Tour overview

Conquer the highest mountain range in the Peloponnese.

Our trip concentrates on the Great Mountain Taygetus and a total of  52Km’s. From Sparta, we hike on the European Trail E4, a route combining history and mountaineering. We enjoy a fascinating insight into the history of the Byzantine city of Mystras and then on well-marked trails we hike up to Taygetus summit at an altitude of 2,404 meters. Crossing the forest of Vasiliki and passing through some remote villages we end to Arna village.

Mount Taygetus (in Greek: Taygetos), is named after Tayget, daughter of the Greek god Atlas. It extends about 40 km and measures 2,407 meters at its highest point, dominating the view in Sparta (in Greek: Sparti) and Kalamata. Taygetus is heavily forested, primarily with Greek fir (Abies cephallonica) and black pine (Pinus nigra). The slopes of Taygetus have been inhabited since at least Mycenean times. The site of Arkina, near the village of Arna, contains three beehive tombs and is still unexplored. Taygetus was important as one of Sparta’s natural defenses. During the era of barbarian invasions, Taygetus served as a shelter for the native population. Many of the villages in its slopes date from this period. In Medieval times, the citadel and monastery of Mystras was built on the steep slopes, and became a center of Byzantine civilization and served as the capital of the Despotate of the Morea. Today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, the mountain is closely associated with the Holy Prophet Elias, and every year on the 20th of July (the Greek Orthodox name day for the Prophet Elias), the small chapel at the peak holds a large festival, including a massive bonfire.

Tour Summary

Duration

5 days

Period of operation: Late April to October

Price:

  • 395€ for min 4 participants
  • 450€ for min 3 participants
  • 550€ for min 2 participants

Participation requirements

A good level of fitness and experience is required for this hike.

Tour Details

Tour inclusions
  • Accommodation in double rooms with breakfast in the above-mentioned hotels and 2 nights in mountain shelter with breakfast.
  • Luggage transport
  • Lunch Box on days: 2, 3, 4, 5.
  • Dinner in mountain shelter: days 3, 4.
  • Map, GPX files with route, introductory briefing by local guide, emergency support telephone number.
Tour exclusions
  • Transport to Sparta/Mystra and from Arna to next destination.
  • Anything not mentioned here above.
  • Entrance fees in Mystras.
  • Local stay over tax approx 1,5€/room/day

Itinerary

Arrive at Sparta and settle to your hotel in Mystras.

Spend the rest of your day, sightseeing hiking the Mystra Byzantine citadel.

Mystras or Mistras (Greek: Μυστράς), is a fortified medieval town in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece. Situated on the slopes of Mt. Taygetos, near ancient Sparta, it served as the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea in the 14th and 15th centuries, experiencing a period of prosperity and cultural flowering. The site remained inhabited throughout the Ottoman period, when it was mistaken by Western travelers for ancient Sparta. In the 1830s, it was abandoned and the new town of Sparti was built, approximately eight kilometers to the east. The archaeological site stands above the modern village of Mystras and the city of Sparta. The forests surrounding the area are composed mainly of pine trees and cypresses. Many small rivers are found in the region.

Hiking Details:

Inside the citadel, the dense network of cobblestone streets makes it impractical to follow detailed route instructions however on average and based on our gpx route

  • 4 km to Citadel, plus 2.7km downhill path (with direct return to the site entrance)
  • 2 hours uphill, plus 1 hour downhill (excluding the time stopped in monuments)

Overnight at Mystras http://www.mystrasinn.gr/ (or similar).

Hike from Mystras village, following E4 trail to the Cave and chapel of Lagkadiotissa. Continue uphill through the namesake gorge, towards Faneromeni monastery and finish at the mountainous picturesque village of Anavryti.

Lagkadiotissa gorge starts from Parori village, on the foot of Mount Taygetos, and although short, has some pretty dramatic landscape. The path inside the gorge is set on top  of a concrete water-pipe, for a large part of the hike. Inside the gorge is the location of Panagia Lagkadiotissa Cave, that holds the namesake 13th century Chapel. This is the place where Constantinos Palaiologos, the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire, attended the mass for the last time before leaving for his historical trip to Constantinople, to defend the empire’s capital during the 1453 siege by the Ottomans. For this reason, locals still paint the chapel deep red, which was the color of the Byzantine emperors. Continuing up the valley, we end up in Faneromeni Monastery, built in 19th century.

Anavryti or Anavriti (greek: Αναβρυτή) is a small village in Laconia, on Taygetus mountain, altitude 850m. Above the Evrotas valley, Anavryti is traversed by European walking route E4. It is part of the municipal unit of Mystras.  A paved road to Anavryti was built in the 1980s with donations sent by the Anavryti Hometown society in Astoria, Queens, New York. Until that time, the village could only be accessed on foot or by donkey. During World War II Nazi occupation, forces made the steep climb up to the village to destroy the houses of suspected partisans.

  • Distance / Time: 8.7 km / 3.5 hours
  • Ascent / Descent: 630m / 116m
  • Min / Max Altitude: 279m / 825m
  • Grade:Easy (with some narrow path sections)
  • Terrain:Paved asphalt road, dirt road, cobblestone path, dirt path, Concrete path

Overnight Anavriti guesthouse https://kaneltrekking.gr/en/ (or similar).

After breakfast depart on a 5-hour hike (approximately) from Anavriti village, uphill towards Lakkomata spring. Traverse of the Alpine zone on the east face of Mt Taygetos, towards to the refuge of the Hellenic Mountaineering Association of Sparti. The path passes through cultivated areas as well as through fir and pine forests. It is a route of great beauty.

  • Distance / Time: 12.3 km / 5 hours
  • Ascent / Descent: 1100m / 400m
  • Min / Max Altitude: 787m / 1556m
  • Grade:Moderate. A tiring initial climb is followed by an easier traverse.
  • Terrain: Paved dirt road, dirt path

Overnight on EOS Mountain Refuge

Today, enjoy a  2½ – 3 ascend up to the peak of Mt. Taygetus.

The peak is renowned for its pyramid shape and its unique views. The view from the top includes most of the Evrotas valley and the Parnon range to the East, while the view towards the West includes Kalamata and the eastern half of Messenia. Most of the southwestern part of Arcadia can also be seen from the summit. The route is initially on a forested ground of Greek fir and black pine and then continues on the alpine zone with no trees. Return to the shelter (another 2½ – 3 hrs).

  • Distance / Time: 5.3 km / 5 hours
  • Ascent / Descent: 860m / 10m
  • Min / Max Altitude: 1550m / 2407m
  • Grade:Moderate. Clouds usually cover summit after noon.
  • Terrain: Paved dirt road, dirt path, rocky path.

Overnight on EOS Mountain Refuge

 

Today we will hike in the most popular antiquate passage of the region, the famous “royal road” that connected Sparta and Arkina (an ancient city lost in the woods between the villages of Spartia and Gola) with Messinia. The road passed by the magnificent Vasiliki Forest that preserves today the name of the ancient road (Vasiliki means royal).

  • Distance / Time: 15.5 km / 7 hours
  • Ascent / Descent: 610m / 950m
  • Min / Max Altitude: 767m / 1572m
  • Grade:Moderate. Includes a short but tiring uphill section, early in the day.
  • Terrain: Paved concrete road, Paved dirt road, dirt path, rocky path

FAQ

  • Large rucksack or holdall 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 liters) 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 sunburn)
  • Your own personal water bottle (at least 1 liter). As part of our environmental policy and actions, we are committed to eliminating the use of plastic water bottles.

Enquiry

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