The Saronic gulf & Troezen
Day 1: Arrival - meeting in Athens
The first night is in a hotel in the center of Athens next to the colorful and lively central market and very close to all major attractions of the historic center (Akropolis, Plaka etc), very easy to reach with public or private transport.
You make your own way to the hotel (airport transfer available on request) and we meet in the evening to go out for dinner in a typical Greek tavern in the center.
Day 2: Athens - Methana
Transfer to Methana via Corinth Canal and Epidaurus. Scenic stops along the way.
In a private minibus, we will drive around the northern coast of the Saronic gulf and reach the famous Channel of Corinth after approx. 1 hour. We'll have a short coffee and photo stop to admire this amazing construction exposing impressive geology in the steep vertical walls of the canal.
An hour later, we reach and visit the famous Ancient Theater of Epidauros, the most significant of all classic Greek theaters and still in use today.
After the visit, we'll stop for lunch in the small picturesque port of Epiaurus town, and later continue along a very scenic, often dramatic route around the Gulf and reach Methana in the late afternoon.
Day 3: Methana: hike to the central crater
Starting from our hotel at the seaside we follow an ancient trail that leads us to the center of the peninsula, where a circular depression with old vineyards marks the location of a possible old caldera. After a picknick break, we continue our hike along another old trail with gorgeous views and many ancient and prehistoric artefacts to discover in the surrounding fields. We finally reach Methana town in the afternoon.
Day 4: The historic lava dome and the Mycenean Akropolis
We drive to the northwestern part of the peninsula and climb to the summit plateau of the lava dome that formed in the volcano eruption of that 3rd century BC, described by Pausanias. Impressive, unique lava formations await us! After descending, we hike down to the coast for a break in a tavern at the tiny, but cozy harbour of Vathy.
From there, it is 30 minutes on foot along the coast to reach the Ancient Akropolis of Methana, which is only partially excavated, but an impressive landmark to illustrated the needs of defence 4000 years ago.
If time and circumstances permitting, we might afterwards continue our hike to study the contact between the limestone bedrock and the oldest volcanic layers, or simply enjoy the landscape on our way back over a low saddle to return to the eastern side and Methana town. Alternatively, we might take taxis and shorten the way back.
Day 5: Poros island & the Mycenean acropolis & the homeland of Theseus
After two full days of hiking, we take a break today: in the morning, we head for the important archeological remains of Ancient Troizina near Galatas, visit them leisurly, and also take a short walk into the famous Devil's Gorge, an important water source for the extremely fertile area.
Later, we continue to visit picturesque Poros island with its lively seaside, and the labirynth of narrow streets and stairs around an old lava dome, inviting to stroll around and get lost... In the afternoon or early evening, we return to Methana.
Day 6: Climb to one of the summits of Methana
We start from the area we had reached on our first day, but take a different trail from there and ascend Profitis Ilias, the most impressive lava dome in the northern sector. After about 45 minutes, we reach its summit plateau where ancient cisterns, walls and other remnants show that it has used for millennia as a natural shelter. Breathtaking views over the other mountains, the blue Saronic Guld and distant Attika and Peloponnese await.
After a long while spent exploring this unique place, we descend and choose another tail to reach either the northern or northeastern shore, depending on our mood, weather etc. A well-deserved drink or refreshment awaits us in a local seaside tavern or cafe!
Day 7: Traverse Methana from west to east, fumaroles on a beach
Starting from the typical mountain village of Megaolochori 15 minutes drive from our hotel on the western side, we take ancient trails to traverse the peninsula - at least we will try! The route is passing trough very varied landscapes including typical Mediterranean macchia, small forests, over rocky terrain, small valleys, along old vineyards, olive and almond plantations. Along the way, we discover numerous prehistoric and ancient remains such as wine presses carved from giant rocks at least 2-3000 years old, cisterns, abandoned villages from the 19tht century and more.
After descending on the east side, we finally arrive on a lonely beach in a forgotten bay, once home to a small harbour in Roman times, where fumaroles deposit sulphur and other minerals from vents along a fault line that passes the beach. From there we return to Methana town in the late afternoon (probably shorten the way by calling a taxi).
Day 8: Transfer to the airport Athens
After a relaxed breakfast, we will drive back towards the airport of Athens (about 2,5 hours drive), where we arrive normally by around 13.00 (depending a bit on the group's needs). If some of the group need to be at the airport significantly earlier, it can be arranged at extra cost.
The tour starts and ends in Athens airport (ATH). On request, other nearby locations for pick-up or drop-off can be arranged.
The tour can be done at individual dates on request!
The tour is normally guided either by German volcanologist Dr. Tom Pfeiffer or photographer Tobias Schorr. Both have been traveling to the volcanic areas of Greece including the Saronic Gulf for more than 20 years.
Tom finished his PhD studies about the great Minoan eruption of Santorini and spends much of his time in Athens. His friend Tobias, with whom Tom alternates on this tour, is a true specialist for Greece in general: he has lived permanently on Methana for about 10 years and has been returning ever since. He perfectly knows the culture and history, people, flora, fauna and of course geology. He is legendary for his good eye and often discovering rare minerals, plants, animals, or hidden archeological artifacts during the various excursions.
Tom Pfeiffer and Tobias Schorr