Greece is a country steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for a road trip. From the rugged mountains of the mainland to the idyllic beaches of the islands, there is no shortage of stunning scenery to explore. With a rental car and a little bit of planning, you can embark on a journey through Greece that will take you to ancient ruins, charming villages, and hidden gems off the beaten path.
Road trips in Greece are a fantastic way to explore the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you plan your road trip:
- Choose your route: Greece has many scenic routes that you can explore, depending on your interests. Some popular routes include the Peloponnese, Crete, and the mainland.
- Rent a car: Renting a car is the easiest way to explore Greece on a road trip. There are many car rental agencies at airports and in major cities, and you can also book online in advance.
- Be prepared: Make sure you have a valid driver’s license, insurance, and all necessary documents for the car rental. You should also have a GPS or a map to help you navigate.
- Stay safe: Greek roads can be narrow and winding, so it’s important to drive carefully and follow traffic rules. Also, be aware of the local driving habits, such as honking and passing on narrow roads.
- Plan your stops: There are many interesting sights to see on a Greek road trip, such as ancient ruins, picturesque villages, and beautiful beaches. Plan your stops in advance to make the most of your trip.
- Try the local cuisine: Greece is known for its delicious food, so be sure to try the local cuisine on your road trip. There are many traditional tavernas and restaurants along the way where you can enjoy fresh seafood, grilled meats, and other specialties.
- Enjoy the scenery: Greece is famous for its stunning scenery, from rugged mountains to crystal-clear waters. Take your time to enjoy the views and take plenty of photos.
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Planning a road trip near Greece? Having a personal vehicle while touring Greece will allow you the utmost luxury and freedom, whether you’re looking for remote beaches or remote mountain villages. But you can also go in a rental vehicle. Greece has many locations that are of visiting. So, pack your bags, buckle up, and get ready to experience the magic of Greece on a road trip like no other.
Road trips in Greece
Here is a list of the top road journeys in Greece, whether they be through or around the country.
1. Oia to Akrotiri (26 km):
With good reason, Santorini is one of the most well-known Greek islands for travel and wedding destinations. What more could you want? Stunning blue-domed churches, white-washed villages along the caldera, adorable little streets dotted with shops and restaurants, renowned sunsets, and delectable regional cuisine. Since Santorini is a relatively small island, three days there will give you ample time to explore both the popular tourist attractions as well as some of the less-visited areas. A Santorini road trip is a far more fun method to explore, despite the fact that there are some local buses that are accessible. You can base yourself in Oia or Fira and take day trips from there.
2. Athens to Sounion (77.7 km):
It takes around an hour to get there from Athens. At the southernmost peak of Greece’s Attica area, Sounio is located southeast of Athens and is a region of outstanding archaeological value. Visitors can see the Temple of Poseidon, an impressive structure built in 444 BC and dedicated to Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, who held a prominent position in the hierarchy of ancient Greek gods. When Aegeus, the King of Athens, thought his son Theseus had passed away, he jumped to his departure. The Aegean Sea was named after him as a result.
3. Athens to Mycenae (119.7 km):
From Athens to Mycenae is one of the most well-known driving routes in Greece. Mycenae, which is about an hour and a half away from Athens, was thought to be a major center of Greek civilization. It served as the home province for the mythical Trojan War hero Agamemnon. The lion’s entrance, which was previously acknowledged as the city’s main gate, once visited the palace and the tomb of Agamemnon. After leaving Mycenae, begin your 45-kilometer journey to the world-famous Epidavros, which is home to the Epidaurus Ancient Theater. Epidavros, founded in the fourth century BC and dedicated to Asclepius, the Lord of Medicine, is regarded as the most well-protected ancient Greek theater.
4. Athens to Nafplio (138.1 km):
It takes around an hour and a half to get there from Athens. Since it used to be the capital of the country, Nafplio is one of the most romantic and exciting road trip destinations in Greece (between 1823 and 1834). The heart of the city, Syntagma Square, is home to a wide variety of historical structures, including the first Greek parliament and the archaeological museum. The prominent Palamidi Castle, which can be reached by climbing its 999 steps, a footpath, or a car, is the town’s most well-known sight. Theodoros Kolokotronis, a hero of the Greek Revolution, was kept in captivity at this illustrious palace.
