A journey to Mani

When you enter Lakoniki Mani you will see stone built houses and impressive towers next to prickly pear cacti, dashing old tower villages, impressive caves, byzantine churches, beautiful beaches and unique local gastronomy. Let yourself be taken by the wild beauty of the rocks next to the sea. Discover Lakoniki Mani and its most revealing spots!

1. Areopoli

In the charming town of Areopoli you will travel back to the past, walk on cobblestone streets and see impressive towers! Take a tour around the town’s unique narrow alleys. Visit the Taxiarchon Church, the 17th Martiou square, as well as the towers of chieftains Kapetanakou, Mparelakou and Pikoulaki. Enjoy your stay in traditional guesthouses and make a stop to enjoy your meal and beverage in tavernas, cafés and bars. Areopoli is the ideal base for your trips around Lakoniki Mani.

2. Limeni

On your way from Areopoli down the mountain side, in a little bay with deep blue coloured sea and the stone built houses, literally hanging from the rocky slopes, you will encounter a magical place called Limeni. This little village was once a settlement and port belonging to the Mavromichali family. Today Areopoli is one of the most picturesque settlements in Greece, renowned for its fish tavernas next to the sea shore and the charming background of the Mavromichalis tower.

3. Oitylo

Built on a hill overlooking the bay, Oitylo is a history-laden village. According to Homer during the Mycenaean Age this town used to belong to the Kingdom of Menelaos and took part in the Trojan War with its ships. Today the area is a perfect destination to relax in one of its accommodations, built with a traditional architecture style, and offer you unique views to the sea. Travel back in time by walking on the towns cobblestoned streets while passing by its picturesque square, stone built houses and traditional cafés.

4. Pyrgos Dirou

Visit a secret underground world, divided into three caves, 4km away from the town of Pyrgos Dirou. The caves Spilaia Glyfada or Vlychada, Alepotrypa (meaning foxhole) and Katafygi are all in their own way beautiful and of rare archaeological value. At the Vlychada cave you will enjoy a 3,100m. tour of which only 300m are on dry land, for the rest of the excursion you will embark on a boat. The boat trip will drive you through several beautiful chambers with fanciful Greek names such as the Crossroads of Nymphs, the sea of shipwrecks etc. You can also visit the Neolithic Museum where you will see findings from the Paleolithic Age.

5. Gerolimenas

Further down south you will encounter Gerolimena, an alluring little coastal village of wild natural beauty protected by cape Cavo Grosso. Gerolimena derives from the Greek words ‘Ieros Limin’ which means ‘sacred port’. This village was once a port of great interest. Numerous traditional restaurants, cafés and accommodations are open all year round waiting for you to pay a visit. Taste fresh fish by the seashore and enjoy the quiet and fascinating sea view.

6. Vatheia

On your way towards Tainaro you will encounter a little village called Vatheia where little towers emerge from the palms of a hillside. These forts were initially built in the 18th and 19th century with a traditional architectural style and used as defensive battlements. In the 1980’s several of these constructions were restored thanks to the ambitious project of the G.N.T.O. Travel back to the past by wandering about the settlements’ alleys.
At the edge of cape Tainaro, enjoy Marmari and Porto Kagio where superb sandy beaches with clear waters can offer you an excellent place to play with sand and enjoy a swim during the warmest months of the year!

7. Tainaro Cape

Explore the southernmost point of mainland Greece and Balkan Peninsula, where Ancient Greeks marked the area as a passage to the underworld. Begin your walk from Agion Asomaton Church, built with stones from the ancient temple Tainaro of Poseidon. Take an eastern direction to see a temple carved on a rock and a sea cave where Hercules faced Cerberus. You can also go west where you can admire traces from an ancient roman settlement such as the renowned 1st century B.C. mosaic. From here take 45 minute hike and reach the Akrotainaro lighthouse where the Ionian meets the Aegean sea. Close your eyes and let the myth-laden scenery exert its power on you!

Cover Photo by Tom Patrikarakos
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