Exploring the Mycenaean Palace of Nestor

If you would like to explore the most well-preserved Mycenaean Palace in Greece, you should visit the Palace of Nestor, which reveals so much about the Mycenaean world and the royals that lived here during the 13th Century BC. 


Nestors Palace is found on a hill known as Ano Englianos, overlooking the Bay of Navarino, in the Peloponnese. It is found 6km inland and its set on the hill offers wonderful clear views of the coastline whichever way you look. It is located in Pylia, 4 kilometers south of the village of Chora on the hill of Epano Eglianos, which is about 14 km from Pylos.

History Behind the Palace

This extraordinary palace was built in the 13th Century BC by King Nestor, son of Neleus, who holds an important position in the Homeric epics. Nestor led Pylos to the Trojan War with 90 ships and is presented by Homer as a wise old man, whose opinion was always respected by the Achaeans. The palace was almost completely destroyed in the 12th century, by fire, however baked ceramic tablets were still found after the flames with rare information on them. 

The Buildings 

With a brand-new construction, including a new protective shelter, the Palace of Nestor permits visitors to truly experience the rich Mycenaean history. It is a complex made up of various buildings and consists of 105 ground floor apartments. It has four main buildings (central ones, wine store) and some smaller ones. The large rectangular “throne room” is considered to be the most important.

What You Will Find Here

Discover the walls of the palace, which were decorated with fine wall paintings. Very close to the palace, you will find the most impressive, largest excavated Mycenaean vaulted tomb of the area. It was built in c.1550-1500 BC. The Palace’s four buildings feature 2 levels arranged around a courtyard, including reception rooms, bedrooms, warehouses, a wine cellar, workshops, rooms for domestic servants, sewers and more.

Interesting Remains

You can explore the beautifully decorated round fireplace, the throne room, and a bathroom with a bathtub, as well as seeing numerous shelves with inscriptions. As you walk through the bi-level building you will come across abundant storage spaces, private apartments, stairwells, and skylights. The halls were decorated with remarkable wall paintings, while pictorial representations also decorated the palatial floors. The approximately 1000 clay tablets in Linear B script, which were brought to light during excavations in the wider area, confirm the site’s function as a financial, administrative, political, and religious centre.

Archaeological Museum of Chora 

The numerous archaeological findings from the site of the Palace of Nestor are kept at the Archaeological Museum of Chora, as well as the Archaeological Museum of Messenia. Here you will find collections that focus on the Mycenaean civilization. Some permanent exhibits at the museum include old jewellery from the vaulted tombs of Peristeria of Trifylia and there are also fascinating murals with amazing battle scenes. Mycenaeans were known for their trade of perfumed oils and big jars for storing oil, which you can also view.  

A: Ethniki Odos Kiparissias Pilou, Nestor 

Cover image by Maria Theofanopoulou 

Visiting the Legendary Cave of the Lakes in Kastria 

With a striking entrance and three different levels, this stunning cave looks almost otherworldly, complete with astounding galleries and unique stalactite formations.

The famous cave is found in the Kastria settlement of Achaia, 17 km from Kalavryta, a lovely mountainous town on the northern side of the Peloponnese.

Apart from its labyrinth of corridors, its mysterious galleries, and its unexpected stalactite formations, the ‘Cave of the Lakes’ has something exclusively unique that can not be found in other well-known caves, as inside there is a string of cascading lakes forming three different levels, which is why it stands out as one of the most unique in the world.

Insights Greece - Visiting the Legendary Cave of the Lakes in Kastria 

The developed part of the cave is currently 500 metres long. Visitors are able to enter the cave through an artificial tunnel that leads directly to the second floor and man-made bridges allow the passage from lake to lake. 

Being part of a secret underground river in the past, today the multi-dimensional cave has 13 cascading lakes of varying sizes, which is again a very unique feature as far as caves go. Only 500 metres are open to visitors because of the rough terrain. By the end of winter, when the ice melts, it floods the cave and creates a series of streams and waterfalls.

