Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns

Areopoli in the Peloponnese is one of the prettiest towns in Greece. Boasting a small historical centre, charming stone houses, cobblestone alleyways and prominent tower houses- it’s worth adding to your list if you are searching for a destination filled with authenticity, history and culture.  

Centrally located in the heart of Mani, it has now become an attractive destination year-round thanks to its friendly locals who keep their traditional taverns, cafes, shops and hotels open summer and winter.  

History of the Town

Insights Greece - Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns
A pretty town in Laconia | Image by Valantis M

Aeropoli played a huge role in the Greek War of Independence and took its name from the Greek God of War “Ares”.  In fact, the people of Aeropoli were the first to raise the banner of the Revolution in Mani. This symbolic white decorated flag (with the Revolution’s symbols) is now exhibited in the Historical Museum of Athens.

Areopoli’s Architecture

The traditional architecture of Mani is highlighted throughout the town via its traditional stone, a raw material found in the cobbled streets, the churches, the houses and the towers of Aeropoli; it’s displayed everywhere you look in the “fortified settlement”. Stone was used not only as it was a material found in abundance throughout Mani but also because it provided the necessary protection for locals who were “hidden” by the eyes of the pirates.

Things to See in Areopoli

Insights Greece - Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns
Taxiarchon Church

Church of Taxiarches- the beautiful metropolitan church of Taxiarches was built by the family of Mavromichalis. Located in the centre of the city, at the historical square of the 17th of March 1821- it was right here where locals declared the revolution against the Ottoman Empire. Built with well-processed stones, it stands out with its impressive five-storied bell tower. The church’s dome features ten sides and the five-sided arch of the altar area is decorated with small marble columns and marble arches.

Pikoulakis Tower- has three storeys, with a strong, two- storey tower-house. Here you will also discover  the impressive Byzantine Museum of Mani and the Church of Agios Ioannis, built by the Mavromichalis family (check out the lovely wall paintings that date back to 1746.)

Mavromichalis Tower is a four-storey tower surrounded by a large building complex and a tall enclosure, rendering it a real fortress; for many years it served as a school.

The Pirgos (Tower) of Biroulakaou and Pikoulaki.

-At the central square of the village “Platia Athanaton” you will come across the statue of Petrompeis Mavromichalis, the famous chieftain and offspring of the Mavromichalis family.

Things to Do in Areopoli

Insights Greece - Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns
Cobblestone alleyways

-Stroll around its stone-built alleys that are filled with beautiful bougainvillea and charming homes that reveal so much about the town’s rich history. Hidden between the picturesque streets of Areopoli are many churches large and small, dating from the 17th to the 19th century. Many of them still retain part of their murals and icons. Make sure you sit at a kafenion that’s filled with locals chatting away and enjoy a traditional Greek coffee and a delicious dessert. 

– Visit the Caves of Diros, which are among the most important natural sites in Greece and with great archaeological significance. The caves hidden among rugged rocks have revealed Palaeolithic finds- recent excavations at Apidima brought to light a human skeleton from 300,000 years ago, known as Tainaros Man. Access to these caves can be gained over the rocks by the sea to the left of Limeni. Driving south from Areopoli, it is 8 km to the village of Pirgos Dirou, where the road forks off to the underground caves.

-Not far from Areopolis, you will find Limeni, a seaside village where natural beauty, coastal vistas, and history combine. At Limeni, there are plenty of gorgeous places where you can swim, eat and stay at.

-If you are in Aeropoli on a Saturday, check out the open-air market in the main square with a lot of locals selling their organic produce and traditional delicacies. 

-Only 1.5km away you will find the village Sotiras also known as Kouskouni. It is an amphitheatrically built village with a beautiful view of Areopoli.

Dishes to try in Areopoli 

Insights Greece - Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns
Traditional taverns

In Areopoli and in the wider area of Laconia you will find many traditional restaurants serving dishes and specialties of the Mani district. The main ingredient is pork- mainly roasted suckling pig, sausages, and salt pork, which you will find on most menus. The local specialty Sigklino is salt-cured pork, which is smoked and later boiled with olive oil and oranges. Also, try the Pasto (another cured pork meat that is smoked) and Hilopites– homemade pasta accompanied by local cheese. the local Xorta  (wild greens) are also amazing. Mani is also known for Kagianas, which are fried eggs with tomato and cheese and Lalagia- fried dough strips.  Around the central square, there are a lot of traditional restaurants and cafes where you can taste these dishes and more delightful delicacies. 

Getting there

Around a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Athens, and an hour and 15-minute drive from Kalamata. Ktel Laconia runs three daily buses from Athens to Areopoli (a 4.5-hour trip) via Sparta and Gythio.

