Switzerland - Greece

snowman

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Περιοχή
Zürich - Switzerland
Όνομα
Heiko
Μοτό
BMW R1200GS LC
Dear fellow riders!

Let me introduce myself first: My name is Heiko, living in Switzerland, married to a lovely greek lady, got two great boys 12 and 14 years old.
We were living for almost 20 years in the United Arab Emirates (did a lot of off-roading there and also in Oman:)), back in switzerland since five years.
My wife is from Piraeus, in our holidays we are almost all the time in Lemnos, where we meanwhile also have a little house.

So this year i finally can get all my holidays (9weeks). My plan is to ride the bike in spring to Greece, Lemnos. I have 3 weeks time. I would leave the bike there for the summer holidays, so i can ride around with my family. In autumn i will fly to Lemnos and ride back, again within 3 weeks.

Going to Greece my plan is to keep north, coming back in autumn it would be south along the coasts.

Now i hope that you might help me with some advice on what to do, what not to do, where to stay... in a first step the northern route in spring.
Here are my first travel plans:

Day 1: Zürich - Lugano
Day 2: Lugano - Ancona - Igoumenitsa
Day 3: Igoumenitsa - Kalpaki - Ionnina
Day 4: Ionnina - Preilio - Melates - Mousaki - Kalambaka
Day 5: Kalambaka - Metsovo - Koukouli - Konitsa - Vasilitsa
Day 6: Vasilitsa - Elatochori - Kipoureio - Fourka - Kastoria
Day 7: Kastoria - Vigla - Voras - Notia - Thessaloniki
Day 8: Thessaloniki (stay in town?)
Day 9: Thessaloniki - ? - Kavala
Day 10: Kavala - ? - Alexandroupulis - ? - Kavala
Day 11: Kavala - ? - Sidironero - ? - Kavala
Evening Day 11: Ferry Kavala - Lemnos

The route is very zig-zag, but that's on purpose. Maybe i want to change the route on the go, I like to be flexible.
I want to try to avoid any highways, have as many twisty roads as possible and of course gravel roads...
I carry my tent with me, but preferable i stay in AirBnB or small Hotels > any good ideas on that route?

So I don't really know if some of the days will be just too much. It is very easy to find the twisty roads on google maps, but only you guys know how the roads in reality are.

I will start my trip on the 22.05.... So any advice till then would be very appreciated!!
Thanks!

Regards
Heiko
 

a2in

Μέλος
Όνομα
Άρης
Μοτό
Varadero 1000
Hi Heiko, welcome to the forum.
The trip that you are planning sounds awesome, and I truly hope that the experience will be something to remember for a really long time (also, I am a bit jealous).
I am certain that a few folks from this forum will have recommendations for you really soon; I personally am not from the Northern part of Greece, so I can't be of much help. I would however recommend the following from a logistics/practicality point of view:

  1. Make sure you get local road-side assistance, it sucks being stuck on the side of the road especially in the back-trails.
  2. While the mobile network coverage in Greece is pretty good, don't count on having mobile data everywhere; carry a paper map.
  3. I am certain you have heard this before, but please steer clear of local drivers... let's just say that they don't know how to drive and leave it at that...
  4. Count on wildlife (usually rabbit sized animals) crossing the road, nothing stopping them on our roads.
  5. If / when you come across other riders on the road / roadside stops, count on 99% chance of them getting out of their way to provide any assistance you might require.
Apologies if you already know all this.
Have a great one and don't be afraid to ask any questions you might have.

Aris
 

snowman

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Zürich - Switzerland
Όνομα
Heiko
Μοτό
BMW R1200GS LC
Hi Heiko, welcome to the forum.
The trip that you are planning sounds awesome, and I truly hope that the experience will be something to remember for a really long time (also, I am a bit jealous).
I am certain that a few folks from this forum will have recommendations for you really soon; I personally am not from the Northern part of Greece, so I can't be of much help. I would however recommend the following from a logistics/practicality point of view:

  1. Make sure you get local road-side assistance, it sucks being stuck on the side of the road especially in the back-trails.
  2. While the mobile network coverage in Greece is pretty good, don't count on having mobile data everywhere; carry a paper map.
  3. I am certain you have heard this before, but please steer clear of local drivers... let's just say that they don't know how to drive and leave it at that...
  4. Count on wildlife (usually rabbit sized animals) crossing the road, nothing stopping them on our roads.
  5. If / when you come across other riders on the road / roadside stops, count on 99% chance of them getting out of their way to provide any assistance you might require.
Apologies if you already know all this.
Have a great one and don't be afraid to ask any questions you might have.

