Tripoli: in the heart of Morea

Tripoli: in the heart of Morea

   Approaching the city, the Arcadian landscape is revealed in front of you. The Mantineia Plateau with its vineyards and the Forested “Mainalo” mountain at the background! You drive through the city from square to square!

   In your tour of the heroic city, you will stop at the central square of Ag. Vasileios! The imposing metropolitan temple dominates the square, built at the same place as the mosque of Ottoman Tripolitsa.
Enjoy your Greek coffee at the traditional “Grand Cafe” ( a building of 1898) next to the main square, decorated with heavy dramatic curtains, large, carved, wooden mirrors and chandeliers , still retaining something of its oldest glamor.

metropolitan temple of Ag. Vasileios the traditional «Grand Cafe»

You will stop at the renovated “Petrinos” Square with its cafes and bars next to the “Malliopouleion Theatron” (listed in 1905).

«Malliopouleion Theatron»

   When you continue to “Plateia Areos”, you will find yourself in one of the largest squares in Greece. Together with the lush municipal park, numerous cafes and taverns, it is justifiably the meeting point of everyone in the city. At one end stands the imposing statue symbol of Tripoli: the Old Man of Moria, galloping on his horse and at the other side stands the Court House.

the Old Man of Moriathe Court House

   The city has an Archaeological as well as a War Museum, with relics of the 1821 Revolution of the nation. Excellent buildings testify the architectural past of the city. Among them are the magnificent building of the Cultural Center and the neoclassical building of the former Town Hall of the city.

the Cultural Center
Is it time to eat something? You will go to straight to “Drunk dog” and you will not regret it!

At  the outskirts …

   Enjoy a walk in the coolness and tranquility of “Agios Georgios” grove or perhaps watch a show at his stone open theater and, in the afternoon, head to Agios Theodoros. A path behind the church leads to the “Stone of Kolokotroni” , a curvy rock that resembles an armchair, from  where Kolokotronis  was overlooking  the whole city during its siege by the ottomans . Incredible views!


stone open theater of «Agios Georgios»


Tripoli from the «Stone of Kolokotroni»

And a little further, 13 km to the north and across the archaeological site of ancient Mantineia, is the church of Aghia Fotini! You have never seen such a church! Ancient Greek and Byzantine architectural styles make up its undefined architecture, built with a variety of materials! A church difficult to describe.
Aghia Fotini
If it is around 15th August, all the streets lead to one destination! “Tegea’s” big feast (an open market lasting for 5 days) is a unique experience! Dozens of merchants sell their products at good prices, in front of the Byzantine church of “Episkopi” and in a beautiful park owned by the Tegean League. Do not leave without tasting the famous “pig in the spit”, a special delicacy! The smell will lead you to the right spot, of course!
the Byzantine church of «Episkopi» in Tegea
Buy traditional products: noodles, lasagna, “diples” and local cheese!

Arcadian land is closely linked to the long history of the place! Your options are not limited here. From Tripoli you can have day trips to the coastal “Leonidio” and “Astros” and the mountainous “Levidi”, “Dimitsana”, ”Vytina”,”Lagadia” … .. Decide which aspect of Arcadia you want to explore and set off!

Kalamata- a new top tourist destination

Kalamata- a new top tourist destination

  The capital of Messinia is rapidly becoming a popular destination: the new road leading to its door in just 2.5 hours from Athens (although expensive in tolls), its international airport ( British Airways also lands here), its cruise port, the extensive network of bicycle lanes that has been embraced by residents and visitors, and even the balloon flights that started in mid-May and will last all summer. Moreover its wonderful beaches, the good food, a remarkable cultural movement and super archaeological sites emit it to the highest position on the preference lists as a destination! The fact that “Costa Navarino” is nearby has a positive influence on the area!