Main image courtesy of Web Greece 

Luxury Seaside Hotel Set in Mani

Nestled in a historic olive grove and boasting breathtaking sea views and private gardens; 100 Rizes Luxury Seaside Resort offers guests an eco-chic natural hideaway. 

Inspired by the region’s striking stone buildings, this luxury hotel blends modern comfort with the feel of a traditional Greek village. Enjoy views of the majestic Laconic Gulf with a glass of wine from your private suite. Stroll among the 100 scented olive groves that lead you to the freshwater pool. Or make your way to the boutique hotel’s sandy beach, which is only a few footsteps away. 

Location

Just three hours drive from Athens, only 1.5 hours from Tripoli and one hour from Sparta, 100 Rizes gives guests the opportunity to travel around Mani and visit the breathtaking sightseeing in south Peloponnese. It’s located 20 minutes from Gytheio, the main town, overlooking a private cove next to Kamares beach; only 3km away from the historical village of Skourari and 20 km from Areopolis town the capital of Mani.

Style & Feel

Consisting of four luxury designed buildings and 30 rooms in total, extended in a typical area of Mani’s wild landscape, this traditionally built hotel is the perfect mix of old world meets new. Honouring Mani’s distinct architecture, the elegantly designed interior spaces with modern aesthetics gives the visitor the impression of a traditional village, with stone buildings, upscale luxury facilities and all modern comforts. 

Rooms 

The 30 rooms continue the hotel’s nod to its natural surroundings. Exposed brick walls give each one a cosy, rustic-chic feel and frame glimpses of water, trees and sky. With earthy tones and soft materials, the rooms are warm and inviting. 

Insights Greece - Luxury Seaside Hotel Set in Mani

Food & Drinks 

The Lupino Restaurant blends traditional and contemporary Mediterranean dishes prepared with the best local products and exquisite ingredients. Here the chef invites guests to a gustatory experience through the heritage and flavours of the Mani peninsula. You can enjoy cocktails, classic aperitifs and a customized selection of snack menus offering tempting delectable light meals and freshly prepared salads. Dishes served during lunch are bright, fresh, stunning and complete, ensuring to satisfy any craving; and wine lovers can discover the best wines from the exclusive list.

Ideal for…

Couples, business trips and anyone who wants to explore the beautiful Mani area. Not only is the hotel in prime position for relaxation, but it’s also only a short drive to some of the peninsula’s most alluring sites. Discover the spectacular flooded Caves of Diros. Walk along the seafront before savouring just-caught octopus in a taverna in Gythio. Swim in sapphire waters in Limeni. If you’re after on-the-doorstep seclusion, head to nearby Skoutari. It is the ideal getaway for guests seeking peace, seclusion, privacy, quality service and strict hygiene. 

Facilities & Services 

  • Outdoor pool
  • Indoor heated pool
  • Private beach area with Sunbeds & Umbrellas
  • Spa treatment rooms 
  • Sauna
  • Restaurant 
  • Bar 
  • Lounge
  • Gym facilities
  • Manicure & Pedicure room
  • 24-hour front desk 
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Bar
  • Sun terrace
  • Garden
  • Luggage storage
  • 24-hour business centre
  • Heating
  • laundry services

A: Anatoliki East Mani, Peloponnese 

Historical Hotel at the Tip of Mani Peninsula

Housed in a fully restored 19th-century building complex, just off the southernmost tip of Mani’s charming countryside, Kyrimai Hotel combines traditional architecture with contemporary comforts. 

With views of Mani’s crystal-blue sea as well as its breathtaking landscape, staying here allows guests to appreciate the pleasures of living a slow and simple life. 

Location

Kyrimai Hotel in Gerolimenas is about a two-hour drive from Kalamata, the second-largest city of the Peloponnese. This picturesque fishing village is filled with οld stоnе buildings set by the blue sea. While staying at Kyrimai, you can also visit some of the beautiful nearby destinations including Sparta, Mystras, Monemvasia, Kardamyli, and Limeni.  

Style & Feel

Dating back to 1870, this beautifully restored property offers a historic feel, with its elegant country chic decor that’s showcased throughout the rooms. The interiors boast traditional Maniot stone-and-wood period architecture, with majestic stairways, arches and pretty gardens situated in an enviable position, on the edge of the sea- offering a breathtaking view of Gerolimena’s Bay. Throughout the property guests will come across antique furniture, numerous exhibits, hundreds of old books and other antique pieces that highlight Greece of the late 19th century.

Rooms 

As the charming rooms and suites have been built so close to the sea, Kyrimai offers its guests a unique experience- as they wake up to the sounds of gentle waves crashing onto the property. The quaint rooms combine traditional materials such as wood and stone, with modern, elegant furnishing; and also wonderful vistas of the surroundings.

