From Patras and after passing the majestic Rion Antirion bridge, we salute the Peloponnese and return to mainland Greece. The landscape changes, the green increases and in the smile of the people we begin to glimpse a memory of the Balkans.
The island of Lefkada remains connected to the mainland by a strip of brackish land, where the road also runs. It is initially easy, but heading south, the situation is constantly getting worse. Once in Vassiliki we take to climb on a long limestone coast, up to the slope towards the west coast of Lefkada. Here the road becomes an increasingly faint track that grows with difficulty between dense forests of maritime pines and tiny villages. The landscape becomes increasingly wild and finally we see the spectacle of Porto Katsiki, a strip of beach surmounted by an impressive limestone cliff and lapped by an electric blue sea. We remain breathless.
Travel tip: reach the beach of Porto Katsiki in the evening of a long summer day, take a bath in the blue sea and remain suspended in the silence and darkness of the night.
From Elafonisos and Monemvasia, the road climbs towards the fingers of the Peloponnese without stopping, curve after curve. Suddenly the splendid Sparta valley appears, green and luxuriant despite the summer heat. Here there is no trace of the times that were, when the Spartans dominated the ancient world, but still transpires a bucolic atmosphere sanctified by pastures and endless flocks of sheep.
After several hours we arrive at Pyrgos, where there is a sudden heat, the dust and the fear of some children who wash the windows at the many traffic lights that block the vehicles along the main road. A certain relief
it captures us when we see the sea again and we follow the dirt road that leads us to the campsite in Glifa.
Travel tip: wait for the sea to flow on the island of Zakynthos, sitting on the little beach of the Camping Ionion Beach
A day of bends and wild roads, a short ferry ride and finally we land on the almost Elafonisos peninsula. To welcome us an unexpected spectacle: a sheet of fine and soft white sand that slopes gently towards a placid and crystalline sea. Diving here is an unforgettable experience at 360 degrees: the water is so clean and transparent that you can observe the seabed for tens of meters, looking for fish and turtles caretta caretta that here still lay their eggs.
Travel tip: enjoy a sunset bath on the island of Elafonisos, out of season, in the silence of the wonderful Simos twin beach, between white dunes and turquoise sea, a stone’s throw from the homonymous Camping Simos
From Epidaurus we move quickly inland to the arid hills, destination of our next archaeological excursion, near the fortified acropolis of ancient Mycenae. We lose ourselves again in the Homeric accounts of Achaeans, Trojans and the love and warlike vicissitudes of the peoples who crossed the Aegean and the Peloponnese in the Archaic period.
In Mycenae we find good friends, an unexpected storm and a little rest after a few days of long journeys.
Travel tip: experience the thrill of being the only guests of the spartan Camping Atreus, right at the entrance to the modern village of Mycenae.
From Delphi we move in the busy direction of Athens but we take the painful decision not to stop, preferring to point directly towards the Peloponnese, which we reach suddenly when we pass over the spectacular Corinth canal. We also cover the historical stages that have filled our studies with notions, places like Salamina, Corinth, Thebes. From here the road proceeds tortuously along the eastern coast of the Peloponnese, until you reach New Epidaurus. Here a quiet town awaits us, good food, lots of new friends and a placid and mild sea.
Not far away, inland, the archaeological site of the ancient Epidaurus appears suddenly and unexpectedly, with its immense and spectacular semicircular theater, with exceptional acoustics, to be considered a worthy symbol of the Greek theater as it has come to us directly from the antiquities.
Travel tip: relax in the quiet bay of New Epidaurus, in the Camping Nicolas, literally one step away from the beach and the seashore.