When we visited Leonidio for the first time, we couldn’t believe that everything a cyclists want can be found in such perfect harmony. Below we made an effort to put everything in one article for you to know exactly what to expect.
- authenticity, away from mass tourism
- routes in abundance
- quiet roads & no traffic
- mild temperatures
- good food with many & great options
- rich cultural elements
It is wonderful to discover that hidden cycling gems!
Perfect Cycling in the best unexplored region on the Peloponnese.
As you will read below, Leonidio was only recently connected to the road network with the rest of the Peloponnese. How GREAT that is! People who live in Leonidio, enjoy their quality of life, with the agricultural and cattle farming being their main activities.
They weren’t impressed with the short term benefits mass tourism brings, therefore in Leonidio there are no large hotel facilities, or bars aiming for the quick profit. The whole place has maintained its authenticity and its welcoming character, away from the mass tourism standards. It is exactly this particular element that made us adopt a charmfull point of view when we approached that place.
Cycling Routes in abundance
That’s the key point in every cycling vacation. The accessibility to nice roads, combined with the number of scenic routes found in close proximity to the accommodation facility, play the most important role when we ask ourselves about whether a place can be developed as a cycling destination. In the case of Leonidio we have the following findings
5 to 6 great and long rides: We have to admit that we were taken by surprise when we realised those 5 – 6 rides were absolutely beautiful, which filled us with emotions and amazement. The most impressive part is that the overlapping parts among the routes we suggest are not long and in the majority of the cases, they are being cycled from the opposite direction, giving a different angle of the same landscape. We found the latter quite fascinating.
One Week Cycling holidays, or even more: For cyclists looking to have a week of cycling, Leonidio couldn’t be more ideal.
Circle Routes: All of the recommended routes start and finish from Leonidio. That means that with no use of a vehicle, cyclists can enjoy the convenience of clipping in on the bike directly from their hotel and returning to it once the ride is over. Note: using a vehicle can significantly increase the options or limit the total elevation for some rides.
Landscape, a cycling playground
The scenery and the views the greater region of Leonidio offers, got us by surprise. We couldn’t believe that those beautiful roads could be so breathtaking and welcoming. Mountain passes, plateaus and some of the most beautiful coastal roads we have ever cycled in our lives. A constantly changing scenery is quite typical while cycling on the Peloponnese and Leonio region is not an exception to this wonderful rule. But in this case, the views we experienced and the thrill we felt, had no comparison with any of our trips before. We let our pictures to show you how great our riding was.
Road Conditions & Traffic
The average tarmac condition is excellent. The majority of the road network is on brand new tarmac, and according to official sources (Municipality of Leonidio), it is planned that in a few years time the network will be totally upgraded. In a few parts, where the altitude is higher, riders should stay vigilant as the frequent changes in the weather conditions, especially during the winter time (ice), might result degraded tarmac segments.
Related to the traffic, we experienced conditions of low to almost no traffic. The majority of the road network is built to connect villages, which have only a couple of dozens residents each. That perfectly explains the minimum traffic load we encountered. The traffic conditions might be a bit more dense during the summer months, but still, it is limited mainly to the coastal road between Leonidio and Paralio Astros / Nafplio
Climate conditions are extremely satisfying, ensuring a nice time on the saddle regardless of the period of the year.
During the summer months, we recommend starting the rides with the first light. Leonidio is located at the eastern part of the Peloponnese, which is immediately exposed to the first, gentle sun rays. However, the high altitude always offers a great cooling breeze coming from the mt Parnonas.
Spring & Autumn: From beginning of March to mid of June and from mid September to late December, the weather is very stable with the temperature (while cycling) to range from 16C – 25C. The cycling activity can take place throughout the whole daylight’s duration.
Approaching the winter time, the temperature ranges from 8C – 15C (while cycling during the daylight) and gets quite chilly during the mountainous passes (down to 2C – 10c).
Great food and many options
Even though Leonidio is a small town, it is quite modern and visitors can profoundly find any type of food. From fresh fish to stunning meat plates, and great traditional salads. All options can leave everyone satisfied. Vegan and vegetarian meals can also be offered by local restaurants, without such option being extensively developed.
Something that all visitors immediately feel when tasting the food in Leonidio, is the quality of the ingredients. And how this cannot be true, when the vegetables and the meat are all locally produced by small, family farms in a traditional way and the fish are fished out every day by the local fishermen.
The Tsakonian Eggplant or Melitzana: Did you know that in Leonidio’s farmzone, there is a unique variety of Eggplant. It tastes significantly sweeter and it has a better, more filling taste. Imagine that the Tsakonian Eggplant can be eaten raw, without this meaning any kind of compromise. It is quite tasteful!
Rich cultural elements
Leonidio is part of a greater region called Tsakonia. Evidence on the first cultural elements are found during the early medieval times with counteles stories about remote villages and their unique lifestyle to amazes us till this day. Tsakones, habitants of the greater Tsakonian region, were isolated from the other part of Greece. The only way someone could get to Leonidio was by ferry, something that changed just in the 1950s (!), where road connect the town to the rest of the Peloponnese.
Tsakonian Dialect: The area’s isolation resulted the habitants to develop a special dialect that resembles nothing of modern Greek. Linguistics studies show that they are more related to ancient Greek and currently there is a meticulously and systematic effort from the Leonidio’s Municipality for this tradition to be preserved. Nowadays, it is an established norm that kids coming from this region, learn how to speak the dialect and appreciate this special cultural heritage.