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Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Birmingham, United...
Level Contributor
88 posts
172 reviews
Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Getting excited for my 5th trip to Stoupa! But, to my shame (and because Stoupa is so relaxing and lovely!) I've never gone any further than Ag Nik, and Diros Caves by coach.

I don't drive abroad, never have, but I really want to explore a little so I'm thinking of hiring a car for a day. What are the roads like please? Busy or reasonable? I'm thinking another visit to the caves (the people I'm travelling with have never been) and a mooch around some of the mountain villages above Stoupa.

All advice gratefully received - particularly around driving conditions for a first time driver.


Bury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2,383 posts
137 reviews
1. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Hi Kelly.

I don't drive abroad now following an unfortunate smart car tyre blow out on the McClellan of nowhere in Crete. Mr quite happily stays sober and drives 👍🤣😍🍷

But i would happily drive in the Mani as the roads even in July are very quiet, no traffic lights, wired junctions etc.

For one day, this is what I personally would recommend. Get a good map. Mind you, google maps sat nav did us well this year!

Head to Gythio. Great town reminded me slightly of Symi. We loved the Saga taverna right on the waters edge, then walking over to the island to get a fantastic photo of the town. On the way there or back stop off at Skoutari for a swim. Our favourite beach (takes roughly an hour to her there) quiet with gorgeous water sandy with a few small pebbles as you enter the water. Check the forums as lots of info posted recently about here.

On the way back or there, some great places to stop off at such as Aeropolis (stunning old stone village with great places to wander, photograph, eat / drink and Thalames- traditionalvillahr with huge plane tree on a square with a very good taverna. We always have lots of stop offs. I blame the children and my weak bladders. But really, there are so many places along the way and back that are perfect for splitting the journey and chilling.

Just head south from Stoupa, at be amazed at what you find.

Happy driving!!!

Bristol, United...
Destination Expert
for Messenia Region, Laconia Region, Magnesia Region
Level Contributor
6,756 posts
71 reviews
2. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Hire a car for two days and also do this... Take the road up through Neochori and stop in Pirgos to see the amazing view back down to Stoupa and the coast. Then continue up to Kastania. Park the car in the square and walk up the steep narrow lanes to the 1000 year old, recently restored church of Agios Petros with wonderful carvings on the outside and frescoes within.

Continue through Saidona - there are fantastic views on this stretch of road - and just before you reach Exochori look for a little turning on the right signposted to the Hotel Faraggi (if you go across a bridge you have missed it). Go upstairs to the first floor terrace and prepare yourself for one of the most breathtakingly beautiful views you have ever seen, down into the Viros Gorge. After refreshments, walk on past the hotel along a walled lane and explore the hidden away village centre with ancient houses (some smartly restored) and church.

From Exochori carry on back down to Kardamili where you can have a swim, check out the shops or maybe explore "Old Kardamili" with its beautifully restored tower houses and church.

You will probably encounter no more than half a dozen other vehicles on the whole drive though there is always the possibility of a herd of goats in the road :-)

Destination Expert
for Stoupa
Level Contributor
2,299 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

2bristolians, I completely agree with the route you suggest for the second days car hire. I have walked to all of these villages from Stoupa in the past, and they are amazing....proper Greece.

Bury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2,383 posts
137 reviews
4. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Oh yes 2 days even better!! We stay in the road out of Stoupa to Neohori and the drive that goes up yon and over through true magiestic villages and come out at Kardamyli is certainly worth a mention.

If you are an early riser on tour hols, you may. W lixjly enough to do both. The mountain drive from Stoupa to Kardamyli we find absolutely lovely at dusk.

Why not grab and negotiate that exta day. For dinner in Agios Nikolaos and Kardamyli. 2 fab places for dinner.

Kalamata, Greece
Level Contributor
73 posts
1 review
5. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Driving around Mani is not difficult. Remember a few things:

Always carry your hire agreement, driving licence and passport.

Do not take your eyes off the road for a second

Emergency flashers usually mean the car in front is going to stop / pull off the road

Flashing your headlights usually does not mean "come through" like UK driving

Roads are very quiet but beware of narrow roads where it is not possible for two cars to pass each other

Make sure that you have enough fuel for your journey

Beware of drivers crossing over the middle white lines

Overtaking is something I don't do a lot of.

Sure that you will be fine, it's not difficult but always look ahead for potential problems

Wildlife is everywhere, look out for sheep and goats

There are no traffic lights or roundabouts on the trip around Mani.

Hope this encourages you and not put you off, enjoy the fantastic scenery and stay safe.

Most of the above is what you would do at home?

Level Contributor
444 posts
90 reviews
6. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Kellypop - still here & drove for 1st time this year. Whilst I drive a lot in U.K. (20k miles per year) I found driving here effortless. It really is easy. I think the worst part for me is until you get to Areopoli. From here the roads seem to become wider and more straight.

1 day I'd say Gythieo as a must. 1hr 30mins and not that bad. We did caves then Gythieo.

2nd day - Skoutori for me.

I totally get the other responses but with a 4&7 year old & a wife who loves the beach this was the best options.

Level Contributor
1,414 posts
118 reviews
7. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

I'm going to suggest 3 days :-) , and head to Ancient Messene. One of the best sites in the region, but try and get there early as it gets very hot.

Birmingham, United...
Level Contributor
88 posts
172 reviews
8. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Thank you so much everyone, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear; it sounds doable even for a novice like myself! The two Stoupa car hire companies won't accept bookings for 1 day of hire, so we'll go and see them when we arrive and hope for the best. Not sure about 2 days - we love spending time in Stoupa just being completely relaxed, so may not be able to tear ourselves away (we're only there for a week).

But thank you so, so much!

Merseyside, United...
Level Contributor
146 posts
64 reviews
9. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Agree with much of what's been said. Easy drive down to Areopoli, coffee etc in beautiful old town and pop into [Wood fired] bakery. Drive on to Gythio, pleasant port town[though don't quite see the Symi comparison], then down to Skoutari, which is gorgeous. Also agree with 2bristolians route into the mountains. Did exactly the same yesterday and it was breathtaking. Driving round the Mani is reasonably stress free, little traffic. Also Maria etc at Mani cars, can usually come up with something at short notice.

Edited: 02 August 2017, 21:25
Birmingham, United...
Level Contributor
88 posts
172 reviews
10. Re: Driving around Stoupa - one day out

Just wanted to thank everyone for their advice on this - we did hire a car (Maria and Julia were very helpful and accommodating) and we covered the Caves of Diros, Gythio and Areopoli on our day out. Can't say I loved driving the mountain roads, but that may be in part due to a very nervous husband who isn't a great passenger at the best of times, let alone when he can see sheer mountain drops! Great to get out and bout and see some more of the Mani.

Thanks again.

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