3.5-4 hours 285 kilometres
The drive across the Peloponnese to The Ark on a largely empty motorway puts the pleasure back into driving.

  • From Athens airport, take the Attiki Odos motorway to Elefsina.
  • At Elefsina, continue on the Olympia Odos motorway (E94) towards Corinth where a bridge over the Corinth Canal connects the Peloponnese to mainland Greece. It will not be obvious that you have crossed the canal but soon afterwards the motorway splits.
  • Take the lefthand fork signposted to Tripoli / Kalamata onto the Moreas motorway (E65). Be sure to look out for the impressive Acro-Corinth castle crowning the hill on your right.
  • Continue, north of the Argolid, taking in Nemea - one of the finest wine growing regions in Greece through the 1.4 kilometre tunnel under Mount Artemisius emerging onto the plain of Tripoli.
  • Proceed south past the site of the ancient city of Pallantium on your left, across the plain of ancient Asea onto the plain of Megalopoli, ('big town') distinguishable in the distance by its power station.
  • Stay on the E65 following the signs to Kalamata as you bypass forgotten villages such as Paradeisia.
  • After Paradeisia is an impressive arch bridge followed by a major junction signposted to Kyparissia / Patra / Pyrgos. This will take you onto the E55, a straight road leading to the coast. You will see signs to towns with romantic names like Meligalas, ('milk and honey') but do not be tempted to turn off the E55 until you reach Kopanaki.
  • You will also pass a number of petrol stations which is useful if your hire car has a near-empty fuel tank but do not expect an M&S outlet.
  • The first station on your left after leaving the motorway is run by Shell and does sell some groceries (largely drinks, snacks and souvenirs) aimed at tourists disembarking from coaches to use an impressive line up of toilets.
  • When you reach Kopanaki turn right and head for the main square.
  • Kopanaki is the last town on your journey from Athens airport with shops, tavernas and cafés and, depending on the time of day (everything closes from 14:00 until 18:00), your last opportunity to pick up supplies and study our directions for crossing the Neda gorge. This takes about 45 minutes and is the final leg of your journey to The Ark in Ancient Phigaleia.

From Kopanaki

Corinth CanalStop off at the Corinth canal

From Athens
Athens airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" is about 20 kilometres east of Athens on the Attiki Odos. This motorway bypasses the capital making it very easy to reach the Olympia Odos motorway (E94) which leads to Corinth and the Peloponnese.
Athens Airport has all the services you would expect to find at an international airport including car hire, wifi and internet kiosks, shops and restaurants.
Car hire
There are half a dozen car rental companies (including Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and Sixt) operating from 'Arrivals' in the main terminal building. Other companies offer a meet and greet service.

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