In summer, part of the cave dries and reveals new stalagmites formations. The natural entrance is right on the road, while there is another man-made entry a few metres away.

At the lower level human and animal fossils were discovered, including that of a hippopotamus. Scientists and historians claim that the cave was occupied 450 thousand years ago.

Insights Greece - Visiting the Legendary Cave of the Lakes in Kastria 

According to reports, findings show that man has used the cave since the Neolithic period and throughout the First and Middle Helladic to Late Helladic period, inhabited by people who were young, children, pre-teens, and young adults with a biological affinity.

Exploration is currently ongoing in the cave system and the Municipality of Kalavryta hopes that in the near future they will be able to open up more of Kastria Caves to the public.

Opening times: Winter daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Summer daily from 9:30 am to 6 pm. Note: there is a cafe at the site serving coffee and casual lunch.

Insights Greece - Visiting the Legendary Cave of the Lakes in Kastria 

Getting there 

It is situated 20 km from Kalavryta and 9 km from Klitoria village. You can take a bus from Athens to the Cave of the Lakes via Isthmos, Isthmos, and Kalavryta in around 4h and 30 m. Alternatively, you can take a train from Athens to Cave of the Lakes via Kiato, Diakofto, and Kalavryta, which takes around 5 hours. It is roughly 60km from Tripoli (about an hour’s drive) and a 2-hour drive from Corinth.

For more information visit kastriacave

Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Arcadia

The Monastery of Saint John the Baptist (Agios Ioannis Prodromos) is also named the ‘Great Cave’ (Mega Spilaio) of Arcadia because it was built into a huge vertical rock on the east bank of Lousios Gorge by monks who lived in nearby hermitages. Thousands of pilgrims arrive here each year to explore this holy site, which offers peace, harmony and serenity.  

Location and getting there

Insights Greece - Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Arcadia

Located near the villages of Stemnitsa and Dimitsana, the landscape is impressive and reminiscent of other holy sites in Greece, such as Meteora and Mega Spilaio. 

To arrive at the monastery, on the road from Dimitsana to Stemnitsa, turn right two kilometers before Stemnitsa and follow the signs for the monastery and Ancient Gortys. Following the signs for 6 kilometers from the turning point, you will reach the point where you must leave your car and begin a walk along a lovely 600 metre footpath.

The Church 

The church of Saint John the Baptist is a single-domed basilica, decorated with remarkable frescoes. Murals are also found outside the church, which are admired by all those who visit. 

The Monastery

This monastery is said to have been built in the mid 16th century, although the monks suggest its construction is much older, dating to the 12th century. Historically, the building was used as a refuge and hospital for local fighters during the Turkish occupation, due to its hidden position. From the balconies of the Monastery visitors can enjoy the splendid views of the luscious landscapes surrounding them.

What you will find here

There are workshops for painting and sewing sacred garments at the monastery and there is also an impressive collection of about 1000 historical books. The number of visitors who come here each year is huge, because apart from the spiritual journey, the monastery is built in a landscape of immense beauty, on towering cliffs, inside lush vegetation and with the Lousios River right by. Here you will be greeted by monks who show you around and offer coffee and local sweets to all their guests. 

Nature Walks

For those who love nature walks, two very beautiful paths begin at the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist. The first path heads left and takes you about 600 metres through a magnificent landscape rich in vegetation, then leads you down 200 metres to the Lousios Gorge. Here you will cross a new footbridge, and see the ruins of the monastery’s watermill, which were mentioned as early as 1630. 

The second route starts at the Monastery of Saint John, following the path to the right toward the Monastery of the Philosopher (old and new sections). About 650 metres down the path, approximately half way to the monastery, you will see a bridge linking the two banks of the Lousios. The monastery of Philosophos, located on the western side of the Lousios river gorge, is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The monastery consists of two sections- the Old Monastery and the New Monastery of the Philosopher. 

