West Mani Travel Guide

  • flying fish caught in nets left overnight
    flying fish caught in nets left...
    by painterdave
  • Take a see through air mattress to view bottom
    Take a see through air mattress to view...
    by painterdave
  • The Cave, you can see bottom 7 feet below
    The Cave, you can see bottom 7 feet...
    by painterdave

West Mani Things to Do

  • Visit the first Greek organic olive oil...

    Driving from Pyrgos to Kastania village you can stop at Blauel Oil factory. It is owned by a Austrian guy who moved here in the '70 and started bottling by hand olive oil. It was the first organic farm in Greece and now it works with over 500 local farmers. When we were there it was closed for some restoration works but usually it is possible to...

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  • Visit Kastania village

    After you have been shopping for olive oil at the Blauel farm keep driving until you reach Kastania Village that is hidden in a fold of the mountain.You can park your car after the tiny but beautiful bizantine church of Agios Gioannis and than you walk uphill to the center of the village.The central square is shortly on the right, there is a caffee...

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  • Visit Pyrgos village

    If you get tired of swimming and sumbathing you can decide to go for a drive following an itinerary up to the hills. We drove North of Ag. Nikolaos and then right toward the village of Pyrgos. Pyrgos is a small village with stones houses and a nice church. There is bar, full of old photographs and with a bunch of locals resting in the shade. We...

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  • Beaches Nearby

    There are many choices of beaches near Agios Nikolaos, on both sides of the village. We chose 3 different ones, each one was different, on had small pebbles on the entire beach, one had sand, and one had large round rocks. The round rock one had the most clear water, but was difficult to put the pole of an umbrella in place. It offered the best...

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  • Watch the fishermen sell their catch

    In the village of Agios Nikolaos you will find a small port where the fishermen bring their catch in at 9:00 in the morning. They have left their nets out all night, and you will see what they have caught.They lay the fish out on a table for all to see and buyers step right up and get their plastic bag filled with their selection which has been...

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  • Diros cave

    Pirgos Dirou is a small village 8 km south to Areopoli. You must drive a further 4 km to get to the caves that are open for visits. Even in summer, the temperature of the air remains below 20°C while the water is around 12°C ! The cave is visited by small boats on about 1 km. It has plenty of stalactites that reflect on the perfectly still water....

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  • Castle of Kelefa

    The castle of Kelefa was built by the Ottomans near Itilo in 1670. The name Kelefa means bald land as it was built on a barren plateau bluff overlooking the bay of Itilo It is a large rectangular construction very similar to Passava castle. Though is is much decayed, it nevertheless looks very impressive by its size.

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  • Gerolimin, house towers

    The first photo shows one of the 800 traditional house towers of Mani, built with local stones and with narrow openings. (see my Eastern Mani page for more on the house-towers).The second photo shows a modern fancy house tower just finished built with bricks, with wide openings and that has amazingly been topped with four turrets on each angles,...

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  • Gerolimin/Gerolimenas

    Gerolimin is another pleasant small village of south western Mani, 24 km south to Areopolis. It has not more than a hundred permanent residents but in summer, the population increases dramatically as there are many “room to let”

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  • Areopoli/Itilo

    With 800 inhabitants, this small village is the second largest town in Mani. The name of the city means "city of Ares", the ancient Greek god of war. Areopoli was known from medieval times as Tsimova. This was the area’s name until 1836. This is where started the Greek War of Independence on March 17th 1821 under the led of Petros Mavromichalis (or...

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  • Kato Limini, north to Areopoli

    Kato Limini (which means something like "lower swamp") is not far from Areopoli. The village (on the right side of the bay, almost hidden), spreads in a wide bay that makes a magnificent landscape and offers a better place for agriculture! However, though this is not as rocky and stony as most parts in Mani, agriculture is scarce: soil is available...

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  • Olive grove north to Areopoli

    North to Areopoli, this olive grove shows how hard it is to grow anything, even olive trees in Mani. The hard rock is everywhere, covered by a very thin crust of vegetal earth. Along the centuries, peasants have collected the smaller stones and piled them into walls. The larger stones, those that were too large to be removed, have stayed there and...

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  • North to Areopoli

    When you drive from Kalamata and before getting to Areopoli, this place is where you can see the first and famous house-towers of Mani. I will explain more about this type of housing in my East Mani page as they are more numerous in eastern and southern Mani than in the west.

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  • Chapels along the road, chapels along...

    Driving along the peninsula, you will find chapels along the road, chapels along the shore!First photo. Look at this one! It is protected by several outer walls and with its many roofs, looks like a large church!Second and third photos. This chapel is not as beautiful as the previous one but it sands, almost alone on a one on a chapel size...

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  • The narrowest gravel roads…

    In Greece, my policy is to always look for the narrowest gravel roads. If I have to choose between a paved road and a dirt road, I take the dirt. If I have to choose between a road with road signs and an unsigned road, I choose the later. If I have to choose between a wide road and a narrow one, I chose the narrow one, etc… You do not win each...

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  • Trahila

    Trahila (which means “triton”) is a small village near Agios Dimitrios, on the road from Kardamili to Dhiros. I was driving on the small road that leads into the village. It was along the sea, between the houses and a small wall that prevented to falling into the sea. And the road/street became narrower and narrower, with occasionally table and...

