Mount Taygetos is the highest mountain in the Peloponnese and one of the highest in Greece, boasting a height of 2404 metres. It’s the perfect place to enjoy wonderful hiking routes, picturesque villages, lovely creeks and striking stone bridges.
With lush forests covering the middle mountain zone, fragrant phrygana shrubs sprinkled in the lower parts of the mountain, gorges and ravines shaded by plane trees, Mount Tagyetos is located on the border between the areas of Laconia and Messinia.
The highest mountain peak in the Peloponnese is named Prophet Elias and here you will find a a chapel of the same name. Every year on the 20th of July, thousands of pilgrims hike to the top and pay a visit to the church on the Feast Day of Prophet Elias. The most popular route to get to the church starts from Maganiari spring. The path to the top starts from Maganiari spring (980m altitude) and crosses the forest until the spring of Barbara.
One of the mountain’s most spectacular geographical features is the Vyros Gorge, which runs from the foot of Prophet Elias summit to the town of Kardamyli on the Messinian Gulf coast. Other peaks of Mount Taygetos include Sidirokastro (2340 m), Spanakaki (2024 m), Neraidovouna (2020 m), Goupata (2031 m), Koufovouni (1850 m) and Broken Mountain (2204 m).
The eastern slopes of the mountain form many ravines which supply water to the Evrotas River. The region is part of the Natura 2000 network of habitats and its significant infrastructure projects have been initiated for the development of mild ecotourism. in fact, Mount Taygetos has been designated as an ‘Important Bird Area’ of Greece.
The mountain provides plenty of hiking routes which are well signposted and attract a lot of visitors throughout the year. During winter the snow makes climbing quite difficult and special equipment is necessary. One of the most rewarding experiences is reaching the top of the mountain at Prophet Elias and taking in the breathtaking view of the Peloponnese. There is also the Mystras- Taygeti – Moni Faneromenis route, which is also amazing.
Georgitsi known as “the balcony of Taygetos”, is a village at 970 meters altitude and offers an astonishing view of Sparta. Here you will find stone houses with tiled roofs, firs and chestnut trees. Kastori village is perfect for those who love adventures as it’s great for hiking, mountain biking and canyoning. Are you can enjoy hikes through the beautiful route of the gorge of Kastoras River with the springs and the arched bridge. Also check out the chapel of Agios Loukas which is located inside a cave.
– One classical route to approach Taygetos is through Trypi village on the road from Sparta-Kalamata. This route is one of the most beautiful in the Peloponnese as you will be driving through a forest and the gorge of Lagkadas.
-There is also the route from Sparta to the mountainous village Anavriti. This road might be difficult for some drivers as it is close to the edge of the cliffs and not for the faint hearted.
-If you would like to head towards the northern side of Taygetos you should take the route from Mystras towards the village Kastori.
*Images by Blue Mandarin Photography © (Copyright)