Monday, 26 August 2013

Pedal the Peloponnese

By Tony Cross 
Costa Navarino's bike festival is the perfect opportunity to explore pretty coastal roads and tracks of the south-west Peloponnese, overlooking the Ionian Sea.
The festival, which (fortunately) includes an international fun day for amateurs, takes place in October when the weather is cooler (but not cold - you can still expect temperatures around 22C and 7 hours sunshine a day) and most of the area's tourist traffic has long returned home.
Two events have been created to highlight Greece's natural beauty and the diverse local landscape, while still establishing an international mountain bike race. On 12 October the amateur "Open Race" will take place, when cyclists of all ages and abilities can try their skills on an easy and fun route, while taking in the local Messinian countryside setting.

On 13 October things get a bit more serious, with the "International Cross Country Race" which will see top mountain bike riders from around Europe test their skills on a challenging course. If you'd rather run than cycle, then there's always the Navarino Challenge the following weekend (18 to 20 October), when ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes will lead a marathon around the area.
The Costa Navarino resort is still relatively new, having been completed in 2010, and offers plenty of luxury hotels, spa facilities and golf courses - so there is ample opportunity to combine your cycling with something a more relaxing. The Romanos hotel made our Hot List 2011.
To register for the Navarino Bike Festival, visit the event's Facebook page. For more details of the festival and the Navarino Challenge, visit the outdoor sports section of the Costa Navarino website

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