1st day: Arrival at Athens Airport and pick up of car – stop at the Corinth Canal for photos or for a snack – proceed towards Nafplion picturesque, little town. If time permits, visit of the ancient theater of Epidaurus (known for the excellent acoustic) and the sanctuary of Asklepios.
2nd day: Walking tour of Nafplion (the 1st capital of modern Greece). Before leaving the region, visit the ancient Mycenae (mentioned by Homer) and its prehistorical tombs. Proceed towards Astros seaside little town crossing the Kambos Kynourias fields (full of beautiful lemon and orange trees). You can swim on the beautiful beach of Paralia Tyrou or further south to Poulithra.
- Extra tips of the day: Visit the Caronis distillery, in Nafplion (production and wine tasting of Ouzo) or the Akronafplia Venetian castle of the city – visit the Argos ancient theater (one of the biggest and best preserved in Greece) – visit Tiryns (ancient Mycenaen town) – visit Ag.Petros mountain village (known as “the balcony of Mount Parnon”) – taste the “tsakonikes” eggplants of Leonidio (if you are there in end of August – don’t miss the “Eggplant Festival” ) – go for a hiking tour at the Path of the Three Mills, in order to admire the best view.
- Where to eat: at the fish tavernas of Karathonas (near Nafplion) or at the “Myrtoon” exquisite traditional cuisine, in Poulithra (Tel.27570 51339).
- Where to sleep: “Xenonas Agroktima” (www.agroktima.com), a stone–built farm near the beautiful traditional town of Leonidio.
3rd day: Leaving the area of Leonidio, we suggest you visit the beautiful monastery of Panagia Elona, built in the 15th cent. on a vertical cliff and overlooking the sea. Then go to Kosmas mountain village and drink a refreshing lemon juice under the plane trees of the central square. Keep crossing the Mount Parnon until you reach the other side of the mountain, towards the Laconic gulf. On the way to Gythion, you can stop at the beautiful Organic Farm “Eumelia” and buy some organic local products (olive oil, honey, herbs etc) or even stay overnight (www.eumelia.com). In Gythion little harbour you will enjoy again the sea breeze and you can stay for the night.
- Where to eat: In “Nissaki” fish restaurant, on the little island across the harbour (Tel.27330 23830).
- Where to sleep: “Thirides Beach Resort “(www.thirides.com), on the beach of Mavrovouni (near Gythio).
4th day: Excursion to Monemvasia Castle – visit the Byzantine Castle and the walking medieval town of Monemvasia, overlooking the Aegean Sea. Also the byzantine little churches of Monemvasia, so well preserved. You can eat at the taverna “Athas”, near Monemvasia, specialized in excellent Greek cuisine, based on local products (Tel.27320 68375) – back to Gythion.
- Extra Tip of the day: Try the local organic wine “Laloudi tis monemvasias” and the traditional “amygdalota” (almond sweets) of the “Perifimon” pastry shop, in Monemvasia.
5th day: Visit of Mani peninsula: Limeni, Oitylon, Areopoli, Gerolimenas. All places are known for the toughness of the land (dry landscape) and the local people. You can eat at the Limeni village, “Kourmas” restaurant (Tel.27330 51458) and stay at the beautiful and unique “Kyrimai”, in Gerolimenas (www.kyrimai.gr).
- Extra Tips of the day: Visit Diros Cavern, at Diros (famous for its network of internal caves, visitable on foot and by rowing boat).
6th day: Continue the visit of Mani and its famous towers: Porto Kagio, Vathia (the deserted city), Kotronas, Areopoli – Gythion – Sparta.
- Extra Tips of the day: Visit Akron Tainaron (the most south place of Peloponnese) where you can find a well-preserved mosaic of the hypnooracle of Poseidon’s temple, that once functioned in the area (”oneiromanteion”). In the same place there is a little taverna that offers the freshest fish of Laconia and a local wine (for lunch). If you stay a bit longer, you will enjoy the most romantic sunset ever!
- Where to eat: in Petrina, where you can taste some excellent lamb ribs (“paidakia”) in the local taverna of “Barba-Thomas”. Try also olive oil tasting, as Petrina village is known for its production of the best olive oil in Greece.
7th day: Visit the Mystras byzantine citadel (on the outskirts of Sparta) – in Sparta, visit the very interesting and modern Museum of Olive oil, as the area of Laconia (of which Sparta is the capital) is the center of olive oil production, in Peloponnese. In Sparta you can also visit the archeological site of Menelaion (not very well preserved though).
- Extra Tips of the day: You can do canoe in the Evrotas river or hiking and climbing the Taygetos mountain (www.experiencenature.gr). In the village of Karyes, you can also find a big variety of local products to buy: olive oil, oregano, mountain tea, chestnut sweets, thyme honey etc.
8th day: On your way to Athens airport you can stop at the “Tselepos” winery” for a wine tasting of some of the best greek white wines (www.tselepos.gr) or at the Nemea winery of Palyvos (www.palivos.gr), known for its red wines. Drop off the car at the airport – departure.