellent throughout the Peloponnese, so I would not have qualms about that. You might consider taking one way there, one way back?
Google Maps gives three options, but I would look at Viamichelin as it tends to give more detailed road info.
We drove from Sparta through Kardamyli, did not stop there, and remember the twisting mountain roads, so the opposite direction from your plans.. Our Greek travel agent had warned us to be aware of these kinds of roads in the Pelponnesean Peninsula and that more time may be needed to get from one place to another.
Yes, I use google maps and for sure the routing time always takes longer than they say, especially on mountain roads. Thanks everybody for your words, and for the Viamichelin suggestion. I haven't used that site. I'm tempted to do the Langada Pass Rd, even though I'm a bit nervous on mountain roads. I did find this site on tripadvisor and the road appears in fine condition, even has some side walls along part of the route:
Even from the main highway it is quite scenic, so if you chicken out, you still get pretty views. I am thankful I married a good driver because I honestly could not do it myself--but I am an extreme case with a lifelong aversion to driving.
Are you driving to Kardamyli from somewhere else? (Or are you taking transit there and getting a car while there?) I think once you have done the drive into Kardamyli, you'll have a sense of what you are in store for. A lot of winding! But I don;t recall there being anywhere that had steep dropoffs (had that in the Stemnitsa area though)
Both are lovely--Kardamyli was so pleasant and Mystras is amazing--one of the highlights for sure!
We will most likely be on the toll road from Athens to Kalamata and then to Kardamyli.
If the final stretch from Kalamata to Kardamyli gives you no problem, then I bet you'd be fine with the pass route.
The road through the Langada Pass is in very good condition. Going through it the road was very curvy, hairpin turns and switch backs but perfectly save.
Just keep you eyes on the roads rather than gawking at all the spectacular scenery!
There is a pull off about halfway through where you can stop, walk around and take photos.
I was there early October and there was maybe 5 other cards that I saw and spaced far apart.
You can check out my photos of my trip to the Peloponnese last October which includes the Langada Pass and Mystras among other beautiful areas of that part of the Peloponnese:
Click on the first or any photo to enlarge it and get a caption every now and then.
I have gotten good advice from those already replying. We are touring the Peloponnese now and will be driving the pass from Mystras in about 5 or 6 days.
Our route is somewhat different than many as we have a lot more time here than most. We are backtracking a bit. We left Kardymili this morning and drove through the mountain loop to Stoupa rather than retrace, where we rejoined the main highway to Limini,near Areopoli. We are based here for a few days to explore lower Mani.It was at times a narrow, windy road,socked in with fog and rain. But hardly any cars and not scary but rather scenic. Driving in the Peloponnese has been less stressful than anticipated . In fact it has been mainly pretty mellow.
Then we will drive to Mystras and from there the pass and on to Messene.
I will post how it goes after we drive it. Actually my wife drives and I navigate.
Thanks Tommyk and also MA traveler. We plan a week in Kardamyli with drives into lower Mani and local hikes. Likewise, I navigate, my wife drives. We'll definitely be interested in your description after you do the drive. We leave for Greece from NM on April 19 for a month. Are the Peloponnese wildflowers in bloom?!
You will love, love Mystras! It is so beautiful and so stunning and so interesting. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to visit both the Upper Town and the Lower Town. Mystras is my favorite of all the ruins we visited. If we ever return to Greece, I definitely want to re-visit Mystras.
There are lost of wildflowers right now everywhere we have been. I think it likely they will be blooming in April as well, but perhaps some different ones and some overlap.
GOOD NEWS from every direction! Thanks everybody!
We just finished driving the Langada Pass Road . This curvy narrow road goes through dramatic scenery, mountains and a gorge. At times there are rocks that fall , strewn on the roadway, and at times the roadway deteriorates and there are a couple of places where there are rock overhangs and there really isn't enough room for 2 cars, let alone trucks. There wasn't much traffic and the only truck we saw was just before the really narrow part. After the summit, there was a detour because the road bed eroded. I think thos is new. It looks like it will be quite a while before it will be repaired. The detour took us on a narrow road,sometimes in worse condition, through very small villages in rough terrain. Eventually it caught up with the main road.although after the one detour sign we had to make our way without any additional signage.
We are used to Mt. roads. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate this a 2-3 for stress and an 8 or 9 for scenic value. It is wonderful. You will love it.
We too loved Mystras and did the lower and then the upper . One of the best. Not to be missed. Enjoy your trip!
Advice: Become expert in using Google Maps. I'm serious. For instance, here is a look at that road from there that took less-than 10 seconds to get to. Plus, the entire rest of that road's length. Now, looking at that photo you may say it's too narrow but there will be little traffic, if any. If I was driving a bus, I'd go the other way. Driving myself, I'd go the scenic route.