Discover the hidden treasures of Monemvasia
The castle town of Monemvasia is one of the best lesser-known attractions in Greece. Located on the top of a giant rock at the waterfront of the Peloponnese, Monemvasia is only connected to the mainland by a small bridge. The medieval upper and lower parts were originally built as a Byzantine fort but some archaeological finds are of even older date. Throughout the centuries several inhabitants of the area left their signatures. Monemvasia has roots in the Franks, Venetian, Ottoman and Byzantine period. Nowadays, historic Monemvasia and the breathtaking beauty of its surrounding areas offer many opportunities for special family vacations.
Flickr: Vagelis Giannadakis, Monemvasia Castle
Most of the buildings in the picturesque old town of Monemvasia have been renovated with full respect to the past. Forts, mansions and churches in a century-old style spring up everywhere, all with an amazing sea view.
Flickr: Robert Wallace, The Lower Town of Monemvasia as seen from the Upper Town
The cobblestone alleys and old roads take you back in time. Cars are strictly forbidden and only allowed until the entrance to the castle. Car-free Monemvasia is, therefore, an ideal place for carefree walks and sightseeing with kids.
Flickr: Robert Wallace, The main street of the old medieval town of Monemvasia
For coffee, drinks or dinner, Monemvasia has some excellent choices. Many cafes and cocktail bars are romantically located overlooking the sea. The sunset in Monemvasia is spectacular! In the small alleys, you will find unique wine bars and hidden taverns. Most restaurants serve home-cooked meals and traditional Greek dishes. For fresh fish, head over to the excellent fish places outside of the castle near the bridge!
Flickr: stefg74, Monemvasia
As the town is located on the rocks, there are no beaches inside Monemvasia. However, in its immediate surroundings are several sandy and pebbled beaches with crystal clear water. This means that you can spend a summer beach vacation in Monemvasia.
Besides exploring the medieval castle town or going to one of the beaches nearby, there are many activities for kids of all ages in Monemvasia. Families can join a traditional olive grove combined with olive oil tasting, they can go hiking, diving or visit to the nearby watermills at Talanta. Parents will love the wine tasting opportunities in nearby wineries or participating in a cooking lesson.
The cave of Kastania is another unique place nearby Monemvasia. Here, centuries-long, the sea and the waves have shaped incredible geological features into the rocks. A must-visit when in Monemvasia!
Families should know
- You cannot drive your car inside the castle town. There is a designated parking area outside the main gates
- There is a transfer bus taking visitors to the castle
- The cobblestone alleys and many steps in the castle are not stroller friendly
Best season to visit