How is driving in the Peloponnese?

Old Jan 26th, 2014, 09:37 PM
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Forgot to add that Della's hotel is a good choice. !!
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Old Jan 26th, 2014, 10:18 PM
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Thanks again clausar for the very useful info. What would be a good town or city between Nafplio and Kalambaka where we can spend a night with a little bit to see? I am concerned that 7.5 hours of driving might be a little too much for the hubby esp. if we will be driving through some twisty, mountainous roads. My plan is not to reserve a hotel room and just go to the town where we are planning to break the trip and walk up to a hotel that looks interesting. if hubby is still up for it, we might continue to drive or if he is looking somewhat tired, we will just check in at a hotel. Since we are traveling in the first half of October in the low season, we probably will find a room without a reservation.

If Delphi will get us off the main highway, we will just rather see another interesting town that is along the main highway. we will opt for the more direct route that will have the shortest drive time.
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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The only place where i would overnight between Nafplio and Kalambaka, would be Kamena Vourla.

If you want to split the drive, the other route that includes Delphi is much more scenic , as it will take you to some nice places such as Nafpaktos and Galaxidi ( both located directly on the way to Delphi) and of course you will get to see the famous Rio bridge
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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I'd seriously question the use of burdening yourself with the Greek alphabet.

If you're going off major roads, understanding it helps (though so does some basic understanding of the written language, as well as the ability to communicate to monoglot Greeks). At normal driving speeds, though, few really are able to assimilate upper-case Greek in the time it takes to drive past the sign.

I've driven lots of back roads in the Peloponnese and never really needed to use the skill. In the northern area west of Thessalonica, where Macedonian remains pop up every few kilometres, I've found understanding the alphabet relatively unimportant - but my unusual grasp of the language (which took a decade of my youth to acquire) turned out surprisingly helpful.

I'd really question whether a cheat sheet of the alphabet will get you very far. By all means take one (in BOTH upper and lower case)- but it's far better to take a TomTom programmed for Greek roads.

Take the cheat sheet too. But I wouldn't drive in backroads Greece any more without my TomTom
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 11:31 AM
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@flanneruk

May i ask what is Macedonian and where in Greece you saw it?
If you mean the slavic language, there is not a single road sign in Greece in this language.
All road signs are in Greek and also written in Latin alphabet based on a specific transcription convention.
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Old Jan 28th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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we will definitely take a GPS along. We will either rent from the car rental company or buy our own with European countries programmed in. I haven't done much research on this. I'm guessing it might be cheaper to just buy our own since rental companies charge rental for gps per day, which could add up considering we will be renting the car for about 10 days. If we are going to end up buying our own, I will probably go with a Garmin since I've own one and somewhat familiar with its idiosyncrasies. Any suggestions on the subject of gps ( or satnavs as our Europe based fodorites would call it ) are welcome.
Thanks.
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Old Jan 28th, 2014, 10:48 AM
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In Greece it is called GPS as well
If you own a Garmin, why don't you use this one?
All you need are maps for the countries that you will visit.
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Old Jan 28th, 2014, 12:33 PM
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Athens Car Rental (ACR) at the airport charge eu15 per rental for GPS- good rental car rates too .
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Old Jan 28th, 2014, 02:49 PM
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Tommmo, thanks for the tip. I will google them. Can I book a rental from the States? 15 euro per rental is a good deal. Most US car rental companies charge per day. If you have their website, would you mind sharing that?

Have you finalized your itinerary? We have similar itinerary - Peloponnese and Meteora, and maybe Delphi and Hydra for us wherever we can fit them in. We got a lot of good advice here, we'd better return with a good trip report or some photo journal : )
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Old Jan 28th, 2014, 02:56 PM
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Clausar, I owned a Garmin a few years ago but I had retired her since. She's become quite temperamental and moody - sometimes she wouldn't speak to me at all. Been using my Streets and Maps App on my iPad. But I think this App is only good for US addresses, I don't want to take a chance on relying on it for our driving tour of the Peloponnese and northern Greece.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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www.athens-carrental.com Deal with Nicolas Haddad. We got 14 days for Eu 250 and they come well recommended.
Still working on Peloponnese route but it's coming clearer now - we arrive April 24 from Brisbane, overnight Peri's hotel nearby, pick up car and drive to Nafplion etc.
After Meteora we plan to return car and fly to Rhodes and make our way through Dodecanese and Cyclades for 4 weeks and return to airport via Rafina. As you can see we've done Athens enough and now tend to avoid it.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 05:11 PM
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Tommmo, you have 6 weeks of vacation! 250 euro for 14 days is pretty good deal ( I'm basing that on what 2 week rental in the US would cost ) Are you going to Delphi? If you are, I wonder how you're going to weave that in to your initenerary. Did you call Athens Car Rental and spoke to Nicolas Haddad? I wondered if I book online, how I might possibly get hooked up with Nicolas.

I haven't booked our hotel in Nafplio yet but I already sent an email to Pension Marianna, based on the good reviews Tripadvisor. I like the "cave rooms". Where are you staying in Nafplio? btw, we are going the first week in October.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 05:41 PM
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Email to the Contact address at ACR (above) with subject Attn.Nicolas Haddad.
We will see some hotels on arrival Nafplio - the Leto Hotel,Agamemnon and Isabo hotels all look good in our budget (low)
When you fly from Australia (30+hrs.) it has to be a worthwhile stay.....
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 07:34 PM
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Tommmo, please do report back upon your return. We have almost the same itineraries and going in the off season. Would like to hear about your experience with driving the Greek roads and some of the serendipitous discoveries you had. I'm sure you will have a great time.

