As Athens airport is the biggest international airport in Greece, it marks the beginning of a Greek getaway for many. From here, discovering the Acropolis, Santorini, or Mykonos is part of many itineraries. But why travel the path many have taken before you? Or probably even doing with you! Greece is a versatile and beautiful country, with much more to offer than just the popular tourist attractions. If you want to meet the Real Greeks instead of your fellow travelers, I have some options for you! The off-the-beaten-path summer road trip ideas around Athens!
Evia is the second largest island in Greece, with only Crete being bigger. However, while Crete is amongst the famous desitions of Greece, Evia is solely visited by the Greeks. The island, also known as Euboea, is just a one-hour drive away from Athens airport and connected to the mainland by a bridge. Easily accessible for travelers and full of real Greek experiences.
What to expect from Evia?
Evia is a fascinating destination for those interested in history, culture, and natural beauty. Visit the ancient city of Eretria or the temple of Artemis. Relax on one of the many beaches or in the thermal baths of Edipsos. Visit the picturesque villages of Lemni and Steni, or hike in the untouched inland and discover the many waterfalls.
Support the locals
In August 2021, a major wildfire broke out in the North of the island of Evia. This fire lasted several days and had a devastating impact on local communities, ecosystems, and wildlife. The effect of the wildfire is still visible in Evia today. The landscape in some areas has been completely transformed, with formerly green hillsides now covered in ashes. By visiting Evia, you can support the locals’ recovery from the disastrous effects of the wildfire.
Most tourists who come to Greece insist on visiting an island. However, ruling out the Peloponnese as a holiday destination would be unfair. The peninsula offers an amazing and truly Greek experience. Rent a car from Athens airport, and your road trip adventure can start in less than one hour!
What to expect from the Peloponnese?
The Peloponnese is the birthplace of ancient Greek civilization. The region is home to many archeological sites from different centuries. Mycenae, Mystrass, and Epidaurus are just a few examples. However, the region has more than just history. You can find some of the best beaches in Greece in the Peloponnese. The mountainous landscape is untouched and great for hikers. Architecture is interesting, traditional, and versatile. And the food is fresh, local, and delicious.
Check out our 10-day road trip through the Peloponnese to discover what your next holiday can be like!
Volos & Sporades
The third summer road trip idea around Athens is fully off-the-beaten-path and requires at least three weeks in Greece for the best experience. However, the places on this list are not less interesting than the famous destinations. Beautiful nature, beaches, idyllic churches, you will meet everything Greece is famous for!
What to expect from Volos & Sporades?
From Athens, head North-West and visit the famous ancient site of Delphi. From here, you travel through a mountainous landscape to Thermopylae. A historic pass where the famous battle between the Greeks and Persians took place in 480 BC. You can visit the monument of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, as well as the hot springs in the area.
Next, head to Volos, a coastal city with a lively atmosphere and plenty of things to see and do. Take a stroll along the waterfront promenade, visit the archaeological museum, and explore the traditional neighborhoods of Makrinitsa and Portaria. You can also take a day trip to nearby villages like Pelion and Tsagarada.
Continue your journey to Pelion, a mountainous region known for its natural beauty and traditional architecture. Take a scenic drive through the winding roads and enjoy the panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. You can also hike in the lush forests and visit the picturesque villages of Milies and Vizitsa.
Finally, head to the Sporades, a group of islands located off the east coast of Greece. You can take a ferry to the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, and Alonissos, each with its unique charm and character. Enjoy the sandy beaches, clear waters, and scenic landscapes. Skiathos and Skopelos were the movie set of the first Mamma Mia movie! You can also go hiking, kayaking, or take a boat tour and explore marine life.
This road trip is on my itinerary for June 2023. So see you there!
Epirus & the Ionian Sea
The Greek Ionian coast is, in my opinion, the most beautiful in the country. Turquoise waters, lush greenery, and rough cliff-sides surround this sea everywhere. If you like nature’s beauty more than anything, the Ionian coasts and islands are a must-visit.
What to expect from Epirus and the Ionian Sea?
Start with the North of the beautiful Peloponnese peninsula. Visit the Corinth Canal, Epidaurus, and Patras. Take the Ria-Antirrio bridge crossing the Gulf of Corinth. From here, your Ionion adventure begins! Destinations on your way are Lefkada, Preveza, and Parga. All have extremely beautiful beaches, seas, and landscapes.
From Parga, you can explore the Epirus region. A visit to the Acherontas river and Meteora are both unique day trips from here. The ultimate Ionian coast experience can be found in Paxoi. Which is the most paradise-like small group of Greek islands, and should not be missed!
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