If you can’t decide between a seaside holiday and a mountain retreat, then we’ve got the perfect solution for you. You can get the best of both worlds with an excursion to Mani in the Peloponnesian region of Messenia. The trip from Athens is short and relaxing. We recommend stopping in the lovely city of Kalamata on the way.
The landscape of Mani is dotted with picturesque villages – some by the seaside, and others high up in the mountains. Each village maintains its own, traditional character. Take some time to explore them.
The beautiful villages of Kardamyli, Stoupa, andAghios Nikolaos are right by the sea. Stoupa is a big tourist destination and attracts the most people. Your children can run around and explore freely here. When you get hungry, stop at the first tavern as you enter the beach, called “To Spitiko tis Aggelikis” (or Angelica’s Home). You must try the feta with honey. Stoupa also has many lovely cafes and stores with delicious treats like ice cream cones, crepes and loukoumades (syrupy Greek-style doughnuts). The grown-ups can enjoy their coffee or drink with a gorgeous view of the sea at “Enigma.” The small port of Aghios Nikolaos is full of traditional taverns serving wonderful local delicacies, including fresh fish, shrimp pasta, salads with produce fresh from the local gardens, greens, and locally raised meat with Mani noodles or grits. The secret behind these tasty dishes is the world-renowned Mani olive oil: pure, wholesome, and natural.
Should I visit the mountain villages of Messenian Mani?
Absolutely! If you stay in Kardamyli, most of the mountain villages are just a short trip away. You can visitProastio, Exohori, Saidona, Kastania, Pyrgos, Niohori, Milia, Platsa, Lagada, or Nomitisi. These little villages are full of beautiful fortresses, churches, and chapels dating back to the Byzantine period. We think that Kastania is the prettiest village of the bunch.
There are beaches in Mani to suit every taste. From white sand to fine pebbles, from shady and tree-lined to bright and sunny, from deep water to shallow, the beaches of Messenian Mani maintain a rugged charm. If you have small children, opt for Kalamitsi or Kalogria.
The Kalamitsi beach is quiet, with small, round pebbles and lots of shade (perfect if it’s windy and your umbrella won’t stay put). Love water sports? Then Pantazi and the Foneas Canyon are ideal for diving and snorkeling.
Where you’ll stay?
At The Kalamitsi Hotel because:
- It’s the ideal base camp for your daily excursions
- It’s kid friendly, with double rooms, guest rooms, apartment bungalows, and family bungalows
- The premises are spotless, the staff is excellent, and the decoration is tasteful
- All the rooms have an enchanting view of the sea
- It’s right on top of the kid-friendly “Kalamitsi” beach
Kids will love
- The sandy beaches and sparkling water
- The deep-fried diples, fritters, and noodles
- The Old Castle of Kardamyli
Parents will love
- The local specialties (olive oil, oregano, thyme, honey, olives)
- Dinner with a view of the beautiful sunset at “Lela’s” in Kardamyli
- The chapels scattered about the countryside
- The fortresses and old castles
Best season to visit
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