10 Ways to Explore Arcadia (Map Included)

The Greece Is team gathered 10 tips for you to get the best possible taste of the mythical region of Arcadia.

1. Hiking across Pan’s land

One of the best ways to get to know the mythical homeland of the ancient Greek god Pan is to walk the Menalon Trail, a serpentine 75km route that begins in Stemnitsa and finishes at Lagadia (menalontrail.eu). Our favorite parts include the Stemnitsa-Dimitsana section (12.5 km/5 hours/difficult) across the Lousios Gorge that goes by the Prodromos and Filosofou monasteries, and the Elati-Vytina section (8.5 m/2.5 hours/ moderate difficulty) that winds through plane trees and past a number of important sights, including the Makrinou Fountain and a series of abandoned watermills. Eleftheria Alavanou

2. Dimitsana of the water

After you wander its cobbled alleys lined with old mansions, you’ll learn at the Open-Air Water Power Museum of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP) how water forged the identity of Dimitsana. With its watermills and tanneries, industry thrived here, and in wartime, the gunpowder mills greatly contributed to the Greek War of Independence. Open daily except Tue, 10:00-18:00, Tel. (+30) 27950.316.30, piop.gr. Eleftheria Alavanou

3. Sweet Stemnitsa

Steep alleyways, stone houses with wooden loggias, chapels; whatever your choice, the best walks in Stemnitsa always have a sweet ending. At the kafeneio (traditional coffee shop) Gerousia, you’ll find tasty portokalopita (syrupy orange cake) and galaktoboureko (custard pie) prepared by Arbaroriza pastry shop. You can also buy delicious glyka tou koutaliou (spoon sweets) and amygdalota (almond cookies) at Arkadiko. Olga Charami

4. Delicious Vytina

You should visit this famous winter destination during the summer for… supplies. Renowned feta cheese and goat’s milk yogurt from Tsatsoulis, pasta and other local products from the Palia Agora store and amazing honey and jams from Liaropoulos. Olga Charami

5. Genuine farm-to-table

The Peloponnesian farm-to-table story is embodied at Zerzova (Tel. (+30) 27950.317.53), a wonderful traditional taverna in the village of Panaghia that boasts great wines, meat from animals reared on site, many local dairy products produced in-house and traditional savory pies and pastas. Nena Dimitriou

6. The symbol of Tegea

The marble Temple of Athina Alea, one of the most important in the Peloponnese, was constructed in the mid-4th century BC by Scopas, the architect and sculptor from Paros. The ruins we see today are actually the temple’s foundations. The fourth and final room of the exceptional Archaeological Museum of Tegea in Alea is dedicated to this renowned Arcadian temple, which “comes to life” through 3D representations and state-of-the-art technology. Open daily except Tue, 09:00-16:00, Tel. (+30) 27105.56.540. Alexandra Mandrakou

7. The ascent to Kosmas

Starting from Leonidio, a 29km journey along meandering roads brings you to Kosmas, a village in the Parnon Mountains located at an elevation of 1127m and nestled in verdant pine forests. The quaint square of this mountain village offers an ideal escape from the summer heat. Eleftheria Alavanou

8. Local flavors

The restaurant Myrtoon in Poulithra, very close to Leonidio, sits by the waters of the Myrtoon Gulf. This eatery specializes in Mediterranean dishes and local cuisine. Tel. (+30) 27570.513.39. Eleftheria Alavanou

9. The Fabbrica at Leonidio

The Fabbrica of Culture, housed in a historic building that once served as a power plant, features exhibits on the region’s history, local gastronomy and dance (some researchers claim these dances are rooted in antiquity). Open: Mon-Fri 08:00-15:00, Sat 11:00-13:00, Sun 18:30-20:30, Tel. (+30) 27573.602.02. Eleftheria Alavanou

10. Swimming in Fokianos

While the journey to Fokianos may be tiring, the effort you expend reaching this pebble beach will be rewarded. Enjoy your swim with the slopes of Mt Parnon as an impressive backdrop. Eleftheria Alavanou

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