Get away from the overcrowded tourist islands like Santorini or Mykonos and discover the authentic charm of Greece. With these 3 road trip ideas in Greece over 2 weeks, embark on a real odyssey through the best preserved islands of the Cyclades or soak up the sacred atmosphere of the Mount Olympus region. Step back in time in Athens and the Peloponnese, between ancient ruins and Byzantine monasteries. Let yourself be surprised by Greece and travel through a country rich in its thousand-year-old culture and unique nature.
1. Boat trip in the Cyclades
What to see in the Cyclades?
For a 2-week road trip in Greece, head for the Greek islands! The Cyclades include 24 inhabited islands, as many facets of the country to discover. In two weeks, take the time to live the Greek way and explore all the landscapes that are available to you. Traditional villages with their mills and whitewashed houses, heavenly beaches or even hiking: the Cyclades will offer you a breathtaking spectacle. Here are some islands not to be missed:
Paros. As an alternative to Santorini, the island will make everyone agree! In Paros, you can either place your stay under the sign of relaxation or under that of discovery. Relax on one of the beaches or stroll in the calm of the early morning in the port of Naoussa, before it gets heated up to the rhythm of the dancing bars in the evening.
Naxos. The largest island of the Cyclades, it is the one that will take you the most time. Wander through the narrow streets of Chora to the temple of Apollo and watch the sun set over the town. In the center of the island, climb to the top of Mount Zeus (1004m) for a panoramic view of the whole territory.
Sifnos. Nicknamed "the hiker's paradise", the island is crossed by about twenty trails. So go on foot to discover the winding streets of typical villages or to reach isolated coves. The island is not very touristy and is particularly well preserved.
Serifos. Close to Sifnos, this rocky island is perfect for relaxation. Stroll through the small village of Chora before lounging on the beach of Vagia.
Ios. Life is a party on this island. Popular with young Greeks for its beach parties that last until the early morning and its lively bars, Ios has nothing to envy to its neighbor Mykonos. If Mykonos suffers from mass tourism, Ios looks like a real haven of peace. The hyperactive nightlife gives way to quietness as soon as the sun rises. Go for a hike to Homer's tomb in the north of the island, and discover a wild and preserved nature. The burial place of the poet will offer you a spectacular panorama.
Syros. Adopt the "Greek way of life" on this authentic island where you will meet mostly locals. Open yourself to meetings over a traditional Greek coffee in the old town of Ermoupolis or relax on the beach of Galissas.
Milos. The sunsets of Santorini are said to be unmissable. But the ones in Milos are just as spectacular! From the church of Plaka, watch the twilight change the island's hues. Fine sandy beaches, colorful harbors and typical villages...at first sight nothing differs Milos from other islands. Approach the volcanic rock of Sarakiniko or the old sulfur mines in Thiorichio, and you will see that it is certainly the most unusual island of the Cyclades!
Where to sleep in the Cyclades?
2 Ethik Hotels are waiting for you in the Cyclades.
ELaiolithos. At an altitude of 500m, this charming hotel combines luxury and eco-responsibility and offers a breathtaking view of the peaceful island of Naxos.
Seesoo Paros. In this hotel where relaxation is the key word, watch the sunset over the Aegean Sea from your room before going for a midnight swim: the beach is just a stone's throw from the hotel.
How to get to the Cyclades?
To reach the Cyclades, you have several options:
From the port of Piraeus in Athens or the port of Rafina south of the capital, take the ferry to the island of your choice. Several boats leave every day. The Omio app will allow you to find the ferry that suits you best, then you can book directly on the app or on the shipping company's website. For about 40€, reach your island in an average of 4 hours. Be patient if you want to go to Ios, as the crossing will take 9 hours.
Some of the islands are accessible by air. From Athens airport, get there faster (Naxos in 40min vs. 5h30 by ferry), but it will cost more, both for your wallet and your carbon footprint!
From Paris, fly to Santorini or Mykonos in 3 hours, then take the boat to go to the different islands
To go from island to island, you can always opt for the ferry or for the sailboat! This last option, although more expensive, will allow you to reach your destination at your own pace according to the winds, but also to enjoy a unique experience and to make the most of the landscapes that surround you. Moreover, it is the most ecological solution!
On the islands, you can rent cars, quads and scooters for about 15€ per day. As the islands are relatively small, why not choose a bike for 7€ per day to enjoy the beauty of the landscape at your own pace?
2. Sporty stay in Macedonia
What to see in Northern Greece?
Bathed in Greek mythology, discover a region rich in ancestral heritage and a unique nature imbued with a sacred character. In the north of Greece, you will push your limits during a hike and you will indulge in contemplative activities. As you visit, it becomes clear why the gods have made this region their home. A variety of activities that will seduce many during a 2-week road trip in Greece.
Dion. At the foot of Mount Olympus, walk around this ancient city that Alexander the Great fell in love with. It is in this prosperous city of ancient Macedonia that the conqueror made his sacrifices before leaving on his journey. Today the place is green and has some well preserved monuments: baths decorated with mosaics, theater and sanctuaries testify to a once dynamic city. Don't forget the archaeological museum if you want to learn more about the history of the region.
