Stoupa is supposed to be the best place to be in this area.. well i do not agree.. the beach is sure very nice with fine sand and the usual crystal water that you expect in Greece, BUT it is totally crowded!
We drove there willing to find out spot in the sand but we were underwhelmed by the ants looking crowd... there was no room left to set a chair or an unmbrella and it was early in the morning when lots of people are still sleeping.
We soon went back to our car and left.
Fondest memory: I am sure the beach is the best in the area for families with little kids because the water is very calm and shallow for a long way out.
We found it for accident, we were driving from Ag. Nikolaos to Kardamily and we saw people driving down a dirt road. We stopped and look down and there it was, a beach!
We decided to go check it out and it we decided right away that would have been our favourite.
It is a stretch of big pebbles, actually almost stone, under a cliff that provide shade for half a day. There is a big tall rock sticking out of the water where people climb to jump in the sea.
The cliff keep the wind away and the place is just peacefull and perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The only problems is that it is kind of hard to stick an umbrella in the big pepples but you will menage :-)
There is a small taverna into a trailer near the beach providing beverage snack and light lunches.
Pantazi beach is the official beach of Ag. Nikolaos. It is a short drive south of the center, you can reach it by car, by bycicle or walking as I saw lots do.
There is a parking area under some shady tree and a taverna for a quick lunch.
The beach is sand and big stones. Entering in the water can be triky because of the stones so it is best to wear beach shoes.
Favorite thing: Areopoli, is the key place for exploring Mani. It has been characterized as a preserved settlement.It is a big village with many reconditioned towers. It was the home base of the Mavromihaleo, and their tower is now used as a museum. It is also worth it to visit the church of the Taxiarhon in the centre of the town.
Favorite thing: Vathia is a village, built on the top of a hill with its stone-tower-houses.The sparse population of this severe rocky area fights with all its strength to survive among these waterless rocks and stones. The landscape with the olive-trees and the tower-houses is actually dreamy.
Mani is located on the south Peloponnese occupying the northwestern section of the Laconian region (nomos) and the northeastern part of the Messinian region (nomos) with the Taygetos Mountains in the centre.The length of Mani is 75 km, its area equals 1800 sq.km.
Administratively Mani belongs to two nomos (regions): those of Messinni and Laconia. It consists of 5 municipalities, and about 250 sun lit villages and sites with plenty of olive trees and cactuses.
Mani is one of the most traditionals spots of Greece. It has a lot of old buildings, the high stone towers being the most characteristic among them. On the whole there are about 800 towers and 6 castles in Mani
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.
But for a good start, follow this virtual tour from Kalamata to Githio that http://www.mani.org.gr suggests!!!
Fondest memory: 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. It echoes through the cobbled alleys of villages. Proud beings, these Maniots...
Come and meet us!
More details in my Laconia prefecture page! :)
Each summer from May through August, something wondrous happens along our beaches: An ancient mariner, the loggerhead sea turtle, leaves the water during the night and crawls ashore to lay her eggs in a sandy nest.
The task of excavating a nest may take her over an hour to accomplish. The turtle - weighing several hundred pounds - laboriously digs a nest cavity with her rear flippers.
She then deposits approximately 100 pliable ping-pong ball sized eggs into the chamber, covers them with sand and returns to the sea.
After roughly a two-month incubation period, a cluster of tiny hatchlings emerges from the sand and scrambles to the Gulf. Unfortunately, their sea-finding ability can be disrupted by lights from buildings and streets. Confused, the hatchlings wander inland and are crushed by vehicles or die from heat exhaustion in the sunlight.
Only a small percentage of hatchlings survive to maturity! Loggerhead turtles have existed on Earth for millions of years with little serious threat to their survival - until recently. Pollution, lighted beaches, loss of nesting habitat, drowning in shrimp nets and other fishing gear have contributed to the drastic decline of these and other sea turtles.
Let's protect it!
Here are some basic rules for turtle-friendly behavior:
-Shut off or shield lights that are visible from the beach.
-Remove beach litter.
-Quietly observe a nesting turtle from a distance.No flash photography.
-Do not harass a turtle
-Keep pets on a leash, away from sea turtles and their nests
-Leave nest sites marked undisturbed and mark a nest site if you notice it.
-To report dead or injured sea turtles, or, to become a volunteer in protecting caretta caretta, contact
Halfway almost to this destination lies the Passava Fort. Before reaching Githio, on your right, you will pass by three Camping grounds. They are in Mavrovouni 6 klm sandy beach.
At the entrance of the town of Githio-near to the military barracks-there are ruins of an ancient theatre. At the Port, a narrow strip of asphalt road leads you to the small island of Kranai, where according to the tradition Paris of Troye spent his first night with Helen, wife of king Agamemnon. At its center lies the Tower of Janetaki and the Museum of Folklore of Mani.
