After our surprisingly successful campervan trip through Italy (which you can read about here) we decided to push our luck by hiring a car for a month and travelling around the Peloppense in Greece. Greece is famous for it’s island hopping but this little beauty is a region of Greece steeped in history, mythology, and natural beauty. With its rugged coastline, rolling hills, and ancient ruins, it’s the perfect destination for a family road trip.
But where to begin?
With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan your itinerary. That’s where we come in. Our guide will take you on a journey through the must-visit destinations and hidden gems of the Peloponnese, all while providing tips and tricks to make your family road trip a success.
So get ready to explore the land of the Spartans, visit ancient temples, and lounge on picturesque beaches.
Picture this: you step off the plane in Athens, the bustling capital city of Greece, ready to embark on a family road trip through the Peloponnese region. After settling in at your hotel and exploring the ancient sites and modern attractions of Athens, it’s time to hit the road. With your rented car, you’ll be able to explore the winding roads, rugged coastline, and hidden gems of the Peloponnese at your own pace. Sound good? Let’s go!
But wait, before you set off on your journey, make sure to check out our tips for a trip to Athens with kids. From exploring the Acropolis to indulging in delicious Greek cuisine, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know to make your time in Athens unforgettable.
Why Renting a Car is the Best Way to Explore the Peloponnese
If you’re planning a trip to the Peloponnese, renting a car is the best way to explore this beautiful region of Greece. Unlike relying on public transportation or tour groups, renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the Peloponnese at your own pace and on your own schedule. With a car, you can visit remote beaches, ancient ruins, and charming villages that may be difficult to access by other means.
There are so many places to explore that having the flexibility to come and go as your please means you get to go and see what you want.
Tips for Driving in Greece: Rules of the Road and Road Safety
All our driving was done by Jak, if he can navigate a campervan through the Dolomites and narrow Italian village roads, he can do anything. That being said driving in Greece can be an adventure in itself, with narrow roads, sharp turns, and sometimes unpredictable drivers.
- drive on the right side of the road
- always wear your seatbelt.
- be aware of speed limits (which are generally lower than in other European countries.)
The biggest issue is PARKING. Many roads in Greece are narrow and many streets in Greece have limited parking, so plan ahead and be prepared to walk a bit to reach your destination.
Family-Friendly Activities in the Peloponnese: From Ancient Ruins to Beaches
“Are you tired of hearing ‘Are we there yet?’ from the back seat during family roadtrips? Fear not, because the Peloponnese region of Greece is the perfect destination for families who want to mix education with adventure and relaxation with the opportunity to stop on the way.
For starters, the ancient ruins in the Peloponnese are basically a giant outdoor classroom. Kids can run around, explore, and learn about history all at the same time.
Greece is known for it’s amazing beaches and the Peloponnese is no different. With crystal clear waters and sandy shores, even the most reluctant sunbather in the family will find something to enjoy. Plus, with activities like paddleboarding and kayaking, the kids will have a blast while getting some exercise.
And let’s not forget about the food. The Peloponnese is home to some of the best Greek cuisine around, from fresh seafood to locally grown produce. Whether you’re a foodie or just appreciate a good meal, the Peloponnese won’t disappoint.
Creating Your Itinerary: Must-Visit Destinations and Hidden Gems in the Peloponnese
Here is our pinned map for our month in the Peloponnese. We were based in Kalamata for the majority of our stay and took day trips out as well as lots of stops from Athens.
With its rugged coastline, impressive ruins, and picturesque villages, this region is the perfect destination for an family adventure. Here are some of the top places to visit on your road trip through the Peloponnese.
Our first stop was Corinth, admittedly for a stop at Decathlon to grab some essentials and a couple of warm fleeces for the chilly mornings and evenings.
Known for its beautiful beaches and lively atmosphere, Kalamata is a must-visit destination on any Peloponnese road trip. Relax on the sandy shores, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, or explore the town’s rich history and culture at the Archaeological Museum of Messenia. It’s a popular spot with Greek tourists but hasn’t quite made it onto the international tourist map.
Located on the southwestern tip of the Peloponnese, Pilos is a charming seaside town that offers breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea. Take a stroll along the harbor and watch the fishing boats come in, or explore the ruins of the ancient city of Pylos, where the famous Battle of Navarino took place in 1827.
