One of the attractions of Argolis as a holiday climbing destination is the ease of travel, the climbing areas being around two hours drive from Athens airport and three from the ferry terminal at Patras.For real-world climbers there are two ways to travel to Argolis, by air or by sea, the choice is dependant on the time you have available, where you live and the cost, generally speaking for European climbers with anything less than two weeks flying is the best option. Note: You will need transport when you are in the area!
You want to fly in to Athens airport ( Eleftherious Venizelos International Airport ) and unless you know of somewhere better the place to search is in www.volgratis.com, but not using Microsoft Internet Explorer as you will be redirected to some American rubbish, unless of course you are American in which case this may be useful! This is an Italian/English website which gives you everything you need to know for budget airlines and scheduled carriers which often can give a good deal, the best source I have found so far, you may only log on once a day unless you are registered. U.K users can go directly to www.bravofly.com or try www.lastminute.com or www.easyjet.com which is the budget airline into Greece, however often you can get a better deal with Lufthansa City Lines who fly out of many U.K. airports and offer much better flight times.
From the airport you need to get to Argolis and while it is possible to travel by bus and easily by high speed ferry the need for transport in the area makes it almost mandatory to use a hire car. The best option here is to book beforehand using www.holidayautos.com, cheaper and with better conditions than if booked locally and the rental agency (normally Budget) has an office in Porto Heli if you have any problems. (Incidentally, if you have to wait for a while at the airport for some reason such as picking someone up there is a good sport crag in the near, details and topo in the news section).
Driving from the Airport
Climbers arriving at the airport can be tired, stressed and sometimes plain stupid so here are some tips: The airport may not be where you think it is as it is new, located approximately 35km east of Athens, built for the 2004 Olympics, even my route planner doesn´t know this! Thanks to the forementioned Olympic games and loads of EU money there is a motorway now running from the airport to Corinth and on to Patras so you don´t have the nightmare of Athens anymore.Check you make the turn-off just after the Corinth canal (Corinth itself is about 15km further), the road is variously signed to Kosta or Epidavros. My brother, who should know better, spent the night in Tripolis due to this, others go to Naplion! At the village of Paleo Epidavros there is a turn-off taking a short cut, follow the signs for Porto Heli and Kosta, after about 15km you join the main road from Naplion to Kosta, about 6km further you start to climb a mountain with some antennae on top, this is Didyma so if you have time stop off for a few routes. Some more information on driving in Greece will be found below in getting around.
Naturally if your private yacht is lying somewhere nice like Cannes then your captain will be delighted to set course for Greece, for the rest of us by sea means a long boring drive across Europe and then a trip on a car ferry from Italy. Previously Greek ferries had a shocking reputation and deservedly so but now the fleets operated by the major lines are fast, modern, comfortable and to be recommended. The fast ferries take about 20hrs but loading and unloading can be slow. On some routes "camping on deck" is offered, not for you to put your tent up but for motorhomes and the like. The two main routes are from Venice and Ancona to Patras, the Bari route means a longer and expensive (toll motorway) drive and is not worthwhile. For everything about ferries to Greece click on www.hellasferries.com.
Driving from Patras
Pretty easy as you are taking the (pseudo) motorway to Athens, just watch out for the turn-off after Corinth. The motorway toll is a couple of euros. Around 30km from Patras you will see plenty of EU money in the form of a very large bridge across the gulf of Corinth, which takes you to the well known climbing area of Varasova, well worth a visit if you have time to spare but not in the summer as it gets very hot there.
While the two options above will suit the majority of visitors there are a few alternatives:
The area is deservedly popular as a sailing area and I know of sailor/climbers who have chartered from Athens to climb in Argolis. Many of the cliffs are near the sea or only a short taxi ride away, details are given in the guide book of nearby harbours and anchorages. Regrettably one of the best cliffs, Didyma, is only accessible if you hire a car or moped.
If for financial, legal or ecological reasons you are a non-driver then you have some problems, getting from Athens airport is easy as you take the shuttle bus to Pireaus harbour and then a fast ferry or hydrofoil to Ermioni or Porto Heli in about two hours. After that you are on your own as the bus services are of the "once a Thursday" style.
On Your Bike
(Remember Norman Tebbit?) Seriously, I once met a keen young climber pushing his bike up a hill near the monastery at Pelei on a 30km long dirt road, he was touring the Peleponese and was of course German. As I am not so young or keen I cannot imagine doing this but if it´s your thing then go for it! (Bike hire in Porto Heli, to ride to Katafyki and Caves of Frachti would be feasible.)
Place names are a source of plentiful confusion. In this site and the guide I use the common translations used by europeans in Greece, owing to the phonetic translation system used with cyrillic (greek) script there are usually a number of possibilities for each name and they seem to be randomly used even by official bodies. Road signs are mostly in Roman and Cyrillic script but out in the sticks this may not be the case. ( Eagle-eyed pedants will notice that I have used various spellings of Pelopponese.) Naplion seems to have about 10 variations and Porto Heli has at least 5 official names,; Porto Heli, Porto Cheli, Porto Xeli, Porto Helion etc. Please do not mail me any comments on the spelling of place names!!! The road network is fairly good and with the exception of two cliffs the access is good, however the hire car companies take a dim view of driving on unmade roads, a problem in a country where most of the roads are not tarred. (I know one hire company in the area whose office is on an unmade road!) For the normal visitor this will cause no difficulty and should something happen get the car back to a tarred road and lie! If you trash a tyre/wheel go to a garage for replacement not the hire company! There are petrol stations in nearly every village and they are open all the time except siesta (2-5pm) normally including Sundays.Try to get the road map as used in the guide book as this is the one used to describe access to the cliffs and is the best I have found so far; No 5, Peloponnese, ISBN No 960-8481-15-5 published by ROAD EDITIONS, 65 Ippokratous str. 106800 Athens, any bookshop should be able to order this for you.