The village extends down to the coast but the major village is found on the slopes of the mountain.
Take a stroll in the village. Personally I found it inviting and serene. It was early in the morning when we came here and the streets were still empty with the exception of some men sitting at the coffee shop in the main square.
There are 2 churches (Kimisi tis Theotokou) and (Metamorfosi tou Sotiros) in the village, and a small chapel as well.
Itilon extends down the coast, not very far from Limeni, with a number of tower houses, some hotels and a few tavernas, but both the upper village and the coastal one are interesting and worth visiting.
If you happen to come to Itilo and want to have some fresh seafood get to the fish tavern of “Mavros Piratis”. Nico has a fishing boat and it is a guarantee that you get fresh fish out here. Anything fresh is tasty, and the tavern is one of the most popular in the village.b*
We are on a sight-seeing tour to Cape Tenaro this morning setting off from Gerolimenas.
Countless villages on slopes and hills with several tower houses beautify the region of Mani. The coast is dreamy, and the landscape becomes more rocky and steep as we approach Vathia.
I still remember the awe and astonishment I felt the first time I stared in the distance this preserved fortress settlement, which is an original specimen of Mani towers architecture. I believe it is the most photogenic sight in the area and it is only 10km from the area we stay.
The small clusters of looming tower houses perching against the sea are one of the postcard icons of Greece.
It is not a touristy area at all, but it is a “Must Visist.”
It causes a pleasant surprise with its unique beauty, its charm and imposingness no matter what season you come up here!
The village was mainly built during the 18th century and met its greatest prosperity the 19th. The year 1980 however, all its inhabitants deserted it and left for other major cities.
The castle of Mistras was built in 1249. It was built by the Franks who were trying to establish their rule over the region of the Peloponnese. They chose this site because it was easily defensible as it is inaccessible from the south and southwest where rocky cliffs fall way into a ravine, this made it safe from invasion. Ten years later in 1259, the Franks were defeated by the Greeks at Pelagonia, this forced them to hand over Mistras to the Greeks. Mistras would soon become the center of civilization and Byzantine life in that area. Soon Mistras had a population of 42,000 people. Houses and monasteries were built and the city flourished during the 15th century. It existed as the Byzantine capital of the Peloponnese for two centuries.
The ancient Byzantine site of Mistras is located about 6 kilometers northwest of Sparta (Sparti). As you approach Mistras (a medieval city built on a steep foothill of the northern slopes of Mount Taigetos), you enter through a castle gate and start wandering up the rocky paths in this ancient city. You are lead up the mountain by the narrow, rocky, worn passageways. As you travel upwards, you pass churches, monasteries and storied houses. One of the most elaborate monasteries at Mistras is the Pantanassa (which can be seen in the picture below). The churches are filled with beautiful icons and ancient frescoes painted on the walls. The summit of Mistras stands 621 meters (2,070 ft.) above sea level. There you will find the great fortress crowning the summit which was initially built as a stronghold against the enemy. If you want to explore Byzantine Greece, you must absolutely pay a visit to Mistras!
It promotes the olive culture providing very useful information, and it is the first in its kind.
In the open-air exhibition one can hear about the cultivation and collection of olives, and you will have the chance to see three different olive oil presses, one of which is prehistoric, the other ancient and the last one of the Byzantine years.
Monemvasia lies on a small peninsula off the Peloponnesian east coast.
The unique thing about Monemvasia is the way it has been built. You see, the region around it, is particularly wild and barren. The rocky landscape gives an austere characteristic to the region. There is not much cultivation in the area, except for olive groves.
There is a marina with sailing boats, and many restaurants scattered all over the place.
You can get the local mini bus and just pay a euro that will take you across to the old Monemvasia, or you can walk back all the way down the coastal raod enjoying the panoramic view.
MANI is situated in the Southern part of the Peloponnese
and it is full of rocks and Tall Towers.
These Towers here are Military hallmarks of a glorious era.
These fortifications are an expression of the fighting spirit of the
region and are to be found all over Mani.
It is one of the most enchanting caves I have ever visited. With the utmost patience and artistry, nature has fashioned a wonder beyond imagination beneath the austere landscape of Mani.
Brilliant white stalactites and stalagmites and impressive glittering crystal drapes decorate every corner, creating a breathtaking spectacle!
The water in the cave is brackish and very hard. Its temperature is about 14 degrees centigrade, while the temperature of the air in the cave ranges from 16 to 19 degrees centigrade.
The city is full of life because of the University.
You will see youngsters everywhere you go.
In the evening they gather around the central square, a place with many restaurants and cafe bars, where they eat out with their friends.