  We stayed for two days at “Petra Thea” Guesthouse (tel. 6948262991/90 € per night) on the slope of Mount “Kalathi” in “Verga”, a suburb of Kalamata. Our stay will be unforgettable. Incredible view, comfort, cleanliness. A maisonette with wonderful furnishings, two bathrooms, two terraces …. To our right we could see the long beach with palm trees and umbrellas along “Navarino Boulevard”, offering both a walk and a bath and behind it the whole city. At our feet the long pebbled beach of “Verga”, full of beach bars and taverns. Opposite, the west coast of the Messinian Bay! We were reluctant to leave the balcony!

  However, there are a lot to see in the area! Let’s start from the old town of Kalamata, located to the north of the modern city, built around the castle. Until the beginning of the last century, the city was rallied around the ancient acropolis and gradually began to expand until it joined the town with the harbor. Today it is demarcated by the metropolitan temple of “Ypapanti”, “Sparta” Street and the Square of “23 March” and has, among other things, assembled many places of youth especially during the winter months.the chapel of “Agioi Apostoloi” Wander in the narrow streets and transfer to another era! Discover old buildings that have stood up over time, dozens of mansions, stone-built churches, museums, and shops with local products. In the area are also the Historical and Folklore Museum of Kalamata and the Archaeological Museum of Messinia.

 The Castle now offers a unique view of the city. In the southern part there is a small theater that was built in 1950 and hosts most performances of the “International Dance Festival” (22 years of successful organization) and other events. Walk along the “Aristomenous” pedestrian street starting from the south where is the largest open-air railway museum in the country (OSE Park), within an area of 54 acres. The main building of the park is the renovated train station “Kalamata Port” where a refreshment center is located. (The truth is that it seemed to us a little neglected). Walk up the pedestrian street to the shops, cafes and some well-preserved neoclassical buildings. Exit the central square and turn right to “Stadiou” street, reach the historic square of the city, “23rd March” Square and to the left of the chapel of “Agioi Apostoloi”, where according to tradition the Greek Revolution of 1821 was declared on 23rd March.Aristomenous The square is surrounded by beautiful neoclassical and is linked to the historic city center with a picturesque pedestrian street. There, buy traditional Messinian products from “Philip”. Wonderful fresh,hot, handmade pastel!

   Take a stroll along the beach that has plenty of taverns and bars to choose from. Get information about the events in the city at the time you visit it. With the serious nomination for the European Capital of Culture for 2021, it is a city of cultural effervescence!

the historic center For many suggestions for food, drink, etc. read here:

 The official site of the Municipality of Kalamata:



 If you have time to dedicate to the area, visit the Ancient Messinian archaeological site with many important finds, 30 km northwest of Kalamata. Some of its most important monuments are the Temple of Asclepius and Health, the Conservatory, the “Voulefterion” (the parliament building), the Arcadian Gate of the Wall, the theater and the stadium. The findings are kept in a small two-storey museum on the outskirts of the village of “Mavromati”.



Following the Messinian coastline… Koroni – Finikounda – Methoni

Following the Messinian coastline… Koroni – Finikounda – Methoni

  Following the Messinian coastline, from “Verga” Kalamatas to “Kalamata”, “Koroni” and further south, within beautiful Mediterranean landscapes and beautiful beaches, you have the chance to experience Messinia’s sites with rich history, traditional architecture and wonderful beaches. The road follows the coastline, sometimes closer or further away from the sea, passing through endless olive groves that produce the famous Messinian olive oil and quiet villages with low-lying tourist development (except for the most touristic “Petalidi”). First stop as planned is “Koroni”, then the sandy “Finikounda” and finally “Methoni”, with the Messinian “Oinousses” islands just opposite the town in the gulf. And among them, hidden, unexplored corners for the most active traveler.

Koroni  The road from “Koroni’s Castle” to that of “Methoni’s” leads you from the Messinian Gulf to the Ionian Sea. The tourist infrastructure in the area now seems to start evolving. The poor condition of the road that is definitely delaying you is a problem. The driving time of 1.40’ from Kalamata to Methoni is definitely estimable!

  Take the left exit on the road after “Nea Koroni”. Arriving at the amphitheater of “Koroni” start the tour of the castle still inhabited today. A most elegant example of Venetian fortress architecture and one of the few castles where houses and temples are preserved inside it,  the castle of “Koroni” dominates with its imposing volume at the southern end of the Messinian Gulf. It was built by the Venetians in the 13th century and was reinforced by the Ottomans in the 16th century.

