Elwira and Elias tips: full or half-day excursions from the coastal villages of Mani, Peloponnese

First time in the Mani, Peloponnese? HouseFinders Peloponnese tips for full- or half-day excursions for those of you who are near or in Kardamyli, Stoupa, Agios Nikolaos or Agios Dimitrios.

A full-day excursion: Lakonia South 08.30 – 18.00 incl. a little swimming. Main goal: The Caves of Diros

The caves of Diros and the volcano of Santorini are considered Greece’s most spectacular natural wonders. You can best experience the caves during a boat trip. The boat is steered by a guide who only uses a wooden stick to navigate his way – an experience you shouldn’t miss!

If you don’t want to wait in line with many others to be admitted to the Caves of Diros, be there around 10:00 (you need to leave your destination around 08:30). ( GPS link ). Don’t forget to bring some warmer clothes to the caves! The shortest boat trip takes about 30 minutes and the temperature in the caves stays around +15 degrees. The journey begins with a 1,200-metre boat ride and ends with a 300-metre walk, before stepping out into the sun. During the journey, you pass lots of awesome stalactites and stalagmites and other strange cave formations. You buy tickets (from 10 euros per person) on the spot (there is also a small kiosk with water and snacks, if you forgot to bring something with you). Opening hours ( always double-check the website,  the page is unfortunately only in Greek, but it is possible to understand times and dates)

Pack swimwear for this day: near the caves there is a nice beach with crystal clear water. After the guide and the swim go to Areopolis ( GPS link ), eat and walk in this village for a while before you head down to Cape Tenares/Matapan (both names are used). ( GPS link ). Once down at Cape Tenarion, you are at the southernmost tip of the Greek mainland and about 5o kilometers SOUTH of TUNIS and ALGIERS in Africa and almost on the same level as Gibraltar on the other side of the Mediterranean. Also go to the Hades Caves where it is said that the entrance to the kingdom of Hades is located! Then it’s time to get back (roughly 2 hours) and you’ll  be back at the destination around 6.30pm.

A Full Day Excursion: Ancient Messini. The tour takes about 7 hours including coffee/food in the village and bathing.

The Peloponnese has many attractions and one of those that you should not miss is ancient Messini. Ancient Messini, also called “the local Olympia”, was founded in 369 BC, and was one of the most important cities in ancient Greece. ( GPS link). Important political debates were held here, healing arts were taught and theater performances were held.

Always check current opening times ( link ), below timetable from 2019:

Expect to spend around 2 hours at the site. Stop and eat at the village Ithomi, near Ancient Messini, take some nice pictures from above of the amazing place you just visited. Remember to bring swimwear and stop in Mikri Mantinia ( GPS link ) for some swimming and beach coffee.

A full-day excursion: Kalamata castle, shopping + swimming in the middle of the city

Kalamata, the home of the tastiest olives and the capital of Messinia. Just over 65,000 inhabitants: a big city life with a story behind it quite simply! Feel free to start by visiting Kalamata’s Old Town and Kalamata Castle ( GPS link) . It costs 2 euros to enter the area, which is open both in winter and summer from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. But keep in mind that on Tuesdays Kalamata Castle is closed!

Around the castle is Palia Poli, the old town, which consists of cobbled alleys and narrow passages. In Kalamata you can see the Frankish castle and visit a number of museums, most notably the Benakion Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. Several churches such as Panagia Ypapanti and Agioi Apostoloi are also well worth a visit. Take a look at Kalamata’s shopping street Aristomenous street and stop for a frappe or freshly squeezed juice in one of the local cafés. After shopping and coffee, we suggest that you park the car near the Marina in Kalamata for a swim on the beach Paralia Kalamata ( GPS link ).

Beaches in Mani

There are quite a few beaches in the area and although you will surely enjoy the one closest to your destination, we want to tempt you to explore other possibilities.

Are you still curious and have time?

Other links