Looking for a quick over night trip away from Athens? Diakopto is a coastal town on the Gulf of Corinth that is just a two hour drive away and home to the Odontotos Rack Railway.
We set off on Saturday morning with enough time to get to Diakopto and have a snack before boarding the train. You never know, the train could break down on the mountain and without spanikopita in your belly, you’d surely be a goner!
Odontotos Rack Railway
We booked our tickets ahead via phone to reserve our spots on the Saturday morning train. We picked them up at the ticket office and were ready for our adventure.
There were quite a few people waiting for the train, so I also would suggest reserving ahead of time. The conductor put us in the last car because we had our dog along with us (we called ahead and checked to see if it was ok) and it worked out for the best because there were empty seats so we could spread out.
The terrain started out pretty smooth, but not long after we left the town we started to climb. The scenery was really spectacular. Gorges, waterfalls, caves and lush vegetation.
The train goes between Diakoto and Kalavrita and the ride takes a little over one hour.
There were many families on the railway with us, however it was not only the kids that were getting a kick out of the ride. Everyone really seemed to be enjoying the scenery and I overheard some tourists commenting on how they were glad they decided to do something ‘different’.
Signs posted in the wagons said to keep the windows closed, but nobody was really paying any attention to that.
At some spots the train came VERY close to the mountain side and I am positive that at some point in time someone has lost a phone or limb (kidding!) because they were hanging out of the window.
Being an Arachova loyalist, this was my first time in Kalavrita. Arachova and Kalavrita are two popular ski areas both within a few hours drive of Athens.
After walking down the main street and breathing in the fresh mountain air, I will definitely be back!
It is a very charming mountain town and caused the conversation of mountains versus sea to come up between my husband and I. The beauty of Greece is that you don’t have to choose- the mountains often run into the sea.
We had an hour and a half to explore Kalavrita before taking the train back down to Diakopto. We did the traditional Greek thing to do and sat and had a coffee.
On the way back down we sat in the middle wagon and it was basically empty so we could move around and look out each side. The other passengers were Athenians who drove to Diakopto, took the train up, had lunch and a coffee and were heading back down again. A nice little day trip for them.
Stavento – Pounta Beach
The train was not the sole purpose of our trip. We like the mountains, but we also like the beach!
When searching for accommodation, I was impressed with the reviews at Stavento on Pounta Beach outside of Diakopto. As an internet citizen in the year 2017, I also appreciate when a place takes the time and effort to put together an informative website for visitors.
We checked in and met the famous Kostas that we read about in the reviews. He was very welcoming to us and Benji and showed us to our room with a sea view. The room was great and had nice bedding-the pillow snob (me) was very happy.
The water is a perfect turquoise and you can see the mountains across the Gulf of Corinth- so definitely a beautiful beach to hang out on.
On the particular Saturday that we arrived at Pounta Beach (early June) the weather was not quite beach material by my standards because it was very windy.
Just because you aren’t getting in the water doesn’t mean that you can’t still hang out on the beach, right?! We grabbed a table along the beach, had some local wine and nibbled on seafood served by the attentive Stavento staff.
Sunday morning arrived with perfect beach weather.
We had breakfast on the beach and it was the best breakfast I’ve had served to me (I’ve been to some pretty great buffets) in Greece. When we asked what the breakfast was, the waitress replied with, “What would you like?”
This is my kind of place! She brought out a spread with cheese pies, yogurt, bread and an amazing egg, tomato, feta dish which I had never had before. OMG it was amazing! I have tried to recreate it, but have not even come close.
For breakfast dessert (it is a thing) we were served fresh loukoumades.
Stavento on Pounta Beach was a ‘return destination’ in my mind because of the great room, chilled atmosphere and beautiful setting. Then I had breakfast… After that, it moved up to an ‘I need to get back here quick destination’.
We decided not to spend Sunday lounging on Pounta Beach, but instead to explore the area and head to Rio. We hopped back on the new highway and headed west.
Ok, I’ll be honest- the original plan was to go to Patra, but since we didn’t plan this little jaunt in advance, we didn’t know where to go. We got to Patra and drove around, made a few wrong turns here and there (I blame google maps) and decided to head to Rio to have lunch while staring at the bridge.
While trying to find a good view point of the bridge, we stumbled upon the Rio Castle. Historical pit stop, why not?
It was pretty cool strolling around this Ottoman castle/Venetian fortress/Greek prison and Benji was allowed as long as he was a good boy.
We had lunch along the beach in Rio, grabbed a freddo cappuccino for the road and made our way back to Athens.
When we returned home it seemed like we had been gone for much longer than 36 hours. We saw a lot of different things for that short time period!
We didn’t even get a chance to check out the actual town of Diakopto. Oh well, next time!
If you have any questions about this trip or are looking for ideas on trips out of Athens, please contact me or ask a local!