  Walk in whitewashed alleys with old mansions, decorated with impressive roses on their balconies and courtyards with geraniums and enjoy the view from the upper breathtaking neighborhoods. Buy local products: olive oil, honey, olives, mizithra cheese, noodles …. Going down to the harbor, the taverns with the octopuses that are lit in the row will whet your appetite. If you feel like taking a swim, the long sandy beach of “Memi” or “Zaga” to the west, on the way to “Finikounda”, is the best option, with its salt cedar trees, a camping site and beach volley courts.the castle of Koroni

  Back to the road leading to “Finikounda”, heading first to the port of “Finikounda”. A popular choice by families with infrastructure (rooms, taverns, shops) and a sandy beach in front of the settlement! Taste local dishes in “Elena”. It’s a fish tavern on a hill with a view and fresh fish, nicely cooked (Finikounda, tel:2723071235). The long beach of Mavrovouni ( low profile), quiet with a nice beach bar / tavern (“Mytilini”) and a surfing center was our choice for a swim. A little further, on the way to “Methoni, you pass by the “Lampes” beach (a more youthful one) Both big and organized beaches at least in a part of them.

 In the past years, visitors had a choice of taking a cruise around the Messinian Oinouses islands on a boat. It was sailing to “Sapientza” Island with the stone lighthouse and the strawberry trees’ forest but also kri kris, partridges, mouflons(sheep) and others,Finikounda but also to the islands of “Schiza” and “Agia Mariani”, all included in the Natura Network. We didn’t check into it, just read it in a guide book. Ask at “Finikounda” or “Methoni” if you are up to it!

  Off to “Methoni”! Our incentive was the visit to its famous Venetian castle. Built in the early 13th century on a rocky peninsula, it is one of the largest in the Mediterranean, with the early Christian granite column (“Morozini column”), the Turkish baths, Ibrahim’s house, the Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior, as well as a mosque and a Catholic church. No words about the dazzling view of the Ionian sea and “Oinousses” islands! Through the sea gate you reach “Bourtzi” , the last two-storey and octagonal tower of the castle, a place of prison and executions once. The impressive entrance, a stone bridge with 14 arches, the imposing gate of the castle decorated with reliefs -the built-in lion of St. Mark standing out, (being a symbol of Venice) – impress the visitors!The entrance of Methoni's castle Tracks, coats of arms, inscriptions, Venetian rulers’ ruins, relics of two Ottoman baths and bastions are just some of the castle’s attractions. (Open daily, except Mondays, 08.30-15.00, tel:2721022534).

  More about the two castles of Methoni and Koroni,


  Methoni has a small beach right at the feet of the castle and beyond its pier, but it is also quite narrow and too close to the road. This area has not yet been developed and you have to drive on dirt roads. See on map:,21.7108142,1411m/data=!3m1!1e3

Where to eat! Find the “Klimataria” tavern (tel: 2723031544) and enjoy its delicacies in the paved courtyard under a huge arbor.

The castle of Methoni


 If you choose this route, leave the visit to “Finikounda” at the end and combine it with swimming and eating. The castles are only open in the morning (and until 15.00) and you will not have time for the visit otherwise. Water and a hat are necessary if it is a summer month. The areas are in the south and are really hot especially during July-August.

Pylos: A natural extravaganza !

Pylos: A natural extravaganza !

West Messinia for the first time … having in mind pictures of historic castles, naval crafts, hotels of high standards and olive groves that descend to magnificent beaches with one of them standing out! It’s the star of Messinia, “Voidhookilia” beach!

 Gialova The 55 km route from Kalamata to Gialova, where our hotel was located (Thanos Village, tel. 2723022115 – two-room apartment / for 90 euros / night for the 3 of us) were covered in one hour. A hard road! And the highly inclined road up the hill to get to the apartment, compensated us with the wonderful view to Navarino Bay, Pylos and the Gialova lagoon.

