Fans of Laconia visiting the bustling, agricultural city of Sparta don’t have much to explore which physically attests to its glorious past except the Archaeological Museum, the Tomb of Leonidas and also his stat- ue where, today, Spartathlon ath- letes tend to collapse after running what equates to six consecutive marathons. The durability of ancient Sparta, once Greece’s dominant, Doric-indoctrinated land-power, continues to be reflected in the wild and rugged landscapes that surround it. Above it towers the Tay- getus mountain range, which draws adventurers who hike, climb and paraglide among its cornucopia of flora and fauna. Like Sparta, Inner Mani, much of which was barely ac- cessible by land until recent years, is also known for its resilient people, particularly the Klephts, mountain bandits who put up a powerful fight against the Ottomans. Today the region is admired especially for its castle-like architecture and crumbling Byzantine churches, with dramatic backdrops of the sea or stark rocky landscapes. It is also popular because of its medieval gems – the elegant and atmospheric fortress town of Monemvasia and the abandoned city of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
THIS IS SPARTA
Visit the Archaeological Museum
Tel.: (+30) 27310.215.16, the Ancient Acropolis, the Tomb of Leonidas and the infamous Kaiadas ravine near the village of Trypi.
ALL ABOUT OLIVE OIL
A jewel of a museum, dedicated to the most emblematic of Greek products.
When visiting the fortress cities of Mystras and Monemvasia, don’t miss the lesser known but equally imposing Geraki.
THE MANI EXPERIENCE
A stark landscape and stone tower houses tell the story of the bellicose clans that played a crucial role in the Greek War of Independence.
Dive into the crystalline waters of Elafonisos and bask on the golden sand.
Head east to Limenas Geraka and Kyparissi, both with an Aegean island air.
Kick off at the Scholarcheio guest house in Polydrosos, a lovely village with fir trees and stone houses.
Explore the caves of Diros and of Aghios Andreas in Kastania, as well as the petrified forest of Cape Malea.
BEACONS IN THE DARK
Travel right to the end of the Peloponnese, to the lighthouses of Tainaros and Malea.