The Greek Islands may be a vibrant oasis offering a cornucopia of pleasures, but we strongly suggest getting off the beaten path and heading to Mani — the central peninsula of the Peloponnese. Behold the marvel that is Limeni: Stone-built houses, turquoise waters, and colourful caiques (quintessential Greek postcard, anyone?) that are well worth the trip.
Preserved by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Limeni is a place where natural beauty, coastal vistas, and history combine. Located just minutes away from Areopolis and Gythio and in close driving proximity to Kalamata, this tiny traditional fisherman’s village is one of Mani’s best-kept secrets waiting to be explored.
What to See
Monastery Evretrias (Panagi H Vreti)
This catholic church built in the 18th century, dating back to 1731, belonged to the Mavromichali family. Overlooking the seaside with its iconic bell tower, it’s definitely worth a visit (and an Insta-post).
Paralia Dexameni — Mani Water Sports
Adventure with a side of crystal clear waters? Whether it’s scuba diving into the big blue, paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, or simply an intimate sunset cruise you crave, Mani Water Sports is a recreation centre right on the “beach” that will fulfill your adrenaline needs. Paralia Dexameni is more like a natural rock formation (like a natural swimming pool), so if you’re looking for a “proper” beach – you may have to drive further to Foneas, Alypa, or Gerolymenas.
Just a 5km drive away is the village of Areopolis (in fact, Limeni is the seaport of Areopolis). This traditional village pervaded with stone-built houses has grown into a flourishing town filled with buzzing cafes, bars, and restaurants and if you’re lucky enough to be there on the weekend — a lively open-air market takes place in the main square every Saturday- you don’t want to miss it!
Where to Stay
One of the most iconic places to visit and stay is at the Mavromichalai Hotel, built directly on the water’s edge. Now converted and restored into a luxury hotel, the Tower was the first residence of Limeni-raised Petrobey Mavromichalis, the last Bey (or ‘Prince’) of Mani and chief leader of the Maniots during the 1821 Greek War of Independence. Offering six exclusive rooms, all with unobstructed views of the picturesque bay and village of Limeni, visitors also have the opportunity to visit the tower and the tomb where the famous maniacal military leader is buried.
Luxury, history, and a private beach area with a sun terrace. Ah, where do we sign? Pirgos Mavromichali (or Tower Mavromichali) is a historically restored 18th-century stone tower, turned family-owned boutique hotel overlooking the Gulf of Messiniakos. The hotel provides practically everything you need for an enjoyable stay in Limeni, including an exclusive restaurant and bar overlooking the turquoise waters.
Where to Dine & Drink
Prefer to live on the edge? Watch the fishing boats chug up and down the bay from your perch at taverna “O Takis”. Famed for its exquisite fresh seafood and its Insta-worthy sunset, “O Takis” is one of the best seafood restaurants in the Peloponnese. P.S. Ask for the Lobster Pasta, cooked with Takis’ “secret” recipe for two!
If you’re craving Traditional Mani cuisine then “To Mavromichaleiko“ in Areopoli is your stop. Charming wooden tables and stone-built walls fill this family-owned taverna in Areopoli. We recommend their specialty: Hand-made pasta served with Maniatiko cheese, fresh farm eggs, and “siglino” (Mani salted pork). Trust us, you won’t leave unsatisfied.
This two-story stone building, located just above the water, houses one of Limeni’s fave cafes and restaurants – Teloneio. Whether you’re looking to enjoy your coffee where the water breaks, or a quality feed to see the sunset, you won’t be disappointed. We recommend the smoked sausage from Mani wrapped in grilled capsicums — delicious!
After the sun sets in Limeni, make your way to Bukka Bar in Areopolis. Adorned with a giant fuchsia bougainvillea wrapping the entrance of the stone building, Bukka Bar serves some of the best (and most original) cocktails you’ll sip. You can’t go wrong with ‘Grandma’s Choice’.
All images courtesy of Marina Bifsha © (Copyright)