If gazing at sun-washed hills and visiting traditional vineyards is your thing, then, hands down, this article is what you’re after. As wine tourism is turning rapidly into the hottest travel trend globally, let’s raise our glass to the most scenic wine routes of mainland Greece!
Just a stone’s throw from the city center, in the surroundings of the Greek capital, Wines of Athens is a network of routes and trails that give wine lovers the chance to taste local wines while discovering cultural and archaeological attractions of unique beauty. The 5 wineries that lead this initiative are focused on the evolution of Savatiano, the local grape variety of Attica. It is a grape with a continuous presence of 2,500 years in the region and one of the most planted varieties all over Greece.
There are many good reasons to decide to travel north, and wine is one of them. The 8 wine roads of northern Greece will bring you closer to landscapes that you will never forget, rugged by mountains that give their way to dramatic canyons with crystal clear rivers. This side of Greece is ideal for winter tourism and hides some great surprises for wine lovers.
The route of the Olympian Gods takes you to the well-known wineries in the villages of Rapsani, Krania and Kitrus, while those who want to get their adrenaline pumping will find their way hiking, kayaking, rafting and parachuting through the bluffs of Epirus. Wine pilgrims will also enjoy the routes of Halkidiki as they travel to the monasteries of Mount Athos, well known for their long winemaking tradition and gastronomic excellence.
Follow the routes of Thessaloniki to see vines flanked by beautiful forests of oak, beech and chestnut trees, or take the Pella-Goumenissa route to witness the local happenings that take place on the day of St Tryfonas, the patron saint of viniculture.
The vinicultural route of the Lakes in the region of western Macedonia is a magnificent trip around the Amynteo vineyards and the gleaming waters of the lakes Vergotida and Petres. Sophisticated wine buffs have probably heard of the wines made of Greece’s star northern black grape, Xinomavro, and some of the finest Xinomavro wines can be found in Naoussa, which is also home to the Museum of Wine and Vine.
Lastly, the wine route of Dionysus is the ultimate journey to the origins of wine, starting from Mount Pangeon, the birthplace of god Dionysus, who taught the Greeks the art of viticulture some thousands of years ago.
Should you travel south to the Peloponnese, the largest peninsula of mainland Greece, languorous landscapes await to be discovered. The Wine Roads of the Peloponnese map out an extensive network of trails that will reveal you the real core of land brimming with history, folklore culture and, most of all, a genuine sense of old-world simplicity. Maximize your vinicultural tour exploring ruined Mycenaean citadels, mystifying ancient theatres, mountainous villages and picture-perfect coastal towns that stand next to Venetian fortresses or dazzling Byzantine castles.
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If you dream of fertile plains and lush-green orange groves, select one of the many wine routes of Argolis, whereas, if the wild beauty of arid landscapes is what you are after, drive south to Laconia. The pastoral charm of Arcadia will cast a spell on you, while the routes of Achaia will take you to unique landscapes, where the mountains meet the sea. For those who want to combine an unforgettable wine experience with a visit to the motherland of the Olympic games, there are some amazing wine routes that Ilia has to offer.
Meanwhile, Messinia is best visited in the summer, when you will have the chance to enjoy a whole nother level of wine tasting as you sunbathe in long sandy beaches with azure waters. Finally, in the region of Corinthia, all roads lead to Nemea, the PDO wine-producing zone that is home to the well-known Agiorgitiko grape. The grape is also nicknamed as Blood of Hercules, alluding to one of the 12 labors of the mythical hero, in which he slew the Nemean lion and celebrated his achievement drinking a glass of local wine!
Whichever route you choose to take, a wine tour will bring you closer to the raw and wild side of Greece, its rural culture and ancient traditions. As you experience the mesmerizing landscapes of the Greek wine territories, take a digital guide and learn the roots of wine, which, as Homer celebrated thousands of years ago in one of his verses, “can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile”.