None of Greece’s multifarious invaders has ever set foot in Mani. Located in the south of Pelopponese, Mani is a strange land, this, with its stone towers gazing proudly out over the sea. The Maniots too are a proud people, even today preserving an austere, patriarchal way of life with its own peculiar ethics and traditions. The Maniates are descendents of Cretan refugees with further influx of refugees from the North resulted in constant quarrels between the older inhabitants and the newcomers.
Various clans were soon formed,feuds went on for years and the rival families barricaded themselves in towers which they secretly built higher in the night so that in the morning they could bombard their lower-lying neighbours with rocks and stones. The Mani is now full of such towers, many of them deserted. Its one the few special places in Greece where life remains mostly untouched by modernity.
Gerolimenas is a traditional village of Mani, near the sea. It has an old commercial harbor with tavernas on the beach. It has about 100 inhabitants, located in Inner Mani, on the east side of Cavo Grosso. It is approximately 96 km from Sparta and the region, which is reminiscent of Sicilian villages, there are several restored buildings and has idyllic landscape. The name of the village in ancient times considered “Holy Port”.
By 1870 the place was uninhabited until a wealthy merchant settled there. He built a large house on the coast, and organized a small harbor. Gradually the harbor began to grow as more and more began to live there and the area became the center of the Middle Mani. Today, Gerolimenas is a purely tourist destination.
At the end of Mani and mainland Greece, Tainaro cape is the southernmost part of Europe, while the ancient Greeks considered Tainaro cape as the passage to the underworld. The name comes from the mythical hero and founder Tainaro son of Zeus who built the homonymus town.
Here, in mythology, is one of the gates of Hades where Hercules faced Cerberus. From the same gate came down Orpheus to take Eurydice. In recent history the sea around the cape marked by the battle of Tainaro 1942. Ancient ruins are scattered to Tainaro cape while is surrounded by a special energy.
The Lighthouse of Akro Tainaro built by French and started its operation in 1887. Nearby we find traces of the ancient Roman settlement and the impressive ancient mosaic floor of the 1st century AD the “Star of Arias”.
The Diros cave (Vlihadas cave) is located on the west coast of the Laconian peninsula in the bay of Diros. It is considered most beautiful lake cave in the world. Under the plain landscape of Mani the nature with patience and artistry carved a miracle beyond imagination. Snow-white stalactites and stalagmites, impressive curtains and glittering crystals adorn every corner, creating a breathtaking spectacle. The cave was formed hundreds of thousands of years ago. The tour in the cave is by boat and there is a part of the cave where the visitor is able to walk.
Mani has an imposing wild rocky landscape with a few olive trees and several prickly pears. It has lovely small coves and beaches, 250 villages, 800 towers, 7 castles and over 1,000 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches. We tour in several villages like Flomochori, Vathia, Lagia, Pirichos, Oitilo, etc with towers (pirgospita), castles and Byzantine churches.
Mystras has impressive preserved Byzantine churches , palaces , houses, bridges and Castle and tells the story of a city that has experienced great prosperity as the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of Morea and became rich from trade with East and West. Three times conquered by Ottomans, Venetians and Ottomans again in 1460, until to 1821 where became one of the first places in Greece that liberated.
Here you will have the opportunity to visit the Cathedral, where he was crowned emperor on March 12, 1449 Constantine Palaeologus, the temple Hodeghetria, frescoes, which date from 1312, the monastery of Pantanassas that currently hosts six nuns, and the decoration inspired by Gothic art.
In 1989 the ruins, including the fortress, palace, churches, and monasteries, were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Alternative Tour Options:
There are so many other things to see in this area. Keep in mind that your driver is at your disposal, so if you would like to adjust the proposed itinerary at all, just let him know!
What Makes this Tour Unique?
- This is the only Tour which covers all the most important sites of Mani.
- Allows you to tour Mani with a local driver able to show you the real face of the region.
Did you Know?
- The inhabitants of Mani are characterized by irreconcilable nature, strict morals, hard traditions, freedom, sacrifice, and honesty, moral courage, pride and patriotism. They show great respect for traditions, honor their family and are proud that never enslaved to foreign and always lived free.
- In older times the Father possessed the first place in the family hierarchy, or the eldest son in case of father’s death. The female members had neither inheritance nor other rights. Divorce was unknown word.
- The Oitilo village continuously inhabited since ancient times by the time of Homer to the present. Specifically, from the time of Homer referred to Oitilo as part of the kingdom of Menelaos. Near the beach it is considered that there was a temple of Serapis.