Whether you prefer mountains or sea or both together, the Peloponnese with its postcard landscapes is the ideal place for a vacation, whether it be for just a few days or for an extended trip.
No other part of Greece combines stupendous mountain scenery and scenic hikes with deserted, pristine beaches and a wealth of ancient sites like the Peloponnese, making it the perfect autumn destination.
Providing a break from everyday life and the city, the Peloponnese is a special place of infinite villages, wonderful cities, beaches, and secrets, filled with unique special natural beauty and enriched by a long history.
However, here we focus on the beautiful Mani and list 10 reasons why you should visit at the first opportunity.
ONE. Wherever you stay, spend at least a day touring the Mesa Mani Peninsula by car or motorbike, stopping in as many villages as you can and enjoying the feeling of complete freedom. The Mani Peninsula, also long known by its medieval name Maina or Maïna, is a geographical and cultural region in southern Greece that is eerily beautiful with imposing landscapes and beautiful villages, coastal and mountainous.
TWO. If you could visit only one village of Mani, this would be the impressive city of Vathia, just past Gerolimenas and known for its tower-houses built on a hill dominating the surrounding countryside. A walk in the alleys with prickly pears is a must in this beautiful village.
THREE. Take a cruise of the spectacular cave complex of Diros, otherwise known as ‘nature’s underground cathedral’. Filled with impressive stalagmites and stalactites that were dramatically formed millions of years ago, Diros provides visitors with the opportunity to travel right back to the Neolithic era.
FOUR. Go on a “safari” of Byzantine churches (Agios Zacharias, Panoros, Agios Nikolaos) in the village of Lagia in Mesa Mani.
FIVE. Go for a walk through the old village of Itilo, one of the most beautiful traditional villages of Mani. Located about 11 km from Areopoli its old stone houses are built amphitheatrically into a cliff with a wonderful view of the picturesque Itilo Bay and opposite the historic Monastery of Dekoulou.
SIX. Stay at, or even just visit, the 19th century complex of buildings that make up the historic boutique hotel in Gerolimenas and, if you have time, dine in its remarkable restaurant.
SEVEN. Enjoy fish from the Laconic Gulf in the wonderful tavernas of Neo Oitylos and Karavostasi. Also don’t forget to sample the famous red shrimp of Lakonikos.
EIGHT. Walk to through the pedestrian village of Areopolis, a well-preserved historical town with stone paths and traditional tower houses and enjoy a coffee or drink in the charming medieval bars.
NINE. If you are the hiking type, experience the wild beauty of Mani by walking to the lighthouse at Cape Tainaro, the southernmost tip of mainland Europe (approximately 20 minutes’ walk), where the gate of Hades was located according to Greek mythology.
TEN. The doll-like town of Kardamili, with its stone-built houses placed in an always sunny bay, is definitely worth a walk through. Located at the feet of Taygetos mountain, the charming ancient city, complemented by pebble-fitted beaches next to endless olive gardens, and the stone-built villages has evolved into a chic and sophisticated resort that captivates Greeks and tourists alike as the perfect Mediterranean location.
Photos thanks to travelstyle.gr except where noted otherwise.