Travels in Greece

Via Egnatia – Travelling northern Greece by car

Travelling through northern Greece by car just became a whole lot quicker with the long awaited opening of the Egnatia Odos, the modern version of the Roman era Via Egnatia.

670 kilometers long in total, the new highway spans the entire expanse of northern Greece from Kipoi/Alexandroupoli on the Turkish border to the port of Igoumenitsa in the west taking you through the provinces of Thrace, Macedonia and Ipeiros. Nine northbound routes linking Greece with the border crossings to Albania, FYROM, Bulgaria and Turkey are also in various stages of construction, while the highway also marks the end route of the main pan European corridors of Berlin-Sofia-Thessaloniki, Helsinki-Alexandroupoli and Vienna-Belgrade-Thessaloniki.

Travel times in Northern Greece cut in half!!

While there are a few small sections where construction is still taking place, the official opening took place on May 30th 2009 and reported travelling times between northern Greece’s main cities have been dramatically slashed. Indicitive times include:

Alexandroupoli – Igoumenitsa (was 11 hours 30 minutes, now 6 hours 10 minutes)
Ioannina – Thessaloniki (was 5 hours, now 2 hours 15 minutes)
Thessaloniki – Kavala (was 2 hours 15 minutes, now 1 hour 15 minutes)
Thessaloniki – Grevena (was 4 hours now 1 hour 30 minutes)
Igoumenitsa – Ioannina (was 1 hour 45 minutes, now only 45 minutes)

The greek press reports that tolls will not be installed until the autumn of 2009, so now is the time to go try out the new highway and see some of northern Greece’s natural charms quickly and cheaply! I can’t wait to get the time to go up and have a look for myself!

Egnatia Odos update summer 2011

We finally managed to get up and drive this beautiful area of Greece on a trip through Northern Greece up to the Bulgarian Black Sea shores! How was the Egnatia Route? Wonderful!

We will post some new reports on the drive and our stays in the northern towns of Didimoteicho and Soufli, but in the meantime the lowdown on Thessaloniki to Alexendroupouli is that the tolls are still not operating (that cannot last much longer). The road is fanatastic, two lane divided highway all the way with very little traffic in comparison to the rest of Greece, very relaxed driving. One thing to be careful of: much like the Roman times, there are only periodic exits and NO (not one) road side service stations. So be sure to fill up in time and if you decided to go off road for a bit, bear in mind that you might have to drive quite a few kilometers along the side of the Egnatia before you find another entry point. Enjoy the great driving!

Egnatia Odos 2009: click for larger image.