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The peninsula of Mani, and more specifically, Cape Tainaro, is the southernmost point of the mainland of Europe. It is located 3 and a half hours away from Athens by car and around 2 hours away from Kalamata International Airport.
Mani is a place of rich history, connected to important events that occurred during the Greek Independence War in 1821 and full of settlements that date back to Ancient Greece. Although it is only characterized by mild tourist development, many beautiful boutique hotels and other facilities have been emerging to house visitors and introduce them to the local culture, customs and gastronomy. Mani has been gaining an increasing amount of international attention during the past few years and many of its almost forgotten villages are slowly coming back to life, especially during the summer.
In this region, you will find some of the most authentic places in Greece: from entirely stone-built tower villages to castle ruins and Byzantine chapels! The natural scenery has a unique kind of wild beauty; vast olive groves with shimmering silver leaves, rocky mountains covered with wild aromatic herbs and hidden beach coves with unspoiled pebbled shores make up the scenery of Mani.
The location of Mani in the region of Lakonia makes it ideal for a Peloponesean road trip. Numerous other areas of interest, popular sites and charming towns or villages are located at a short distance and can easily be approached by car. We highly recommend combining a trip to Mani with a visit to the coastal town of Gythio, the UNESCO Byzantine Site of Mystras, the heaven-on-earth islet of Elafonissos, the amazing Drios caves and the romantic Medieval castle islet of Monemvasia. For those who want to continue their trip to an island, then Kythira lies at a very short distance with daily ferries from Neapolis.
1st stop: Limeni
Limeni is a picturesque little seaside village in Mani, just 5 km away from Areopoli and it is exactly what your dreams are made of! Stone- made houses built on the sea and emerald waters, create the perfect holiday scenery, if you are seeking for a quiet, yet unbelievably beautiful place for your vacation. The beach in Limeni is stony in and out, making the wild natural beauty of the place even more profound. The little traditional taverns on the sea with their fishing boats anchored right in front are your perfect chance to taste yummy seafood and delicious fish from sea to fork. Tip: Stay alerted for the local sea turtles that frequently pass by to say “hi”.
> Stay at: Pirgos Mavromichali
2nd stop: Vathia
Vathia is an impressive ghost-castle-village in Mani, that will time travel you to the past. It is located on the mountain and offers a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean sea. This makes Vathia one of the most photographed villages of Mani and its landscape totally justifies it! While in Vathia, we suggest you make a little day trip and visit the little villages of Alika, Marmari, and Kiparisso. The towers of Mani, also known as tower houses, are stone-made houses with two or three floors and very small windows, that used to be a defense medium for the inhabitants against Turkish invaders and pirates. Tip: You can actually stay at one of the renewed tower- guest houses. How cool is that?
> Stay at Tainaron Blue retreat
3rd stop: Areopoli
The little village of Areopoli, which keeps its traditional character, is full of stone alleys and stone-made castle-houses. Walking around Areopoli, you will find traditional hotels, castles, and shops. The central “Square of the Immortal” is where the heart of this little village beats: every Saturday local products are sold by local creators, while people enjoy their coffee or taste the traditional cuisine of Mani at the cafeterias and taverns around the square. Get the chance to taste the yummy local foods such as traditional olives, olive oil, smoked pork, sausages with orange, honey and homemade bread. If you are a hiking lover, you will be amazed by the stone-made little villages around Areopoli and the wild natural beauty around them.
> Stay at Petrounis
4th stop: Gerolimenas
The seafront Gerolimenas is one of the most picturesque villages in Mani and one of the oldest settlements in the area, with a small fishing port that dates back to Antiquity. It is located around 50 km from Gythio and 25 km from Areopoli and although it houses no more than 50 inhabitants, it gets quite lively during the summer. Even though the area is not particularly developed in terms of tourism infrastructure, it attracts numerous Greek or foreign visitors who enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-track destinations. Seemingly frozen in time, the village is full of old stone-built houses and abandoned towers and there are a few traditional taverns. There is a small pebbled beach with turquoise waters that are calm even on windy days. The beach is surrounded by large imposing rock formations and the location is occasionally used for historical reenactment events that take place every summer and are locally known as “pirate nights”.
> Stay at Kyrimai Hotel
There are many hidden treasures in Mani that are definitely worth discovering. Don’t miss the chance to make a once-in-a-lifetime exploration. Book your trip now!