Discover one of the most remote and inaccessible regions of Greece with a distinct ambience.
The Mani is the middle one of the three peninsulas which reach out from the south of the Peloponnese, traversed by the Mount Taygetos.
A remote, hilly and barren region that was able, throughout all Greece’s periods of foreign rule, to preserve a degree of independence, due to its geographical position.
For centuries the Mani was racked by feuds between different clans, who built the defensive towers still to be seen in many of the little towns and villages.
Explore a unique region combining beautiful mountain scenery, amazing landscapes of olive groves, picturesque villages rich in history and numerous Byzantine and Post Byzantine churches, many of them in a state of ruin but still of interest for their wall paintings.
Mani is divided into 2: the barren Inner Mani and the more fertile Outer Mani; in this tour we will explore both areas. The suggested itinerary starts and ends in Athens however, it is much better if you can fly to Kalamata airport in the Peloponnese if there are flights from your country.
Period of operation: Throughout the year
- 1865€/ person for min 6 participants
- 2300€/ person for min 4 participants
- 320€/ person for min 2 participants
- Basic physical condition and previous hiking experience recommended as we walk 3-5 hours daily
- Children welcome depending on their previous hiking experience.
- Accommodation for 8 Days / 7 nights in traditional hotels.
- Full board basis: Breakfast at Hotels, lunch (picnics during hikes), dinners: in hotels or taverns.
- 1 English speaking Trekking Hellas guides throughout the trip.
- All transfers by private mini van bus (including fuel, tolls and driver expenses).
- Entrance fees and professional sightseeing guide in Mystras.
- Diros Caves entrance fees.
- Drinks, beverages, sodas.
- Personal Accident Insurance.
- Entrance fees to any museums and archaeological sites not mentioned in the program.
- Optional gratuities to leader, guides and local staff.
- Anything not mentioned in the program.
We depart early in the morning from Athens and drive to Mani.
On our way to Mani, we pass over the world famous Corinth Canal. The original excavations for this man made canal dates back to Roman times and were completed in 1893, it succeeded to provide short cut and a safe passage between the Aegean and the Ionian seas. The significance of this canal is that it helped to establish Piraeus as a major Mediterranean port, which in turn led to the important development of the shipping industry in Greece.
After a short stop, at the canal we continue towards Mani. Short stop to Kalamata and then continue driving to Kardamyli in Outer Mani (approximately 4.30 hours drive).
Kardamyli is a good starting point for walking as it offers a rich choice of treks. It is a lovely village, with an atmospheric old quarter, and a picturesque new village with traditional style buildings. Settle and relax for the rest of the day.
O/N in Kardamyli.
Transfer to Exohori and hike down to Proasteio village with its many little churches and then on to Kardamyli or hike down to the beautiful Foneas cove or Kalamitsi bay where we can enjoy a refreshing swim in the sea (about 4 hours trekking).
O/N in Kardamyli.
The imposing Peak of Taygetus, waiting to be conquered by active hikers. Our hike starts from the shelter (alt. 1,550 m.) and lasts for about 6 hours going up and down the peak at 2,410 m. Alternatively, since Mt. Taygetus is quite high and sometimes keeps winter snow till April, we will choose another path, on the lower levels of this beautiful mountain.
O/N in Kardamyli.
In the morning, we head towards the town of N. Itylo (Karavostasi) in Inner Mani. On the way to N. Ytilo, we stop at the village of Langada to see the church of Metamorfosis, one of the largest Byzantine churches in Mani, distinguished by the decorative brickwork of its facades. From there we follow the path that leads to Trachila, a traditional coastal village. We can rest for a while and enjoy a cup of coffee or a refreshing drink by the seaside.
O/N in Itylo.
Today we visit Dekoulos monastery (built during the 16th century). Inside the monastery there is the triune church of Zoodochos Pigi as well as the churches of Saint Nikolaos and Saint Panteleimon. The monastery became famous as it is the place of signing the treaty between Theodor Orloff, the Mavromichalis family and the rest of the people of Mani when in 1770 they initiated a revolt against the Turks, known as “Orlofika”.
Our hike starts today from Neo Itylo, with the magnificent views of the sea to Kelefas Castle. We continue onwards to Kelefa village, where our hike descents to the canyon that leads us back to the beach of Neo Itylo.