Aris
Dear Aris
thanks a lot for your advice!
  1. Is there a Greek road side assistance you could recommend?
  2. Got a paper map...
  3. Heard about the local drivers... I just assume nobody sees me
  4. Rabbit, ok,....sto furno
  5. Awesome!
Thanks,Heiko
 

a2in

Μέλος
Όνομα
Άρης
Μοτό
Varadero 1000

snowman

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Zürich - Switzerland
Όνομα
Heiko
Μοτό
BMW R1200GS LC
Hello, Heiko. Ι could provide some info on the Thessaloniki Kavala Sidironero Kavala Alexandroupoli route. Late May is the right time...not too much heat but warm enough to enjoy riding...at least when you are close to the sea...
Hi al800
that would be great, got any gps files to share?
My idea is to have a base in Kavala and leave some luggage there and make day trips. Would that make sense? Or is it better to stay somewhere over night and then come back to Kamala for the ferry later?
Regards
Heiko
 

snowman

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Zürich - Switzerland
Όνομα
Heiko
Μοτό
BMW R1200GS LC

al800

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Νέα Πέραμος Καβάλας
Όνομα
Al
Μοτό
?
Hi al800
that would be great, got any gps files to share?
My idea is to have a base in Kavala and leave some luggage there and make day trips. Would that make sense? Or is it better to stay somewhere over night and then come back to Kamala for the ferry later?
Regards
Heiko
Unfortunately I use google maps create maps and usually print them and memorise them as much as I can. I think you could use Kavala as a base if you will stay on tarmac. if you want to follow off road routes then maybe spend the night on different place. there are nice places to stay.
 

a2in

Μέλος
Όνομα
Άρης
Μοτό
Varadero 1000
Couple more things snowman
When moving around Thesaloniki, especially when using the main highway that passes just outside of it, there is a forest known locally as "Seix Sou", you can see it here on Gmaps Seych Sou
There have been multiple reports over the years of wild boar crossing the highway, so unless you want boar for diner, keep an eye out.
Also, wrt camping, while open camping is "illegal" , no one really cares; that being said, if you plan to camp outside a proper camping area, be wary of illegal big-game poachers, they tend to hunt (with shotguns) at nights.

Sorry , don't mean to sound scary, better safe than sorry though.
 

snowman

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Zürich - Switzerland
Όνομα
Heiko
Μοτό
BMW R1200GS LC
Couple more things snowman
When moving around Thesaloniki, especially when using the main highway that passes just outside of it, there is a forest known locally as "Seix Sou", you can see it here on Gmaps Seych Sou
There have been multiple reports over the years of wild boar crossing the highway, so unless you want boar for diner, keep an eye out.
Also, wrt camping, while open camping is "illegal" , no one really cares; that being said, if you plan to camp outside a proper camping area, be wary of illegal big-game poachers, they tend to hunt (with shotguns) at nights.

Sorry , don't mean to sound scary, better safe than sorry though.
Thanks! I love wild boar! But on the spit.... In Lemnos we used to go to a place called Petrino chorio... they had the best!
But I wasn't aware that you guys have so many wild animals on the road, I guess I need to watch out for that.
Wild camping I think I wouldn't do, unless I'm somewhere i really like and am too lazy to drive back. Also I just don't know, if end of May the rooms are already available (cause of corona) or not. So that's why I also take the tent with me.
 

snpl

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Βιβ λα Φρανς
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Σπύρος
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Teneke II
Hi Heiko!

I live close to Geneva and I do part of your itinerary twice per year.

Some comments for the Ancona - Igoumenitsa ferry crossing :
Currently there are 2 lines serving this route : Minoan and Anek/Superfast. Both do the same time for the crossing which is around 16 hours assuming no delays occur. In reality expect always around 1/2 to 2 hour delay. They have different departure times. Minoan leaves at 19:30 and arrives 17:00. Anek leaves at 16:30 and arrives 09:30.
It is advisable that you are 2 hours before departure to the check in station of the port as check-in times due to covid might vary a lot. Embarkation and de-embarkation times may vary depending on the load. Regarding de-embarkation keep in mind that depends really on which garage they park you. You might be able to negotiate your parking position on spot if the boat is relatively empty. I have a preference on the anek time schedule especially since on the summer months arrives even earlier. This gives you the whole day to enjoy even in the unlikely event of having 3 hours delay. Otherwise if you select Minoan it might be a good choice to have already pre-selected and booked the place to stay. This you can do even on boat since reception is quite good when you approach Corfu and the Albanian coast.

