Byzantine Tour in Mani

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Period of operation :From April to October (July and August not recommended)
Price :

1490€/person for 8 participants (for more or less participants please request for pricing)

Duration :8 days / 7 nights
Minimum attendance :8 participants
Level requirements :Basic physical condition and previous hiking experience recommended as we walk 3-5 hours daily. Children welcome depending on their previous hiking experience.

The Mani is the middle one of the three peninsulas which reach out from the south of the Peloponnese. It is traversed by the Taygetos range. This remote, hilly and barren region was able, throughout all Greece's periods of foreign rule, to preserve a degree of independence. 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. Its great attraction lies in its beautiful mountain scenery, its amazing landscapes of olive groves, its picturesque villages rich in history and its 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. 

 Day 1: Athens to  Kardamyli

We depart early in the morning from Athens and drive to Mani. On our way to Mani, we will 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 where the buildings have remained faithful to traditional styles. Settle and relax for the rest of the day. O/N in Kardamyli  (L/D)

Day 2: Trekking Exohori – Saidona – Proasteio – Kardamyli (approx. 3 1/5 - 4 hours trekking)

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, and enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea.  (about 4 hours trekking). O/N in Kardamyli  (B/L/D)

Day 3: Trekking Viros gorge or Peak of Taygetus

The imposing Peak of Taygetus, waiting to be conquered by active hikers. Our hike starts from the refuge (at: 1.550m) and lasts for about 6 hours going up and down the peak at 2410m. 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  (B/L/D)

Day 4: Kardamyli – Langada – Trachila – N. Itylo

In the morning, we will head towards the town of N. Itylo (Karavostasi) in Inner Mani. On the way to N. Itilo, stop at the village of Langada where you will see the church of Metamorfosis, one of the largest Byzantine churches in Mani, distinguished by the decorative brickwork of its facades. From there you will follow the path that leads to Trachila, a traditional coastal village. If you wish you can rest for a while and enjoy a cup of coffee or a refreshing drink by the seaside. O/N in Oitilo(B/L/D)

Day 5: Neo Oitilo – Kelefa castle – Canyon to Neo Oitilo

Today we will pay a visit to 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 when it was 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 will start today from Neo Oitilo t and we will hike with beautiful views of the sea to Kelefas Castle, built on a strategic location to oversee potential invaders, serving today as a place offering magnificent views. Continue onwards to Kelefa village, where our hike descents to the canyon that will lead us back to the beach of Neo Oitilo. O/N in Oitilo (B/L/D)

Day 6: Areopoli – Diros Caves – Trek Mina Tigani

In the morning drive to the town of Areopolis from where you can either walk or drive towards Diros Bay. Once down at Diros Bay you will 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. You can visit the caves by boat and admire the delicate stalactites and stalagmites. At Kita, you can visit the church of Ag. Sergios and Bacchos. The church goes back to the 12th century. Continue towards the settlement of Ag. Georgios. There you can visit the Byzantine church of Episkopi or Panagia. Projected against the rocky landscape opposite Tigani promontory, Episkopi offers visitors a breathtaking picture. The church has an impressive wealth of colour in the facades, marble sculptures and wall paintings that date back to about 1200BC. Next 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, you will walk towards the village of Ag. Kyriaki, where a path starts and leads to the Tigani promontory.  On your way back we will stop at Kounos and visit an olive press, where you will learn about the process of olive oil making and do some olive oil tasting. The olives and olive oil play a very important role in the diet of the locals.  Return to Areopolis and explore the picturesque historical section 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 Oitilo (B/L/D)

Day 7: Vathia – Cape Tenaro

Drive towards Cape Tenaro, the southernmost point of mainland Greece. On your way, wewill 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 20thA little further down the coast, you will start the day’s walk. A route will take you from the settlement of Kokinoghia and along the coast to a lighthouse. At kokkinogia 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 Kokkinogia towards Tenaro, you will see a decorative mosaic dated to the 1st century AD, which is from the floor of a Roman villa. After 45 mins walking from Kokkinogia, you will end up the southern-most tip of mainland Greece. There you will find 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. You can end the day with a refreshing swim. O/N in Oitilo (B/L/D)

Day 8: Gytheio – Mystras – Athens

After breakfast, you will drive back to Athens. Short stop at the coastal town of Gytheio. Next, stop at the archaeological site of Mystras. Mystras was a fortified town in Morea (the Peloponnesus), on Mt. Taygetos, near ancient Sparta. It lies approximately 8 kilometres west of the modern town of Sparti. The town of Mystras was built as an amphitheatre 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 SiteArrival in Athens. (B/L)

  • Accommodation for 8Days/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 Mystra
  • Diros Caves entrance fees

Not included:

  • Drinks, beverages, sodas
  • Personal Expenses
  • 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

In Kardamyli: Kalamitsi Hotel (http://www.kalamitsi-hotel.gr ) or similar

Kalamitsi is located half a kilometer outside of Kardamili, nestled amongst the silver-green olive groves, in Kalamitsi Bay. It is unique location that offers breathtaking views to the sea, beautiful sunsets, tranquility and short distances to the village and beaches.

In Oitilo:Porto Vitilo Hotel http://www.portovitilo.gr or similar

Porto Vitilo hotel is located next to the sea, in the village of Karavostasi. It is an ideal destination for travellers desiring to combine a pleasant and tranquil stay in a picturesque village with walking in stunning landscapes. The hotel combines elements of local architecture with modern luxuries.   

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 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 sun-burn)
  • Water bottle or plastic bottle (at least 1 liter)