I’ve got a total soft spot for Greece… from the stunning Greek Islands like; Santorini, Mykonos, Samos and Skiathos, to more hidden areas that are just as charming but that little bit lesser-known, Greece has it all!

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Now, I’m no stranger to the fact that my love of Greek food has a lot to do with my bias for visiting Greece but there’s so much more to this incredible country than just its amazing food and gorgeous islands. That’s why we finally decided to hop over to the mainland, away from the islands and somewhere that was totally different.

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Over the course of 7 days on the mainland, we decided to explore the more westerly fringes, flying in from Athens and making our way towards the West coast, which was incredible! With our little car, Yaya’s terrible map reading (he really is that bad) and a whole load of stops, we saw some stunning sites that you just have to see when you visit.

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Take a look at our complete guide on what to see, do and eat whilst travelling around Mainland Greece.

Getting around 

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Okay, so it’s you’ll either arrive by car, train, boat, plane, or NASA style rocket… the latter being the obvious choice! 🚀

Car hire: Depending on which way you choose, you might need to pick up a hire car from your place of entry. This can be done in most places like Airports and even train stations where they will wait for you with the car to arrive.

Flights: We flew in via London on Aegean Airlines straight to Athens, though you can always choose different airports and airlines in the region depending on what suits you best. If you’re flying from outside London or from a different country, you might find other carriers provide direct flights to Athens (or the west coast).

Trains: Once we arrived in Athens Airport, you can actually take the train west to some of the larger towns without any need to drive. This is a great option if you don’t want to drive long distances but, if you do drive, rent a car and explore some of the places outside of towns themselves. You won’t be disappointed.

What to eat?

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As I’ve already rambled on about, Greece has some of my favourite food! It doesn’t matter when or where I visit in the country, I always seem to gorge on everything. #NoRegrets 🤣

If you’re wanting to try some of Greece’s most yummy dishes, make sure to read our post on the most delicious meals to have in Greece.

Read more: 12 Incredible meals to eat when in Greece

Your 1-week plan for visiting Mainland Greece

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Day 1

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8:45: Arrive into Athens and either first thing in the morning (or the night before) and take the train to Kiato Train station which is about 1-1.5 hours west of Athens Airport. Train tickets are relatively cheap, especially if you’re visiting from places like the UK. Our tickets were about €11 or so.

10:20: Arrival at Kiato station and pick up your rental car. We got ours from Avance who picked us up from the station itself.

10:30: Drive over to the citadel of Nafpaktos, the drive itself will take around 1 hours. One of the biggest draws of Nafpaktos has to be its history, around 3 millennia of influence and culture that has been pretty turbulent, especially with its key position on the Corinthian Gulf.

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12:30:  Check-in to Apollon Library Suites which is situated within the town itself.

They have a gorgeous little courtyard for breakfast and each room is themed around different Greek folklore. 

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13:00: Explore the neighbourhoods of this citadel and walk the coastal route to see the gorgeous Venetian harbour, mighty Antirrio Castle castle and intimate beaches (Psani and Gribovo) all before an essential foody stop-off for lunch in one of the fresh fish restaurants that line the harbourfront.

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Keep your eyes peeled for Botsaris’ Tower, a 15th-century and town clock dating from the early 20th Century.

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For a tasty bite head over to Ev-oinos or Papoulis tavernas, or, for a good coffee head over to Gribovo café.

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15:00: After filling your tummy and exploring Nafpaktos, head to Agios Nektarios Monastery (in Τrikorfo), which is about 10km away from Nafpaktos itself. Perched in the mountains, overlooking the Corinthian Gulf, this monastery houses the largest bell tower in all the world.

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Make sure to know the door hard when you arrive, the monks will then come to greet you and show you around (free of charge).

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20:00: Head down the promenade and grab a bite to eat at Sousouro.

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Here you’ll get to try some authentic Greek cuisine and some delicious local wines.

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22:00: Catch some well-earned zzzzzz’s

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Day 2

08:00: Today is going to be a bigger driving day to head north to the iconic Meteora near the Greek town of Kalambaka. The drive will take around 3.5 hours from Nafpaktos so make sure to have a big sleep and lots for breakfast.

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11: 30: Arrive In Kalambaka and head straight across to Meteora for a day of exploring. Built on the top of some pretty epic rock pillars, this range of Eastern Orthodox Monastary’s are some of the most important in the world.

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Spend the day enjoying sites such as The Monastery of Great Meteoron, St. Nicholas Anapausas and the stunning Holy Trinity Monastery They really are an incredible place. Entry to many of the monasteries is a few Euro per place. Just remember to wear modest clothing and always cover shoulders for women.

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18:00: After visiting Meteora, grab a bite to eat at Taverna Gardenia that serves up some of the tastiest stuffed peppers and moussaka. They’re based pretty close to the church in Kastraki, Kalambaka.

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20:00: Spend the night in Kalambaka in one of the independent guest houses you’ll find in the town itself.