A city with a variety of good and quality shops.
I found quality goods sold in the shops in Sparti and because it was the sales season, everything seemed to be so cheap!
Mystras is located 5 km north west of Sparta.
“The wonder of the Morea” as it is called was built amphitheatrically around the fortress erectred in 1249 by the prince of Achaia. It was reconquered by the Byzantines, then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, and the city was abandoned in 1832 leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins standing here.
The Byzantine ruins of Mystras are at the base of Mount Taygetos, overlooking the city of Sparta and the fertile plain surrounding it. It gives impressive views of the whole area around it.
It is worth paying a visit to this beautiful historical spot when you visit the Peloponnese. I believe it is the best example of the last period of the Byzantine empire. It is a fortress and a city surrounded by walls and full of beautiful monasteries and churches.
Looking more closely at a village confirms that this part of Laconia is very different from Mani. There are no half-abandoned (or completely abandoned) houses, none has a roof missing. There are even new houses being built. On the other hand, while Mani is now developing tourism; because of its special character, eastern Laconia remains a little more backwards, not changing much.
In the mountain villages, the houses are built tight to one another but no house tower like in Mani. It does not seem that the families had to fight each other to get enough for their living! Compared to harsh Mani, this is a nice country!
Though the eastern part of Laconia is mountainous, it is not as desolated as Mani, its western part. Most of the terraced slopes are well maintained and bear their crop waiting to be collected. It is not wealthy but it seems that the people can make a living, which is not the case in Mani.
What a suprise, entry to Monemvasia was free when we visited. We arrived before any coaches and it was extremely quiet and tranquil.
A fortified rock, totally unassailable with only one entrance, it was almost impossible to enter without being noticed.
There is a causeway to the rock from Gefira (modern Monemvasia) and the medieval town is practically invisible until you pass through a tunnel in a fortifying wall and emerge on the other side.
Most of the lower town has been turned into exclusive accommodation and glossy souvenir shops.The upper town is quite a trek and is all but ruins apart from the Church of Agia Sofia, on the cliff edge.
Monemvasia belonged to the mainland until an earthquake in AD 375. seperated it. It has suffered a series of invasions from Franks, Venetians and Turks.
Nowadays it is one of Greece's premier tourist spots.
Mani area! The place where I come from.
One needs 3 days just to cross Mani, 3 months to wander around it and 3 lives to understand its soul. One life will be spend to investigate its sea, one to get its mountains and one to get to know its people.
Mani, a barren land in Laconia - Greece.
The towers of the Mani are well-known. Made of stone and fearless souls. Men harder than the stones around them. You see one tower, then another and another. Hard stones, naked hillsides. Bays and coves torn by the sea and the wind. Rocks, stone walls, prickly pears and some olive trees. Deserted beaches for solitary roaming. The Diros caves. Many-splendoured colours. Stalactites and stalagmites form figures in a tight embrace. Awe and wonder. Githio, Sparta’s picturesque port, where you can enjoy a glass of ouzo and roasted octopus in one of the many taverns. Honour and bravery. The courage of the Maniots is legendary. Ancestral glory. Proud beings, these Maniots...
Come and meet us!
Come and visit proud Mani that never subjugated to any invaders.
-You will watch the modern history of Greece in one of its sun-lit areas where the old borders the new, where the nature remained clean and virgin, where the sea meets the mountains!
-You will find the world’s most beautiful floating caves, the unusual architectural structures, the houses that look like towers and settlements like fortresses! Their churches are decorated with most splendid frescoes.
-You will walk along the old and narrow stone paths of traditional villages, see the Taygetos gorges, try and enjoy the local olive oil, paste meat, honey and Taygetos mountain tea, cookies (diples), herbs and fresh fish.
-You will enjoy the hospitality of people who remained pure and unspoiled, who follow the traditional customs and habits, people whose word costs as much as any legal document.
Visit, Githio, Skoutari, Kotronas, Kokkala, Areopoli, Diros, Vathia, Marmari, Porto Cayo, Plaka, Kardamili
and meet us!
The old town of (Medieval) Monemvasia sends you back to the past times. Ideal place for romantic walks. It has a class! It has a style! And it is a magical place!
If you are lucky, find a table at the Malvasia hotel's cafe the late afternoon and listen to the classical music, while you are gazing at the sea and the roofs of other houses.
Xifas-Monemvasias, Monemvasia, 23070, gr
Good for: Solo
Central Plaza, Mystras, 23100, Greece
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
3 Manousaki str., Mystras, Sparta, 23100, Greece
Good for: Couples