Gialova is a seaside settlement near Pylos, that has been developed lately. It has a large, well organized beach with shops, cafes and bars. It is ideal for families with children. To get to Gialova from Kalamata-Pylos, turn right at the new junction of the road, a few kilometers before Pylos, following the relevant signs. Climb the road, looking at the Costa Navarino Golf facilities on your left. At the end of the road, you follow the right course and you will soon find yourself entering Gialova.

What’s worth visiting in the area? A morning visit the Nestor palace at the hill of Upper Eglianos, 17 km north of Pylos, which is now open to the public!Nestor's palace A network of metal walkways suspended from the new protective shelter improves the experience of visitors by allowing them to explore the palace from above. The palace is a fascinating Mycenaean complex with warehouses, the large rectangular “throne room”, the stairs, the vaulted tombs, its apartments. Walking around in the shade! (Open hours: 8.00 – 15.00 – Cost: 6 €) In the nearby village of Chora Trifyllias, at 4 km, you can also visit the museum with the findings of the archaeological site (open until 15.00).




On your way back, choose to visit “Voidokilia”! . A perfect omega shaped beach, as if it was designed with a protractor, with dunes around and turquoise waters … A worldwide famous spot that resembles a swimming pool when the winds are still, while when windy it turns to a Hawaiian beach! Provide yourself with water and coffee at Petrohori (mini market just at the turning for Voidokilia which offers iced water) or in the last canteens 1 km before the beach) since constructions in the area are prohibited. There are no umbrellas and deck chairs, so take something with you to be protected from the sun. Voidokilia and the lagoon at the back Opposite the beach, there is the rock with “Palaiokastro”, the forgotten castle on the top and the cave of Nestor. The view from the top is breathtaking! We avoided the difficult climb (20′). Wouldn’t be a wise choice with a child in the heat. An other issue is snakes! If you will, first ask about the status of the path!

At the back of Voidokilia, a narrow strip of land separates it from the Gialova lagoon (or else Divari), a unique wetland (protected area), integrated into the Natura 2000 network, with more than 250 bird species finding shelter here! Then another strip of land and there is the bay of Navarino. Right here is the long, sandy beach of Gialova, the Golden Beach . There is a beach bar and a waterski center. As long as the winds were blowing, they did not stop working! Windsurfing, water skiing, paragliding …… Those who love walking, can take the way from the “Golden Coast” to “Palaiokastro”, “Voidokilia”, then the lagoon and back to the “Golden Beach” on foot! More info here:

  Back to Gialova in the afternoon, which has lately evolved into an organized seaside “suburb” of Pylos, with tavernas, cafes, bars. Sfakteria, Tsichli Baba (Lantern)And even camping sites, accommodation, car and bicycle rentals, … real estate agencies and so on. A nice sunset site as well!!! For tasty food choose tavern “Spitiko” (tel. 2723022138). We ate “pork tenderloin with coriander and wine” and other dishes for 43 €. Try “Elia” (tel. 2723023503) for delicious yoghurt and a 44 € bill. Both are located on the beach pedestrian street with tables near the sea.

If you are staying in Pylos stroll around the beautiful narrow streets of the town and the very picturesque harbor. Amphitheatrically built, offers a wonderful view of the bay, where in 1827 the famous naval battle took place, as well as its islands, Sfaktiria, Tsichli Baba (Fanari) and Helonaki, a rocky island in the middle of the bay. You can visit them on a boat.


More info here:

the house-museum of “Tsiklitiras” (an Olympic medalist) the monument of the 3 Admirals

Niokastro You will come across beautiful, neoclassical and traditional stone houses, with a beautiful layout, around the shady central square with the perennial plane trees and the magnificent monument of the 3 Admirals (Kodrington, Derigni and Heiden) head of the allied fleet. The exquisite house-museum of “Tsiklitiras” (an Olympic medalist) stands out on the coastal road. There is also an Archaeological Museum. Many taverns and cafes around the square. (We suggest: the “Myrislles traditional” bakery, “Platanos” cafe and sweet shop “Krinos”, all at the square). The highlight, however, is the Niokastro that “watches over” Pylos from the top of a hill to the south of the town, with the Metamorphosis Church in the center (formerly a mosque), the hexagonal Acropolis and the cells around its yard. If you go up to the “terrace” (there is a small staircase to the west), you will not be thrilled by the terrific view of the entire castle with the bastions, the Bay of Navarino and its islands. You can watch two videos, one about the shipwrecks and one about the naval battle. Don’t miss them! (Visiting hours: daily, 08.30-20.00, tel. 2723022010, ticket 6 €). Choose to visit it early in the morning before the sun heats up.

