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Road trips to experience in Greece
Written by Dikshya Shaw on September 23, 2021 Share on

10 Best Road trips To experience In Greece

Greece being a vast country offers various ideas of road trips. You can associate Greece travel with island-hopping by ferry or long overland bus journeys. But hiring a car in Greece beats out everything else. It is a great way to get off the beaten track and enrich your trip. Along with giving you more flexibility, it allows you to visit small villages, remote archaeological sites and secluded beaches. You should avoid busy inner-city Athens so that you can engage in relatively straightforward driving. You can also hire a car or scooter. Most rates start from 2594 INR per day, depending on the season. Greece’s car ferries can be expensive. So if you are planning on driving around the islands, rent a new car in each direction as it usually works cheaper. Read this blog to experience the 10 best road trips in Greece.

Also Read: Greece Travel Guide – Best Time to Visit, Things to Do, Hotels, Tips & More

10 Road Trips To experience In Greece

All the inspiration you need to plan the perfect Greek road trip itinerary is just a click away. Check out 10 of the best road trips to experience in Greece with the help of this guide. It includes road trips from Athens, Thessaloniki and driving routes on five popular Greek islands.

  1. Short Greece Road Trip: Athens to Patras
  2. The Ionian Coast: Road Trip from Athens to Parga
  3. Peloponnese Road Trip: Athens to Olympia
  4. Central Greece Road Trip: Thessaloniki to Meteora
  5. Halkidiki Road Trip: Thessaloniki to Xanthi
  6. Santorini Road Trip: Oia to Akrotiri
  7. Crete Road Trip: Chania to Rethymno
  8. Skopelos Road Trip: Glossa to Skopelos
  9. Beach-lover’s Greek Road Trip: Zakynthos Island Loop
  10. Paros Road Trip: Naousa to Paros

1. Short Greece Road Trip: Athens to Patras

Short Greece Road Trip: Athens to Patras, Road trips to experience In Greece
Image Courtesy: Pexels

The drive from Athens to Patras via Corinth is one of the best short road trips in Greece. Athens, the capital city of Greece, needs no introduction as it is one of the most beautiful places in the country. When here, you can explore the various ancient sites like the Acropolis, an old citadel.

First Day:

If you want to learn more about Greek culture, then the Acropolis Museum is the perfect place for you. Take in the beautiful nature in the National Garden. Here, you will find fountains and walking paths.

Second & Third Days:

After you are done exploring this place, head to the lively neighbourhood of Plaka to check out the many restaurants and shops. Save 2 days in hand to discover Athens at its best.

Fourth Day:

Hit Corinth on the fourth day. A one-night stay is sufficient here. It is most famous for the Corinth Canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf. When you are here, wander through the Akrokorinthos ruins and indulge in a Greek wine tasting.

Fifth Day:

Lastly, head to Patras, the third-largest city in Greece. Don’t forget to see the most iconic attraction, the lighthouse of Patras, here. Did you know it is possible to see the whole city from here? Spend no more than 1 night in Patras, covering most of the highlights, including the wonderful Archaeological Museum. This is one of the best road trips to experience in Greece.

  • Duration: 4-5 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 215 kilometres (134 miles)
  • Highlights: The Acropolis in Athens, Corinth Canal and Patras Lighthouse

Also Read: Athens Undiscovered – Top offbeat things to do in Athens

2. The Ionian Coast: Road Trip from Athens to Parga

The Ionian Coast: Road Trip from Athens to Parga
Image Courtesy: Unsplash

This road trip is less famous but no less incredible as it takes you from Athens to Parga.

First Day:

Spend a few days in the capital and then head towards Patra via the Ethniki Odos. Take the beautiful coastal north highway of the Peloponnese and pass over the Rio-Antirrio Bridge, one of the world’s longest cable-stay bridges.

Second Day:

Next, you will see signs pointing you towards Preveza. An overnight stop here is highly recommended before continuing. You can find cosmopolitan cafes and swimming beaches. Stop here to indulge in the languid way of life.

