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Autumn bulbs of the Peloponnese 2016

The Peloponnese offers a plethora of autumn bulbs, crocuses, colchicums, cyclamen and sternbergias, amongv other autumnal flowers. Nowhere else in the Mediterranean offers such a rich assortment of autumn bulbs and on this tour, we saw as many as possible. See highlights from the trip below.
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Day 1 – Mount Parnassus and Delphi

The tour started in Athens and the first two days involved a detour via Delphi and Mt Parnassus before crossing into the Peloponnese.

Day 2 – Delphi to Nafpaktos

On the second day, the group travelled to Nafpaktos, a coastal town in Western Greece.

Day 3

The day was spent mostly driving with a stop at Olympia, the ancient site of the Olympic Games. Crocus boryi was flowering among the ruins.

Day 4 – around Sparti

The main target on day four was Galanthus reginae-olgae. However, the morning was spent visiting the ancient Byzantine town of Mystra, the centre of the Byzantine Empire during the 14th and 15th century.

Day 5 – Sparti to Gythio

Next it was onto Gythio, by a very circuitous route via Geraki. Crocus boryi could be seen at many spots along the way.

Day 6 – The Mani Peninsula

A very wet morning so, the group drove straight to the bottom of the Peninsula in the hope that the weather would clear later and it did. Highlights of the day were the first Crocus goulimyi, the first Crocus niveus, masses of Sternbergia lutea and finally Narcissus serotinus.

Day 7 – Drive from Gythio to Monemvasio

Highlights from day seven were Narcissus tazetta, lots more Crocus goulimyi and Crocus boryi, Colchicum sp., Anemone crassifolia, as well as the scented Cyclamen hederifolium crassifolium.

Day 8 – Monemvasia

The group stayed in Monemvasia, a town located on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese. Around the fortified rock, the old town is clustered beneath a monumental staircase which leads to the fortress on top of the rock.

They also explored the country nearby with many marvellous patches of Crocus including goulimyi, biflorus melantherus, laevigatus and boryi.

Day 8 – drive to Nafplion

Reluctantly, the group left the charms of Monemvasia to drive to Naplion. En route, they passed spectacular groves full of Crocus boryi and visited Mycenae with its Lion Gate and tholos tombs. From there it was a short drive back to the airport the next day.

Photos: David Haselgrove