I would suggest that once you reach Ioannina you take the time and explore Pindos National Park (Zagoria Villages and Vikos Gorge, Aoos lake and Vovousa area, Smolikas mountain and Valia Kyrna area). This area is located North/North-East of Ioannina. It can easily take you 2 days driving around this area. I can provide you more details for things to see if you are interest.
Another alternative could be to explore Tzoumerka National Park (Aracthos river and Plaka Bridge, Kipinas Monasteri, Chrousias river and adjacent Syrrako and Kalarrites Villages, Lakmos mountain and Chaliki Village). This area is located South-East/East of Ioannina. And can also take you 2 days exploring.
Irregardless of the time you decide to spend on these areas keep in mind that both areas although they have deceivingly small routes in terms of kilometers it takes quite a lot time to drive through. I would say you should calculate an minimum an hour for every 40klm. For example The route Ioannina-Metsovo through Kalarrites and Chaliki although is only around 120klm you will need at around 4hours of driving.

Cheers

Spyros
 

snowman

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Zürich - Switzerland
Όνομα
Heiko
Μοτό
BMW R1200GS LC
Hi Heiko!

I live close to Geneva and I do part of your itinerary twice per year.

Some comments for the Ancona - Igoumenitsa ferry crossing :
Currently there are 2 lines serving this route : Minoan and Anek/Superfast. Both do the same time for the crossing which is around 16 hours assuming no delays occur. In reality expect always around 1/2 to 2 hour delay. They have different departure times. Minoan leaves at 19:30 and arrives 17:00. Anek leaves at 16:30 and arrives 09:30.
It is advisable that you are 2 hours before departure to the check in station of the port as check-in times due to covid might vary a lot. Embarkation and de-embarkation times may vary depending on the load. Regarding de-embarkation keep in mind that depends really on which garage they park you. You might be able to negotiate your parking position on spot if the boat is relatively empty. I have a preference on the anek time schedule especially since on the summer months arrives even earlier. This gives you the whole day to enjoy even in the unlikely event of having 3 hours delay. Otherwise if you select Minoan it might be a good choice to have already pre-selected and booked the place to stay. This you can do even on boat since reception is quite good when you approach Corfu and the Albanian coast.

I would suggest that once you reach Ioannina you take the time and explore Pindos National Park (Zagoria Villages and Vikos Gorge, Aoos lake and Vovousa area, Smolikas mountain and Valia Kyrna area). This area is located North/North-East of Ioannina. It can easily take you 2 days driving around this area. I can provide you more details for things to see if you are interest.
Another alternative could be to explore Tzoumerka National Park (Aracthos river and Plaka Bridge, Kipinas Monasteri, Chrousias river and adjacent Syrrako and Kalarrites Villages, Lakmos mountain and Chaliki Village). This area is located South-East/East of Ioannina. And can also take you 2 days exploring.
Irregardless of the time you decide to spend on these areas keep in mind that both areas although they have deceivingly small routes in terms of kilometers it takes quite a lot time to drive through. I would say you should calculate an minimum an hour for every 40klm. For example The route Ioannina-Metsovo through Kalarrites and Chaliki although is only around 120klm you will need at around 4hours of driving.

Cheers

Spyros
Dear Spyros
great input, thanks!
i haven’t bought the ticket for the ferry yet. But I’ll do this the next days. My preference is Anek with a single cabin. good you mentioned delay and the time to get on and off.
The routes you mentioned I’ll check tonight. Maybe I’ll post what I have so far (how is best to post here?)
Any gps data or google routes would be great if you have and don’t mind to share.
i was afraid that my planning per day is a bit to long, like 300km a day throu mountains is too much. Thanks for the guidance of maximum 40km/hour, that helps a lot!
cheers, Heiko
 

snpl

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Βιβ λα Φρανς
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Teneke II
Hi Heiko,

I will try to make a gpx to share with you but it will take me one two days. In the worst case I will just mention you point of interests and villages and you can make the route which you like best.

