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Cycling in Greece

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WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
Cycling in Greece

Hello all,

I currently live in Greece and I have cycled pretty much every corner in this country, although, I must admit that there are a few spots still unexplored. :D . It was a rewarding process that took me more than a couple of years to complete. I thought that by contributing and helping people getting here, would be my way of sharing something great.

I will be really happy to help in the best way I can, everybody who wants to cycle in Greece and explore the country. Information, suggestions, maybe cycling somewhere nice together? Just shoot!

Alex

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
New cyclist in Athens!

Hi,

I have just moved to Athens from the UK, and really want to meet people to go cycling with! I have done some bike touring (5 months solo UK to Lebanon, and some tours in UK/France/Morocco/Lebanon), and would love to do some touring/rides in Greece.

Unfortunately I don't speak Greek - I know there's a lot of cyclist stuff going on s but it's been a bit hard to get information! Anyway let me know if you want to go on a ride at some point, or link up for a coffee and chat about bike stuff. I work full time so free evenings, weekends and holidays :-)

Cheers,

Lauren

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
Welcome to Athens!

Dear Lauren,

good for Athens to welcome one more cyclist!

I have sent you a PM with my contact details. I would love to help you with throwing some light on the information you read around and make all the suggestions you want.

So, awaiting yours!

Best,
Alexandros

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Greece in May

Hi Alexandros, I am planning a trip around the Peloponnese peninsula in May for approximately 10 days. I am not sure of my itinerary but I will be sure to get in touch with you if I have questions. It is good of you to offer.

What are your highlights of that region that I should not miss out on?

Thanks,
Dónal

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
May in Greece... the best time to visit Greece

Hello Donal. Even though your details of your trip are not yet confirmed, I must admit that the period you decided to come in Greece is ideal. The weather is usually ideal for cycling in every part of the country, while the temperatures are not high. You are going to love the brightness of the light during May. That is something I surprisingly noticed over the years.

Peloponnese is a great destination for cycling! Indeed there are a lot of places that you can visit in this versatile region of Greece. What I would like from you is to provide me with an idea of how many kilometres you feel confident to ride each day and if camping (wild or not) is your preferred way of to rest.

Both of those pieces of information will enable me to share a few thoughts and ideas with you, based on my experience. So... waiting yours :-)

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Travel Plans

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I think the weather should be ideal :)

If I am on my own I will probably cycle 120km a day. I will do a combination of wild camping and warmshower/couchsurfing hopefully.

I am looking for some people to possibly join me so it might vary depending on other people's preferences.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
Travel Plans shortly...

Donal, still i haven't found enough time to focus and write all those things I want to share with you. You see, sometimes daily life misses the "life" part. :-)

Next week a reply is coming up for you! Take care!

Alex

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
There is no rush!!

Hi Alex, don't worry about it. Whenever you get time is good :)

Even some basic information and one or two must see things would be fine. But if you wish to offer more information then that would be great.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
Peloponnese part 1

Hey Donal.

I apologise for this late reply. I assume that your point of entry in Greece will be Athens. If that is the case your first task is to find some time to meet each other and have some coffee. Did you know that Greeks consumes a lot coffee? Moreover, this demand has increased the competition among coffee businesses, resulting a few cafes to serve some damned good coffee. :-)

I suggest you reaching Peloponnese on a pioneer way, which will allow you see more interesting thing on your way. So, after your time in Athens, you should take a ferry and go to:

Aegina Island - stay there for one day and visit the pistachio plantations. Those pistachios variety is considered to be the best worldwide

Methana - At least once a week there is a ferry that takes you from Aegina to Methana. That is every Friday. So now you are in Peloponnese and you have just skipped cycling by the industrial area where also refinery installations are found.:-) Cycle around Methana. You will love it!

Poros Island - Following the Coastal Route you should not miss visiting Poros, a small wonderfull island

Ermioni - in that small, by the sea village you will find a few small boats taking you to Hydra, a island where cars are banned and the summit is called Eros, same as my dog's name. lol

Nafplio - the first capital of Greece. Before you get try find your way to Spetses island. It gets very touristic can in May is going to be beautiful.

