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Continental Greece in ten days

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Continental Greece in ten days

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This article is an itinerary.

Traveling through Continental Greece you'll always feel you need more time than you actually have. But in ten days you can see most of Greece's world-famous ancient and Middle-Age sights.

This itinerary starts in Flórina in the very northwest of Greece and leaves the country to the very northeast at the Greek-Turkish-Bulgarian triangle. This itinerary can therefore be easily combined with other tours through the Balkans. Going by other means of transport than by car (for which it was originally designed) should be possible.

  • 1st day: Driving from Flórina to the outskirts of Athens is possible in one day as the highway which is - compared to Western European countries like France or Italy - quite cheap and in good condition. If you're used to cautious Western European driving style, forget it: Greeks drive quite fast and don't pay great attention to any kind of signs such as those which forbid passing. Drive the same way and you'll be okay. If you have a good view you may see Mount Olympus. Stop some thirty kilometers before Athens, somewhere between Thiva and Marathon. Here you'll have a good chance of getting an inexpensive hotel room and you can even go bathing on the beach. Here you can stay two or three days.
  • 2nd day: From that base you can make a trip to Delphi which is one of the most important ancient sights in Greece. You'll have to plan for approximately two hours to and from Delphi each way and another some hours sightseeing in Delphi but it's absolutely worth going there.
  • 3rd day: Athens. Do not try to drive into the city with your car especially if you aren't used to great traffic. And Athens's traffic is even worse. Try to get a park+ride ticket from Halandri. Using public transport in Athens is quite easy and cheap as well. Go to the Acropolis, the ancient Greek and Roman agoras and try to see as much as you can. Most important ancient sights are within twenty minutes' going from the Akropolis. You can have some more days in Athens as well. You won't see all that is worth seeing even then.
  • 4th day: Leave your base early and take the highway towards Corinth and the Peleponnessus. Leave the highway at Loutraki and take the normal street to Corinth. Here you have the advantage of being able to stop immediately after the Corinth Channel. The look into the Channel of a few kilometers length is great. Leaving the parking lot you can either go to see ancient Corinth or take the street to Epidaurus. Of course you can do the latter after the first. One should have seen the theater of Epidaurus when previously in Greece. Leave to Mykene. The Lions' Gate is one of most popular sights on the Peleponnessus Peninsula. From there you get to Náfplio. In the castle of that town the first Greek government was formed in the first half of the 19th century. From there you can get back to the highway towards Tripoli. Get a hotel there or go south towards modern Sparta.
  • 5th day: There aren't many remains of ancient Sparta but a few kilometers away there is the famous site of Mystras near Sparta. The Middle-Age town, built in the early 2nd millennium, is worth a visit. From there go northwest towards ancient Olympia. Stay in a hotel in Olympia or in one of the small towns around. The second solution is probably the cheaper one.
  • 6th day: Visit Olympia. After that visit you can go to the beach and sunbathe.
  • 7th day: Getting north towards Patra, cross the new bridge and hold yourself straight towards Loannina. From there go towards Tríkala. Stay in a hotel in Kalambaka or nearby.
  • 8th day: See the famous monasteries of Meteora. Then head towards Thessaloniki. Either you find a hotel here and enjoy sightseeing in the second-biggest Greek town or you go on towards Chalkidike and enjoy beaches there. The peninsulas of Kassándra and Sithonía are open for tourism whereas the easternmost peninsula, Mount Athos, is a monk republic that you can only enter if you obtained a visa-like paper some time before. Even then only males may enter.
  • 9th day: Enjoy the day in Thessaloniki or at the beach.
  • 10th day: Take the highway towards Sofia or go eastwards towards Alexandroupoli and then north towards Svilengrad in Bulgaria or east towards Istanbul in Turkey.
This is a usable itinerary. It explains how to get there and touches on all the major points along the way. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!