Cheers
 

Spyrious

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Περιοχή
Ιωάννινα
Όνομα
Σπύρος
Μοτό
00' TL1000R,09' 990 Adventure,94' TTR250
Hello and welcome!
Hallo und Herzlich Willkommen!
I live in Ioannina and can recommend you some routes.To arrive to ioannina from Igoumenitsa you can follow the old national road which has nice scenery and is also twisty.


For the next day if you plan to go north to Zagori region,here are some interesting points


For the other day you can follow the Baros pass (Baros pass is a must visit road) through Kalarites and then Meteora something like this


There are many alternatives so you can adjust the routes as you like according also to the places you like to see.There are many gravel roads you can take.But it depends on the type of riding you like.You can also take a look at the ACT Greece.The routes are amazing i did the whole section Last year.


That's of the top of my mind right now.If you need more specific information,feel free to ask.Have a nice visit.
Viel Spaß auf deiner Reise!
 
Τελευταία επεξεργασία:

doctoras

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Thessaloniki
Όνομα
Chris
Μοτό
GSX250R
Hello Heiko, i hope the plan goes as you expect
on the west side I think you already have a lot of options to choose

for the east side, I would suggest you follow the north side to the east, as in the map below
thessaloniki - kerkini - paranesti - stauroupoli - delta nestou - sappes - alexandroupoli and back to kavala via highway (and then ferry to Lemnos)
Thessaloniki to Kavala
 

snowman

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Zürich - Switzerland
Όνομα
Heiko
Μοτό
BMW R1200GS LC
Hello and welcome!
Hallo und Herzlich Willkommen!
I live in Ioannina and can recommend you some routes.To arrive to ioannina from Igoumenitsa you can follow the old national road which has nice scenery and is also twisty.


For the next day if you plan to go north to Zagori region,here are some interesting points


For the other day you can follow the Baros pass (Baros pass is a must visit road) through Kalarites and then Meteora something like this


There are many alternatives so you can adjust the routes as you like according also to the places you like to see.There are many gravel roads you can take.But it depends on the type of riding you like.You can also take a look at the ACT Greece.The routes are amazing i did the whole section Last year.


That's of the top of my mind right now.If you need more specific information,feel free to ask.Have a nice visit.
Viel Spaß auf deiner Reise!
Hi Spyrious!
Thank you very much for all your suggestions!
I used some in my planning.
The ACT Greece is definitely something i like to do... But not alone.
Cheers!
 

snowman

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Zürich - Switzerland
Όνομα
Heiko
Μοτό
BMW R1200GS LC
Hello Heiko, i hope the plan goes as you expect
on the west side I think you already have a lot of options to choose

for the east side, I would suggest you follow the north side to the east, as in the map below
thessaloniki - kerkini - paranesti - stauroupoli - delta nestou - sappes - alexandroupoli and back to kavala via highway (and then ferry to Lemnos)
Thessaloniki to Kavala
Hello Doctoras!
This side was missing, i guess now i have it together!
Thanks a lot!
Cheers
 

snowman

Μέλος
Περιοχή
Zürich - Switzerland
Όνομα
Heiko
Μοτό
BMW R1200GS LC
My dear fellow riders!
Thank you all for the very helpful ideas and input.

I roughly made my routing:

Day 01: 2h53min, 223km
Winterthurerstrasse nach Mendrisio

Day 02: 5h7min, 490km
Mendrisio nach Ancona

Day 03: 3h59min, 170km
Hafen von Igoumenitsa nach Kountouriotou 36

Day 04: 4h55min, 221km
Leof. Geor. Papandreou nach Epar.Od. Voulpis - Empesou

Day 05: 6h24min, 244km
Griechenland nach Kalabaka

Day 06: 4h 39min, 199km
Epar.Od. Meteoron-Kallitheas nach EO Kozanis Ioanninon

Day 07: 5h17min, 220km
Epar.Od. Konitsas-Distratou nach EO15 105

Day 08: 5h57min, 307km
EO15 105 nach Lagkada

Day 09: 4h18min, 208km
Lagkada nach Epar.Od. Volakas - Mikroklisoura

Day 10: 5h16min, 222km
Epar.Od. Volakas - Mikroklisoura nach Fanari

Day 11: 4h40min, 217km
Fanari nach EO2 319-281

Day 12: 4h13, 222km
EO2 319-281 nach Kavala

Maybe I will need to skip a day or two...
Thanks again!

Cheers
Heiko
 
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