In the summer of 2001 we decided to drive around the Peloponnese in one week. We completed our tour in 10 days of vigorous traveling, and we stayed in key places along the way.
Traveling with children presents some unique challenges, so I planned the trip with our two little daughters in mind, and included as much variety in our schedule as possible. Also, one major consideration when traveling in Greece during the summer months is the intense heat during the day, and especially between the hours of 12 noon and 4:00 pm. Temperatures can reach 45° C and inside a car the thermometer can reach even 50° C. With this in mind we scheduled at least one stop for swimming everyday and stopped to eat and rest during the intense heat of the afternoon hours. One indispensable part of our trip was our cooler which we stocked with drinks every day. Ice is hard to find in Greece, especially in large bags, so in order to keep our cooler at a desirable temperature, we used ice packs which we put in our hotel freezer every night.
Our trip was planned in a way we could see some of the most interesting parts of the Peloponnese knowing full well that we could not possibly see every place the Peloponnese has to offer. We decided to stay near the coast so that we could be near the ocean for cooling off and to make sure our children remained entertained throughout the trip.
Castle and swimming: From Pyrgos we drove south to the west coast for another overnight stay in the beautiful town of Pylos, where a quiet fishing village, archaeological sites, and nice beaches could keep us occupied for a day or so. From Pylos we made short trips to see the castle of Methoni, and the town of Koroni.
Rugged mountains, picturesque villages: After Koroni we journied for about four hours over the beautiful mountains of Mani, traversing through some spectacular landscapes and villages, before we reached our resting stop in Limenio.
Cave: Our two day stay in Limenio included a tour of the Mani region and a visit to the Diros Cave
Golden Beaches: A long drive from Mani took us through the fishing village of Gytheio, to beautiful Monemvasia and after a brief stop we headed for the island of Elafonisos where we found some of the best beaches in Greece.
Spectacular mountain landscapes: Our trip up the coast took us through the high mountain of Parnonas, through Kosmas and Leonido, and lead us to the small town of Tiros Beach.
A resort and more Archaeological sites: For the end of the trip we had scheduled two days in the resort town of Tolo near Nauplion, where we could relax and visit the nearby ancient sites of Mycenae and Epidaurus.
In retrospect, this was a very rewarding trip that allowed us to experience a great deal of the natural beauty and history that Peloponnisos has to offer. One of the challenging aspects of the trip was the fact that looking at the map it is easy to misjudge the distances between towns, especially since most roads took us for endless serpentine loops up and down rocky mountains. Most trips from town to town ended up being twice as long as I originally had calculated. This was mostly due to the fact that most roads in this part of Greece are old and they command a moderate speed and a great deal of concentration if you are to negotiate them successfully.
If we were to do the whole trip again, we would probably stay a little extra time in Pylos and the island of Elafonisos. We would probably skip the town of Tiro next time opting for a trip to Sparta and Mystras and then up mountain Taygeros towards Tripoli. We had originally planned the trip to last one week, but we extended it by three days. Our tour of the Peloponnese would have been much more comfortable if it were twice as long, but we did not have the time, the stamina, or the money to stay on the road for twenty days.