Third Day:

You will reach Parga the next day in under an hour’s drive from Nicopolis, taking the coastal EO Prevezas Igoumenitsas highway. Parga, a little picturesque town, is bathed by the refreshing deep blue-turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea and dotted with colourful houses and an old Venetian fortification.

Fourth Day:

It is better if you spend at least 3 nights in Parga as there is a lot to discover in the surrounding area. Spend a day visiting the natural landscape and crystal waters of the Acheron River. Also, explore the ancient Greek temple of necromancy, which is devoted to Hades, the God of the Underworld, and Persephone nearby. Moreover, don’t miss out on the Syvota beaches, which are less than an hour’s drive from Parga.

Fifth Day:

Additionally, spend another day discovering the tiny scenic islands of Paxos and Antipaxos by boat.

  • Duration: 4-5 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 460 kilometres (286 miles)
  • Highlights: Ancient Nicopolis, boat cruise to Paxos and Antipaxos islands, River Acheron and Nekromanteio and beaches of Syvota

Also Read: Best Attractions in Athens – Scout through One of the World’s Oldest City

3. Peloponnese Road Trip: Athens to Olympia

Peloponnese Road Trip: Athens to Olympia, Road trips to experience In Greece
Image Courtesy: Unsplash

Peloponnese’s road trip is a classic Greek road trip experience. Located in the southern part of the country, the Peloponnese Peninsula is brimming with archaeological sites, breathtaking natural scenery and beautiful beaches.

First & Second Days:

The road trip itinerary starts in Athens, driving south through the Isthmus of Corinth. It is a great photo stop. Then cover the UNESCO Heritage site of Mycenae.

Third Day:

On the next day, finally, stop at the picturesque town of Nafplio, the former first capital of Greece after the Ottoman occupation.

Fourth Day:

The fourth day starts with a visit to the ancient theatre of Epidaurus and further exploring Nafplio and its beaches.

Fifth Day:

Next, travel to the famous UNESCO site, the fortified city of Mystras, with its striking Byzantine churches. After this, head to the castle town of Monemvasia, where you will spend the night.

Sixth Day:

Start the following day with a visit to Elafonisi Island. It is worth the short ferry ride for its famous white-sand beaches and turquoise waters.

Seventh Day:

Now, when you are back in mainland Greece, you should spend the next 2 days exploring the villages of Mani. Some of the highlights include the village of Limeni, the fortified village of Vathia, a boat ride to the cave of Diros and the Shipwreck Dimitrios. 

Eighth & Ninth Days:

Next, hit another interesting archaeological site, Ancient Messene, and the town of Methoni with its breathtaking castle. Continuing on the path, the road will lead you to more picturesque towns, Koroni and Pylos, before arriving at Voidokilia, one of Greece’s best beaches.

Tenth Day:

At last, visit Ancient Olympia. Here, make sure to stop at the impressive Temple of Bassae Apollo and hike to the majestic Neda Waterfalls.

You can cover all these in 10 days, but if you have a bit slower pace, you will cover it in 15 days or more. This is one of the best road trips to experience in Greece.

  • Duration: 10-15 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 1,250 kilometres (777 miles)
  • Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Mycenae, Epidaurus, Mystras, Ancient Olympia and Voidokilia beach and castle villages in Mani

Also Read: Get your adrenaline rushing in Athens while soaring through its skies

4. Central Greece Road Trip: Thessaloniki to Meteora

Central Greece Road Trip: Thessaloniki to Meteora
Image Courtesy: Unsplash

Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki, is a fine place to depart for a journey by road around the country’s north. This itinerary will provide you with many things, along with the striking landscapes of Greece.

First & Second Days:

It is preferable to spend a day or two to know Thessaloniki. Explore its street food, lively produce markets, and museums before easing into your road trip with a short drive to Vergina. This small town was once the capital of Macedon. It is also known as Aigai and was the place where Philip II was assassinated and his son, Alexander the Great, took the throne. Save a day to explore the UNESCO-listed tombs and palaces, and relive this pivotal moment that shaped world history.

Third Day:

The highest peak in Greece, Mythical Mount Olympus, lies a little further down the coast. However, if you choose to experience this majestic landscape from one of the nearby towns or up close by hiking to the summit, there is no doubt this centrepiece of Greek mythology will leave a lasting impression.