Monemvasia - the medieval castle

Neapoli - a picturesque, by the sea town. I ate some very good ice cream there. Hope it is still the case.

Elafonisos - on my....!

Am I on the same page here? Should I continue?

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
So many islands?

Thanks very much for taking the time to write your advice. I will be in Athens for 4 days I think so can meetup somewhere if you like. I must admit though that I am not a fan of coffee :/

I only have 10 days in total to cycle and think that going to all the islands there will be time consuming. It seems that what you suggest would take up most of my time already and I would not get around much of the Peloponnese peninsula. Plus, I think, there is a lot to see on the main peninsula without going to the islands.

My plan was to get a train from Athens to Corinth and then cycle down the coast South and around to Nafplio. Manemvasia is also on my list in that area.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
Let's leave the islands for the next time... :-)

Hey Donal,

if your target is to make the circle route around Peloponnese in 10 days then, I agree with you, skipping the majority of the Islands would be a better option. However, if Monemvasia is in your list, I would recommend making your schedule in such way to have a layover in Elafonissos, the place is famous for its Camping and its crystal waters.

On your way to Kalamata (passing Gytheio) take a moment to visit Vlychada Caves. That left me speechless. Make sure is it open though.

From Kalamata, if you want to visit Sparta, you will have to climb a lot, it is a demanding route to there, and not exactly on your way to make the circle.

Taking the coastal way from Kalamata to Pylos is the best thing to do, a few climbs here as well but nothing dramatic. Near Pylos do not miss visiting Voidokilia but DO NOT camp there. There is a whole swamp there and when the sun sets... the feeding begins. :-) (mosquitos)

On your way up feel free to camp on my spot, a pieceful, not known place called Aigianakis (https://goo.gl/maps/iH6nDskXRxv). I always camp there, by the beach, and once I saw a lot young sea turtles, which just had been hatched, following their instincts and trying to reach the sea. May, June is the time where the big ones come to place their eggs. You might be lucky. :-)

Going up North, I would suggest you to go from Krestena to Ancient Olympia and visit the archeological place where they light up the Olympic flame. Visiting the Ancient Olympia or not the route is also much more interesting, than the coastal one.

Furthermore, and in my opinion, skipping Amaliada and traversing a bit through the mainland, passing by Pinios Lake (https://goo.gl/maps/MetnF9XzpHT2) is also more interesting.

On the northern side now, the majority of the places along route are highly populated and wild camping is not that pleasant. Better cover this part on a weekday and not on Fri, Sat, Sun, as a lot of Athenians visit that part of Peloponnese for the weekend.

Finally, it would be really nice to meet you in person and discuss any further details you might have at that time. If we will not be able to make it, I kindly ask you to send me a few photos of your trip to thankyou@grcycling.com

Usually I print those photos and I cover our workshop's walls with them. It is nice to see the evidence of someone you helped, isn;t it?

Feel also free to look for routes, or even share a few more at grcycling.com/routes-in-greece/

Awaiting yours

Alex

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Wonderful Advise

Hi Alex,

Thanks very much for such detailed information.

I do plan on visiting Sparta and going to Kalamata via the mountain pass; a couple of people have said this is beautiful and I like mountains anyway :)

Appreciate the advise about Voidokilia. I had planned to visit there as it looks amazing but also thought that it looked pretty good for camping. Your information should save me a lot of trouble and I will likely head for Aigianakis as you suggest; even a slight possibility of seeing turtles is enough of a reason to go there.

I have planned on going to Ancient Olympia for sure and I think I will head inland over the mountains to Kalavrita (passing the Foloi forest on my way). Some people have said that the coastal route around Pyrgos to Patras is nothing special and combined with your advise about the northern area being busy I think I will head for the high lands :)

Where are you living? I would be happy to meet in person if our paths cross :) I will be in Athens for about 5 days before setting off.

Thanks again,

Dónal

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
You got them all right!

Excellent stuff Donal. I am positive that you are going to have a blast! Please consider one last minute suggestion.