Read more on visiting Meteora, right here

Day 3

8:00: Depart Kalambaka for the small town of Agrinio. This drive will be just under 3 hours (so make sure to have a nice frappe to start the day).
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11:00: Check into the Marpessa Smart Luxury Hotel in the town of Agrinio. Either stay in the hotel itself or book yourself into their newly-opened Marpessa Estate, beside Trichonis Lake. The Estate is around 25 minutes drive from Agrinio and situated right on one of Greece’s largest lakes – Trichonis Lake.
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Make sure to grab a lunch in the Marpessa Smart Luxury Hotel before heading across to the estate.
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13:00: Take a drive to Messolongi where you’ll be able to visit the Garden of Heroes, the Museum of History and Art housed in the Old Mayor’s House, the mansions of the Trikoupis and Palamas families, and the statue of renowned Greek poet Kostis Palamas. The drive will take you around 40-50 minutes.
16:00: Drive to Tourlida. During your journey, you will see the pelades, fishermen’s huts built on stilts over the water, and fish farms for eels, sea bream, sea bass and bafa (mullet).
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18:00: Drive back to Agrinio for dinner at Marpessa Smart Luxury Hotel.
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19:00: Grab some cocktails from the bar or take some time to chill and relax before another day exploring Greece.
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 Day 4

10:00: Breakfast on the rooftop at your hotel
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12:00: Drive to Etoliko, 10km northwest of Messolongi (30km from Marpessa Hotel). It’s a tiny, densely-populated island in the Etoliko Lagoon connected to the mainland by two arched stone bridges that are historic monuments. Fondly called, Little Venice, Etoliko is a gorgeous little island village to explore.
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Don’t forget, If you drive the old road for Finikia, you will see salt marshes in the shallow waters of the lagoon and the Panagia Finikia church.
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15:00: Tour of the National Park of Messolongi Lagoon and explore this pretty region of Greece.
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17:00: Drive across to Hotel Althaia that’s perched overlooking Trichonida lake, which is about 4 km (or 3 miles) from Thermo.
Head here an hour or so before sunset and grab a seat on the outside terrace. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset and enjoy some authentic Greek cuisine that’s made with locally sourced ingredients. 😋
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Day 5

09:00: Head for a rooftop breakfast above Marpessa Smart Luxury Hotel and fill up before a long day ahead.
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11:00: Depart Agrinio for a longer drive south.
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11:30: On the way, make sure to make a little stop at Zoodochou Pigis Church that’s perched right on the cliff face.
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11:45: after a quick pit stop, keep heading south for Katakolo, around 1-1.5 hours away.
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13:00: Head for lunch and a quick stroll across the harbour front. A great place to eat is To Kyma that serves some of the freshest seafood from the area.
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14:00: After filling your tummy, head for a little stroll around the intimate Museum of Ancient Greek Technology that has over 3,000 years of history in one place. It’s pretty small so you’ll easily get around this museum in about 15-20 minutes.
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14:30: head out in the car, south, down the coast towards Pilos and Costa Navarino. The drive itself follows the Mediterranean coast so make sure to take lots of stops to admire this incredible view.
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16:30: Arrive in Costa Navarino and take some time to relax in your room and private pool… all well-deserved after your 4-hour drive.
20:30: Grab a bite to eat at Flame.
22:00: Catch some Zzzzz’s
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Day 6

10:00: Grab yourself some breakfast and a frappe at the Morias Restuarant or just head down to the beachside terrace bar.
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11:00: Spend some time enjoying the unspoilt beach that surrounds this region.
Just make sure to pack some sunblock and extra shades! 🕶
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14:30: Head for lunch at Kafeneio with traditional and local songs around the table. It really is a special experience.
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16:00: Rent an electric bike and explore some of the stunning regions that surround Costa Navarino. Perfectly unspoilt and undeveloped, it really is a gorgeous place.
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20:30: Head for dinner at Da Luigi and enjoy some delicious Italian cuisine that was actually part of this region when the Venetians took control hundreds of years ago.
22:00: Catch some zzzz’s

Day 7

09:00: Grab breakfast before checking out of Costa Navarino
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10:30: Drive towards the Castle of Methoni which is over 800 years old which was once home to the Venetians, the Ottomans and now the Greeks. Steeped in history, it’s one stunning castle you’ve got to see on your visit.

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12:30: After exploring the castle, head over to the sleepy and beautiful little town of Gialova. Set on the coastal fringe, it’s a great spot for a bite to eat before you leave Greece. Stroll the waterfront and find a restaurant that takes your fancy – there are quite a few and all local haunts that are well worth enjoying.
14:00: Drive back to Kiato station which will take around 3 hours.
17:00: Arrange to meet your rental car provider at the train station and hop on board the train straight to Athens Airport. Make sure you validate your train tickets before you board the train – no one likes to be fined.
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21:00: Depart Athens on an evening flight. Read more on exploring Methoni Castle and Gialova, right here
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Want to include some islands too? Make your trip a little longer by visiting (and reading our guides on):

Santorini | Corfu | Samos | Mykonos 



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