Fourth Day:

Before ending your road trip in Meteora, drive between the cities of Larissa and Trikala, both of which offer more archaeological gems and monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Scramble over staircases and pathways cut from the rock to visit any of the 6 still-functioning Orthodox monasteries. You can get a faraway view of this most magical landscape from here.

Fifth Day:

End your trip by returning to Thessaloniki, or join up with one of the previous Greece itineraries to travel down to Athens. Alternately, head back to the city and overland into Bulgaria, extending your road trip into the heart of the Balkans.

  • Duration: 5-7 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 350 kilometres (217 miles)
  • Highlights: Street food in Thessaloniki, Museum of the Royal Tombs at Aigai, hiking at Mount Olympus and Monasteries of Meteora

Also Read: Walking Tours in Thessaloniki

5. Halkidiki Road Trip: Thessaloniki to Xanthi

Halkidiki Road Trip: Thessaloniki to Xanthi, Road trips to experience In Greece
Image Courtesy: Unsplash

If you want to see a less-explored but still beautiful side of Greece, try travelling through the east from Thessaloniki. This road trip will take you from Greece’s second city to the peaceful Halkidiki Peninsula before moving on to the ancient cities of Kavala and Xanthi.

First Day:

Thessaloniki is a dynamic city, and it’s worth spending a few days before starting your road trip. Halkidiki is less than 2 hours’ drive away, with three ‘fingers’ of land stretching out into the ocean. It is a popular destination for locals and has white, sandy bays, mountain hikes and small villages. Also, visit the Kassandra Peninsula for the best, most-sheltered beaches.

Second Day:

Next comes Kavala, a beautiful coastal city first founded in the 7th century BC. After you have explored the centre, visit the fishing harbour at the east of the city for good restaurants and sea views. It is only a 20-minute drive to Philippi from Kavala. After exploring all these, your trip ends in Xanthi.

Third, Fourth & Fifth Days:

This road trip, which is only 310km, is possible to do in three days, spending one night in each location. However, try to take a week or more as it allows you ample time to explore Halkidiki and enjoy some downtime on the beach. This is one of the best road trips to experience in Greece.

  • Duration: 5-7 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 310 kilometres (193 miles)
  • Highlights: Beaches at Vourvourou, ancient Philippi archaeological site, Panagia (Kavala old town) and monastery at Lake Vistonida

Also Read: Hiking tours in Thessaloniki

6. Santorini Road Trip: Oia to Akrotiri

Santorini Road Trip: Oia to Akrotiri
Image Courtesy: Unsplash

One of the most famous islands in Greece, Santorini is perfect for both travel and destination weddings. When you are here, gaze at the beautiful blue-domed churches. Also, saunter through the white-washed villages along the caldera and cute little streets dotted with shops and restaurants. Moreover, watch the world-famous sunsets and delicious local cuisine.

As it is relatively a small island, 3 days in Santorini is enough. But with this, also discover some of the lesser-known parts of Santorini. Even though there are some local buses available, doing a Santorini road trip is a much more enjoyable way to explore. Either choose Oia or Fira as your base and go for day trips from here.

First Day:

Discover Oia on your first day. Take a stroll around the narrow streets, have traditional gyros at Pitogyros and take in those scenic views you only see on postcards. Additionally, go on a sunset boat tour to admire the island from the water.

Second Day:

Spend your second day visiting the other towns located along the caldera, such as Fira or Imerovigli. Are you up for a little hike? If yes, then you can visit Skaros Rock as well. Mostly, Santorini is famous for its vineyards, so going for an evening wine tour is also recommended.

Third Day:

Finish your trip by leaving the caldera and driving a bit further away. Also, walk around the cute town of Pyrgos. Along with this, drive up to Mount Profitis Ilias to admire the panoramic view and swim at the Red Beach. Or on the black-sand beaches in Perissa and Kamari, end your day by watching a marvellous sunset at the Akrotiri lighthouse.