Lake Tsivlou (https://goo.gl/maps/rpcfmpGauvx) - a perfect spot for camping. I went there for one day's layover and ended staying three days. Peacfull, scenic and quite.

I live in the centre of Athens so feel free to drop me a message to arrange meeting each other - alex@grcycling.com

Take care.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului CarolineW
Athens-Igoumenitsa along the coast in May

Hi Alex! I will also happily take you up on the offer for some cycling advice for Greece. The Greece-part of the trip that I'm planning for next month would be Athens to Igoumenitsa via Patras, all along the coast as I'm travelling on a bike with just one gear (i.e. mountains are not an option). I've done some research and the route seems relatively straight forward and well travelled, but if you have any particular advice, I would love to hear!

Cheers,
Caroline

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
Athens - Igoumenitsa - fixed gear challenge haha!

Hello Caroline. The route you have chosen is a majestic one! The fact that you are going to travel during May, makes the whole venture better, as the traffic and the touristic activity on those coastal routes is quite easy.

Travelling on a fixed gear bike will definitely challenge you at some point. A big surprise is waiting for you right when you leave Patras behind and head to the other side of the sea. I wish I was there shooting your efforts :-). But it is not that steep for sure. At this point please allow me to make a small request not to cycle along the bridge (Rio-Antirio) and take the ferry to cross the sea passage. Please find two important reasons below:
- the view of the bridge is much better you on the water - trust me on this one
- I also want everybody to support those small shipping businesses for keeping their employees, who for many years were there to transfer the people from one point to the other

On your way reaching Astakos, you might expect some hilly terrain, therefore just take your time. However, the whole part is very rewarding.

Just before you reach Preveza please consider - if time is not an issue - to visit Lefkas. I strongly suggest to make a night's camp in its west side beaches. The landscape there is rough, but I promise you, the views and those fluorescent colors of the water are just spectacular! I keep on visiting that again and again.

(Really, did you know that from Astakos you can take a ferry which can get you to Kefalonia and then you can hop on to Lefkas? If that sounds enticing, let me know to provide you with more details.)

In the area from Preveza to Loutsa (a small town village) mosquitoes were a problem. If your body's immune system hasn't mutated yet to deal with the mosquitoes, I suggest closing those nets and never open them again until the sun comes out. If the situation is improved I would definitely need to know about that, since the last time I camped there I must have left a serious amount of blood to those vampire mosquitoes.

Do not miss Syvota. I strongly suggest to rest there instead of Parga or Igoumenitsa. Syvota is small place with a few islets very close to the coastline. You can easily swim the distance and find an ultimate privacy. An island on your own! Oh.. I forgot to mention. Parga to Syvota is another place I would like be to shoot your cycling efforts. :-)

Shall you need anything else just hit the reply button.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului CarolineW
plan B

Hi Alex,

Thanks a lot for the information and encouragement - I can let you know afterwards how this all worked on the single speed :) I guess one important question missing is whether there are buses covering this route who would be willing to take both me and the bike in case there are parts that I'm really struggling with. I'm taking the single speed because it happens to be the bike that I have here in Turkey and I want to take it home - I'm definitely not trying to prove anything to myself and mostly want to have a good time, i.e. if I can cycle the whole thing I'll be very happy but if some parts are really hard, I will happily take an alternative transport :)
I will not be camping actually (amongst others because I really want to travel superlight to compensate a bit for lack of gears) - I don't see so many warmshowers hosts along the route, but I imagine the area will be touristy enough to find affordable places along the way?
Well noted also your point on crossing Rio-Antirio by boat, I will make sure to do so!
Thanks again for all your help,!

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
your plan B gave me a very good laughter

yeap... that is true! Especially your reference in the alternative transport. Also, I would like to thank you for the acceptance of my comment. I appreciate it.

Finding accomodation wouldn't be a problem and you shouldn't get stressed to arrange for that in advance. On few points however, it might be a challenge, since you may only find villages with no accommodation. In those rare cases please, do not be afraid talking to people (villagers). It has happened a lot of times for them to be so kind and offer a hospitality. Although those kind of people is now an endangered species you may still find some.