OTHER CONNECTIONS the official website of the municipality video messinia

From tower to tower … in the neighborhood of Areopolis

From tower to tower … in the neighborhood of Areopolis

 In Mani of the 800 towers and the 7 castles, and the Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches exceeding 1,000, “Areopolis’s” neighborhood stands as a small sample of this historical and indiscriminate land. It’s well known that the best seasons for a visit to the region are spring or autumn. We went in the midst of summer, of course, with a bit of heat but it was worth it!

Taxiarches temple  Areopolis (Tsimova), built at a hub, is a necessary passage for those who are touring “Mesa Mani”. An established traditional settlement, as well as most of the Mani settlement, with abundant stone mansions and high towers, having survived up to this day. A 3days stay doesn’t seem enough to discover the beauties of the area!

 The old fortified settlement with its stone cobbled streets, the Byzantine churches and mystical towers is the most atmospheric part of the town! Walk around and immerse in the history of the place. Search for the fortresses of “Mavromichalion”,” Pikoulaki” (today’s Byzantine museum – tel. 2733029531, (,” Barelakou” and “Kapetanakou” (now a guest house) and if you have time, visit the private “War Museum” that is hosted in Tsimova Hostel.

 From the new square of “Athanasios” with the statue of “Petrombei Mavromichalis” and the Church of Agios Nikolaos, Athanasios, take the road down to the medieval core of Areopolis, the “Tsalapianika”. At first pass by the square of Moararchos Panagiotis Niarhakos, where is the double temple of Panagia and Ag. Charalambous with the folk frescoes of 1869. Cross the central paved alley (Captain Matapas) and find yourself in the historic square “17th of March”. There, in the “Taxiarches temple”, with the magnificent bell tower, where the flag of Mani was blessed and the first revolutionaries under the leadership of Petrombei Mavromichalis were raised, the Manies were congregated before swearing “Victory or Death” in 1821. At the other end of the square there is a stone well and just behind it, a 180-year-old traditional wood-burning oven, probably the oldest of the Peloponnese! It’s called “Mrs. Milia”. 17th March SquareTry its traditional delicacies! Continue the road to the right and follow the signs, and after 10 minutes’ walk through the olive groves reach the Cafe-Bar “Spilius” for a unique sunset with incredible views of the Messinian bay. (You can also go by car, of course)

Areopoli the central paved alley Buy your souvenirs at “Photoschenio”, on the main road to “Athanasios” Square.

 Try traditional Manic recipes! Pork in all its forms (turkey, sausage, pasta) is included in the menu of most restaurants in N. Laconia. Also look for the handmade pasta, accompanied by local “mizithra” cheese, and the wild greens (almonds, wild boar, shagtzikia etc.), which are eaten cooked, smoked or crushed, the lamblings (dill strips folded like snail and fried) (Pork smoked, then smoked and then boiled in orange).


“Barba Petros Tavern”,on the central paved road (Kapetan Matapas). We ate pork with local noodles, salad with grated cheese and burgers on the grill. Everything was delicious and the € 31 bill a good price (they reluctantly handed us our receipt) Tel. 2733051205.

Tsipouradiko “Mavromichalaiiko”. Right across “Barba Petros” Tavern, hosted in a traditional 1818 building. We saw a lot of people and big portions on the tables every time we were passing by.