  • Duration: 3 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 50 kilometres (31 miles)
  • Highlights: Blue-domed churches in Oia, swimming at the Red Beach, panoramic views from the top of Santorini and sunset at Akrotiri Lighthouse

Also Read: Visit Santorini’s Oia Castle for a mesmerizing sunset

7. Crete Road Trip: Chania to Rethymno

Crete Road Trip: Chania to Rethymno, Road trips to experience In Greece
Image Courtesy: Unsplash

The best to explore western Crete is to take a road trip from Chania to Rethymno. Explore two of the highlights of the island of Crete. Travel between them by car as it gives you the freedom to stop off at some fascinating spots along the way.

First Day:

This road trip takes you through Balos, Elafonisi, Loutro, Samaria Gorge, Phalasarna, Preveli Monastery and beach, Margarites Village and Argyroupoli. You can experience a good mixture of nature, history, culture and relaxation here.

Second & Third Days:

Chania is a picturesque town and houses Venetian harbour front, meandering streets of the Old Town and an eclectic combination of European, Egyptian and Ottoman influences. Next, you will move to Balos Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Greece.

Fourth Day:

Visit Elafonisi Beach next, which is connected to Crete by a sandbank across shallow waters. After this, you can stop for a swim at yet another stunning stretch of sand, Dalassarna.

Fifth Day:

Loutro, the fishing village, is another harbour-side stop. This is mostly known for ancient natural baths. Loutro can be only reached by bath, which means it is relatively unexplored. That also means you can have a relaxing few days here away from the crowds.

Sixth Day:

Next, stop in Samaria Gorge, a great spot for hikers. Spend your next days visiting the Preveli Monastery, Margarites Village (known for its pottery) and Argyroupoli, the town that was once Ancient Lappa. End your journey in Rethymno, a lovely Cretan city with a fortress, lighthouse and, of course, plenty of traditional Greek tavernas!

Seventh Day:

Give yourself 7 to 10 days to complete a Crete road trip between Chania and Rethymno. It should allow you enough time to get a taste of the towns and an insight into the Cretan culture. This is one of the best road trips to experience in Greece.

  • Duration: 7-10 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 360 kilometres (224 miles)
  • Highlights: Beaches of Crete, hiking in Samaria Gorge, pottery workshops and natural baths at Loutro

Also Read: 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Crete, Greece

8. Skopelos Road Trip: Glossa to Skopelos

Skopelos Road Trip: Glossa to Skopelos
Image Courtesy: Pixabay

Situated within the archipelago of Sporades, Skopelos is a small island in the Aegean sea. You could circle the island within a few hours with a car. You can best explore the island if you set aside at least 3-4 days.

Like most other Greek islands, a car is the best means of transportation in Skopelos. You can either rent one in either Glossa or Skopelos, depending on which of these two ports your ferry arrives at. You can then start your route from here.

If you have watched the film, Mamma Mia, then you can take a tour of these spots: Glossa, Agios Ioannis, Hovolo Beach, Kastani Beach, Amarandos Cove, Stafilos Beach and Skopelos town.

First Day:

Start your trip in Glossa and take your time exploring this charming old town. Next is the famous church of Mamma Mia. Try not to arrive at the church in the middle of the day as there are 200 steps to climb. End your day at Hovolo Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand that can only be reached by walking along the coast from Elios.

Second Day:

Have fun on the beaches on your second day. Drive along the coast from Hovolo towards Cape Amarandos. From here, you can visit the famous Kastani Beach, where the majority of the scenes from Mamma Mia were shot. Lastly, stop in Cape Amarandos, a rocky cape with two lonely pines sticking out of a cliff. Bring some comfy shoes as there is a lot of travelling to do.

Third Day:

On day three, start your journey at Stafilos Beach. If you are an avid snorkeller, the clear waters will take your breathe away. After this, finish your day by discovering the charming, colourful waterfront capital of the island of Skopelos. While exploring Skopelos town, you will come across some great little artisanal shops and traditional Greek tavernas.

  • Duration: 3 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 45 kilometres (28 miles)
  • Highlights: ‘Mamma Mia’ Chapel, Kastani Beach, Cape Amarandos and Skopelos town

Also Read: 10 Most Instagrammable Spots In Greece

9. Beach-lover’s Greek Road Trip: Zakynthos Island Loop

Beach-lover’s Greek Road Trip: Zakynthos Island Loop, Road trips to experience In Greece
Image Courtesy: Unsplash

Situated off Greece’s Ionian coast, Zakynthos, also known as Zante Island, is small enough to navigate in a couple of days by car, making it an ideal Greek island for a driving holiday.