5. Athens to Paraga (179 km):
This road trip route connects Parga with Athens and is less well-known but no less amazing. After spending a few days in the city, take the Ethniki Odos to Patra, traveling along the picturesque Peloponnese coast and crossing the Rio Antirio Bridge, one of the longest cable-stay bridges in the world. You will come across signs directing you to Preveza after the bridge. An overnight stay here is highly advised before moving on. Preveza mixes sophisticated eateries, bathing beaches, and interesting history. Take a moment to relish the leisurely lifestyle.
6. Thessaloniki to Xanthi (205 km):
Try traveling to the east of Greece from Thessaloniki to experience a less traveled but nonetheless gorgeous side of the country. The peaceful Halkidiki Peninsula is the first stop on this road trip, which then takes you to the historic towns of Kavala and Xanthi. It is the second largest city in Greece.
Before beginning your road trip, Thessaloniki is a dynamic, energetic city where you should definitely stay for a few days. Halkidiki, where three “fingers” of land extend into the sea, is only a two-hour drive away. Halkidiki is a well-liked vacation spot for residents, offering white, sandy bays, mountain treks, and small settlements.
The best, safest beaches can be found on the Kassandra Peninsula. The following destination is the lovely coastal city of Kavala, which dates back to the 7th century BC. Visit the fishing harbor to the east of the city for fine dining and scenic sea views after seeing the center. It takes just 20 minutes to get from Kavala to Philippi, a former Macedonian city that is now the location of some of the best Greek ruins in the area. The journey ends in Xanthi, a town at the base of the Rodopi mountains known for its distinctive and delectable regional cuisine.
7. Meteora to Thessaloniki (205 km):
Just mysterious Meteora. After taking a look around, you may even wonder how this place is real. You can go on priory tours, sample the local wine, go rock climbing, hiking, mountain riding, and a plethora of other activities. You can start your journey by staying in Vergina, which serves as Macedonia’s capital. Meteora is around 166 kilometers away from Thessaloniki. Consider eating lunch at one of Greece’s most renowned restaurants, Eleas GI. Smoky cheeses, Tangy Pomegranate Chicken, mouthwatering salads that are prepared to perfection, and appetizers are just a few of the meals you may sample here.
8. Athens to Patras (210.7 km):
The trip from Athens to Patras via Corinth is one of the best quick road trips in Greece. There is no need to introduce Athens, the capital city of Greece and one of its most picturesque locations. Discover the numerous historical sites, such as the Acropolis, which is an old fortress. The Corinth Canal, which links the Saronic Gulf and the Gulf of Corinth, is what gives Corinth its most well-known attribute. Wander around the Akrokorinthos ruins while you’re here, and try some Greek wine. Finally, proceed to Patras, Greece’s third-largest city. Of course, the Patras Lighthouse, from which it is possible to see the city from above, is the place’s most well-known landmark. The majority of the highlights, including the wonderful Archaeological Museum, can be seen in just one night in Patras.
9. Athens to Olympia (290.3 km):
A Peloponnese road trip is a traditional Greek road trip experience. The southernmost region of the nation, the Peloponnese Peninsula, is home to an abundance of historical attractions, gorgeous natural landscapes, and stunning beaches. Starting in Athens, this route takes you south past the Isthmus of Corinth, where you may stop for some fantastic photos, to the Mycenae UNESCO World Heritage Site, then to the charming town of Nafplio, which served as Greece’s first capital following the Ottoman conquest. The day after that begins with a trip to the historic theater in Epidaurus before continuing to see Nafplio and its beaches.
10. Athens to Meteora (508.4 km):
Take a drive from the Greek capital to the stunning environs of Meteora to discover the splendor of central Greece. about 354 kilometers from Athens. Meteora is ideal for nature lovers and people looking for a comfortable Greece road trip itinerary because of its elevated-perched cloisters. Stay at Lamia for lunch or take a detour to the magnificent biblical site of Delphi before moving on to the Kalambaka mountain region, where Byzantine priories are perched high on sheer cliffs. Take the opportunity to explore the area, go hiking on nearby Mount Koziakas, or raft beneath the Iona River.
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Embarking on a road trip in Greece can be an unforgettable experience. From the stunning beaches of Crete to the ancient ruins of Athens, there’s something for every traveler. The freedom to explore at your own pace and discover hidden gems along the way is truly priceless. So, pack your bags, rent a car, and hit the open road for an adventure of a lifetime in Greece. You won’t regret it!
Cover Image by Giuseppe Milo (flickr)