Monemvassia (sometimes spelled Monemvasia) is often called “the Gibraltar of Greece.” The town, on the southeastern coast of the Peloponnese peninsula, is a massive walled fortress that once housed an estimated 50,000 Byzantine Greeks. The city was first inhabited in 588 A.D. under Byzantine Emperor Mavrikos reign, by inhabitants of Spartan and Laconian origin who were fleeing invaders and Arab slave traders. Its prime geographical location made it an ideal target for several invasions that changed hands over the centuries, those being the Franks, Byzantine, Papal, Venetian and Turkish rulers.
The city of Monemvasia, the “god-guarded fortress”, was founded and grew on the limestone rock (1.5 km long, maximum width 600 m) that juts out from the eastern coast of the Peloponnese 20 miles north of Cape Malea. Above the narrow strip of land, by the sea, the cliffs rise vertically, forming a large sloping platform at the top, its higher point slightly exceeding 200 m.
Monemvasia consisted of an arched bridge, the only connection with the mainland, which gave the city its name (“single entrance”); the port, on the rock, on both sides of the bridge; the fortress on the highest point and the upper city on the platform at the top and the lower city, or proasteion, on the south side by the sea.
Starting from Athens in the morning you will enjoy a drive through the spectacular country landscape. Pictures change one after the other, mountains (Taygettus), pine-trees, olive-trees, grapes, fields,orange trees, small villages, sea and again fields and mountains to reach Monemvassia and its Venetian glorious ancient castle (6th century). Monemvassia means “single entrance,” and as you cross the narrow bridge separating this fortified fist of land from the southeast tip of the Peloponnesus, you can see why.
You can have an unforgettable overnight stay in the castle, in one of the comfortably and fabulously formatted apartments of it, depending on your accommodation and rate requirements. Small souvenir shops in the Castle’s narrow paths & traditional taverns, can offer you a nice dinner and friendly prices & service. Moreover, if you wish, we can easily reach the Monemvassia village (5-10mins driving) for a wider variety of taverns.
Free in the morning and after check out we will start our drive back to Athens. We will have a stop enroute at the town of Sparta for a lunch break and to visit the Museum of Olive oil (optional).
Alternatively we can depart morning from Monemvassia to visit Mystra near Sparta. The choice is yours!
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!
There are plenty of opportunities to take photographs and videos inside the castle, so be sure you have plenty of film and batteries and your cameras handy!
- This tour does not include hotel accommodation, gratuities, or other client personal expenses. Driver’s hotel expenses are not included in the price but if we book the hotel our company use you can avoid this cost. If you wish to book your own hotels then you need to pay a room for the driver.
- Entrance fee to each monastery is 2 Euros pp.
- Free admission for:
- Persons under 18 (with current identification to prove age)
- University students from Greece and the E.U
- Free admission on specific Greek holidays:
- January 1
- March 25
- May 1
- in the morning of Good Friday (April 18)
- Easter Sunday (April 20)
- December 25 and 26; no tours will be performed on those days.