Food & Drinks

Combining traditional tastes with a sense of creativity, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant serves delightful dishes that have become loved by locals and visitors who can’t get enough of this Maniot eatery. There is no set menu as the talented team prefers using recipes depending on the fisherman’s catch of the day and other fresh ingredients they can get their hands on. There is also a great wine list and in the winter months, guests gather around the bar in the lobby for cocktails and Greek wines.

Amenities

The outdoor pool is unheated and family-friendly. It’s nestled on the water’s edge, with comfortable sun loungers and plenty of umbrellas, which also run down the stone jetty that leads out to a private beach. Kyrimai also offers on-site parking, free WiFi throughout, plug adaptors, and beach bags for its guests. 

Ideal for…

Couples, families, foodies, and anyone who wants to explore the beautiful Mani area. The hotel can also help organise water sports activities such as diving guided tours, hiking trails, boat trips, sea kayak trips, and electric bike trips- making it a great getaway for those looking for some adventure along the way.  

Facilities & Services

  • Private beach 
  • Pool
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Wifi
  • Free toiletries
  • Free Parking
  • Room Service
  • Breakfast included

A: Gerolimenas, Mani, Peloponnese

Mani, Home to One of Greece’s Top Boutique Hotels

Having only recently opened its doors, Bassa Maina Villas & Suites in Mani has already managed to become one of the top boutique hotels in Greece, combining elements of traditional architecture, modern design and local culture. 

Location 

Bassa Maina is located in the middle of the three peninsulas of southern Peloponnese -the Mani peninsula. This mountainous region is incredibly beautiful, with its dreamy fishing coves, fortified villages, emerald waters, and captivating sunsets. The area where the hotel is built is located in a non-populated part of the region, approximately 2000 meters above sea level. There are many natural attractions, monuments, and villages close by, including scenic Areopoli, with the stone houses and cobblestone alleys, Limeni, with its beautiful fish taverns right by the water, and the stunning Diros Caves.

Insights Greece - Mani, Home to One of Greece's Top Boutique Hotels

Style & Character 

Unspoiled and brimming with rural charm, these seaside villas are where to escape if you’re looking for some downtime. The sheer beauty of the landscape that surrounds Bassa Maina gives it a serene feeling, drawing a unique setting of peace, relaxation, and much-desired calmness. Its fine architecture and chic interior design are truly impressive, while its location in a secluded area of inner Mani ensures privacy, and makes it an ideal destination all year round. 

From linen to decor, and from light fixtures to fabrics and colour schemes, everything has been carefully selected and meticulously designed to create a warm, cozy environment that inspires a deep sense of relaxation and an ability to switch off from the stresses of everyday life. 

Insights Greece - Mani, Home to One of Greece's Top Boutique Hotels

Room Types

The range of nine amphitheatrically built luxurious villas and suites, with private terraces, and a home-like ambiance allows guests to enjoy serenity and privacy without feeling disconnected. All villas and suites are built according to the local traditional architecture and have been decorated and furnished with hand-picked items, rich fabrics, and high-quality materials. The spacious rooms are cozy and make you feel as though you are in a house, not a hotel. All rooms come with unobstructed views to the Mediterranean, each one has its own layout, private terraces, exposed stone walls, beamed ceilings, comfortable beds, and designer furniture and decor, while some also include a fireplace and outdoor heated Jacuzzis. All villas have private entrances and are bathed in natural light and also feature fully equipped kitchenettes.

Insights Greece - Mani, Home to One of Greece's Top Boutique Hotels

Food & Drinks 

CROCUS, the main restaurant boasts views from its outdoor space, which is nothing short of breathtaking, while its cozy indoor lounge is incredibly inviting and warm; ideal for the colder months. Simple and authentic recipes from the Peloponnesian region are prepared here based on carefully selected local, fresh and organic ingredients. There is also a great selection of Greek wines to choose from that can accompany each dish.

Facilities

The complex includes a restaurant, bar, guest lounge with incredible sea views, a boutique conference venue for up to 50 people, a small business centre, and outdoor space in front of the restaurant that can be used for weddings and other events. 

Ideal For…

Insights Greece - Mani, Home to One of Greece's Top Boutique Hotels

A romantic weekend, a business conference, solo travellers, and anyone looking to explore the Mani region; with a desire to return to a relaxing spot each day as you feel close to nature and just a footstep away from beautiful surroundings.  

Services

  • Free parking 
  • Free WiFi 
  • Concierge service
  • Fitness Centre  
  • Luggage storage
  • Pool/beach towels 
  • Business Centre
  • Library 
  • Conference Venue 
  • Express check-in/check-out service

Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets

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)

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Must visit destination

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.

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Charming alleyways

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

Mavromichalai Hotel

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Rustic hotels

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.

Pirgos Mavromichali

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

O Takis

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!

To Mavromichaleiko

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.

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Delicious cuisine

Teloneio

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!

Bukka Bar

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)