Flying into or out of Athens, you can spend a day exploring the capital’s iconic landmarks on roads that see only light traffic, before heading further afield. Ferries and boat charters depart regularly from Piraeus Harbour, for cycling trips that involve island hopping around those jewels of the Aegean: the Cyclades. The Peloponnese is just a short transfer from the capital, giving you access to miles of picturesque cycling routes and fascinating archaeological sites around Nafplion, Tripoli, Mycenae and Sparta. You can also fly directly to Crete to explore the extraordinary natural landmarks of Greece’s largest island, such as Samaria Gorge and its world renowned beaches. Whether you’re an enthusiastic amateur, or part of a dedicated cycling club looking for your next challenge, Greece is the word.

1. Athens

The capital may not seem like the most bicycle friendly place, but in fact you can get around many of the must see destinations in Athens quite easily along roads that are light in traffic. Early morning is the best time to tour Acropolis Hill, the Roman Forum, Plaka and Hadrian’s Arch. You can then coast downhill to Piraeus Harbour, from where you might catch a ferry out the islands.

2. Crete

Crete is the largest island in Greece, and arguably one of the most beautiful. With the freedom a self guided bicycle tour allows, you can ride and hike to the Samaria Gorge in the White Mountains, or admire the Minoan architecture of Knossos, Europe’s oldest city. And if your tastes lie more towards flopping onto a pristine white sand beach between pedalling, then Crete has more than enough to satisfy anyone.

3. Cyclades

Greek mythology has it that the Cyclades are so beautiful because they were once nymphs, turned into islands as a punishment from a wrathful Poseidon. Cycling holidays in the Cyclades can be combined with leisurely island hopping through the turquoise Aegean with a private catamaran at your disposal. Brush up your sailing skills, or top up your tan.

4. Messenia

Located in the southwest of the Peloponnese peninsula, Messenia was name checked in Homer’s Iliad. Here you might see the well preserved Palace of Nestor on a hilltop, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius in Bassae, or any of several Venetian castles. Loggerhead sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach at Koroni between June and September, and there are many other attractive coastal fishing communities worth seeking out.
Northern & Central Peloponnese

5. Northern & Central Peloponnese

Easily reached from Athens, the Peloponnese is a veritable treasure trove for lovers of Greek mythology and archaeology. Small group cycling tours lead you around key destinations including the magnificent amphitheatre at Epidaurus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ancient Nemea, Mycenae, and the fetching hilltop town of Nafplio.
Pelion Peninsula

6. Pelion Peninsula

If you really want to escape then make for the Pelion Peninsula, curving in on itself like a crooked elbow, between the capital and Thessaloniki. Tapering down from Volos, the peninsula is dotted with old monasteries, postcard-perfect cottages built of stone, and scented thickets of pine and olive trees. We feel a little guilty at revealing one of the best kept secrets in Greece.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Greece cycling or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.


When to go cycling in Greece

When to go cycling in Greece

Andrew Appleyard from our supplier Exodus, on the best times of year to cycle Greece:
“I love the spring, when the countryside is full of wildflowers, but for me the perfect time is September. The Med is at its warmest, the harvest is underway, and some of the meals you get in these family-run guesthouses and rural fishing villages are just amazing. From sea to table on the same day.”

When to go cycling in Greece

Christos Panagiotopoulos from our supplier Arcas Travel on cycling Greece in the summer:
“Many regions, including Peloponnese, are fine to cycle in summer. The place to be avoided is Crete, where the crowds and the traffic make cycling unpleasant. Crete in the spring or autumn is awesome though. We also don’t recommend cycling and sailing in the summer, as in the Aegean you have very big waves that we call ‘Meltemi’ which can cause delays and rough conditions.”
Must see ancient sites

Must see ancient sites

Andrew Appleyard from our supplier Exodus:
“A personal highlight is Mycenae in the Peloponnese. The well preserved Acropolis, Lion Gate and burial grounds make it easy to imagine life in ancient Greece. I think it’s also worth considering an extra day in Athens at the beginning or end of a trip. Ferry timetables can be irregular, and you want at least a full day to really appreciate the important sites.”
Tips on cycling & sailing