This road trip will take you clockwise around the island. Here, you will discover the most popular beaches and locations. Stay overnight after each second stop en route or return to your base every evening. A good option is to visit Laganas, which is close to the airport and also a popular hub for nightlife and restaurants.

First Day:

Head to Plakaki Beach for your first stop. It is a stunning rocky cove that’s perfect for swimming. Additionally, along the west coast, you can find more opportunities for cave swimming and snorkelling at Porto Limnionas Beach.

Second Day:

On the next day, take a drive to the Navagio harbour and board a boat to the famous shipwreck cove. A full-day experience in itself cannot be missed! Make sure you choose to see the blue lagoon and caves during your boat trip.

Third Day:

The next day head to the southeast coast. Banana Beach, a stunning strip of golden sand, offers many trendy beach bars and restaurants. If you love to watch sunsets, then the Garden restaurant in Argassi nearby is the perfect location for you.

Fourth Day:

If you have got time, visit Dafni Beach and stay in this area. This beach, unofficially known as ‘turtle beach’, nestles many turtles. Be sure to head to the beach at night if you want to see them. This is one of the best road trips to experience in Greece.

  • Duration: 3-4 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 120 kilometres (75 miles)
  • Highlights: Navagio Shipwreck, golden sands of Banana Beach and turtles at Daphni Beach

Also Read: Cruise Across The Top Greek Islands When You Visit Greece

10. Paros Road Trip: Naousa to Paros

Paros Road Trip: Naousa to Paros
Image Courtesy: Pexels

This road trip itinerary around Paros island will show you traditional villages, delicious Greek food, quality beaches and amazing sunsets.

Paros’s island is a combination of Mykonos‘ party island and Santorini’s romantic one. Being a less-visited island, there are also many amazing things to do in Paros that make this island worthy of a road trip.

Paros’ architecture is all about the white houses and churches with blue rooftops.

First Day:

Moreover, start from the village of Naousa and drive to Santa Maria Beach. After you have taken a nice morning swim, head to Molos Beach through Naousa to Marpissa road and then to Kalogeras Beach, which is a few minutes away. Moreover, you can enjoy the red cliffs and swimming beaches. Drive for another 15-minutes to arrive at Golden Beach for some watersports and lunch at Blue Restaurant Bar.

Second Day:

Lefke town is a 15-minute drive from Golden Beach. However, it was the previous capital of Paros before Parikia. Also, spend a few nights here before finding one last place to stay in Paros for your final night.

  • Duration: 2-3 days
  • Distance covered: Approx. 50 kilometres (31 miles)
  • Highlights: Fishing village of Naoussa, Cycladic island architecture and white-sand beaches

Also Read: 6 Most Beautiful Towns in Greece That Are Drop-Dead Gorgeous

Tips for Your Greece Trip

  1. There are many things to do in Greece, so try out all of them.
  2. Engage in scuba diving in Thessaloniki.
  3. Don’t forget to head to all the beaches in Santorini.
  4. Also, check out all the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Greece.
  5. Indulge in a wide variety of Greek food.

Also Read: Greece Visa for Indians – A Complete Guide For Your Smooth Trip

Frequently Asked Questions for Your Greece Tour

How big is Greece?

Greece is around 51,000 square miles.

Do I need a visa?

Indians need a visa to travel to Greece as tourists.

How many days in Greece is enough?

7 days in Greece is enough.

What currency is used in Greece?

Greece uses Euros.

Is tap water safe to drink?

Yes, tap water is safe to drink in larger cities, but try to avoid it in smaller cities.

 

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Are you visiting Greece now? If yes, then never bother to skip the Greece road trips. This blog features some of the best road trips to experience in Greece. So don’t wait more and check out Pickyourtrail to scroll through some of the Greece travel packages. Also, you can customise your Greece itinerary and choose what suits you the most.

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