As the heat of summer wanes the first rains bring forth the Mediterranean's autumn jewels, a rich array of colourful bulbs that reinvigorates the landscape. This is a tour of the bulb-rich Peloponnese of southern Greece, amidst classic Mediterranean macchie landscapes, beautiful coastlines and the warming colours of autumn. It can be combined with our tour of the rugged south-western Taurus of Turkey. Both offer not only flora but also fine historical sights.
Day 1 Flights to Athens
Morning flights into Athens allows us time for some botanising around Mycene where Cyclamen graecum, Arisarum vulgare and Sternbergia lutea will be in flower. Overnight Tripoli.
Day 2 To Gythio
The hills south of Tripoli have abundant Crocus biflorus subsp. melantherus and white to pale lilac C. hadriaticus as well as hillsides of Sternbergia lutea. Closer to Githio we'll look for limestone terraces with Colchicum parlatoris and Cyclamen hederifolium. Overnight Githio.
Day 3 The Mani Peninsula
The autumn riches come thick and fast today with drifts of Crocus goulimyi mingled with white Crocus boryi and the dainty pink Colchicum psaridis and Allium callmischon. A ruined castle plays host to Narcissus serotinus and Spiranthes spiralis, whilst nearby rocky banks are peppered with the big goblets of Crocus niveus and these are also common among olive groves carpeted in Sternbergia lutea and Cyclamen graecum. Further south the rocks near the tip of the Mani have the showy Campanula versicolor. Overnight Githio.
Day 4 Monemvasia
The impressive rock of Monemvasia dominates another peninsula, but before we reach it there will be tufts of Narcissus tazetta, Anemone coronaria, Clematis cirrhosa and stunning drifts of Crocus goulimyi. In the hills above the 'rock' are olive terraces brimming with sweet-smelling Cyclamen hederifolium and the white leucanthus form of Crocus goulimyi. In the afternoon there will be a visit to the beautifully restored byzantine city of Monemvasia with its delightful labyrinth of narrow streets. Climbing up onto the rock is not so difficult and on top there will be Colchicum cupanii and Sternbergia lutea as well as fabulous views of the coastline. Overnight Githio.
Day 5 Lambokambos
This quaint little village is well known for its impressive displays of Crocus goulimyi, but there is much more than that with plentiful Crocus laevigatus and the lovely Crocus cancellatus subsp mazziaricus, (perhaps the best form of the species). Strawberry trees are laden with scarlet fruits, bushes of Erica manipuliflora are coloured purple-pink, Grecian Firs are laden with bunches of mistletoe and the landscape is beginning to burnish with autumn colours. There are fine views across the landscape with goblets of Crocus niveus poking from among the limestone rocks. Overnight Githio.
Day 6 To Athens via Mystra
Our last day in the field will be a combination of flowers and culture. The partially restored site of Mystra is an intriguing ramble and not far from plane tree woodlands with the charming pure white Galanthus reginae-olgae. Hopefully, this will not be the last of our flowers. We will drive on and past Athens to the spectacularly positioned temple of Sounion where the purple striped cups of Crocus cartwrightianus will still be open along with Narcissus obsoletus and Sternbergia lutea, as the sun begins to set over the Aegean. Overnight Athens.
Day 7 Flights home
Morning flights from Athens.
For anyone wishing to combine this tour with our Autumn Jewels of the Taurus tour, you would take an early morning flight to Athens from Antalya where that tour ends.