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  • North western Mani: near Almiro

    These three photos were taken in North western Mani, along the road from Kalamata to Kardamili.The first photo shows a nice house that obviously has just been built at the end of a small peninsula extended by a recently manmade rocky warf.The second photo shows a series of small bays that should be near Almiro.The third photo is typical of the wild...

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  • Areopoli

    Areopoli is the capital of Mani. Areopoli means 'the city of Ares' - the God of War - and the name was only adopted for its efforts during the Greek War of Independence.The little town has many sights to visit: the Church of Taxiarhes, the Kapetanakos Tower, the statue of Mavromihalis in Athanaton Square, the tower of Biroulakaou and Pikoulaki.

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  • Diros Caves

    The famous Diros Caves are located around 10 km south of Areopoli. The Caves of Diros were discovered in 1895 but the end has still not been found. The caves were formed by an underground fresh water river.To get through the cave you need to get in a boat with a guide. The guide will give you a tour for about 30 min. After that you have to walk for...

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  • Limeni village

    My favourite place in Mani!!! A tiny fisherman's village with crystal waters and beautiful landscape. It is located just 6 km away from Areopoli. It has beautiful traditional houses and mansions. The Mavromichalis mansion is the biggest one and houses the museum of Lineni with many interesting exhibits

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  • Towers in Vathia

    About 800 towers are scattered all over Mani. They are found everywhere in villages, mountains, on seashores. The towers are made of local stone with very small windows at the upper levels. The way they are built reflects the social and historical conditions of the Maniot life.

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West Mani Restaurants

  • Great fish

    In case you want to taste some great grilled fish while in Agio Nikolaos I suggest you to walk to the end of the waterfrong and sit under the shady umbrella at To Limeni taverna.The restaurant went for the blue and azure decor, very Greek style.The owner is friendly and very helpful. They have a good menu of traditional Greek dishes and fish, that...

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  • Best in town

    This restaurant was the one our rental people suggested as the best. The first evening, when we went out of the room we had a confirm about it... this place was packed with people while the few tavernas next to it were empty!We had dinner here several times and we really appreciated their food, they cook traditional Greek food taking it to...

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  • Bakery Heaven

    The bakery located at the harbor of Agios Nikolaos is exceptional. Rising early in the morning to bake the local specialties (see photos) the workers make sure that their customers are satisfied to find all the local goodies.They have a huge following of locals who come there daily, sit and talk, argue, laugh and eat this quality bakery made...

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West Mani Shopping

  • Just the essentials

    In the village center there are just a few shops, a minimarket with all the essentials food and personal car items, a vegetables and fruit shop, the fish market at the harbour in the early morning when the fishermen came back with their chatch and a great bakery where you can buy sweets, chocolate, cheesepita and spanakopita for your quick lunch.If...

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  • Roadside Veggie Shops

    Sick of buying tomatoes that look ripe and are hard inside? Greek will bring your taste buds back to life as along the road there are numerous farmers who have set up a roadside stand to offer what they have picked that morning.Totally awesome are those purple onions, and favorful garlic hanging together. Melons, and Squash during the season are...

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  • West Mani Hotels

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West Mani Local Customs

  • Nowdays

    All these violent customs like vendetta, now belong to History. Maniots nowdays love to have doughters and feel proud for them. But what now seems inacceptable, it is easily explained for the old times.When war was a daily routine, being a warrior was the only way to protect, not only family but also nation. So it was not strange that they prefered...

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  • Wedding and birth

    The only happy events were those of a wedding and a birth of a boy. Like ancient Greeks they thought that a boy or a "koukos" would guarantee the biological sequence of the family and the ethnos in general. Besides, every boy was looked upon as one more warrior or a "rifle" in the family that would be very useful in future fights.The birth of a...

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  • And after Vendetta what???

    Sometimes upon their wish members of a defeated family could stay in the village. This was possible on some certain terms. If it was a plain murder a remoursed murderer would perform a simple ceremony and after this he would become a special protector and benefactor of the family of his former enemy. Cases like this were discussed and approved by a...

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West Mani Off The Beaten Path

  • West Mani: Chora

    For those of you, like my self, who are a fan of the late Bruce Chatwin, a wonderful hike can be made to the tiny village of Chora to visit the Byzatium chapel of St Nikolas. It is here where the author of "In Patagonia" and "The Song Lines" had his ashes spread in 1989.

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  • Old churches of Mani

    I cannot give you special instructions for what church to visit and what is its name. I can only advise you to enter 5-6 old chapels you will find on your way. The hagiography in most of them is from byzantine times and it is really impressive!Old churches you will find everywhere but you can go to some in Itilo village, Kotronas village, Areopolis...

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  • Castles of Mani

    The typical way to dominate a contumacious and hill dwelling population in this period was to build castles that surrounded and encircled them. The Norman kings of England used this method with success in Wales. The major castles we know that were established or reanimated from earlier institutions by the Franks in the area around the Taygetus and...

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West Mani Favorites

  • Stoupa

    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...

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  • Our favourite beach

    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...

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  • Pantazi beach

    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...

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