Greece is a fantastic destination for taking a scenic drive on back roads due to its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural history. The country is dotted with picturesque villages, stunning beaches, and rolling hills, making it a visually stunning place to explore. By driving on back roads, you can escape the busy tourist areas and experience the authentic charm of the country.
One of the highlights of a scenic drive in Greece is the opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes. From the rugged mountains of Crete to the rolling hills of Peloponnese and the serene beaches of the Aegean Sea, you'll be constantly amazed by the variety of terrain. The back roads are also a great way to discover some of the lesser-known villages and towns, where you can experience the local culture and customs up close.
In addition to the natural beauty, a scenic drive in Greece also offers the chance to explore the country's rich cultural heritage. The ancient ruins of Delphi, Olympia, and the Acropolis in Athens are just a few of the historical landmarks that can be easily accessed from the back roads. Along the way, you can also visit medieval castles, ancient monasteries, and charming churches, each with its own unique story to tell.
Another reason why Greece is a great destination for a scenic drive is the food. The country is known for its delicious cuisine, and driving on back roads gives you the opportunity to stop at local tavernas and taste traditional dishes like moussaka, tzatziki, and baklava. You can also visit local markets to purchase fresh produce and local products like olive oil, cheese, and honey.
Overall, Greece is a wonderful destination for taking a scenic drive on back roads. The combination of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and delicious food makes it a truly unique and memorable experience. Whether you're looking for an adventure or just a relaxing road trip, Greece is sure to deliver.
Ancient ruins, various museums, narrow streets, small cafés, the Acropolis, or the climatic Old Town are only a few highlights that await you in Athens. It is an extremely colourful city where you can see the blending of Mediterranean, Oriental, and European elements.
Of course, sightseeing around Greece shouldn't be only limited to the capital. An equally interesting place is Delphi, located along the road connecting Thermopylae with the Peloponnese. The city can boast well-developed tourist infrastructure so, apart from interesting landmarks, you'll also find hotels, bars, restaurants, and taverns here.
If you decide to visit Greece in the summer season, you should definitely see Patras, where various theatrical performances are organised. At the end of the carnival season, there is a parade taking place in the city during which you'll meet crowds of tourists and residents wearing colourful and original outfits. The crowning of the event is the burning of a carnival king and a firework show.
Another city worth your attention is Kalambaka, located at the foot of the Metéora rock formation. It is precisely where you can find the famous Orthodox churches that are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Greek map also offers a place with a similar name, Kalamata, which can't boast a great array of landmarks, but is famous for top-quality olive oil.
Probably all travellers heard about such saying as "Spartan conditions" or "Spartan upbringing". They originated in ancient Sparta and refer to its residents who avoided too many pleasures and kept strict discipline in many fields of their lives. Today, the town is eagerly visited by tourists not only due its unique ambience, but also due to its location near Mistras, which serves as an open-air museum.
Greece is a country full of archaeological excavation sites. The most popular ones can be found, among others, in Mycenae, Olympia, and Corinth. Also, you can't really miss Messini, where you'll find the remnants of Arcadian Gate and the Temple of Asclepius. The temple was erected in 215 and had an extremely important political and religious function in the country.
If you want to see the best preserved Greek theatre, you should head for Epidaurus, located in the eastern part of the Peloponnese. The object was built around 300 BC. It is famous for excellent acoustic properties and has been the object of research for many years. Interestingly, it is still used for staging tragedies of famous Greek playwrights.
Greece encompasses so many fantastic places that you can enumerate them endlessly. It's also worth remembering that less known towns are equally interesting in comparison to more touristy places. These include Amfilochia (approx. 40 km from Arta), Larissa, with one of the largest ancient theatres, and Ioannina, nicely located on the western bank of Lake Pamvotida.
Suggested Scenic Drives in Greece
Here are three of the best scenic drives in Greece:
Peloponnese Peninsula Drive: This scenic drive takes you through the rolling hills and lush forests of the Peloponnese peninsula, passing by charming villages and historical landmarks along the way. Highlights of this drive include visits to the ancient city of Mystras and the stunning coastal town of Nafplio.
Santorini Caldera Drive: This scenic drive takes you around the island of Santorini, offering stunning views of the Aegean Sea, the volcano, and the iconic white-washed buildings of the villages. This drive is particularly breathtaking at sunset, when the sun casts a warm glow over the island.
Crete's Samaria Gorge Drive: This scenic drive takes you through the rugged mountain landscape of Crete, passing by olive groves, vineyards, and charming villages along the way. The highlight of this drive is the Samaria Gorge, a stunning natural landmark that is known for its scenic hiking trails.