Githio has plenty of fish taverns and tourist shops. Outside Githio, towards Skala, there are other sandy beaches. And one of them is called "karavi" = "ship" cause there is a shipwreck there.
In these sandy beaches around Gythio, an important number of caretta caretta, adult, female, sea turtles, come every year to lay their eggs in the sand. So be careful not to damage them.
Continuing south, you will pass by Gerolimenas -a beach with taverns- Vathia, Marmari, and if you continue on a road of moderate conditions you will reach the location of Mianes towards the west, and Paliros towards the east. Between these two locations there is a cavern filled with water, which according to mythology was the gate to Hades. There was the Shrine of Poseidon, the Oracle, the Sanctuary of the Lacones and the Temples of Demetra and Aphrodite.
Turning back and following the route towards Alika to the northeast, you will pass by: Tsikalia, Lagia, Pigaros on your right, Agios Kiprianos on your right, Spira, Kokkala, Exo Nimphio, Chalikia, Flomochori. Turning right and northeast you will reach Kotrona. Here, a narrow strip of land will take you to the small island of Skopa, where you can see the remaining traces of a prehistoric settlement.
East of Kotrona lies the deserted monastery of Sotiras, a structure of 1700 AD. Turning at the intersection and continuing north you will pass by Loukadika, where you will delight in the beautiful view of an area full of tower structures and prickly pears. All over the Mani area one may encounter the famous "drakospita" or "Kolossospita", for whose origins there are various and unconfirmed explanations. Continuing on your left you encouterthe "Pirichos" Archeological Site. From Aeropoli, an asphalt-paved street of good condition leads you to Githio.
Still further to the south is the site of the undeveloped Katafigio cavern, with its stalactites. At Platsa, 19 km from Kardamili, you can visit the churches of Agios Dimitrios, Agios Nicolaos, Agios loannis, Agia Paraskevi, and 1.5 Km northeast from there the monastery of Agios Georgios. At Itilo, a few kilometers from Aeropoli, the churches of Agios Georgios, Metamorphosi tou Sotira, the monastery of Decoulos and northeast from there the ruins of the Castle of Kelefa, which is a Turkish structure dating from the 17th century.
At Aeropoli the churches of Agios loannis, Taxiarches, a number of Mani Towers and 4 km to the-north the coastal settlement of Limeni, which served as the base of operations for the Mavromichalis family, and where you can visit their mansion -now turned into a museum.
At 12 km from Aeropoli, and by the Diros Tower, are the caverns of Alepotripa, Katafigi and Vlichada. Fossils from the Neolithic Era and human bones were discovered in all three caverns. You will tour only the Vlichada cavern, by boat in one section and on foot in another section. Its length is 1,500 meters and the tour lasts about 45 minutes.
Of great tourist interest is also the Alepotripa cavern, which according to archeological discoveries played host to an entire community during the Neolithic Era (4,000-3,000 BC). Inside the cavern were houses, warehouses, workshops and a cemetery. At the Diros Tower you will also see the ruins of the settlements of Charia and Fournata, the Sklavounako Tower and the churches of Agia Marina and Taxiarches.
Entering Mani from Kalamata, visit Verga 8 km on your route to Areopoli. At Verga you can see the ruins of Mandra, the fort that was built by the Maniates to curb the advance of Ibrahim in Mani. Other sights there include the statue of Mavromichalis and Byzantine churches, foremost of which is the church of Agia Paraskevi, at Ano Verga. Continuing on the same route, and after 18 km, you reach Kambos, where you encounter the castle of Zarnata, built on the foundations of an ancient temple, as well as the churches of Agioi Theodori and Agios Vasilios and the monastery of Panagia Androubevitsa.
At 2 km from Kambos, near Stauropigi, lies a Byzantine building, exemplifying the local architecture. After another 14 km, at Kardamili, and just outside the village, you can see the burial grounds of the Dioskouri, which are carved on rock, the ruins of a medieval castle, the famous Mani Towers and the Byzantine church of Agios Spiridonas. Also, the church of Agia Sofia, at the homonymous settlement, and near Petrovouni the monastery of Faneromeni.
The Viros gorge starts at a short distance from Kardamili, at the Koskaraka Bridge. The gorge has a length of about 20 km, and you may reach the river Viros by foot, where you may marvel at the virgin nature. At 300 m from Kardamili you can also visit the small island of Panagia, where you may encounter the ruins of Venetian walls and the church of Agios loannis.
At 7 km from Kardamili, and on the same route, lies the village of Lefktro, with its Byzantine church of Ipapanti, which has remarkable wall paintings. Across from Lefktro lies the coastal settlement of Stoupa, which has taverns, tourist shops and hotels, and further to the south, at the place of the ancient Lefktra, stand the ruins of a castle built by the Franks.