In a month I will get on a flight to Athens to start a road trip through the eastern part of Peloponnese. From the acropolis to the most southern part of the Greek mainland. In ten days I will follow the coastline of this beautiful peninsula, covering over 1.000 km of road. But how can you prepare for a road trip in Greece?
Why go on a road trip to Greece?
Although staying a week at one of the many beautiful islands of Greece makes a very nice holiday. Doing this, you’ll miss out on many things. Greece is a country that has so much to offer, ancient villages, picturesque churches, forests, and mountains… There are just too many places to see.
But to do this you need to travel and traveling through Greece is not so easy. Numerous must-see places in Greece are only accessible by the most terrible roads. Meaning that moving around takes a lot of time.
Don’t you spend more time in a car when you’re on a road trip?
Not necessarily. If the alternative is staying at the hotel beach bar every day then yes. But if you go to Greece to see as much of the country as possible, a road trip can even decrease the number of kilometers on the road. Instead of going back and forth between your hotel and the landmarks around, you can just move forward.
For all the road trips I plan, I make a map with the things I want to see in the area I go to. Simply connecting the dots without going over the same line twice makes the route for my trip. And even if in the end you add a few kilometers, they at least come with the experience of new scenery.
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Why plan a road trip?
Greece is full of tourists in summer and unfortunately, this means that almost every accommodation will be fully booked in July and August. Although it is amazing to just get in your car and start exploring, in summer in Greece this would end up in you sleeping in your car almost every night. So unless you have the freedom of a camper or tent, I recommend you to prepare a road trip in Greece. Plan and book before you go.
How to know where to go?
Although I am blessed with many friends from all over Greece who can advise me where to go, what to see, and where to eat, they basically say whatever is marked on Google maps. The tips I get from the real Greeks are the locations that a reviewed with at least a 4.5.
Besides, researching the top locations of Google in the area you would like to go to, think about what you want your trip to be like. Water sports, hiking, ancient ruins of beautiful beaches? Pick the one you like most and let this be what moves you around. Whatever you find on de way is a nice little extra!
The thing that moves me, for example, is the beach. I love the sea, especially in Greece where two neighboring beaches can look completely different. So my plan starts with a beach, I pick one for every day and I make up my route. The ancient ruins, monasteries, and waterfalls on the way are just the things that guide me to my next paradise.
How to make the plan?
Before actually reaching Greece it can be difficult to understand how much time you need to visit the things you want to do. Luckily, there is TripAdvisor. This website has pretty accurate information about the average time spent at a landmark. This, in combination with Google maps’ directions and reviews, will give you a pretty good idea about how much you can do in a day so you can prepare your road trip to Greece.
But don’t plan a full day like this! There is always the chance of an unexpected dirt road or a beautiful empty beach along the way. Make sure to leave enough time in your schedule for the unexpected. I usually plan just 3 to 4 hours a day of activities and driving. This leaves the rest of the day free for whatever I come across on, on the road.
- In Greece, gas stations are not equally spread along the roads. Even on a highway, there can be hundreds of kilometers without a gas station. So fill up your car whenever you can. Especially before going into the more remote areas.
- Even more scares than gas stations are toilets. Be prepared to pee in nature and bring some toilet paper.
- And water bottles! I usually make sure that I have about 3 to 4 liters of water with me. With temperatures over 30 degrees you need to drink a lot. In combination with the dirt roads that can easily result in a flat tire it is better to be prepared. Also don’t forget the sunblock.
- Check my how to drive in Greece guide before leaving.
- Be prepared for everything. Have hiking shoes as well as a bathing suit close by. Since part of the fun of a road trip is to enjoy the unexpected things you meet on the road, be prepared for the unexpected.
- Start early in the day, especially when you want to visit ancient ruins or if you want to hike. At noon it is simply too hot to enjoy a walk outside. It also helps to take it easy the first 2 -3 days in Greece. Let your body adjust to the temperature with a beach close by and air-conditioning within reach. If you listen to your body on the first days, the rest of the trip will be much easier. Stay cool in the Greek summer heat!