"As a passerby you can see Mani in three days and as a wanderer in three months, but it takes three lives to grasp its soul; one for its sea, one for its mountains and one for its people". Mani boasts a large number of stone towers, 7 castles, plenty of archaeological sites and Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches with excellent wall paintings. The area is home to 98 out of the 118 traditional settlements of the Peloponnese, along with many caverns, cobbled streets and gorges for hikers. The villages of Mani maintain their traditional architecture and special way of life. Perched between the mountains, beautiful and imposing, their story awaits to be told. The harbour and unique architecture of Gytheio, the cobbled streets and towers of Areopolis that have been declared monuments, the caves of Diros, Limeni opposite the Homeric Oitylo, Gerolimenas, Vatheia, Kotronas's beaches and traditional architecture, Porto Kagio, Lagia, Cape Tainaron and Kotronas are all attractions of the Eastern Mani municipality. Starting from Limeni Villas, you can visit Monemvasia, Neapoli and the world famous beach of Elafonisos, Sparta and the Byzantine Mystras. Another option is Western Mani and its famous archaeological sites.
Caves of Diros
The caves of Diros are widely considered as the most beautiful lake caves in the world. You can visit them in small boats while the boatman guides you through their history. The tourist route is 1,200 metres in the lake and 300 metres on foot, and the duration of the visit is 20' -25' minutes by boat and another 5' - 10' on foot..
According to Pausanias, a temple dedicated to Neptune once rose here, while a cave on the tip of the cape was believed to be the Gates of Hades (the god of the afterlife according to Greek mythology). Leave your car and follow the trail leading to the southernmost point of continental Europe, the Lighthouse of Tainaron. The route takes 20-30 minutes, but once you' re there, you will be taken aback by the sense of absolute freedom.
Perhaps the most stunning and picturesque village of Mani, Vatheia can be described as the Parthenon of Mani's architecture. It boasts several well preserved towers built for fortification. There are also many churches built with materials from the ancient city of Kainipolis, which used to be located in the surrounding area.
Gytheio & Kranai
Wander around Gytheio’s picturesque harbour and admire its special architecture with the wonderful two-storied and three-storied neoclassical buildings and the amphitheatre layout of the city that resembles that of an island. As tradition has it, Paris spent the night on the Kranai islet with Helen of Troy before starting their journey to Troy. The imposing tower of Tzanetakis rises on the islet.
Mystras is located six kilometres north-west of Sparta, on a rocky hill north of Taygetos. Its walls encompass four abandoned settlements and several impressive post-Byzantine churches, residences and palaces. Mystras has been listed as a World Cultural Heritage Monument by UNESCO since 1989.
The medieval walls of Monemvasia hide one of the best preserved castle cities in Greece, which played an important role in history from the Byzantine era until the 19th century. Dozens of churches, rich merchant mansions, fountains, hamams and winding cobbled streets are preserved in remarkably good condition.