Prev Tour


Next Tour


The Peloponnese

Autumn Bulbs of Sparta

Autumn sees an almost miraculous floral display erupting from the parched tawny landscapes of the Eastern Mediterranean. Few places can match the magnificent show of colourful bulbs that decorates the glorious scenery of the Mani Peninsula and the Taygetos Mountains at the southern tip of the Peleponnese in Greece.

Sheets of white Crocus boryi are interrupted by patches of golden-yellow Sternbergias. Some come in more than one colour form: Crocus hadriaticus in blue and white, Cyclamen graecum in both white and pink. Delicate beauties with darkly-feathered petals and black anthers are Crocus biflorus melantherus. Perhaps the most beautiful of all is lovely Crocus goulimyi whose wide-open mauve-purple flowers bloom in great photogenic clusters, though the startling Crocus cartwrightianus may take this prize. The immense walls of magical Mycenae are home to pretty Allium callimischon and Greece’s wonderful historical sites and mythology will again be to the fore at Mystra’s fabulous Byzantine Churches.

Crocus boryi by Fiona Dunbar

Sweetly scented Narcissus serotinus and elegant Galanthus reginae-olgaeadorn pastures below forests of Grecian Fir and brilliant pink Colchicum parlattoris mixes with a carpet of Scilla autumnalis and recently described Colchicum sfikasianum. Oedipoda caerulea grasshoppers flash blue hind wings as they erupt in front of grazing Hermann’s Tortoises. Our base for most of the holiday is the delightful fishing village of Gythio where the cinnamon-coloured hills of the wild Taygetos range descend to the sea. Kingfishers zip about the harbour and there are a goodly number of butterflies still about, Pygmy Skippers are frequent, we’ll see Lang’s Short-tailed Blue and Eastern Bath White, and most notable is one of Europe’s most spectacular species, the Plain Tiger. This promises to be a wonderful floral experience set in a superbly stark landscape with plenty of blue skies and a shimmering blue sea!

Crocus cancellatus © Chris Gardner
© Terry Underhill

Dates and Prices

20th October - 27th October 2024 (8 days)

London - London £1,965
Athens - Athens £1,745
Single Supplement* £190
Deposit £200

* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged

or ask us a question.

Tour Summary

Day 1
Arrive Athens. Transfer to Mycenae
Day 2
Day 3
The Taygetos Mountains
Days 4-5
The Mani Peninsula
Day 6
The Taygetos Mountains
Day 7
The Mani Peninsula
Day 8
'Crocus cartwrightianus' site and Departure

Tour information


Autumn Bulbs. Also Butterflies, Historical Sites and Landscapes.


Kurt Vickery , Fiona Dunbar

Group Size

One leader for a group of up to 6, two leaders up to 12.

Included in the Price

All flights. All transport and meals in Greece. Services of your leaders. Please note: Drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included.
Flower butterfly and bird checklists are available.


The first and last nights of the holiday we will be at the lovely Arxontiko Kefalari, a restored 19th century mansion set 800m up in the hills above Mycenae. For the rest of the holiday (5 nights) we stay in the comfortable and friendly Hotel Pantheon near the waterfront at Gythio. This picturesque fishing village is at the northern end of the Mani Peninsula. All rooms on this tour have en-suite facilities.


Very easy. No more than a couple of miles in any one day, and always at a relaxed pace, ideally suited to photographers.


UK return flights are direct from London Heathrow, Edinburgh* or Manchester* to Athens. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.

*These routes may incur a supplement.


Warm and sunny with blue skies for the most part, although some rain and cloud can be hoped for, not least by the Crocuses!

How to Book

Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.

Tour Galleries