The Peloponnese is the stuff of legends, some are even real. Cradle of civilization, it is where Hercules fought the Nemean lion and Sparta’s marched against Athens. It’s here that Paris of Troy eloped with Helen, where the Olympic Games were born and where the Greek War of Independence began in 1821. It is a place of myth and history.
With a mountainous interior and miles upon miles of breathtakingly beautiful shores, the Peloponnese truly offers a varied terrain. You can spend a hot day by the beach at 35°, then head up to a mountain village and enjoy a comfortable sleep at 18°, both within an hour’s ride. This is why we come here, this is what we want to show you.
Our routes are based around two of the great mountains of Southern Greece: the Spartans’ Mount Taygetus which rises from the sea to 2,400 metres; and the Parnonas Massif which spans almost 100kms and rises to over 1,900. Both offer summit to sea riding, and hundreds of kilometres of mountain roads to climbs with breathtaking vistas rising from the sun-drenched plains through forests to alpine cols and back again. It’s also a deeply historic area, and we’ll have time to spot off in mountain villages to soak in the views and enjoy the scenary.
Patrick Leigh Fermor
“the feeling of being lost in time and geography with months and years hazily sparkling ahead in a prospect of inconjecturable magic”
Out of the mountains we’re into one of the most fertile areas of Greece. There are almost 100 million olive trees in the Peloponnese, making more than half of Greece’s extra virgin oil. As we head out of the gullies of Taygatos towards Kalamata we’ll be into the fields where fat, black Kalamata olives are grown. On our way into the Peloponnese we’ll pass Nemea, home to Greece’s best red wines. You can’t ride on an empty stomach and we want to take the edge off a hard day’s ride. Luckily we’ll be surrounded by excellent local produce. Not to mention fish.
After visiting Mani for the first time back in 1951, Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, one of the greatest travel writers of all time, wrote “”I felt like staying there forever”. And he did. He built a house in an olive grove near Kardamyli and lived there with his wife until his death in 2011.
“These summer nights are short. Going to bed before midnight is unthinkable and talk, wine, moonlight and the warm air are often in league to defer it one, two or three hours more. It seems only a moment after falling asleep out of doors that dawn touches one gently on the shoulder, and, completely refreshed, up one gets, or creeps into the shade or indoors for another luxurious couple of hours. The afternoon is the time for real sleep: into the abyss one goes to emerge when the colours begin to revive and the world to breathe again about five o’clock, ready once more for the rigours and pleasures of late afternoon, the evening, and the night.”Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts