To get to Kythera it’s necessary to take a ferry or a plane. Planes leave from Athens daily taking around an hour. Ferries leave from Kissamos in Crete and Piraeus, Athens. However, we’d opted to fly to Kalamata, pick up a hire car at the airport and spend the day driving down the Peloponnese to Neapolis. The Neapolis ferry left the next morning, so we booked a room at the Hotel Arsenakos in Neapolis for the night. Right from the word go, everything went like clockwork. We picked up our car at the airport and within the hour we were driving out of the airport and into a local Lidl to stock up with drinks and snacks for the journey.
Driving in the Peloponnese
Kalamata to Neapolis is 211km so expect to be on the road for 3.5 to 4 hours. Once out of Kalamata the drive was surprisingly relaxing, mostly country roads or brand new dual carriageway. Have plenty of change as most of these were toll roads. The total toll charges amounted to less than 20 euros in all, they were were worth it for us because they cut journey time down and made the route easier. I’m not sure how tranquil the drive would have been if we’d had a deadline, the route takes you through rural areas & country villages, they’re very scenic but you can get stuck behind farm traffic with little or no opportunity to pass.
The journey runs through beautiful countryside and mountain passes with olive groves and idyllic villages and then with glimpses of the Aegean before dropping down to the coast; if you ever take this route, give yourself plenty of time, you won’t regret it it’s a great way to start a holiday.
We arrived at Neapolis unstressed and ready to go out for the evening, but had taken our time getting there – around 5 hours. If you’ve never driven abroad before, driving in the Peloponnese is probably the easiest, stress-free christening you could ever hope for.
We liked Neapolis a lot, it’s quite dusty and a little down at heel; just a strip of coast really. I’m not sure if many non-Greeks visit. But it’s small, friendly, peaceful and has a lovely beach. We didn’t hear much English spoken and nothing much was written in Latin script, this made choosing and ordering dinner an adventure, in the end we had the nicest fish I think I’ve ever tasted.
The next morning it was a matter of crossing the road & driving onto the ferry to Kythera, saying goodbye to the Peloponnese and on to the next adventure.