DAY 1: ARRIVAL - SPARTA
Arrival day in Athens airport and transfer to Sparta, the capital of Laconia.
It is well known as the kingdom of King Leonidas whose statue stands imposing in front of the stadium of the town, and for the 300 brave Spartans who fought against the numerous Persian army in Thermopyles back in 480 BC. Sparta is built on foot of mount Taygetos in an altitude of 216 meters next to Evrotas River and a valley full of orange, olive, lemon and other trees extends around the city.
You will have the chance to walk around and explore the night life of the city. You can visit the ancient Greek theater of the Spartans, which has a capacity of 16.000 spectators and the temple of the Chalkoikos Athena together with the other ancient Greek and Byzantine remains in the Acropolis of the city. For the lovers of gastronomy and food and also of the tradition and culture, the olive oil museum is another interesting choice!
There you can see exhibits that narrate the evolution and development of the production of olive oil and olive harvest, two products that are so connected to Greek culture. In case you arrive late in Sparta and you will not have time to visit any of the above, you can do it probably in the next morning before your departure.
Overnight in Sparta.
DAY 2: SPARTA - MYSTRAS - GYTHEIO
In the morning, we will deliver to you the bikes with your equipment at the hotel.
Making sure that everything is ready and you are comfortable with your bike, you will leave the capital of Laconia and head to the great Byzantine city of Mystras, the "Wonder of Morea" as it is said.
Mystras which is the second Castle town of Laconia after Monemvassia stands in a beautiful total green landscape on the top of a 260m hill overlooking Sparta just 6 km to the northwest.
The settlement was formed during the times of crusaders' invasion to the Byzantine land of Peloponnese and just the year 1962 came under Byzantine control. Breathtaking medieval ruins, Byzantine churches, partially preserved mosaics, monasteries and palaces while wandering through the narrow streets will surely impress you.
Have in mind that if you wish to explore completely this corner of magnificent Laconia you will need 2 to 3 hours.
You continue cycling southern among orangeries and olive groves before you arrive to Gythio, a small seaside fish town with a picturesque port filled with traditional fish taverns. The inhabitants who are in majority fishermen provide on daily basis these taverns with fresh fish so you can taste it straight from the sea, by the dock. To the north of the town, on the foot of the cliff stands the ancient theater in which nowadays take place cultural events while southern in Kranai island you can face the endless deep blue from the marble octagon lighthouse built in 1872. According to Homer and Pausanias, Paris and Helen passed the night in Kranai island before their journey to Troy. Small fishing boats and two or three floor neo-classic buildings dominate the place giving a multicultural and Aegean glamour.
Overnight in Gythio.
DAY 3: BEACH TOUR - GYTHIO
This day is dedicated to the marvelous beaches that surround Gythio. You roll southern to Mavrovouni, Vathi, Kamares and Skoutari beach and without hesitation dive in the crystal water of Laconian Bay or just sunbathe on the virgin pebbly beach. Just pick the beach that you like the most and make a stop! Alternatively, and if you prefer not to cycle a lot, just spend the whole day by the first beach, Mavrovouni, where you can find taverns, bars, watersports etc. Then back to Gytheio for some rest.
Overnight in Gytheio.
DAY 4: GYTHEIO - ELIA
Today you leave Gythio and cycle by the sea while heading east to Elia, passing by traditional settlements such as Asteri and wandering through the fertile Laconian land which is filled with orangeries and olive groves. Elia is a small fish village known for the deep blue coasts, the incomparable natural beauty and the unique sunset for the romantic at heart. At the small picturesque port you can see scattered fish boats and the local fishermen returning from a fishing day.
A visit to the Byzantine tower located on top of the cliff is suggested as the view from up there is ecstatic!
Overnight in Elia.
DAY 5: ELIA - NEAPOLI
After a good breakfast you step on your bike and keep cycle on the south to Neapoli. On your way along the country road, you roll through villages and diverse crops experiencing a unique tour. For those who are more fit, alternatively they can choose to ride along an almost undiscovered part of a unique coastal beauty for 10 km! It is a demanding route with an average difficulty but you will be fully satisfied by the result as you will roll right by the amazing deep blue of Laconian Bay feeling the smooth touch of Greek sun on your face. Neapoli or Vatica is the extreme of continental Europe. It is a town with great nautical tradition and an island aura as white traditional buildings dominate the place. Its long tree-lined strip of land at the seafront is full of taverns, cafes and bars where you can stop and take a break after the long biking. Apart from that, Neapoli is the base for sightseeing in the vicinity. Maybe one of the most impressive monuments is the Petrified Forest of Agia Marina, approximately 15 km east of Neapoli, between Agios Nikolaos and Cape Malea. Right by the sea you can explore literally a forest of palm trees turned to stone due to a rather rare natural process and numerous fossilized seashells. If you would like to visit it you could either ride to there or go by taxi.
Overnight in Neapoli.
DAY 6: NEAPOLI - ELAFONISOS ISL. - NEAPOLI
Today you will bike up to the small port of Pounta from where you take the ferry and arrive in a few minutes at Elafonisos, a small island of 19 square km and total perimeter 31 km with few inhabitants situated just opposite Neapoli. A top destination of Peloponnese, an indeed gem of South Greece, with probably the most beautiful sandy beach (Simos Beach) of the Mediterranean Sea as many believe! On the arriving at the port of Elafonisos, you are greeted by the picturesque church of Saint Spyridon while drifted by the smells from taverns nearby where you can always find fresh sea food thanks to local fish boats. You can cycle through the island, swim, or relax on the lace sandy beach. It is really a little heaven on Earth! Opposite Elafonisos on the bottom of the sea lays the ancient submerged settlement of Pavlopetri, the oldest sunken city of the world, though one must dive to see the ruins of the proto-Hellenic civilization discovered in 1968.
Return back and overnight in Neapoli.
DAY 7: NEAPOLI - MONEMVASSIA
In the morning, you start a wonderful cycling route through dense vegetation and breathtaking view along your way before you reach the highlight of this trip: the Castle-town of Monemvassia. Time to explore the final touch on the portrait of Laconia, the cross-road of civilizations through centuries, as Byzantines, Franks, Venetians and Ottomans have left marks of their domination on the rock. Even though cars and bikes are not allowed inside the rock, a tour on foot is absolutely necessary. Once you enter the castle through the unique entrance, you will be impressed by the walls, the old mansions, the narrow cobblestone alleys, the churches, old short arches and marble imperial thrones. An image of the setting sun while almost kisses the endless blue sea will ideally close your day.
Overnight in Monemvassia.
DAY 8: DEPARTURE
After a breakfast, it is time to head off - be that for the transfer back to the airport or for an extended stay.
If you wish, you can add some more in this trip, like a guided tour to the Acropolis of Athens or just staying a couple of days in Athens.
Do check the rest of our programs and combine another one if you are interested such as our Archaeology Tour of Greece or spend some days relaxing in a sea-side destination - do get in touch and we can make some suggestions