East Mani


Hospitality and Gratitude are objects of fetishism in Mani!

-Come and visit proud Mani that never subjugated to any invaders.

-You will watch the modern history of Greece in one of its sun-lit areas where the old borders the new, where the nature remained clean and virgin, where the sea meets the mountains!

-You will find the world’s most beautiful floating caves, the unusual architectural structures, the houses that look like towers and settlements like fortresses! Their churches are decorated with most splendid frescoes.

-Come and walk along the old and narrow stone paths of traditional villages, see the Taygetos gorges, try and enjoy the local olive oil, paste meat, honey and Taygetos mountain tea, cookies (diples), herbs and fresh fish.

-You will enjoy the hospitality of people who remained pure and unspoiled, who follow the traditional customs and habits, people whose word costs as much as any legal document.


Entering Mani from Kalamata, visit Verga 8 km on your route to Areopoli. At Verga you can see the ruins of Mandra, the fort that was built by the Maniates to curb the advance of Ibrahim in Mani. Other sights there include the statue of Mavromichalis and Byzantine churches, foremost of which is the church of Agia Paraskevi, at Ano Verga. Continuing on the same route, and after 18 km, you reach Kambos, where you encounter the castle of Zarnata, built on the foundations of an ancient temple, as well as the churches of Agioi Theodori and Agios Vasilios and the monastery of Panagia Androubevitsa.

At 2 km from Kambos, near Stauropigi, lies a Byzantine building, exemplifying the local architecture. After another 14 km, at Kardamili, and just outside the village, you can see the burial grounds of the Dioskouri, which are carved on rock, the ruins of a medieval castle, the famous Mani Towers and the Byzantine church of Agios Spiridonas. Also, the church of Agia Sofia, at the homonymous settlement, and near Petrovouni the monastery of Faneromeni.

The Viros gorge starts at a short distance from Kardamili, at the Koskaraka Bridge. The gorge has a length of about 20 km, and you may reach the river Viros by foot, where you may marvel at the virgin nature. At 300 m from Kardamili you can also visit the small island of Panagia, where you may encounter the ruins of Venetian walls and the church of Agios loannis.

At 7 km from Kardamili, and on the same route, lies the village of Lefktro, with its Byzantine church of Ipapanti, which has remarkable wall paintings. Across from Lefktro lies the coastal settlement of Stoupa, which has taverns, tourist shops and hotels, and further to the south, at the place of the ancient Lefktra, stand the ruins of a castle built by the Franks.

Still further to the south is the site of the undeveloped Katafigio cavern, with its stalactites. At Platsa, 19 km from Kardamili, you can visit the churches of Agios Dimitrios, Agios Nicolaos, Agios loannis, Agia Paraskevi, and 1.5 Km northeast from there the monastery of Agios Georgios. At Itilo, a few kilometers from Aeropoli, the churches of Agios Georgios, Metamorphosi tou Sotira, the monastery of Decoulos and northeast from there the ruins of the Castle of Kelefa, which is a Turkish structure dating from the 17th century.

At Aeropoli the churches of Agios loannis, Taxiarches, a number of Mani Towers and 4 km to the-north the coastal settlement of Limeni, which served as the base of operations for the Mavromichalis family, and where you can visit their mansion -now turned into a museum.

At 12 km from Aeropoli, and by the Diros Tower, are the caverns of Alepotripa, Katafigi and Vlichada. Fossils from the Neolithic Era and human bones were discovered in all three caverns. You will tour only the Vlichada cavern, by boat in one section and on foot in another section. Its length is 1,500 meters and the tour lasts about 45 minutes.

Of great tourist interest is also the Alepotripa cavern, which according to archeological discoveries played host to an entire community during the Neolithic Era (4,000-3,000 BC). Inside the cavern were houses, warehouses, workshops and a cemetery. At the Diros Tower you will also see the ruins of the settlements of Charia and Fournata, the Sklavounako Tower and the churches of Agia Marina and Taxiarches.

Continuing south, you will pass by Gerolimenas -a beach with taverns- Vathia, Marmari, and if you continue on a road of moderate conditions you will reach the location of Mianes towards the west, and Paliros towards the east. Between these two locations there is a cavern filled with water, which according to mythology was the gate to Hades. There was the Shrine of Poseidon, the Oracle, the Sanctuary of the Lacones and the Temples of Demetra and Aphrodite.

Turning back and following the route towards Alika to the northeast, you will pass by: Tsikalia, Lagia, Pigaros on your right, Agios Kiprianos on your right, Spira, Kokkala, Exo Nimphio, Chalikia, Flomochori. Turning right and northeast you will reach Kotrona. Here, a narrow strip of land will take you to the small island of Skopa, where you can see the remaining traces of a prehistoric settlement.

East of Kotrona lies the deserted monastery of Sotiras, a structure of 1700 AD. Turning at the intersection and continuing north you will pass by Loukadika, where you will delight in the beautiful view of an area full of tower structures and prickly pears. All over the Mani area one may encounter the famous "drakospita" or "Kolossospita", for whose origins there are various and unconfirmed explanations. Continuing on your left you encouterthe "Pirichos" Archeological Site. From Aeropoli, an asphalt-paved street of good condition leads you to Githio.

Halfway almost to this destination lies the Passava Fort. Before reaching Githio, on your right, you will pass by three Camping grounds.

At the entrance of the town of Githio-near to the military barracks-there are ruins of an ancient theatre. At the Port, a narrow strip of asphalt road leads you to the small island of Kranai, where according to the tradition Paris of Troye spent his first night with Helen, wife of king Agamemnon. At its center lies the Tower of Janetaki and the Museum of Folklore of Mani.

The beach of Githio has plenty of fish taverns and tourist shops. Outside Githio, towards Skala, is a sandy, clean beach.

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