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Mani Vathia

The Grand Roadtrip of the South & the North

12 days


Price for 2 travelers


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12 days - Mainland & Peloponnese

The Grand Roadtrip of the South & the North

Mani, Pylos, Olympia, Delphi & Meteora

Starts from




12 days

Trip Distance

2.063 km


We have offset the CO2 footprint of this trip to mitigate the impact on the environment Learn more

From the impossibly old Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae to the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, and from the stunning site of Delphi to the cliff-perched monasteries of Meteora,

this road trip will take you to unique historical monuments, sights of stunning natural beauty and villages off the beaten path in the Greek heartland. You'll discover the Peloponnese and the highlights of mainland Greece: both places of soaring mountains and friendly seas. Two regions that have always had immense historical, cultural and religious importance, from the rise of its great Bronze Age through the glory of Ancient Greece right up to the heroic founding of the modern Greek state.

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What's included?

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Eleven accommodations at boutique hotels

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Eleven traditional Greek breakfasts

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Rental of category D car for 12 full days

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Trip App

With tips for local activities, restaurants, places to visit, audio storytelling, support.


Our itinerary includes all must-visit locations, but through our app you can customize it with points of interest & activities, based on your personal interests.

  • Day 1

    Corinth - Mycenae - Nafplio I Strongholds of culture

    After leaving Athens, you'll cross the Corinth Canal, a marvel of 19th-century engineering before heading to Corinth, famous for its ancient rivalry with Athens and Apostle Paul's stay during Roman rule. You'll head up to the evocative ruins on Acrocorinth, the ancient city's towering acropolis. The spectacular and much-mythologised site of Mycenae was Agamemnon's palace and one of the most important prehistoric citadels in the world. Nafplio is a charming historic harbor town with narrow lanes, an alluring waterfront, stunning Venetian fortresses and grand 19th-century mansions.

    Overnight in Nafplio.

  • Day 2

    Mystras - Sparta - Monemvasia I Life within the walls

    Today, you’ll travel from the ancient to the medieval to the modern. The legendary city of Sparta was the birthplace of antiquity's greatest warriors, while medieval Mystras was once the last great center of Byzantine culture. The beautiful wine country around Mantinea has a special church of its own, the contemporary eccentric masterpiece of Agia Fotini: the work of one architect-artist, this 1970s house of worship is a unique modern Orthodox monument.

    Overnight in Monemvasia.

  • Day 3

    Monemvasia - Elafonisos - Gerakas I Living with geological miracles

    Plant your feet in alluring golden sands of the famed Simos Beach on the island of Elafonissos. Gerakas is a small fishing village that's concealed behind a curving coastline. Its small dock is popular with yachts and the waterside tavernas are a hit with everyone who discovers them. With a snorkel, you’ll explore the underwater prehistoric settlement of Pavlopetri, the world's oldest known submerged town, with some parts dating back 5,000 years. Agios Nikolaos Geopark is a three-million-year-old petrified forest where it seems time has stopped for eons. Finally, the magically romantic medieval castle town of Monemvasia, where the Venetians held out against the invading Ottomans.

    Overnight in Monemvasia.

  • Day 4

    Gythio - The Mani Peninsula - Areopoli I Rugged life in the land of towers

    The Mani peninsula boasts wild countryside and a fierce history of self-determination. You’ll see it in the picturesque port towns of Gythio and Gerolimenas and feel it in the gray stone ghost town of Vathia. The mountain village of Areopolis was the proud birthplace of the Greek revolution of 1821 and we’ll end our day at the delightfully slow-paced seaside village of Kardamyli.

    Overnight in Kardamyli/Areopoli.

  • Day 5

    Kardamyli - Stoupa - Kastania Ι Vacations in pirates' land

    The remote traditional mountain village of Kastania has a charming, traditional atmosphere. The Mani tower, a fortified structure where families could shelter during deadly feuds, is a hallmark of local architecture. Then it's back down to sea level for a wander through Stoupa, a popular beachfront settlement where the mountains meet the narrow coastal plain.

    Overnight in Kardamyli/Areopoli.

  • Day 6

    Ancient Messene - Pylos I Defending life

    You will enjoy the lush landscape of the Messinian countryside; the city of Kalamata, with its quaint Old Town and its bustling shorefront promenade; the vast archaeological site of Ancient Messene, an early and important example of ancient urban planning; the formidable Castle of Methoni, the largest medieval fortress in the Peloponnese. End the day with majestic sunset views over historic Navarino Bay in the welcoming town of Pylos.

    Overnight in Pylos.

  • Day 7

    Gialova – Nestor Palace – Kyparissia I Mythical life

    The dreamy lagoon at the heart of the Yalova Wetlands is a thriving natural habitat home to more than 270 bird species. The impressive archaeological site of the Palace of Nestor is the best-preserved Mycenaean palace complex, which archaeologists date to 1,500 BC. The town of Kyparissia is our final stop, with its modern Lower Town, medieval Upper Town and haunting castle ruins which overlook them both.

