Athens to Rome
The Temple Rally is an all-new event from HERO-ERA, which follows the format of the successful Baltic Classic and Adriatic Adventure. Taking place over two weeks in September 2022 and open to cars built before 1986, this will be an odyssey through the ancient lands of Greece and Italy. Fabulous Driving roads, spectacular Mediterranean landscapes and some fine Greco-Roman hospitality all combine to make this a very special rally suitable for experienced crews and newcomers alike.
The event is open for vintageant cars built before 1948 and for Classic cars of a type built before 1986. Cars of a later date but unchanged mechanical specification will be considered at the Organisers’ discretion. Classes based on engine size will subdivide these categories.
The event is suitable for both novice and more experienced crews. Many roads are good tarmac and gravel, with competition on more remote roads, private land or race circuits. An easy to follow tulip route book will be supplied. Our experienced team of officials will be at your disposal at all times to support you and we will provide hints and tips on navigation.
This event is open to HERO-ERA Club and Premier Members
Premier Members benefit from up to 10% off event entry fees, early sign-up opportunities, 10% savings on rally vehicle hire, preferential rates from our insurance partners and much more!
See the full list of exclusive membership perks and sign up here
The competing crews will leave the hotel not too early this morning and head into the centre of Athens, gathering for the ceremonial start on the site of the Panathenaic Stadium, home of the first International Olympic games in modern history. The first car will be flagged off at 10:01am, with the Acropolis and its magical temples overlooking the start of the rally.
We make our way out of the city of Athens in what will hopefully be a quiet Sunday morning, to a test at the Megera Circuit before heading across the peninsula for the first regularity of the event. We then skirt the coastline enjoying some wonderful scenery before we reach a control overlooking Loutraki Bay, where crews will be able to enjoy a tasty local lunch. Our route then takes us across to the other side of the peninsula, crossing the imposing Corinth Canal, where you will have some time to view this incredible manmade waterway – for the bravest, you can even have a go at bungee jumping off it!
It’s well worth a visit to walk along the bridge ... as long as you are not afraid of heights! The rest of the day sees us driving south, taking in two short regularities (all on tarmac) before we end the day in the region of Argolis at Epidaurus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is considered one of the most popular archaeological sites in Greece. The plan is to arrive at the site around 16:00 giving you ample time to visit its wonders and beauty, before heading off to the hotel in a quieter area out of Nafplio.
Leaving Nafplio, the rally heads down the wondrous Mani peninsula, taking in two regularities and a test before lunch at the magnificent Marmari Resort - voted the best place in Mani! - located at (almost) the furthest point south on the Mani pensinsula. We are then treated to a stunning drive heading north, with breath-taking views before two short regularities take us to the overnight hotel at Kalamata. This resort-style hotel has a large pool with direct access to the beach with the warmest water so you can enjoy a swim before dinner!
Today we leave Kalamata with a test at the same car track the crews really enjoyed during the previous Classic Marathon rally. We make our way north with a limited amount of competition during this stage, so that we can arrive in Ancient Olympia by 15:30 and ensure crews will be
able to take their time to look around this incredible historic site. You really needs a good one or two hours to enjoy its full potential. We recommend you also make your way into the Archaeological Museum where the amazingly beautiful statues saved from the site are exposed. The hotel for tonight is a short drive away, up the hill from the sites and modern Olympia town, which is popular with tourists for its bars and souvenir shops.
We leave ancient Olympia with an enjoyable drive through the mountains before we end up crossing the incredible engineered bridge at Patras, officially the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge – take a stop to enjoy a coffee looking at the longest fully-suspended type bridge in the world before crossing it! After the crossing, we head over the hills with amazing coastal views, before arriving at one of the lunch highlights of the event in the fishing port of Galaxidi, where the Organisers will provide for all crews a typical lunch at a family-run restaurant. A short afternoon drive will take the rally to the historical site of Delphi, lying on the slopes of Mount Parnassus high above the Gulf of Corinth. This is one of the most famous historic sites in Greece, known throughout the ancient Greek world and beyond as the sanctuary of Apollo and the shrine of his oracle. Take your time and make the most of your visit here, before reaching the chalet-style mountain resort we have booked for tonight in nearby Arachova.
