Nafpolio -> Olympia -> Delphi -> Meteora

Hi all,

My husband and I are trying make the following trip: Nafpolio -> Olympia -> Delphi -> Meteora -> Athens. We've heard a lot about the mountainous and narrow roads across the Peloponessos, so driving is definitely not an option. Are there any buses/trains going from Nafpolio to Olympia, and also Olympia to Delphi? Are they quite frequent (more than 1 a day)? Also we're pretty that there are buses/trains running between Delphi, Meteora, and Athens, but if anyone has good tips we would love to hear them! Thanks so much!

Yi

Posted by Alan
Brighton, UK
632 posts

Yi

It will be really difficult to do the trip you are suggesting as a circular one. You are going to need to backtrack at certain times. Greek buses tend to be radial - they run from smaller places into Athens - rather than a network between places.

I think you'll probably need to do:

Nafplio to Corinth to Patras to Olympia.

Oympia to Patras to Delphi

Delphi to Thebes and then by railway to Kalambaka for Meteora.

There certainly isn't a railway at Delphi but the Athens Thessaloniki railway runs through Thebes and there is a branch line to Kalambaka.

Looking at the map the nearest to Delphi the line passes is at somewhere called Heronia. I've no idea if there is a station there, or how you would get to it from Delphi, which is why I suggest Thebes as a more likely connection.

Hope this helps.

Alan

Posted by Paul
Cedar, IA, USA
2381 posts

The bus system in Greece is pretty good about making connections easy between the major sites. I did the Nafplio-Olympia leg by bus, the Nafplio bus station had a sign up indicating a route, it did involve a change in Tripoli I believe (Maybe Argos as well?), but to confirm your comment, no place I would want to drive, the bus ride rivaled, even beat the Amalfi Coast for spectacular bus rides. As I recall, there may have been more than one bus, but the trek took a good share of the day, so best to leave early. Olympia to Delphi, might be able to be done by crossing near Patras and not having to go back to Athens. I have taken the Delphi-Meteoras Bus, again, a long trek, and at least a couple changes, but they help you along. Meteora back to Athens is best done by one of the few good trains in Greece, about 4 hours in relative comfort.

Posted by Yi
Los Angeles, CA, USA
3 posts

Thanks so much for the information! So it seems like we can do the following:

Nafpolio -> Olympia by BUS (we will definitely leave early; we would really prefer not going all the way up to Patras and back down); Olympia -> Delphi by ???; Delphi -> Meteora/Kalambaka by BUS/TRAIN; Meteora -> Athens by TRAIN.

We are flying from Rome to Athens. We were originally going to take the ferry but thought it would take too long. Now that I think about it, it might have been a good idea to ferry to Patras, but we’ve already booked the plane tickets…

Since we are quite uncertain about how to get to these places, we are thinking to just be spontaneous and see what we can get done (i.e. if we can’t get from Olympia to Delphi then we’ll go back to Athens and do the Northern part from Athens). Are hotels/hostels pretty easy to find in these destinations without a reservation? We’re going in the last week of June so were wondering if that might be a problem.

Thanks!

Yi

Posted by Ash
Tulsa, Oklahoma, US
290 posts

Yi, we just returned from Greece and drove from Athens (actually Piraeus) to Delphi, then Olympia (via Patra), Nafplio, Epidavros, Mycenae, Corinth and back to Piraeus. The road to Delphi has some twisties, but isn't bad; the same for Delphi to Patra (kind of like PCH). Patra to Olympia is flat. The road from Olympia to Tripoli is definitely winding; I wouldn't want to drive it in a big American SUV, but a smaller car is okay, there is very little traffic (too narrow for big tour buses)and the scenery is gorgeous. The rest of the drive from Tripoli to Nafplio to Corinth and back to Athens is mostly flat and is motorway much of the way. Rather than spend all of your time on a bus, if you are a better than average driver consider renting a car. IMHO, the horror stories about driving in Greece are much exaggerated.

Posted by Yi
Los Angeles, CA, USA
3 posts

Thanks for the information! Hope you guys had a lot of fun in Greece!

Were you able to rent an automatic? It seems like most of the cars in Greece are manual and neither of us knows how to drive manual.

Thanks!

Yi

Posted by Ash
Tulsa, Oklahoma, US
290 posts

We rented from Hertz and, although we had a manual, automatics are available, I think for just a bit more.

Posted by Ellis
Berwyn
34 posts

Yi, my wife and I just returned from driving the route you have just described. We had no problems at all driving around. The only road you should avoid is road #74 between Tripoli and Olympia as it is narrow and very curvey. The other roads on your route are two lane roads and safe to drive. You should have no problems. Ellis

Posted by Ash
Tulsa, Oklahoma, US
290 posts

Ellis is right about the highway (not sure it deserves the appellation) between Olympia and Tripoli-about 80 Km of narrow, very twisty road through the mountains. It takes fairly skillful and cautious driving but the scenery and the tiny villages you pass through are magnificent.

Posted by Ash
Tulsa, Oklahoma, US
290 posts

Yi, it just occured to me that there is a car rental company in Athens called Swift www.greektravel.com/swift/ that will pick you up at your hotel in Athens and drive you to the outskirts of the city so that you avoid the zoo that is Athens traffic. From there on the driving is much less challenging. Check with them regarding getting an automatic.

Posted by Lesley
San Antonio, TX, USA
20 posts

Try Matt Barrett's website (sorry, I already tossed all the stuff I printed out, so can't tell you the link). It has a load of stuff about bus and train travel in Greece. Yes, you'd think there'd be bus or train connections from, say, Delphi to Meteora/Kalambaka, but I couldn't find anything definite on that. It appeared you have to transfer at Lamia, Larissa or Trikala. My companion and I finally gave up on trying to do a similar itinerary ourselves, and went with the 4-day "Classical with Meteora" bus trip offered by G.O. Tours (which can be booked through Dolphin-Hellas Travel and I'm sure many other operators). We went to Olympia, Epidavros, Mycenae, Delphi and Meteora, and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the tour. I'm sure it's no different from many virtually-identical tours offered by many other companies (and there are lots of tour companies in Athens that can book something for you). As for driving, we definitely didn't want to do that either, less on account of the mts than the horror stories about the Greek drivers, but there was no other practical way for us to visit the other places we wanted to see in the Peloponnese. It's true, the drivers are crazy, but as long as you're alert you'll probably be OK. We took the bus from Athens to Nafplio and back, which is certainly doable, and rented a car from Avis in Nafplio, which was very accommodating (ask for Iannis). I can provide more details if you wish.