Exploring Greece by is a enjoyable feat. There are a myriad of mainland Greek destinations to discover by car that will reveal a whole new perspective on what holidays in Greece are about. Greece is a holiday classic, and most people will naturally associate it with islands. However, the mainland has so much to offer the visitor; so much natural beauty, diversity and cultural wealth, which is often disarming. The mild climate of the Mediterranean has blessed Greece with fairly good weather all year round, making it possible to enjoy some truly scenic drives from Athens. Here are three Greek destinations to discover by car that showcase the best of Greece’s mainland, and can be visited all year round.
Pelion is one of the most beautiful regions of Greece. Combining both sea and mountains, it is enjoyable during the summer and enchanting during the winter. Driving from Athens you will be able to reach Agios Georgios Nilias within 4 hours (340 km), so a relatively long holiday in Pelion is recommended. This way you will get to fully unwind and find your pace anew, soaking in the incredible scenic views as well as engaging in the wonderful nature that surrounds. In mythological times, it was said that the legendary Centaurs used to roam the Pelion forests and woodlands, lending some mythical charm to the area. The entire region is quite vast so exploring it by car will give visitors the most well-rounded experience. It is a thrilling Greek destination to discover by car, full of quaint mountain villages made almost entirely of local stone. Staying in traditional villas in Pelion will give families, friends or couples autonomy, all the while enjoying breathtaking panoramic views of forest and the sea, as far as the eye can see.
Mani is located on the edge of the Peloponnese, about 3,5 hours drive from Athens (280 km) and is unique in a number of ways. It is known throughout Greece for being a place where the land reflects the culture and vice versa. It is one of the few regions that is part of two prefectures; Inner Mani belongs to Laconia and Outer Mani to Messinia. Outer Mani is more verdant, and shows more similarities to the rest of Greece, while Laconian Mani is, on the whole, something else. It is a place that exudes such a rugged charm through its windswept, barren landscapes, the traditional tower structures and block stone buildings with flat roofs, and the candidness of the people. Mani definitely deserves a road trip so it can reveal all its wonders generously. You can start with Kardamili, a quaint little seaside town, then Stoupa, both belonging to Messinia, driving down the Maniot coast. You will soon begin to notice a change in the scenery as Messinian Mani gradually becomes Laconian Mani. Itilo is where you have a wonderful opportunity to make a stop; to pause and indulge in astonishing panoramic infinity sea views from staying at a boutique spa hotel in Mani. Visit Areopolis, the most charming town and most photographed of the vicinity. If you seek a bit of an adventure you can venture towards the Diros Caves or visit Cape Tenaro which is the southernmost point of Europe.
Evia is the second largest island in Greece after Crete. It is so large and so close to the mainland that many consider it to still be part of it. In fact through Chalkida you can reach Evia, however you can take the alternative route and cross the sea by ferry. In just under 2 hours you reach Arkitsa and then you cross the sea together with your car, and arrive directly to Edipsos (170 km). Edipsos is known for having natural thermal springs, making it a popular wellness destination for centuries. It is the ideal place to combine a road trip with staying at a thermal spa resort in Evia where you can fully unwind and amplify your wellbeing, both body and soul. With specialised treatments and therapies that have a medical approach to wellness, Edipsos is an excellent opportunity to experience pampering at a different level. Evia is a place that combines natural beauty, equally beautiful across all seasons. In the spring and summer you can get to explore the landscapes in full flourish, while in the autumn and winter the landscapes are transformed into more somber colours while views onto the sea are completely disarming year round.
Read about my experience at the Thermae Sylla Spa & Wellness Hotel.
These are some of the top Greek destinations to discover by car, that can be explored all year round. If you have visited any of them, then please share your personal experience below.