9-Day photography vacation in the Peloponnese, Greece, traveling with a rental car.
You start your nature photography tour through the Peloponnese with a two-day photography course at the feet of the high rising Taygetos Mountains. You learn about technique, composition, nature and landscape photography. On day 4 you continue the tour by yourself to the unique Diros caves, picturesque Kardamili and the Gialova Lagoon, mainland Europe’s southernmost wetland, and an important station for thousands of birds migrating to and from Africa in autumn and spring. Here you meet Anton again on day 7 for a joint photo shoot in the lagoon, followed by a review of this week’s photo experience.
Day 1: Arrival in Xirokambi Sparta. Upon your arrival in the lively village of Xirokambi, you meet photographer Anton Harfst at the hotel Taleton and go for dinner on the nearby village square. Stay in Xirokambi.
Day 2: Photography Course. In the morning we visit Ancient Sparta. The remains of this famous city are hidden between ancient olive trees with the Taygetos Mountains as impressive backdrop. In the afternoon we go to the nearby ancient bridge of Xirokambi – the oldest walkable stone arch bridge in Europe – and the impressive Anakolou gorge. Alternative morning program: photography field trip to the Byzantine castle of Mystras. Stay in Xirokambi.
Day 3: Photography Course. Today we drive up into the mountains to the Byzantine village of Koumousta, our starting point for a beautiful walk through the pine and chestnut forests of the Taygetos Mountains. The mountain range is the highest of the Peloponnese (2407 m) and an acknowledged nature area. Landscape photography and playing with light in the shady forest are our main topics. After our afternoon viewing session we go looking for the Little Owl (Athena Noctua), which are often heard and seen around the stone houses of Xirokambi. Stay in Xirokambi.
Day 4: Xirokambi - Diros Caves - Kardamili. Today you leave Xirokambi and travel by rental car via the Diros Caves and the Messinian Mani to Kardamili. The famous Diros caves are situated south of Areopolis on the Mani peninsula, and are part of an underground river delta. Small boats take you through the caves and between beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, coloured over time. In the caves you can use flash and different white balance settings. After our visit to the caves we continue our trip to the picturesque harbour town of Kardamili. Stay in Kardamili, Hotel Kastro.
Day 5: Kardamili. Walking the Viros-Gorge. This impressive ravine runs from the edge of the Taygetos Mountains to the bay of Kardamili. You can explore the lower part of the gorge, in which monasteries and old churches are hidden. On your way back you pass ancient Kardamili, a perfect place to practice panorama photography as it provides a wide view over the bay. Stay in Kardamili, Hotel Kastro.
Day 6: Kardamili - Ancient Messini - Gialova. Today you continue your trip to the archeological site of Ancient Messini, an impressive site dating back to the 4th century BC, and on to Gialova on the west coast of the Peloponnese. The Gialova area offers plenty of opportunities to spend your time. You can go to the town of Pylos and the famous Bay of Navarino, walk to the Paleokastro, visit nearby waterfalls or opt for one of the splendid beaches. Stay in Gialova, Hotel Zoe.
Day 7: Follow up Photography Course. Anton Harfst meets you again in Gialova. Together you go to the Gialova Lagoon for bird photography. Afterwards you view the photos and discuss this week’s photo experience. Alternative program: When you book your tour out off the bird season, we propose an alternative program in consultation with you. Stay in Gialova.
Day 8: Gialova - Hora - Athens. On the way to Athens you can visit the Palace of Nestor and its museum in Hora. Both places clearly show the importance of nature in Greek antiquity: from the use of natural colours to the choice of strategic (and photogenic) locations. Another perfect place for a stopover on your way to the Greek capital is the Canal of Corinth. Stay in Athens.
Day 9: Departure.
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Europe Greece Leisure Pursuit Photography and Videography