One of our favourite trips out! Located near the town of Costa Navarino, the Polylimnio Waterfalls are a series of cascading pools and waterfalls that offer a refreshing break from the hot Greek sun. Take a dip in the cool waters (it was more cold than ‘cool’ for us in October), explore the surrounding nature trails, and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning scenery.
This is a huge site and can become a bit of a slog for the kids when it’s hot. Plan out your route making sure you head to the track for a quick race. No trip to the Peloponnese would be complete without a visit to the ancient city of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Explore the ruins of the ancient stadium, see the Temple of Zeus, and learn about the history and mythology of the ancient Greeks. There is a cute little town to search out some souvenirs too.
Located on the southern coast of the Peloponnese, the picturesque village of Limeni is a hidden gem that’s worth a visit. With its traditional stone houses, crystal-clear waters, and delicious seafood restaurants, Limeni offers a taste of authentic Greek seaside charm. This place has a tiny population but that doesn’t stop it becoming busy in the summer. Head into the water for the chance of seeing turtles. One of the nearby restaurants will drop fish guts into the water whilst preparing the fresh catch for your order which attracts some pretty big turtles, so watch out, you don’t want to get in the way of their lunch.
Caves of Diros
Located near the town of Areopoli, the Caves of Diros are a natural wonder that’s not to be missed. Take a guided boat tour through the underground caverns and marvel at the stalactites, stalagmites, and underground lakes that make this cave system so unique. Whilst it was interesting, there were so many questions but no opportunity to ask them. Information was really limited so do your research before you go.
Often considered one of the most beautiful towns in Greece, Nafplio is a must-visit destination on any Peloponnese road trip. Wander through the charming streets of the Old Town, climb the steps to the Palamidi Fortress for panoramic views of the town and the sea, and sample the delicious Greek cuisine at one of the many tavernas and cafes.
Choosing the Right Car Rental for Your Family Road Trip
When planning a family road trip in the Peloponnese, choosing the right car rental is crucial for a comfortable and stress-free journey. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect rental car for your family:
Consider the size of your family and luggage
We travel light so opted for a smaller, cheaper car to squeeze us into. Make sure you choose a car that is big enough to comfortably fit your entire family and all of your luggage. You don’t want to be cramped in a small car or have to leave any of your belongings or children behind.
Choose a reliable rental company
Make sure you rent from a reputable and reliable car rental company. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or travel forums to ensure that you get a reliable rental car that won’t break down during your road trip.
We got an amazing deal 400GBP for 1 month rental but, would I recommend the rental company? No. Why not? Because we opted for a cheaper model and the car was old and a bit battered and on its return they inspected every last bit of the car in an attempt to charge us for something, knowing full well they had given us the back of the warehouse, heap of junk.
Check the rental agreement carefully
Before you sign the rental agreement, read it carefully and make sure you understand all the terms and conditions. Check for any hidden fees or restrictions, such as mileage limits or additional charges for adding a second driver.
Consider the terrain
The Peloponnese region of Greece has a varied terrain, with steep mountain roads and winding coastal highways. Make sure you choose a rental car that is suitable for the terrain you’ll be driving on, whether that’s a sturdy SUV or a compact car that’s easy to maneuver. Our car struggled in anything above third gear but we spent the time bonding with songs and chants of encouragement to get us up the hills.
Look for extras and add-ons
Some car rental companies offer additional extras and add-ons that can make your family road trip even more enjoyable. Look for options like GPS navigation (or use your phone??), child car seats, or in-car entertainment systems to keep your kids entertained during long drives. We are much more of the thinking that they should be able to entertain themselves so we torture ourselves by avoiding devices in the car. Audiobooks are a huge hit for us, or the greeking out podcast!
Why a Family Road Trip in the Peloponnese is an Unforgettable Experience
We were definitely surprised with everything the Peloponnese had to offer and how easy it was with a car. Renting a car is the best way to explore the Peloponnese and discover all the hidden gems that this region has to offer. It gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace, stop and explore whenever you like, and create unforgettable memories with your family. From the stunning natural beauty of the Polylimnio Waterfalls to the ancient wonders of Olympia and the mesmerizing caves of Diros, this region of Greece is full of hidden treasures waiting to be explored.
With its breathtaking scenery, welcoming locals, and endless opportunities for exploration, the Peloponnese is the perfect destination for a family road trip.
We hope you found this post useful. Please drop a comment below and check out our other blog posts here.
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