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November’s issue is a tribute to the Greek Mainland and more specifically the Peloponnese. Amidst of the Corona Virus pandemic travelling might sound a bit out of context, but dreaming of it is always relevant and we are here to share thoughts and destinations for those better days that are waiting to come. Let’s go and have a glimpse in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s dream house in the Mani Peninsula that has turned into a museum and hotel, enjoy a luxury agrotourism stay in the enchanting Kinsterna Hotel in Monemvasia (which is the absolute romantic, post-quarantine, getaway), go to olive, wine, and honey tours in Argolis and finally explore the amazing Neda river.
Museum & Hotel in Mani, Peloponnese.
Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor loved and admired Greece and decided to build their home in Kardamyli village, in the Mani Peninsula in southern Peloponnese. They resided there for many years until their deaths in 2001 and 2011. In 1996, they donated their house to the Benaki Museum, in order to contribute to the Museum’s mission and with the expressed desire that the house will remain open to the public and host researchers. The operation of the Leigh Fermor House includes residencies and educational activities in collaboration with partner universities as well as scheduled visits and specially organized events open for the public.
The property is located in the Kalamitsi area, very close to Kardamyli, Messinia.
It consists of four discrete low stone buildings: the main House, the studio-office building and two secondary buildings.
The main house was designed by the architect Nikos Hatzimichalis in close collaboration with the Leigh Fermors and was completed in the mid 60s. Scattered in a beautiful Mediterranean garden with cypresses, olive trees, shrubs and wild flowers, it is, by general consensus, one of the most beautiful properties in Greece. Just below the house, a narrow path with stone steps leads to a small pebble beach.
After a great earthquake in 365AC, a huge piece of rock was cut off from the south east of the Peloponnese in the region of Laconia and was settled in the sea only a few meters away from the shore, forming the islet of Monemvasia. The rock formation can be compared to a miniature size of the rock of Gibraltar while the picturesque medieval village carved on its backside reminds a lot of Mont Saint Michel in France. Although many similarities arise with these two magnificent places, Monemvasia is an island /castle-town with a genuine poetic ambiance like no other. If you are a romantic soul, then it is the place to visit for a long weekend getaway or even for a honeymoon. For us, it is a post-quarantine dream destination!
The Greek poet Giannis Ritsos was from Monemvasia and his house and grave are on the islet.
He described his birthplace as “a boat made of stone that stands still but makes me travel across the universe.”
Monemvasia is connected with the mainland through a thin stripe of land just like a rope that anchors a ship. This is the only way to reach the island and explains how the name came out, meaning a single passage. Cars are not permitted inside the castle town. Once you have entered the big medieval gate, it feels like time has stopped. Byzantine churches, two-storey stone mansions turned into boutique hotels, small cafes and restaurants in terraces with breathtaking sea views and narrow paved alleys with tiny shops selling paintings, handicrafts, and homemade delicacies create a unique scenery.
You can visit Monemvasia as a weekend destination or as part of a roadtrip across the Peloponnese. It is 300km away from Athens and 186km away from Kalamata.
Find and book your romantic accommodation here
It was back in 2006 when a team of young and talented architects, engineers and designers envisioned the restoration of an old abandoned mansion and started renovation works in order to turn this gem into a luxury 5-star resort in the region of Agios Stefanos, a few kilometres away from Monemvasia, Peloponnese.
The Kinsterna is an impressive mansion and sprawling estate dating from the Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian eras. The building, along with its premises, is an important site for the local cultural heritage and it is remarkable how many different architectural details (such as the fireplaces and the fountains) have lasted for centuries.
The name of the hotel derives from the fact that many fountains are scattered around the estate. Τhe region is very fertile and the hotel’s gardens are full of olive trees, vineyards, citrus fruits and more. Kinsterna produces its own wine, extra-virgin olive oil and table olives, tsipouro (traditional Greek spirit), bread, marmalade and other fruit preserves, soap and much more. The fruit-bearing trees and fertile vegetable gardens, the beds of aromatic herbs and flowers and the springs with their fresh, flowing waters all contribute to this ethos and model of sustainability of the hotel.
The Kinsterna is a year-round pole of attraction and will offer you an experience that will last for a lifetime.
Book your stay here
Tours. Nafplion, Peloponnese.
You don’t have to be a connoisseur to know that Greece produces some of the most exceptional in taste and quality wines, olive oil and honey in the world. We have selected three tours for those seeking an alternative experience during their visit to Nafplion, Peloponnese, and want to get insights and see first hand how these premium gifts of Greek nature are produced.
The Olive oil tour from Nafplio: Argolis is a place rich in olive trees and olive oil production. On this half-day journey of the olive, you will learn all the secrets of this holy tree from prehistory until today, produce your own olive oil and taste fresh olive oil and various olive derivatives accompanied by delicious Greek dishes. Book the tour here
Beekeeper for a day in Nafplio: Welcome to the amazing bee world! If you are fascinated by the bee society and its structure, this tour will simply amaze you! A local beekeeper will introduce you to the magical world of bees and beekeeping. After a small theoretical briefing, you will wear the necessary protective uniforms and hike in the natural environment of bees.
You will see the queen of the beehive and how the worker bees follow orders while the drones (male bees) “do nothing.” See how the bees collect pollen from flowers and convert it to fresh honey, storing it inside the beehive.
After this unique experience, you will taste some delicious varieties of honey and traditional Greet sweets with pure Greek honey as the main ingredient.
The ultimate tour for the whole family! Book your tour here
Nemea wine tour and tasting: Nemea is arguably Greece’s most important red-wine appellation. It is a region with a small village and some very important archaeological sites located in the northeastern corner of the Peloponnese peninsula. The mountains and valleys have been producing wine for centuries, mostly from the native Agiorgitiko grape. A wide range of styles are made from this red grape variety, from rich, age-worthy dry wines to lighter, sweeter examples. In this tour an experienced Oenologist guide will take you to different local wineries to taste a big variety of wines, pairing them with a platter of local products while enjoying the amazing landscape views. Book your tour here.
Trekking. Kalamata, Peloponnese
River hiking at the gorge of river Neda will leave you amazed. At the foothills of Mount Lykaion lay the springs of a beautiful river with a “female” name, called Neda. The river is a natural boundary between the Ilia and the Messinia region in the Peloponnese. According to Greek mythology, Neda was a nymph, a goddess of water and she was one of those who nourished Zeus.
The gorge of river Neda is a natural wonder of the Messinian countryside. The constantly varying landscape, the lush, the turquoise waters and the majestic cliffs, make the crossing of this gorge an unforgettable experience.
The route begins near ancient Fygalia where is the entrance to the gorge from the nearby bridge.
Walking through the wild vegetation, old plane trees and wild oaks, through narrow rocky passages and impressive ponds you will discover a well hidden and genuine natural paradise.
Near the village of Neda, the scenery is stunning. Crystal waterfalls flowing endlessly create blue ponds then pour into the main river and continue rapidly their course to the sea. This spot is the end of the river trekking. You can relax in the wake of the gurgling water, enjoying traditional delicacies and refreshing swims in the cool waters of the ponds. Book you place here.