I would also like to take this opportunity to ask you meeting with each other. It would be really nice enjoying a coffee together and discuss any further details you might have at that time. If we will not be able to make it, I kindly ask you to send me a few photos of your trip to thankyou@grcycling.com .As I have mentioned in another reply (not this one), I print those photos and I cover our workshop's walls with them. It is nice to see the evidence of someone you helped, plus you do not need to paint any walls.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Trip to Greece?

Hey Alex,

Thanks so much for offering your help and feedback on Greece bike trip.
What would you advise for a 7 days ? Please note that we'd love to combine biking and kitesurfing and there is a great kitesurfing spot close to Rhodes so might be good to include Rhodes in our trip? :)

Regarding season, I guess beginning of July is the worst moment because of the heat and tourists, what do you think?

Thanks again so much!
We're just back from Châteaux de la Loire for 3 days bike trip in France, super beautiful, let me know if you're interested in doing this trip one day :)

Louise

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului alex_ole
Kite Surfing and Cycling in Greece

I must admit that that is a quite tempting combination. I am bringing the bikes for you, will you put some gear and lessons to make my first kitesurfing steps :-)

Deal??? lol

Rhodes is a great place, rich in culture and history. There are a lot there to see and do. A few verdan passes during your rides there, will get you amazed. However, please note that the kitesurfing hot-spot is located in the southern part of Rhodes (https://goo.gl/maps/3sJaFuzjWYH2). Although there are a number of tavernas and accommodation facilities in the area, which can make you feel comfortable, you will have to drive a long way to get back to the centre of Rhodes to enjoy one of the best medieval cities in the world. Of course, I have to mention that kite-surf fanatics do not mind that distance at all. It is also a fact that I have seen quite often that ecstatic fatigue on their faces at the end of their day, something that worths a lot.... every time!

Another great option, which I am sure will satisfy all of your needs, is Paros and Naxos. Both of those islands attract a significant number of surfers and kitesurfers. Furthermore, a series of global scale events take place there. The hot-spots are Paros (https://goo.gl/maps/xynNrikreKo) and Naxos (https://goo.gl/maps/fN9wb1H5xQy). Feel free to check them out. One drawback is that you will have to choose Athens to be your point of entry in Greece, and then, by ferry, get yourselves in Paros (4h sail). Examining that under a different, more adventurous, perspective, you will have the chance to also visit Athens during your 7 days trip, something that I would recommend.

The cycling experience in all the aforementioned destinations is just AMAZING! In my opinion, the combination of Athens + Paros + Naxos is more interesting mainly because of both the island hopping element and the beauty of the routes. You may see details of the routes as per below:

Athens
https://www.grcycling.com/routes/sounio-ride/
Paros
https://www.grcycling.com/routes/giro-di-paros/
Naxos
https://www.grcycling.com/routes/naxos-ride-north/
https://www.grcycling.com/routes/naxos-ride-apiranthos-main/
https://www.grcycling.com/routes/naxos-ride-south/

As far as your chosen date range (beginning of July) I would say that this is ideal! The temperature is not that hot (compared to the August) and the sea will be warmer for you to enjoy your swims. The intense touristic season begins from mid of July and lasts until the end of August. I suggest you not to get alarmed if you have scheduled your holidays for beginning of July. Most of the places are not going to be packed with people, while at the same time, the restaurants, the cafes and the kite-surfing spots are not going to be busy, which will make you enjoy all of them in the best of terms.

Kindly let me have your input if I got yours right. I also hope that all the above were helpful enough to make you chose the most suitable for your way of spending you time in Greece. Shall you need anything else.... you know the way. Just ask ! :-)

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Eurovelo 8

Hello Alex!

I'm coming to Greece for a couple of weeks (could be 3 at the most) in between 15th of June and 5th of July. I'm a bike lover and cyclist in Milan at my first long trip alone. I'm going to meet some friends in Lefkada on the 23th of June, so I'm thinking about cycling along the coast (Igoumenitsa-Patras on the Eurovelo 8) with some detours to the islands. I'd really like to go to Meteora as well, it looks very far and hard route though.

Any tips?

Emma