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Peloponnese drive

I'm working through this area as I come out of Athens.
Nights in Nafplio (2), Monemvasia (1), down through Mani (taking two days) with night in Gerolimenas (1), Kardamyli (1).
Seeing the main sites and some wineries.

But then I get into some grey area.
Was thinking of two nights in Kardamyli, one at the end of Mani and a second after a day trip to Mystras.
After looking over Mystras, I do not think I want to see it, especially the 4hr round trip.

So I might cut that day out and head to Olympia from Kardamyli, see those sites, and the next day off to the rest of the trip
(Diakupto and train to Kalavryta and back, then on to Delphi).

Am I missing out of not going to Mystras?
Thus adding the day somewhere else?

Probably add time in Santorini or Naxos, maybe a day trip to Hydra (while in Athens).

Very much appreciate any input.

Posted by
1385 posts

It’s obviously a matter of taste but I’d add Mystra and miss out Kardamyli.

As well as being an interesting site Mystra is in a spectacular location and the village is pleasant. I’m a big patrick leigh fermor fan but even so have never really seen the attraction of Kardamyli. As I say though, each to their own.

We did the Diakofto railway last September and really liked it. If you book seats in advance it’s worth going for 5-8. 1-4 are facing backward.

If you are going to Delphi via the Rio-Antirio bridge then Nafpaktos makes a nice stopping place for coffee / lunch.

Voudeni, which is almost on your route, is interesting and little visited.


Posted by
89 posts

Thank you Alan.
Would you recommend staying an evening in Kalavryta?

Posted by
3206 posts

I suggest you look at photographs and information, and decide how you will feel at various points throughout your trip. We are all very different in our likes and dislikes. I loved Greece, period. I'd suggest stopping at Mystras on the way to somewhere versus a day trip out of somewhere 2 hours away. Mystras was one of my favorite spots...but there were so many. On the other hand, I love playing with my camera, which I did at Mystras while enjoying the ruins, view and learning the history. Plus I was able to walk down versus up. Kardamyli was one of my favorite towns, because it is just a small town with small businesses with various options for hiking through the hills and coastal scenes, and it was before beach season began. I might not have liked it with other tourists, who knows. I had the best lemonade that I've ever had perhaps that makes me partial. On the other hand, with only one night in Kardamyli, I wonder how much hiking and relaxation you would actually do.

While the town was a bit interesting and I love trains, I thought the train to Kalavryta was a waste of time. I'd skip Kalavryta and the train ride.

Posted by
1385 posts


We stayed a couple of nights in Diakofto, the Alkistis Hotel which we liked. That suited us - we’re slow travellers and in Greece a lot.

Kalavryta has a slightly strange atmosphere. It’s felt subdued to me both times I’ve been. Possibly it’s knowing it was the site of a major massacre in World War 2. I’m sure an evening there would be fine but I’d probably opt for Diakofto.

Have a great trip.


Posted by
11119 posts

When we were planning this part of our trip, my friend who has lived in Greece most of her adult life gave us her recommendations. The first is that Mystras is a must see! You can do it as a day trip from Napflio or stay in Sparta. We spent four nights in Napflio. You are not giving it enough time. The antiquities surrounding this beautiful small city are worth your time. Mycenae and Epidavros surround Napflio and are must sees in Greece.
Plus a day should be spent in Napflio itself as it has much to see and enjoy. You are wondering where to put extra days and they need to be added to Napflio and Mystras. Mystras is Byzantine so a nice change from all the Greek antiquities you will be seeing. My friend said the two most beautiful places in Greece are Napflio and Chania, Crete. We loved this area of Greece.
After this area, we went to Olympia and stayed overnight, then to Delphi.
Between Santorini and Naxos, choose Naxos for more authentic Greek island and experience. Santorini is so over touristed and crowded. Many non Greeks are working there in the tourist industry causing it to lack a Greek feel, a shame.

Posted by
4535 posts

I do recommend Mystras - I call it the Greek version of Pompeii (without the volcano). But I wouldn't suggest driving 4 hours total to see it. If you can work it out as a stop along a route, or a minor detour, then yes. You can quickly visit it in less than 2 hours, but it is worth exploring for a few hours if you have the time. It does require lots of walking uphill on rough paths, so keep that in mind depending on your stamina and mobility.

I also agree that only 2 nights in Nafplio seems not enough. Delightful town with lots to see in the area. Part of that may depend on how much actual time you will have - it could be 2-3 full days or really only 1 day. The former great, the latter not enough.

Posted by
1385 posts

Douglas is right about the hill at Mystras. It’s possible though to get a taxi to the upper entrance. This isn’t right at the top - the castle is still above you - but it means most of the walk is downhill!