Tips on cycling & sailing

Christos from Arcas Travel gives his vote to the boat:
“Life in a sail boat is simple, but offers you experiences that you can’t find in the most luxurious hotel. Each day we sail for five to six hours, during which we cook, play games, sunbathe and stop in small paradise coves for swimming. It feels fantastic to wake up on the boat and enjoy your breakfast on board getting ready for a day of cycling.”
Accommodation advice

Accommodation advice

Andrew Appleyard from Exodus on what to expect from the accommodation:
“You’ll be staying in a different place every night, and usually that’s in family run guesthouses. Don’t expect great luxury, some of these places won’t have WiFi or a pool. But what they all have in common is a superb location. And groups take it in turns so that everyone gets a sea view at least once!”
Islands or mainland?

Islands or mainland?

Christos from our supplier Arcas Travel on the difference between cycling the Greek islands and the mainland:
“Although Greece is a very mountainous country, most roads are asphalt so even the bigger climbs are very manageable. The islands are more hilly, but daily distances are quite short. On the islands you have beautiful scenery whitewashed houses, amazing beaches and the blue Aegean. With the mainland you have significant archaeological sites, cultural experiences like local wineries, medieval castles and a purer form of Greek living I think, with more opportunities to get to know the locals.”


At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.
We have selected some of the most useful Greece cycling holiday tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday – and the space inside your panniers.
Every hotel was expecting us and had somewhere for us to put the bikes
- Amber Rosenthal
“We travelled during Easter 2016, perfect temperature for cycling during the day, the scent of hot olives and orange blossom greeting us as we meandered through little back roads and dirt tracks we would never have thought of taking if we'd been finding our own route (just turn on the GPS and follow the route - took us right to the hotel door each day)! Every hotel was expecting us and had somewhere for us to put the bikes... Carry a reasonable amount of water but we usually found somewhere to refill on the journey - several of the villages have fountains that you cycle past.” - Amber Rosenthal
“Laconia is ideal for someone who is comfortable on bike, in good shape, and comfortable with different types of cycling – some long straightaways on the road, but also some significant mountain roads - as you would expect in Greece, also a good deal of off-road, but not technical, riding next to the coast and through olive groves made this trip a unique experience. The one other tip I can give is to try to get as early a start each day as you can.” - Andrew Wallace
“I think what I enjoyed the most were the days spent out in the countryside, coming over the pass from Vytina to Piana and down to Tripoli, or the side trip I took to Ostracina. The days cycling through the olive and orange orchards, filled with wildflowers, or the day I got lost and found a tiny church, 10 km from the nearest town, up in the hills… I would also strongly encourage you to add days to the itinerary. I added at the beginning and the end, and am glad I did…We went at the beginning of October, and even so found it rather hot for mid day cycling although the evenings were cool. The sites and towns were not as overcrowded as in high season. .. Learn at least a few words of Greek and the alphabet if you don't already know the language - it is appreciated and gives more opportunity to interact with those you meet. Knowing your letters helps decipher road signs quickly!” - Greg Liebman
“In Messinia you need to be pretty fit as there is a lot of uphill cycling! The last two days were fairly easy going as the coastal road was flat, but the first few days were very hilly and one day especially, we cycled up a mountain and down the other side.” - Alison Whyte
“Don't go in the hot months! We were in Messinia in late July, and were spent at the end of our ride each day.” - Martha Nitzberg
In Messinia you need to be pretty fit as there is a lot of uphill cycling!
- Alison Whyte
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: ADT 04] [Samaria Gorge: GanMed64] [Acropolis of Athens: Carole Raddato] [Minoan palace: Tim Schofield] [Agios Nikolaos island: Klearchos Kapoutsis] [Temple of Apollo Epikourios: Carole Raddato] [Epidaurus Amphitheatre: Richard Barrett-Small] [Peninsula Pelion with Monastery Pau: Heidi B] [Fishing Boat: Heather Cowper] [Cycling in Crete: ADT 04] [Acropolis of Athens: Ronny Siegel] [Sailing Boat: Live Zakynthos] [Accommodation: Agnee] [Islands or mainland: ADT 04] [Cycling group: ADT 04] [Bikes: Christin Hume] [Cycling uphil: ADT 04]