O/N in Itylo.
In the morning, we drive to the town of Areopolis from where you can either walk or drive towards Diros Bay. Once down at Diros Bay we tour the impressive Glyfada sea caves. These caves, open to the public since 1963, are rated amongst the best of their kind in the world. We can visit the caves by boat and admire the delicate stalactites and stalagmites. At Kita, we can visit the 12th century church of Ag. Sergios and Bacchos. We continue towards the settlement of Ag. Georgios to visit the Byzantine church of Episkopi or Panagia.
Projected against the rocky landscape opposite Tigani promontory, Episkopi offers visitors a breathtaking view. The church has an impressive wealth of colour in the facades, marble sculptures and wall paintings that date back to about 1,200BC.
We continue to the settlement of Stavri. From Stavri starts a very interesting hike of about 60 minutes to the Tigani promontory, where the Byzantine castle of Maini is believed to be. Starting from the village of Stavri, we walk towards the village of Ag. Kyriaki, where a path starts and leads to the Tigani promontory. On our way back we stop at Kounos and visit an olive press, where we learn about the process of olive oil making and we enjoy olive oil tasting. Olives and olive oil are vital elements in the local diet.
We return to Areopolis and explore the picturesque historical part of the town, with its towers and churches. The church of the Taxiarchs, the twin church of Panagia and Ag. Charalambos, as well as the church of Ag. Ioannis are interesting examples of Post Byzantine churches in Mani (18th century AD). Next descend to Itylo via a scenic road, which offers stunning views over the Bay of Itylo.
O/N in Ytilo.
We drive towards Cape Tenaro, the southernmost point of mainland Greece.
We stop for a short visit to the partially restored tower village of Vathia. The basic settlement of Vathia was formed mainly after the 18th century, flourished in the 19th and began to decline in the 20th. A little further down the coast, we start the day’s walk from the settlement of Kokkinoghia and along the coast to a lighthouse. At Kokkinoghia there used to be a temple to God Poseidon, but it was converted by Christians into a church. At the beginning of the path from Kokkinoghia towards Tenaro, we admire a decorative mosaic dated to the 1st century AD, from the floor of a Roman villa. After 45 mins walking from Kokkinoghia, we end up the southern-most tip of mainland Greece, in a lighthouse. On the west of the lighthouse is a cave that Greek legend claims was the home of Hades, the god of the dead. As the southern-most tip of mainland Greece, Tenaro is famous for being on the migration path of birds headed to Africa. We can end the day with a refreshing swim.
O/N in Ytilo.
After breakfast, you drive back to Athens. Short stop at the coastal town of Gytheio.
Next stop is at the archaeological site of Mystras a fortified town in Morea (a.k.a. the Peloponnese), on Mt. Taygetus, near ancient Sparta.
It lies approximately 8 kilometres west of the modern town of Sparti. The town of Mystras was built as an amphitheater around the fortress erected in 1249 by the prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin. Reconquered by the Byzantines, then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, the city was abandoned in 1832, leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape. In 1989 the ruins, including the fortress, palace, churches, and monasteries, were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After finishing our visit, we head back to Athens.
From April to October (July and August not recommended)
Please try to travel as light as possible. Although you do not need to carry your entire luggage while walking, you will still need to carry it over short distances. Also remember you unpack and repack on most nights. You can leave the luggage that you don’t need on the trek, at the hotel in Athens or in our offices.
- Large rucksack or hold all to contain all your luggage; waterproof liner recommended.
- Good waterproof top (Gore-Tex recommended or similar) with hood.
- Thick socks for walking.
- Spare shoes for the evenings (optional).
- Daypack (small rucksack, 20-40 litres) to carry picnic lunch, water bottle, cold/wet weather gear, camera, etc; straps should be strong, not too narrow and preferably padded. In wet weather, belongings should be packed in waterproof plastic bags inside the pack.
- Warm clothes for the evening including spare trousers and top (fleece jackets / pullovers are warm yet light); plus optionally thermal underwear, for April and October.
- Sweatshirts or T-shirts for walking, at least one with collar and long sleeves (against sun-burn).
- Water bottle or plastic bottle (at least 1 litre).