Greek Mainland & Peloponesse
The two primary International Airports on mainland Greece are Athens International Airport “Elefthérios Venizélos” and Thessaloniki International Airport “Makedonía/Macedonia”
Often to many, tour operators and travel agents recommend that you only stay one night in Athens or even less.
The historic importance of Athens and the Greek mainland is reflected in the architecture and sculpture that still miraculously stands today – with the help of the Archaeological societies and museum protection act; the preservation of these sites and relics have given a great sense of pride to the modern Greeks of today. These incredible monuments and sites range from religious shrines, temples, theatre’s to Bronze age Tombs, fortresses and relics – all marking different periods of the development of the Western Civilization. Approximately 26 ancient sites can be visited in the Peloponesse and Greek Mainland alone, which can further be broken down according to their neolithic or medieval importance.
A visit to Greece can simply not be made without a visit to one of the most primary archaeological sites, namely The Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. The Acropolis acts as a pedestal (former Bronze Age – Mycenaen fortress) for the actual Parthenon as Temple, and its state-of-the art Acropolis Museum based at the foothills.
Once you have set foot on the Acropolis, you would grasp the sense of ‘stepping back in time’ that could act as an incentive to follow the many ancient paths throughout Greece – allowing you to read and view the history through your own footsteps.
Mainland Greece excludes the Peloponesse as a region, however, for the ease in planning a trip to Greece, we have incorporated the afore-mentioned as part and form (due to the Pelopponese being separated by canal and bridge off of the mainland). Otherwise, Greece is divided into thirteen peripheries, with the mainland Greece and the Peloponesse as two separate regions:
- The most northern and north western part of Greek mainland: East and West Macedonia with Thrace in the north and north west, Epirus in the north west.
- The central part of the Greek mainland: Thesally and Sterea Ellas including the island of Evia.
- The Peloponesse in the south.
The Greek islands form the remaining peripheries of Greece, namely: The Ionian islands in the west and the Aegean islands (Cyclades ,Dodecanesse) with the north Aegean islands in the east and north east. At the southern tip lies the largest island of Greece Crete.
For the traveler who has time to explore the mainland, we generally suggest to travel in a counter-clockwise route towards the Peloponnese in the south. If arriving in Athens, you can either opt for a scheduled tour (Seat-in-coach), or travel with a car rental. An in-depth Itinerary will be given prior to your departure (duration of stay differ depending on the interests shared – religious, archaeological or cultural, and time of year).
Mainland / Peloponesse
(Southern Peninsula and Central Mainland)
- Crossing the Corinth Canal, traveling towards Nemea (‘home’ of the Nemean Lion, which was killed by the hero Heracles and famed for the Nemean Games) and the beautiful Venetian city of Nafplio (Nafplio was the capital during the liberated Greece between 1829 until 1834), prior to Athens (1834).
- Visiting Epidarus (the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world and famed great theatre – 340 BCE), Tiryns (a Bronze Age fort, during the Mycenaean period), Mycenae (Bronze Age – Tholos Tombs – The Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon) and possibly onto Monemvasia (Medieval fortress, with many Byzantine churches).
- Making your way through Sparta to Mystra (capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea in the 14th and 15th centuries and ‘Chronicles of Morea’), Mani (Byzantine and post Byzantine churches, Frankish castles) and Pylos (Neolithic and Mycenaen Greece, the king of Pylos in Homer’s Iliad, remains of Nestor’s Palace), Bassae (5th Century Ancient Temple of Apollo Epicurius in classical Arcadia) along the west coast to Olympia.
- From Olympia (The sanctuary, known as the Altis) onto Delphi (Apollo sanctuary, The Oracle) and Meteora ( “in the heavens above” – is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos) via the Rio-Antirio bridge.
- Returning to Athens, or traveling into central or northern mainland.