The Peloponnese in Southern Greece is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited. Not only is it incredibly diverse, but the locals are friendly, the tourists are few, and the small towns found throughout the region are incredibly charming.
When you visit this region, you’ll get the most out of it by renting a car and creating your own road trip itinerary. Below you’ll find my suggestions, things I wish I had time for but didn’t, and more tips about visiting the Peloponnese.
Road Tripping the Peloponnese in Greece
If you’re planning to road trip through Greece, don’t forget your travel insurance! I highly recommend purchasing SafetyWing to keep you safe and protected during your travels.
Before reading further, don’t miss: 10 Things to See and Do in Greece’s Peloponnese Region
Where is the Peloponnese and When is the Best Time to Visit?
The Peloponnese is part of mainland Greece, located in the south. Northeast of the region, you’ll find Athens, and two popular islands that surround the Peloponnese are Crete (to the south) and Zakynthos (to the west).
While the weather is pretty decent year-round, I suggest visiting in the warmer months so that you’re able to visit the sea, lounge on the beach, and enjoy the Greek sun! The regions warmest months are in July and August, with highs in the upper 80s. If you visit in June or September (which is what I would recommend), you’ll have fewer crowds, and still have some great weather.
How Do You Get to the Peloponnese?
If you want to travel to the Peloponnese region, you have two main options. The first is to fly into Athens, rent a car from the airport, and drive to the region (about 2+ hours depending on where you’re going).
The next best option is to fly into Kalamata, in the south, and rent a car from the Kalamata Airport and begin your road trip from there. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can also fly directly from Athens to Kalamata if you don’t want to drive to the Peloponnese from Athens.
When searching for flights, I prefer to use Skyscanner to ensure I’m getting the best price.
If you’re coming from Athens, don’t miss: How to Spend 2 Days in Athens
What Do You Need to Know About Renting a Car in Greece?
Driving around Greece is relatively simple – the rules of the road are similar to those in America, they drive on the same side as we do in America, and the infrastructure for driving is good as well. You’re also able to drive with your American license, so there is no need to get an international drivers license if you want to rent a car in Greece. However, if you’re planning on staying in Greece for over 185 days, you might need to apply for an international license. (I got my international license from AAA). Please note, for driving ATVs, scooters, etc you will need an international license.
As far as car rentals, I almost always rent from Enterprise due to their customer service and availability. However, I also like to use QEEQ to compare pricing across multiple rental companies.
What Towns Should You Visit in the Peloponnese?
The Peloponnese is a sizable chunk, over 8,000 square miles, and there is a lot to see and do in the region. While I barely scratched the surface, my top four recommendations are Nafplio, Koroni, Porto Heli, and Ermioni. (An area I would have liked to visit but didn’t get the chance to was Monemvasia).
Ermioni is an authentic Greek harbor town, located on the southeastern coast of the Ermionida region; on the Aegean Sea. Being such a small town, only about 4,000+ residents call Ermioni home.
My top recommendation for visiting Ermioni is to eat lunch at O Kavos, and don’t skip the moussaka. It’s delicious!
Koroni is located on the southwestern part of the Peloponnese, and is also a small harbor town. Koroni is characterized by cobbled streets, sea views, beautiful beaches, and old Venetian castle ruins. For a complete guide to visiting Koroni, read this post.
Perhaps my favorite town in the Peloponnese, Nafplio is not only beautiful, but has an interesting and historic role in Greece. Nafplio was the first capital of Greece (for 8 years) – before Athens – and was incredibly valuable for its location, as it was the center of Greece until Greece expanded. As of 2011, 33,000+ people live in Nafplio.
Highlights of Nafplio include visiting the Church of Saint Spyridon, visiting the Holy Catholic Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior-Frankokklesia, and the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation Heritage Museum. And if you have it in you, climbing the 999 steps to the top of the Fortress of Palamidi.
I would also recommend to spend the night in Nafplio so that you have a bit more time to explore at a relaxed pace. I suggest staying at Castellano Hotel & Suites.
Another stop I would make sure to make is in Porto Heli. Not only is this area amazing for water activities, but it’s also incredibly beautiful and has amazing seafood restaurants. Porto Heli is also located on the coast of the southeastern tip of the Peloponnese and has a population of around 2,000+ people.
Highlights of Porto Heli include diving (and other activities) with Ergo Dive. And feasting on delicious seafood at Ουζερί του Ψαρά (recommend for lunch) and Veranda del Vino (recommended for dinner). Another recommendation I would make is to go rock climbing (this is outside of Porto Heli and you don’t need to have any experience) with Climb Ermionida.
I also recommend spending the night in this area near Porto Heli, and would highly recommend the hotel AKS Hinitsa Bay.
Proposed Itinerary for Visiting the Peloponnese
Below you’ll find a proposed itinerary of visiting this area in Greece!
- Start your trip driving to Nafplio – stay for one night
- Drive southeast towards Porto Heli… along the way, stop at Franchthi Cave
- Spend time lounging at Lampagianna Beach
- Check into AKS Hinitsa Bay (stay for 3 nights), head to dinner at Makis Inn Resort
- Spend your first day in/around Porto Heli diving/out on the water with Ergo Dive
- Spend the second day in/around Porto Heli rock climbing with Climb Ermionida
- On your last day venture to Ermioni for lunch at O Kavos
- Drive to the Church of St George located inside of a sinkhole in Didyma, on your way to…
- Visit Koroni
Misc Information About Visiting Greece
Below you’ll find everything you need to know about traveling to Greece!
- Language: Greek – but you can get by on English as most people speak fluently or know simple phrases
- Currency: Euro – most places take credit/debit cards, but I always suggest pulling some money out of the ATM on arrival. When paying with a card, always pay in local currency (in this case, Euro), to avoid extra fees.
- Greece is part of the EU and a Schengen member, meaning Americans do not need a visa to visit. However, you are only allowed to stay 90-days in a 180-day period.
- Converter: You will need a converter to charge your devices in Greece. I use and recommend this one
- Don’t forget: Travel insurance
- If you need an International license (and quick), you can get it here
That concludes a road trip through the Peloponnese region of Greece! This is truly such a beautiful area and completely underrated. While I love the Greek islands, I also encourage you to step off the beaten path and visit this gem in Southern Greece.
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