Bicycle Touring Greece – Part 1

I’m in Greece. Four days and 400 kilometers after leaving Istanbul, Turkey, I arrived in Greece. To say I’m excited to start bicycle touring in Greece is an understatement. And first impressions did nothing but fuel the enthusiasm.

Greek Salad

Greek salad. So fresh.

I crossed from Turkey to Greece at the border town of Ipsala. The roads were empty, and the scenery was spectacular. Spring was in full effect, and wildflowers were blooming everywhere. I immediately headed towards the coast.

The first large town I came across was Alexandroupoli. It was crazy cool. The city had a vibrant and crowded cafe scene along a narrow strip directly on the Thracian Sea. I quickly found a room, showered, then joined the throngs of other diners.

What’s the first thing I ordered? A Greek salad, of course. It was wonderful. Super fresh with a huge chunk of feta cheese on top.

Bicycle Touring Greece – Alexandroupoli to Komotini

I started riding the following day with a plan to stay along the coast. However, about an hour in, I decided to head inland. I had a much clearer route and more lodging options by doing this.

Bicycle Touring Drone Shot

Having fun with the drone

I set a course for the town of Komotini. The bicycle touring along the way was sensational. The backcountry roads were empty. A car would pass once every hour, if that.

The roads were so empty and the weather was incredible. Even though I had about 100 kilometers to cover, I couldn’t help but stop and play with my drone.

I arrived in Komotini late afternoon. I found a room near the town center that consisted of a park about the size of a football field with restaurants and cafes surrounding it. I spent the afternoon and evening enjoying the local fare and people watching.

Bicycle Touring Greece – Komotini to Kavala

Being sufficiently rested, I hit the road before sunrise the next day. It was another pleasant day bicycle touring through sleepy little farm towns and fields.

The scenery was stunning. I repeatedly had to tell myself to put the camera away and keep moving.

I was heading back towards the coast, but to be honest, I found the interior of Greece just as beautiful, and I would have been happy either way. At least that’s what I thought until I crested that final climb of the day and saw the seaside city of Kavala.

Kavala looked like the Greece I’ve seen in pictures my entire life. The city’s bulk was a massive hill with a castle on top wrapped in white stone houses. An ancient aqueduct divided the old city and the new one. I pedaled directly to the old part of town and found a room for the night.

I spent the afternoon and evening exploring Kavala. I hiked to the castle, strolled along the seaside, and explored the narrow streets and alleys.

Bicycle Touring Greece – Kavala to Asprovalta

Today’s ride started with an exhausting climb out of the city. The view of Kavala was breathtaking. I loved my time there. I would have liked to have stayed a few more days, but I was getting short on time and had to get to Athens.

Lion of Amphipolis

The Lion of Amphipolis

Again, the bicycle touring was fantastic. There are endless miles of backcountry roads winding through grape and olive orchards with a snow-capped mountain backdrop.

The amount of archeological sites in Greece is ridiculous. If I stopped and explored every one of them that I passed, I would never make it anywhere. However, some were so striking and conveniently located next to the road I could help but stop.

I finished the day in the seaside town of Asprovalta. It was obviously off-season and appeared like a ghost town. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my stay and spent the evening watching soccer at a sidewalk cafe.

Bicycle Touring Greece – Asprovalta to Thessaloniki

What an amazing day of bicycle touring. I got an early start as usual and climbed away from the coast. By mid-morning, I was cycling along the mountain lake Volvi. The number of wildflowers along the shore and road had to be millions. It was beautiful.

In the early afternoon, I neared Thessaloniki. The only thing that separated me from the city was a ridge I needed to climb and pass over.

It was hot, and the climb was my steepest ever. Many sections were impossible to cycle, so I had to push. It took well over an hour to go a few miles.

At the top, I was rewarded with a view of the port town. It was a lot bigger city than I had expected. Definitely the largest since leaving Istanbul over a week ago.

Thessaloniki was a cool place. The people came across as very hip and trendy. Everyone was well dressed as they sipped espresso at one of the many cafes.

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