(L) Southern Star (R) BABy ALPS
(L) “When you pass Malea, forget your home,” wrote the ancient geographer and historian Strabo when describing the important yet treacherous crossing at the southernmost point of mainland Greece. Off the coast of Laconia, it is lashed by unpredictable winds and frequent storms that swallowed ships or dashed them on the rocks. The 15-meter stone lighthouse built in 1883 to cast its life-saving light at a distance of up to 40 nautical miles, was beautifully restored a few years ago and stands today as a landmark for trekkers taking on the 8.5k trail from the lovely village of Velanidia.
(R) On the highest peaks of Mount Taygetus, the snow melts only for short spells. The biggest range in the Peloponnese, it is named after the nymph Taygete, daughter of the Titan Atlas, and is also known locally as “the five-fingered” (Pentadaktylos) because its five peaks resemble the knuckles of a fist. It spans 115 kilometers from Megalopoli in the north to Cape Tainaro in the south. With its highest peak rising 2,407 meters above sea level, four separate climatic zones, innumerable gorges, ravines and caves, a wealth of flora and fauna, along with dozens of traditional villages and hamlets, Taygetus is an endless source of tales and legends, as well as thrills for mountain sport aficionados.