The place - Mani
Drive from Githio or Kalamata into Mani and you will
see yet another totally contrasting face of the
castles and tiny villages dot the hillsides at every turn off the small
twisting roads zigzagging along the coast. The towers were
fortifications, a means of survival through many ages of Mani's history.
The scenery is dazzling in a stark and powerful sense. Rocky hillsides
with fascinating shapes descend to caves, jewel-shining seas and quiet
The hardy Taygetus mountain range stretches the length of Mani and all the way
up to Megalopoli. The highest point just exceeds 2400 metres
inland from Kardamyli as this range climbs and then fades (it is at
minimum a full day climb from Kardamyli to the summit). The charming village of Kardamyli
with its ancient city remains and its Italianate, Tuscany-like
rooftops, charming harbour and ideal small beach, sits on the coast to
welcome you. Take this spectacular rural coastal route from Itylo to
Kardamyli - the most natural-seeming rural village trail.
Along the coast apart from still-abandoned towers, there are abandoned
monasteries which for the enthusiastic hiker, carrying plenty of water
and well protected from the harsh rock-reflected sun, offer a trophy on
How to get there - Mani
It will be useful to check
how to get
Where to stay - Mani
The sublime Kyrimai Hotel at Gerolimenas - if you
can stay here do, both for the area and this destination-in-itself.
Porto Vitilo, wonderful by-the-sea small hotel with a distinctive
classy feel mixed with comfortable warm welcome.
At Areopoli (the "small town centre of Mani") Trapela Hotel is
strikingly appealing and Kastro Maini speaks the plain truth of a
good effective base with the benefit of a swimming pool.
Review, photos, rates & reservations with SuperbGreece.com:
- Kyrimai Hotel
- Porto Vitilo Hotel
- Trapela Hotel
- Kastro Maini
- Melitsina Village NEW
What to see/do - Mani
Also known as "Vitilo" in the past.
The old town looks over Itilo Bay towards Limeni. Neo Itylo is down by
the sea across the arc of the bay from Limeni.
Notable in the area, the Castle of Kelefa a 17th century Turkish
stronghold; Sotiras Church - Byzantine, overlooking the bay and
including in its structure parts of an original ancient temple, frescoes
to see here.
You can see Dekoulou monastery above.
It is told that the monastery was a meeting place of the Orlov brothers
who Catherine the Great sent to prepare a revolt against the Turks in
the late 1700s.
In 1821, after 350 years of Turkish occupation, the move for independence
commenced in the main square of Areopolis under the motto: "Freedom or
Death" (Eleftheria i Thanatos in greek). The
place where this motto was flown on a banner is marked.
The town was named Areopolis after "Ares", the mythical god of war.
There are several churches in the village and others formed in
caves on the surrounding hills.
11 km south of Areopoli, close to sea level.
These caves are beautiful indeed, with some marvellous shapes,
and fossils. Very enjoyable is also the way you visit the various,
well-lit, chambers: by little boat, up to 4-6 people on each,
accompanied by a knowledgeable guide that tells the story of the caves
and points out the most interesting features and facts.
Open: daily 08.00-17.30 (June-September), 08.30-14.30 (October-May)
Tel: 27330-52222, 52223.
Another cave, Alepotrypa ("fox's hole"), is close by.
The cave was apparently in use by prehistoric men. Many
stalactites and stalagmites.
Museum of Neolithic Civilization at Diros - is at the entrance of Alepotrypa
Also nearby: the Katafigi cave.
Agios Nikolaos, just south of Stoupa, has cafes at an attractive harbour.
Agitria - 13th century Byzantine church.
Splendidly, if precariously sitting on the edge of a sheer cliff over
- Kalogria is a sandy beach, a cove
where Nikos Kazantzakis' "Zorba the Greek" - the man himself, the real-life Zorba
from Stoupa, danced. Even so, you can't help hearing the
unforgettable music created later by Mikis Theodorakis for the
heartwarming movie about the man. Thank you also Anthony Quinn!
-Stoupa is one of the more popular "happening" beaches during summer
months, though with a casual laid-back air. Cafes, tavernas and more.
- Limeni is a shingle and sand beach with many cafes and tavernas - north
- Gerolimenas, a picturesque harbour with a pebbly beach, some imposing
cliffs, with a handful of tavernas and cafes.
- Marmari with a sandy beach.
- Tainaron lighthouse is a the tip of the Mani peninsula south of
Gerolimenas, one of the biggest in Greece. It is solar-powered.
Special Comments - Mani
Simply gorgeous, rugged, wonderful waters, splendid small
hill towns and villages, towers and turrets unique to the area, visible
history and plentiful outcrops of archaeology.
Top of page
History-steeped, scenic peninsula with unique towers in tiny
villages, wonderful small hotels, archaeology and hidden gem-like bays. A
key area in the stories of ancient Greece. Many caves, old churches and
bundles of scenic beauty.
Typical Mani towers