Top 3 reasons that makes Greece one of the best countries to explore by bicycle

I don’t know much about bicycle touring in different countries as I hardly ever ridden a bicycle on any other country outside Greece (I only did some commuting for an Erasmus semester in Denmark). But when it comes to Greece, I am confident that I know it pretty well. Thus I am going to talk about Greece’s 3 top bicycle touring advantages. What makes Greece one of the best countries to explore by bicycle that is. Let’s start with the first one:

    • It has an extremely mountainous land. With about 80 percent of all Greek land covered in mountains, when you decide to have a trip here you are most certainly going to see a big variety of landscapes. From gorges to picturesque mountain villages and from mountain lakes to ancient places the scenery is ever changing.
Yaniskari beach
From the wild mountains to relaxing beaches, cyclists in Greece can see completely different places in one day.

Even the mountains are different, some are green and full of thick forests some others are rocky and barren. Through the mountains, you are going to experience the magnificent real rural Greece that has been remained virtually untouched by the tourism industry. The sometimes steep gradient will be of course, slowing you down, but if you were too concerned about speed you wouldn’t have chosen bicycle as your transportation mean!

Mountain roads
You rarely see traffic on Greek mountains!

Though the scenery is very important, an other aspect of a mountainous land is may be even more appealing to bicycle tourists. The extremely thin to zero traffic on the mountainous roads. In Greece, when you ride on the mountains you rarely see cars. Sometimes you ride for hours or a whole day without seeing one. For people like me this is quite important!

Mountain gravel road
Countess gravel roads like this makes you wonder why bicycle tourists visiting Greece choose national roads to cross the country?
  • The second point is history and mythology. When you cycle in Greece, every piece of land that you visit has some interesting tales to tell you. You can visit the mountain where Hercules killed the Wild Hog, the most famous oracle of the ancient world, the house of the Greek Gods, the Dragon houses, the tomb of a Centaur and countless others. The options are unlimited. If you are interested to learn the myths and history under this land, you will get lost in a vibrant almost alien world eager to be rediscovered again.
Foloi Foret
A beautiful path in Foloi Forest. The mythical forest – home of Centauri (half man-half horse creatures).
  • The third one is the countless chapels scattered in the Greek land and islands that can provide cozy shelters in wild places.
Achira Chappel
Even when the chapel is closed most of the times it’s still useful!

Some of them dating back to the Byzantine Times, but most of the modern ones were built by villagers close by so they can gather up on name day of the chapels’ saint or people who left their village to move to a big city and wanted to left something behind before they die. But regardless who made them, these little buildings are everywhere!

Tiny Chappel
This tiny chappel was 2x2m but was enough to host 3 people! It protected us from snow and wind!

One time we slept on a chapel which was built by a father as a homage to his daughter who died young on an accident. These places are usually on beautiful and wild isolated spots and can be life savers for bicycle tourists. On mountainous areas these tiny churches have unlocked doors and you can get inside and have a nice sleep without worrying about the harsh elements. A humble but beautiful private hotel!

A chappel for the girl
The chapel has the name of a young girl who died in an car accident. Her father built it as a homage to his daughter. He insisted to spend the night there. It was fantastic!
Achladokastro Chappel
I think this chappel was in Achladokastro village (meaning Pear Castle) and really saved the day as we were struggling with the rain and heavy winds.

I can think of many more great things about bicycle touring in Greece, but I wanted to narrowing it down to only 3 very basic and useful things that truly makes Greece unique.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks for listing these three reasons!

    Never been cycling yet in Greece but on a Dutch cycling forum I read that people like the traffic, drivers are flexible and take care with bikes but off coarse, roads without cars are even better. People also like the food and “coffee-shops” you can find everywhere. There is even a Dutch guide for a tour, see http://www.cyclingeurope.nl/routes/griekenland/index.php

    On the third, the countless chapels, is there a reason you prefer them over a tent? If so what is the reason?

    1. Bicyclosis says:

      Hello Mike!

      I hope someday you will know first hand cycling in Greece! What you mentioned are true, although I don’t know how are the drivers comparing to other countries. I know for sure though, you can find here MANY dangerous drivers.

      About the chapels. I personally rarely use a tent or a chapel. Most of the times I sleep with just a sleeping bag. I have written an article about this here: https://bicycleobsession.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/how-to-sleep-directly-under-the-stars-without-a-tent/

      But, chapels are better than tents in my opinion because:

      – They provide MUCH better protection from cold and wind. I have done both and the difference is incredible. Also if there is a wind tents produce a very loud and annoying noise that can keep you awake all night.

      – Chapels protect you and your stuff much better from the rain. Most of them are big enough to store your bike and your stuff.

      – Chapels are cozy and comfortable compared to a tent.They are just like small houses.

      – If you hide your bike behind the chapel, no one can see you. The definition of stealth camping 🙂

      – Animals can’t get to your food

      – Some chapels have water source

      P.S. The dutch guide seems interesting and practical although I don’t speak a word in Dutch. I trust dutch when it comes to cycling, their bike culture is almost alien to us.

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