Our final day in Greece is very much like an alpine day in the ski resort territory of this surprising country. We tackle relatively long transit sections today, interspersed with two regularities in the morning, two tests on the shores of Plastirias Lake and then another regularity, the last one of the rally in Greece. The main control will be located at the Meteora Race Park, where we run the last test of the day. From here, the crews will have the opportunity to enjoy the mystical drive past the hanging monasteries at Kalambaka, before winding through the mountains (and a motorway section) to arrive by a rustic coastal town south of Igoumenitsa, where we’ll organise a harbour-side early dinner. Fully restored by the Greek feast, we’ll head off to the main ferry terminal and brace the Adriatic crossing to Italy. Accommodation is a bit “cosy” tonight aboard the private cabins, but hopefully the sea will lull you to a restful sleep nonetheless...
After disembarking the ferry together at the arrival port of Bari, the crews will be free to choose whether to follow the suggested route for today or make their own way to Matera. The designed route will direct you into Alberobello, a picture- perfect Heritage Site where you could enjoy a relaxed lunch before heading off to Matera, via the Belvedere view point, from which you can take in a breath-taking view of this mysterious town. The overnight hotels are something to be looked forward to...the rally will be staying in hotel rooms modelled on the ancient grottos that were carved into the tufa rocks, embellished with cutting-edge technology and fittings that will allow you to experience this unique setting in luxury. Crews will have a free evening to explore the city at leisure, discover the many aperitivo bars and select the preferred dinner venue. Enjoy the wonders of your first night in Italy!
The competition for the day will start at the Matera Race Circuit, where you will be straight into a short test and interesting back roads will take us out of town and along some twisty roads. The main control for the finish of the day is set at the second test, before a run down the motorway to arrive at the overnight hotel, a beautiful modern Resort overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the alluring isle of Sicily.
After enjoying breakfast overlooking the sea, today we conquer Sicily! We are working with the Targa Florio Museum and hopefully they will agree to be open to welcome the rally and give the opportunity to the crews who wish to do so to drive the Targa Florio Circuit. The starting control for the day for all competing crews will be at the lunch halt, located on the side of the circuit itself in a magnificent venue, with photographs that will never cease to amaze you. The roads in Sicily are quite badly damaged due to constant land movements so we have limited the competition for today, planning one or two moderate regularities before we reach the glorious Valley of the Temples – another UNESCO Heritage Site we add to our list, this archaeological site in Agrigento is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture. You can’t miss it!
Today the rally takes us along the southern coast of Sicily, venturing inland for some competition including a morning test and two small regularities before we arrive at the Villa Romana del Casale, where some time has been allocated to enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage Site and have a tasty lunch at the local trattoria. The afternoon takes in a couple of small bits of competition before you eventually drive through the stunning remote roads, all the way to the top of Mount Etna, the active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily. Once we are here, if you are feeling energetic you can take one of the numerous trips to the top of Mount Etna or, in your own time, you can start the descend to the hotel which will welcome the rally crews for two nights.
You can discover the marvels of this hill-top town or make the most of the hotel facilities. The luxurious hotel combines Sicilian tradition and hospitality with contemporary features; the private beach and the salted water pool are accessible via an elevator excavated into the rock.
Dutifully relaxed and refreshed, we leave the comfort of the Taormina Hotel quite early today and ferry back over to mainland Italy.
The main control begins after a 100km run up the motorway, with some interesting regularities offering stunning views, before we stop for lunch at a restaurant in the town of Paola; the venue is owned by one of the famous (or infamous?) Italian Bee Gees! We wind our way through the mountains to the overnight hotel at Maratea, offering stunning views over the coastline. Your climb will be overlooked by the imposing Statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Italian counterpart of the Rio de Janeiro statue...
Enjoy the climb and we may reward you with a pool party...
With two more rally days to go, the competition only takes place during the morning, with three regularities before a lunch time finish. We are at the core of Italian heritage here, with the incredible historical sites of Paestum and Pompeii nearby, as well as the natural wonder of the stunning Amalfi coast and alluring Mount Vesuvius. Have your pick! We will provide route instructions to the overnight hotel and notes on which exit to take to view any of these attractions, but there will be no specific Tulips to follow so that you can be free to investigate and visit the site/s that you prefer.
On the final day of the Temple Rally, we set out from Caserta and tackle the first regularity of the day with a hairpin climb followed by a more gradual descent. Driving through ancient valley and gorges, the rally will complete the final two short regularities and two tests, with a late lunch-time finish before we tackle the traffic into Rome. The Eternal City is busy at all times any day of the year, so a little patience will be required and we hope that driving right past the Colosseum will help you appreciate the last stretch of the rally, before we all gather at the finish hotel, where the private gardens and busy bar will collect all the tales from the journey we shared.
The Prize-Giving Gala Dinner will be organised for all crews tonight and the best of contemporary Italian cuisine will be prepared for us by a Michelin Star Chef.
*Itinerary subject to change