After an amazing week in Santorini and a fun couple of days in Athens, it was time to explore the rest of the mainland of Greece. I had no idea of the diversity and beauty of the journey on which I was about to embark. They were truly like no other sites I had ever seen before. Find out what all I discovered in Driving Greece: Discovering Athens to Olympia!
We met our phenomenal driver, Alex in Athens (don’t miss everywhere Alex took us in Athens). By phenomenal, I mean extraordinary. Easily the best driver I have EVER had. Alex is with Hellenic Private Tours and he went above and beyond all expectations. Being two girls traveling alone, you want to feel safe and protected. Amanda from kevinandamanda.com did a great job finding this company!
Alex was super friendly, knowledgeable, protective and anticipated our every need and want! Worried about a language barrier? No worries there because Alex is fluent in English! We always had cold water to drink and often times, would come back to the van with freshly baked goodies waiting for us! We even had free wi-fi in our van!!
Frank, the owner, would check in on us frequently to be sure everything was going well. If you are needing a driver, a tour of Athens or beyond, go with Hellenic Private Tours and ask for Alex!! He is still a friend to this day and I promise your tour will be elevated to the best! Thanks Alex!
We departed Athens to make our way through mainland Greece!
Our first stop after leaving Athens was in Corinth at the Corinth Canal. It connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) long and connects the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland.
Next we walked through ancient Corinth to see the ruins, Temple of Apollo and a monument dedicated to the Apostle Paul.
The Acrocorinth or the Acropolis of Corinth oversees the entire ancient city of Corinth.
This only a partial view, but it’s beautiful and you can see for MILES!
Kechries Beach on the Gulf of Corinth is where the Apostle Paul first came after Athens to preach to spread Christianity.
Only one hour from Athens, Kechries is a popular weekend destination for Athenians. It is one of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen! Have you ever seen such distinct colors??
After we left Corinth making our way to Olympia, Alex suggested we stop in a couple of towns. One of them was the scenic town of Tolo where we had lunch at Maria’s Restaurant.
This was our view for lunch. Amazing, right?? We had our favorite fried feta cheese in a phyllo crust with sesame and honey along with another typical Greek dish called Legato. Legato is pork in tomato sauce with garlic and walnuts served with potatoes.
The next town Alex took us to was Nafplio.
It is a seaport town that is quaint and colorful. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore it.
But, we did get to walk around and see cute, colorful restaurants…
along with beautiful, old doors and picturesque storefronts.
The most unique thing we saw was this cute plant hanger made from a pallet and decorated with words of wisdom. I absolutely loved it and it made me smile!
Finally, we arrived in Olympia and explored the ancient ruins. Held in 776 BC, Olympia is the site of the first Olympic Games.
The most iconic structure is the Philippeion. Built by King Philip II, it honored Zeus for a victory in a battle.
King Philip died before he could complete the structure so his son, Alexander the Great, completed it and had statues of his family placed inside.
If you have been to any of these places, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!
The first part of our drive went really well and I totally enjoyed the sights; however, where we went next totally blew me away! Stay tuned for my post on Zakynthos coming soon!
‘Til next time…