I'm tempted to not reserve our hotel in Nafplio since we''re going in the off season. I'm seriously considering just walking up to a hotel that looks interesting and we might even get a better deal doing it that way, not to mention the added flexibililty of staying just right where we end up in upon arrival.
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 12:07 PM
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<<<I'm tempted to not reserve our hotel in Nafplio since we''re going in the off season. I'm seriously considering just walking up to a hotel that looks interesting...>>>

If you want a historically "interesting" hotel for a 1-nighter there is this in nearby Mycenae.

[Past Post]

"I see that there a couple threads up about visiting Mycenae and thought this might be of interest.

The Belle Helene is a 1* hotel in the modern town of Mycenae.
The rooms have a shared bathroom/wc/shower and no heat or AC in 2000.

If you can book room #3 it is definitely worth a stay.

Room #3 is where the famous (or infamous) archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann (discoverer of Troy) stayed for 2yrs while excavating Mycenae.

The room has an antique iron bed and furniture from that period, along with a plaque on the door saying it's the 'Heinrich Schliemann Room'.

The hotel has other history besides Schliemann;
Viginia Woolf, W. Faulkner, Agatha Christie, Claude Debussey have all stayed there.

On the downside so have Himmler, Goering and Goebbels
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 01:19 PM
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We've driven Crete for 3 weeks ,also Naxos,Sifnos,Lesvos,Samos etc. recently without dramas...

You'll find comprehensive trip reports from the missus here........http://www.fodors.com/community/profile/yeshekathy/

The Belle Helene hotel sounds interesting....
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 02:25 PM
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takemewithu --- in Nafplio Off-season, Athina which is right on the central marble-paved square can be a delightful option -- in season it would be too noisy. I also always enjoy Hotel Leto, because it's above the town, looking down on Old Town and the bay, and since its back is to the cliff, all rooms have front balconies on the view. Its breakfast terrace looks out on giant cypresses, and down to the rooftops.

One thing you should be aware of re Nafplio -- one reason it's so delightful (chic shops and very good restaurant fare), is that it is a favorite "getaway"for Athenians, especially on weekends ... so it really does not have an "off-season" (except maybe Nov- Feb) ... in fact, October is a favorite time for Greeks to go there. Yes, you'll get a room, but perhaps not with the view you want, at a price you want.

If you Do decide to wing it, and then find that the places you fancy are booked, take a look at Hotel Victoria -- it's a standard "budget hotel" about 4 floors, sometimes used for tour groups, but its top floor rooms with balconies that look out on Palamidi Fortress are commenable.
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 09:15 PM
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Rostra, thanks for the info. Unfortunately, the shared bathroom is a deal breaker for us. I did look up Belle Helene, it looks like a very interesting hotel with lots of history.

Traveljean, thanks for the recs. I will look up Hotel Victoria. Good idea to have a back up, just in case we couldn't find lodging and it's actually going to be for 4 or 5 nights. I'm still fine tuning our itinerary. We will probably stay in Nafplio for 5 nights if we can day trip to Monemvassia or Hydra.

If I'm going to reserve our hotel, I'm considering Pension Marianna in Nafplio. It has some great reviews on Tripadvisor. I think I mentioned in my earlier posts, the "cave room" sounds very interesting. Anybody on here who has stayed at Pension Marianna, please share your experience and what you think of the property. They quoted me 75 euros, all in, 'with breakfast. It sounds reasonable to me.
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 09:41 PM
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Marianna is an excellent choice, i have stayed there in the past.
Just keep in mind that there are quite some steps to get to the central square of Nafplio ( Syntagma Square) and that also parking near the hotel is impossible.

I would not do a day trip to Monemvasia, it is too far away, and there is too much to see on the way. Why don;t you spend one night in Movemvasia? it is absolutely worth it in my opinion.

If you happen to be in Nafplio between the 26th and the 28th of October, keep in mind that the 28th is a bank holiday in Greece . Nafplio will be very busy !( and so will be every other destination near Athens)
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 12:15 PM
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<<<The Belle Helene hotel sounds interesting....>>>

Well I must say it was my most "interesting" hotel stay ever .

It was January 2000, I arrived ~3pm and was given the front door key and then the desk clerk left.
I was the *only* guest and when I left ~3pm the next day the hotel was still empty.

[Past snipped post]

I arrived at the Hotel Belle Helene ~1500, a young man was sitting in front of a portable heater. I asked if room 3 was available and it was so I took it happily, I was going to sleep in Heinrich Schliemann's room!!!
He gave me my room key and a key to the front door "in case I found it locked".
I drove over to the site to pick-up a guidebook, when I returned the door was locked. I spent a few hours in my room reading my guides and internet notes on the site.
I head downstairs to go out to dinner, the hotel is still empty and dark, no other guests or owners.
At dinner I have a bottle of wine with my meal and head back to my still empty hotel.
I go to bed but the room is freezing, I can see my breath! I have all the clothes I can possibly have on plus the extra blankets in the closet and I'm still cold.
I want to leave and drive to another hotel but I have been drinking so that's out.
I'm even running the hot water in the sink hoping the steam will warm up the room.
I go downstairs but can't find the light switches it's pitch dark, I was hoping to turn on the portable heater.
I go over to the bar and pour myself a couple of shots of whiskey to warm up.
I finally get to sleep.
The next day I left my luggage behind the front desk and go and explore Mycenae, I return late afternoon to a still empty hotel. I leave the keys and a tip, more so to pay for the whiskey.
Later I checked into a 4* hotel (Amelia) and turned up the heat.
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