Each of these scenic drives offers a unique and unforgettable experience, and they're just a few of the many reasons why Greece is a great destination for those who love to explore by car.
Traffic regulations in Greece are similar to those prevailing in other European countries. Motorists drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left side. It is vital to pursue the right-hand rule. Remember! If you enter a roundabout the right of way is yours!
Of course, we can expect speed control while driving around Greece. In built-up areas, the maximum driving speed is 50 km/h and in rural areas, you can drive as fast as 80 km/h. On expressways, you shouldn't exceed the speed of 110 km/h, whereas on motorways, you can drive at the speed of 130 km/h.
While travelling around Greece, having your dipped beam on isn't obligatory during the day unless there are adverse weather conditions. Fastening your seatbelts is, of course, mandatory. Only pregnant women are allowed for some leeway in this respect.
Passengers who are younger than 12 and shorter than 135 cm can't travel on the front seat; however, they can travel on a special child seat adjusted to their height. Talking on the phone while driving is allowed only with a hands-free set. Drinking and driving is severely punished - the blood alcohol content can't exceed 0.05% (0.02% in case of rookie motorists).
Before hitting the road, make sure that you have all the necessary equipment pieces. These include a first aid kit, a warning triangle, and a fire extinguisher. A reflective vest is something worth carrying in your vehicle, especially when you need to leave your car in rural areas.
Continental Greece has a well-developed road infrastructure, owing to which you can easily move between major cities. Motorists can use as many as 2000 km of motorways. Less frequented roads aren't that bad as well. You should be especially cautious on mountain roads, where the asphalt is narrow and surrounded by precipices.
Most of Greek roads are toll roads. However, the tolls aren't fixed but dependent on the vehicle category and the section that you have travelled. The only accepted payment method is cash. Queues to toll gates aren't long so your adventure will be pretty pleasant.
If you are planning to take the Aktio – Preveza Undersea Tunnel or the Rio - Andirio Bridge connecting the Peloponnese with the Balkan Peninsula, you should also prepare an appropriate amount of cash. The tunnel will cost you from 3 to 5 Euro, whereas the bridge will cost you approximately 13-20 Euro.
Greek cities are characterised by the scarcity of parking spaces. You can leave your car only in designated places. Restricted parking zones are usually marked with yellow road signs. Sometimes, motorists are required to purchase parking tickets that can be bought in kiosks. It's also worth remembering that illegal parking may result not only in a parking fine but also in losing your registration plate. Fortunately, most tickets and fines can be reduced by 50% if you pay them on time (maximally 10 days from the day you received them).
When taking a scenic drive on back roads in Greece, it is important to be aware of the following:
Road conditions: Back roads in Greece can be narrow, winding, and poorly maintained, so it is important to drive with caution and be prepared for unexpected obstacles.
Navigation: It can be easy to get lost on the back roads in Greece, so it's a good idea to bring a map or GPS device, or to rent a car with a navigation system.
Fuel: Gas stations can be few and far between on the back roads in Greece, so it's a good idea to fill up when you can and keep an eye on your fuel gauge.
Safety: The back roads in Greece can be isolated, so it is important to take safety precautions such as carrying a first-aid kit and making sure your car is in good condition.
Local laws: Be aware of local laws and customs when driving in Greece, such as speed limits, seatbelt requirements, and alcohol limits.
Weather: The weather in Greece can be unpredictable, so it's a good idea to check the forecast and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather, such as rain or strong winds.
By keeping these things in mind, you can ensure that your scenic drive on the back roads in Greece is a safe and enjoyable experience.
The best time of year for taking a scenic drive in Greece depends on your personal preferences and travel style. Here are some things to consider:
Spring (March to May): Spring is a great time for a scenic drive in Greece as the weather is mild and the countryside is dotted with colorful wildflowers.
Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Greece, and the weather is hot and dry. This can make scenic drives more challenging, but it is also a great time to visit the beaches and enjoy the stunning coastline.
Autumn (September to November): Autumn is another great time for a scenic drive in Greece, with mild temperatures and stunning autumnal colors in the countryside.
Winter (December to February): Winter can be a quieter time for scenic drives in Greece, with some areas experiencing rain and snow. However, the mountain regions can be particularly beautiful during this time.
Ultimately, the best time for a scenic drive in Greece will depend on your personal preferences and travel plans. Whether you're looking to avoid the crowds, enjoy the beach, or explore the countryside, there's a time of year that will suit your needs.