 Everything changes in the evening! Lights transform the alleys, people go out on the streets and you feel like you are part of a movie setting! Areopoli at nightNow is the right time for coffee / sweet or even better a drink in the most picturesque bars you’ve seen. Snuggle into a corner at the “Bucca” bar and enjoy beautiful music and a lot of people-watching (8,50 € / cocktail)


 We stayed in Areopolis, in the Trapela Guesthouse, ( in the “Porto Cayo” Room, 3 people for 90 € which was absolutely spend worth it (with A / C, TV and fridge/ breakfast included) . From the breakfast buffet we tried, among other things, locally “travichtes”(stretched) pies, greens pies and omelettes with sigklino, a local deli meat. Tel. 2733052690, 2733051370 & 6942976351.

Trapelas Guesthouse  Friends stayed at the same time and suggested us Hotel “Antaris”, just outside Areopoli. A complex of stone-built restored houses, featuring 12 rooms (double, triple and suites – studios), all with autonomous heating, TV, A / C, wi fi internet, fridge and sea view. Only for couples!!! Haha!! Prices: 90 € – 165 €. An a la carte breakfast is served. See also here ( Tel. 2733051700 & 698948840


The famous Limeni

 From the northern entrance of Areopolis, a road descends to Limeni. Bond with the Mavromichalides family who were born here (their tower has become a luxurious hotel today) is one of the most beautiful settlements, with the restored tower houses springing up on the slope, with tavernas over the blue-green waters that seem to be testing your reactions, just at the moment you first set your eyes on them! Head to the left to take a swim on the rocky, paradise beach with the turquoise lagoon waters and then go straight to the famous tavern of Takis nearby! That’s what we did! We ate fresh, tasty fish. If it’s peak time, reserve a table earlier! (Tel. 2733051327)

Limeni Limeni

 The road continues to the beach of N. Oitylou (or Karavostasi), 3 km below. It’s not ideal for swimming if you are looking for a sandy beach. It’s pebbled but the sea is fine, with sand as soon as you are in. Also here are newly built guesthouses, beach bars (“Guaba”, umbrella with an order of 5 €) and very nice taverns for seafood (“Karavopetra” tavern). Further on is old Oityllo. A beautiful and historic village, built far from the beach at an altitude of 250m. To be protected from raids by pirates. It has been inhabited ever since Homer’s years and until today it is one of the few privileges in the area that enjoy the shade of olive trees. Look for “Dekoulou” Monastery in the lower neighborhood with its rare frescoes and the more paradoxical in the central church depicting Christ Pantocrator at the center of the zodiac circle.

Diros Cave

Diros Cave  Back to Areopolis to follow a south course. Don’t leave without visiting “Diros” and the famous cave of “Vlychada”. A magical journey to nature’s amazing creation! The route by boats (7 passengers/boat), takes about three quarters of which 1,200 m is boating in “halls” with stalactites and stalagmites of incredible colors and shapes of unique beauty and the rest 300 m walking in an equally impressive section of the cave. The voice of the boatman informing us now and then about the names of the halls or the specificity of the formations as the boat passes through the crystal volumes under the water and over the passengers’ heads, couldn’t bring us back in reality as long as the boat sails on the water, in the semi-darkness. But also the exit from the cave, on the hill overlooking the bay of “Diros”, complements the exciting experience! Whoever wants can dive into the crystal clear waters!




 The cave has high traffic and you may have to wait for hours if you choose peak times. Choose morning hours to avoid queues. The ticket costs 13 € /adult and 8 € /children (under 18 ). Opening hours at the end of July: 8.00 to 18.00 (see: Cave Vlychada, Diros Lakonia Tower, Tel. 27330.52.222-3)

The air temperature in the cave varies from 160 to 190 C. You may need a jacket.

Be careful with your movements inside the boat. Have your hands clasped and watch your head. Do not touch any of the rocks!


Map of Areopolis


From Areopoli for …

Karavostasi 8 km 12 minutes
Limeni 5 km 8 minutes
Drum Tower 7 km 8 minutes
Cave Vlychada Diros 10 km 14 minutes
Sparta 72 km 1 hour
Kalamata 83 km 1 hour & 30 minutes
Athens 273 km 3 hours & 20 minutes
Gythio 25 km 30 minutes