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 Christmas in Vytina: The ultimate winter destination

VytinaBuilt in the arms of Mount Menalo in Arcadia, on a peaceful plateau, with fascinating alternations of colours and rare natural beauty, Vytina looks like a real-life landscape from a painting.

Its climate and privileged location, make it an ideal place for relaxation, but also for activities and excursions. Filled with stone mansions, lush gardens, picturesque alleys, and a lively square, the town of Vytina has been for many years now, one of the most popular mountain destinations in the Peloponnese and in Greece overall.

Vytina is built at an altitude of 1,033 meters, at a ‘key point’, because it offers easy access to various places and sights, and to over ten ski resorts, archaeological museums, and other popular villages in the area, such as Lagadia, Stemnitsa and Dimitsana.

Today, the town of Vytina is famous not only for its beauty and its evergreen fir forests, but also for the great variety of traditional local products it offers, from thyme, oregano and tea, to its well-known fir honey, “Elatomelo”.

In the town’s market and traditional stores, visitors can also find a plethora of homemade Greek pasta products, jam, dairy, fresh and dry nuts, legumes, herbs, traditional desserts, the famous in the area cranberry, and also, lots of local woodwork products.

 Christmas in Vytina: The ultimate winter destination 1

 Christmas in Vytina: The ultimate winter destination 2

 Christmas in Vytina: The ultimate winter destination 3
The famous Vytina fir honey “Elatomelo”

Vytina is also a place of significant historical importance.

According to the prevailing opinion, the name “Vytina” has origins in the ancient Greek language and comes from the word “vythos” (bottom of the sea), because the old town of Vytina was built at the bottom of a basin surrounded by hills.

The history of its establishment is lost however, in the depths of the Middle Ages, but based on ancient scripts of historian Pausanias, Vytina was probably founded as a city in 350 BC, with various ancient artefacts found in the area.

What is also interesting is that the town’s initial location was not the same as it is today, but it was 2-3 km higher up Mount Menalo. Because of the extremely cold weather at the time, Vytina’s inhabitants moved further down the mountain and settled there permanently for several centuries.

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Vytina was later developed as an important settlement during the Byzantine period and became a major supply centre during the 1820s, with its inhabitants pioneering in the Greek Revolution.

Turkish Pasa, Ibrahim, show Vytina as a great threat during the Greek-Turkish war, and in order to bend its resistance, he set the settlement on fire seven times during 1825 and 1826, causing great damages, but without lowering the morale of Vytina’s people.

The town’s contribution to the Greek armed forces for the liberation from the Turkish rule was also very important. Vytina’s local people provided the Greek soldiers with bread and cared for the wounded, while the town’s private army played a critical role during battles with the Turkish soldiers.

Moreover, today in Vytina, tourists can visit the place where the famous heroine of the Greek Revolution, Eleni Liaropoulou, the “Vytinea – Souliotissa”, jumped off the cliff of Mount Menalo, so that she would not fall alive into the hands of the Turks.

Two centuries later, Vytina has become the 4th most visited Winter destination in Greece, behind Arachova, Meteora and Kalavryta, whilst offering a plethora of activities and a rich history of Greek tradition.

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 Christmas in Vytina: The ultimate winter destination 6In the central square of the town, there is the remarkable church of Agios Tryphon, which was created with black marble by local craftsmen, the City Hall, the historical library, the folklore museum, a renovated Greek school from the 1800s, as well as numerous taverns and cafes, that offer local delicacies.

Close to the town centre, visitors can also find the famous “Road of Love” (Δρόμος της Αγάπης), a popular tourist attraction among couples, which is essentially a wonderful romantic route between aromatic maples and plane trees.

This fairytale-like alley received that name many centuries ago, as it was a tradition among young people in the area to take a walk on the picturesque route with their significant other. Today, the Road of Love is also a popular destination among young lovers, many of which choose it to make marriage proposals while walking down the road.

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 Christmas in Vytina: The ultimate winter destination 8

The impressive landscape of Mount Menalo is also ideal for various athletic activities, with unique hiking trails in the fir forest, ski centres and rock-climbing routes.

In Vytina, tourists can indulge in romantic walks, taste traditional dishes and wander its picturesque streets, where the black marble of the houses is perfectly combined with the red tiled roofs. In the liveliest village of Arcadia, tradition is intertwined with luxury, offering the visitor an unforgettable experience, perfect for winter getaways.

Cats (of Syros). The Netflix documentary.

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