Mount Olympus. It will accompany you throughout your stay in the region, so why not get closer? A national park since 1981, the domain of the Gods culminates at 2,918m and hosts a rich fauna and flora of more than 1,700 species (including 23 endemic plants). Explore the forests and the mountain to feel the special atmosphere of the place. Rest in the charming town of Litochoro before climbing Myticas Peak, the highest peak of Olympus, where a divine view awaits you.
The Enipéas Gorge. In the heart of the Olympus massif, take the time to walk along the Enipéas gorge, between forest and waterfalls where you can swim. Open your eyes wide, you will surely meet frogs, snakes and many birds!
The waterfalls of Orlias. Difficult to access, you will have to cross clearings and rocky slopes to get to the Orlias waterfalls. But the game is worth the candle. The emerald color of the pool makes the nature of Mount Olympus look like a paradise.
Thessaloniki. The 2nd largest city in the country, Thessaloniki is the gastronomic capital of Greece. Not as touristy as Athens, the Macedonian city has nevertheless architectural assets drawn from its ancient and Byzantine heritage. Dynamic, it will undoubtedly seduce the young people who will walk through its alleys animated by day and night by the bars, restaurants and various markets of the city.
The region of Zagori and its 46 villages. In this region sheltered from mass tourism, 46 villages and as many treasures open their doors to you. The Zagorochoria (villages of the region), perched in the mountains of Epirus, have long remained isolated. Today the traditions and customs are intact and will delight visitors in search of authenticity.
Where to sleep in Macedonia?
The region is full of accommodations, but it is also a good place for trekking. You can pitch your tent in some parts of Mount Olympus, or go to a mountain refuge. Whichever option you choose, don't forget to check the ecological commitments of your pied-à-terre!
How to get to Macedonia?
From Paris, fly to Thessaloniki in 3 hours before exploring the region by car. If you land in Athens, you can reach the region in 4 hours by train.
3. 2 weeks Greece Road Trip from Athens to Peloponnese
What to see in Athens and the Peloponnese?
Take in the culture of the capital before heading to the Peloponnese, a territory between land and sea, full of history.
Plan at least 2 days to immerse yourself in Athenian life where ancient ruins rub shoulders with young and modern neighborhoods. Start with the mythical places of the city. At the top of the Acropolis, you will realize the greatness of Athens at a time that does not seem so far away, as some infrastructures are not so damaged. At the foot of the hill, visit the Acropolis museum. This modern museum exhibits many objects found during archaeological excavations on the hill. Then lose yourself in the narrow and lively streets of the Plàka district, the perfect place to enjoy some mezzes until late at night. Not far from there, the Anafiotika neighborhood was built by Cycladic islanders, which explains its whitewashed houses. Move away from the big city to discover the treasures of the Peloponnese.
Monemvasia. It is called "the fortified rock". This small town in the southern Peloponnese is accessible only by a bridge. Having seen the invaders pass, the city is marked by its different architectures. Discreet, Monemvasia is hidden between its rock and its fortifications. But it will offer a spectacular panorama on the Mediterranean to those who will dare to approach it.
Sapientza Island. Disconnect on this (almost) deserted island. Except for a few visitors, you won't meet anyone on this island where everything is in its wild state. Ideal for nature lovers, you can either lounge on the beach, swim in the crystal clear waters or explore the land. With a protected fauna and flora, meet wild goats and a multitude of birds in the shade of wild olive trees.
Lycosura. It is said to be the oldest city in the world...At the foot of the green Lycosura Mountain, take a leap in time and visit the temple dedicated to Despina (Poseidon's daughter), the altars and houses of the ancient city.
Monastery of St. Nicholas Sitzas. The Peloponnese is full of monasteries. But St. Nicholas of Sitzas is certainly among the most impressive. Built directly in the cliff, the access is difficult. You will have to go through a steep and tortuous path. However, the path itself is worth the effort: you will have a view on the whole valley and its villages.
Gorges of Vouraïkos. According to the legend, it was Hercules who opened these gorges, thus giving way to a dreamlike scenery. Waterfalls, lakes, mountains and sea, all surrounded by lush vegetation will put stars in your eyes. The particularity of the site is to be crossed by a train. Explore the landscape on foot before returning by train, to enjoy a postcard scenery from all angles.
Where to sleep in Athens and Peloponnese?
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How to get to Athens and the Peloponnese?
Many flights connect major French cities to Athens. You can reach the capital in 3 hours on average. Once there, you can rent a car for your 2-week road trip in Greece or a bicycle! The Peloponnese is well known for its cycling paths that cross the most emblematic places of the region.
To find out more, discover the consequences of mass tourism in Greece as well as the alternatives for discovering the still preserved places.
As you can see, Greece is a country of a thousand treasures, some of which are still hidden and very well preserved. Which destination will you choose during your 2-week road trip in Greece?