    Overnight in Olympia.

  • Day 8

    Olympia - Arcadia I An “Athlos” for a Good Life

    Start your day with driving up the mountains of Arkadia to reach the temple of Apollo Epicurius, one of the most mystical and imposing temples of Greece. Visit the ancient site and museum of Olympia, the most important athletic and religious center of the ancient Greek world, birthplace of the Olympic Games and the ideals of world peace. Finish the day with the 'sweetest' activity, at a beautiful honey farm or with a stroll in Katakolon port.

    Overnight in Olympia.

  • Day 9

    Nafpaktos - Rio Antirrio bridge - Galaxidi I Crossing the bridge

    Today, travel from one part of mainland Greece, the Peloponnese, to another, Roumeli. Drive over the Rio-Antirio bridge, the longest fully-suspended bridge in the world and stop for coffee at the medieval harbor of Nafpaktos. Continue your trip along scenic coastal roads till you reach one of the most beautiful seaside villages of Greece, Galaxidi.

    Overnight in Galaxidi.

  • Day 10

    Delphi - Meteora | Mountains & Waters

    Enjoy the morning with a swim in the refreshing waters of Galaxidi. The highlight of the day will undoubtedly be the visit of the ancient site and the museum of Delphi and the mystical role of Kastalia spring's waters. After Delphi, you will pass by villages that will give you a taste of the Greek countryside and you will finish the day with an evening walk, dinner and overnight in Meteora.

    Overnight in Kastraki.

  • Day 11

    Aspropotamos road trip | Greek mountains & the Divine

    Emerge from the shadows of Meteora to drive into the mighty Pindos mountain range; drive through the Aspropotamos region, passing through jaw-dropping landscapes and idyllic mountain villages, like Krania and Chaliki. Follow the secret path to one of the most beautiful -but rarely visited by tourists- monastery with thirteen domes. With the river god Achelous as our guide, we’ll experience traditional mountain life and eerie forests before we return back to Kalambaka.

    Overnight in Kastraki.

  • Day 12

    Meteora | Between Heaven & Earth

    Start your exploration of Meteora, a stunning natural phenomenon, featuring towering sandstone columns, formed millions of years ago, all pointing heavenward. These rocks became dwelling-places for Christian Orthodox monks and today you can visit six monasteries that are still functioning. You’ll be able to walk and drive around Meteora, to make sure you soak in the sights and the awe-inspiring landscape. Enjoy delicious local food in a nearby village before you hit the road back to Athens.


All the places and things to do that are not to be missed during this trip!

Time travel

Monemvasia, a walled peninsular town founded in the 6th century that today feels like a time capsule

Natural beauty

The combination of charming seaside villages and beautiful beaches

Meteora awe

The medieval monasteries of Meteora, perched on incredible rock formations soaring above the plain, that boast an atmosphere of sublime spirituality.

Our app

Explore at your own pace, with the ease of mind that our customized app gives you: seamless navigation,  local tips, audio storytelling


We have carefully selected boutique hotels and family-run guest houses in great locations, with lots of character. Here are some photos of the hotels we use in this trip (hotel selection is based on availability at the time of the booking)


Our trip App is your personal guide!

You have the freedom to modify and adjust your itinerary according to your interests and pace, while maximizing your time.

GPS Maps

Detailed maps of your daily itinerary so you never get lost or lose time

Audio storytelling

Original stories created by our guides for you to listen on the go

Local tips

Insider tips at every location, as if you had a guide with you

Must-visit & optional stops

Itineraries based on what not miss, but also optional stops you can choose according to your interests.

Restaurants & activities

A list of our favorite restaurants and activities in each area you visit

Online & offline mode

All information in our App works both with or without internet

"The tour was great. We are so glad that we did the self drive."


"All of the accommodations were incredible with super friendly hosts and staff where I felt very comfortable and welcomed."

Aaron L.

"Our tour included a number of cultural stops and every stop added to the richness of our trip."

Elizabeth B
Mani Vathia

This road trip

The Grand Roadtrip of the South & the North

OR call us +30 21 10 12 65 44

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why us

Back to the Routes is a personal journey, or better, a collection of personal journeys in the land of Greece. It is the collection of our childhood journeys that we started with our parents, who taught us to love and appreciate simple things in life and that we later continued ourselves.

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off the beaten path

Discover Greece’s true history, culture and nature with stories, tips & recommendations.

app customization

Customization on the go

Use our app to customize your itinerary on the go, with suggested points of interest, activities & restaurants.

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Sustainable Travel

Explore responsibly with our carbon-neutral trips, options to visit lesser tourist destinations and family-run accommodations.

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