During my 10-days trip to Athens and the Peloponnese I have travelled 2850 km by car, 85 km by foot and have visited 11 towns. I have tried to cover primarily the unpopular, but still beautiful places, so I have gathered invaluable insights about how to get there, planning your visit, places to eat and sleep, best time for photos, safety tips, useful resources from the web.
The road from Volos to Thessaloniki in emergency mode and mainly off the highway takes us 3 and a half hours, instead of the standard for the highway 2 hours and 15 minutes. However, I have a great desire to walk in the historic center and take pictures before sunset completely leaves me without light, so I just throw my luggage in the hotel and impatiently take to the streets with a camera in hand. In 1 hour I manage to cover 4 km TOGETHER with the shooting, which is an achievement.
With enough time and a more reliable car, getting from Githio to Patras could be quite picturesque and complete. If one chooses the longer route through Kardamili and Kalamata, which winds along the coast of the Messenian Gulf, instead of the relatively harsher mountain landscape of the faster and shorter route through Sparta, there is a chance to travel for many hours, stopping at each of the beaches listed as "20 Peloponnese beaches to see" because really 80% of those beaches are there.
Today's top destination is the abandoned stone town of Vatia and possibly the southernmost point of the Mani Peninsula, crowned with a lighthouse, but anyway according to Google Maps the road to get there is only about 60 km, so I target 18 : 30 hours to make the light more acceptable for photos. We will fill the time with several beaches in the area that look interesting.
The plateau is dotted with ruins, but I prefer to stick to the paths, because in the chapter on Monemvasia Rick Steves explicitly warns of the danger of falling into an ancient cistern or just weathered rocks on the periphery of the plateau, which can be quite unpleasant and fatal. consequences. The sun has already set very low and bathes the ruins of the Upper Town in a perfect light for photos.
It is very clear to me that our trip can not pass without sunbathing. After all, we are in Greece in July. So I decide that the fifth day will be dedicated to touring small, romantic, not very popular beaches. Those that are usually included in the rankings of the "10 TOP beaches of the Peloponnese that you should not miss" are located mostly around Kalamata, in the Gulf of Messenia. But we are too far from there and will be satisfied with the local, still undiscovered, pearls.
Of course, the working hours in typical Greek are until 15:30, and at the moment it is 14:45. We have exactly half an hour to see the fortress, because it is necessary to provide time for descent, so that at 15:30 the gates to slapped behind our backs. It's a terrible heat, there is no shadow, the climb is almost straight up. Well, it was built with the idea of being an impregnable fortress.
The precise timing and the nervous rush to the exit are worth it. Now is the best time to take pictures - both of the Parthenon and Erechtheion, and the panorama of the city. From the lowlands below, chants, music, and the beating of drums can be heard, but we cannot tell whether it is a football match or protests against compulsory vaccination. They seem to be protests, a lot of military helicopters are flying over.
After a quick breakfast in the bakery opposite the hotel with the typical Greek pie (the local hybrid between croissant and pie, most often stuffed with yellow cheese or ham + yellow cheese) and double espresso (everywhere espresso in Greece is very good) we are ready to travel to the capital, without suspecting what a surprise the car is preparing for us.
After a lot of planning, I decide to spend our first night in Volos. It is located about halfway from Sofia to Athens, a large port city, with a good selection of hotels, you can see some of the landmarks in a few hours - especially churches, most of which are within walking distance from the center.