Insights Greece - Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Arcadia

Who is Saint John the Baptist?

The  Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist is also referred to as John the Forerunner because he was the forerunner of Christ. He was an ascetic and great prophet, who baptised Christ and became one of the most revered saints in the Orthodox Church. He was later beheaded by Herod in the first century to satisfy the request of Herod’s stepdaughter, Salome, and wife Herodias. As he baptised Christ, he is the Patron Saint of godparents. January 7 is the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist and it is also a celebration and name day of those named Ioannis or Ioanna. 

A: Arkadias, Tripoli 221 00, Greece

*Main image courtesy of Blog of Dimi © (Copyright) 

Exploring Mount Tagyetos in the Peloponnese

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.

Prophet Elias

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.

Insights Greece - Exploring Mount Tagyetos in the Peloponnese

Vyros Gorge

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.

Insights Greece - Exploring Mount Tagyetos in the Peloponnese

Hiking Routes

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.

Insights Greece - Exploring Mount Tagyetos in the Peloponnese

Getting there

– 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) 

Discovering Ancient Olympia

Olympia is one of the most influential ancient Greek sanctuaries, located in western Peloponnese, in Elis. In antiquity it was famous beyond the borders of mainland Greece for hosting the Olympic Games every four years, starting in 776 BC. 

The archaeological site is located within walking distance of the modern village called Ancient Olympia and it includes ruins from Bronze Age to the Byzantine eras. The site covers an expanded area of ruins scattered among low trees, as well as the ancient stadium where the Olympics took place. An impressive array of artifacts which were unearthed during excavations are on exhibition at the nearby Olympia Museum.

The history

The site of Olympia, in a valley in the Peloponnese has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century B.C., Olympia became a centre for the worship of Zeus. The Altis – the sanctuary to the gods – has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces from the ancient Greek world. In addition to temples, there are the remains of all the sports structures erected for the Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia every four years beginning in 776 B.C.

The Stadium

This is the same track where athletes raced for glory millennia ago. The remains of dozens of buildings and temples sit among the shade of trees on the archaeological site. Some were specifically built for sporting events, and some for the worship of Zeus. A museum holds a collection of priceless artefacts that once decorated the sanctuary. See Olympia come alive with music and culture at its major events—the Ancient Olympia International Festival and the Olympia International Film Festival for children and young people.

What else you can see

Apart from the lovely Archaeological Museum as well as a Museum of the History of the Olympic Games, the site itself, a lush valley once filled with olive trees and called Altis that was created in the 8th Century BC, is awe-inspiring. Temples, such as those of Hera and of Zeus, the circular Philippeion dedicated to the Macedonian King Philip II, the training palestras, stadiums and the Bouleuterion are all a feast for the eyes and imagination. The town of Olympia, in the region of Katakolo, Ilia, is unremarkable but cute for a touristy stroll with some pretty views.

How to Get There

By bus, you can reach Olympia from Athens via Pyrgos, the capital of the region. By car, it is 290 kilometres from Athens (about 3.5 hours). If travelling by boat, the nearests ports are Katakolo (34km), where cruise ships arrive, Killini (66km) with connection lines to and from the Ionian islands, and Patras (117km) from where you can travel to Italy by ferry.

When to Visit

Any time of the year is suitable to visit Olympia. From late April to late October, the site and Olympia museum are open daily during the daylight hours so visitors have more time to enjoy the monuments and galleries. From November 1 to March 31, tickets for the site and museums (open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.) are half price. In the winter, there are typically no lines.

Cover image @westerngreece

Greece Extends Lockdown to January 7  

On Monday, Greek Government Spokesperson Stelios Petsas announced that the current lockdown measures in the country will be extended through to January 7, 2021, to limit the spread of Coronavirus. 

This includes a night time curfew and a ban on travelling outside home prefectures.

According to the announcement, schools, restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, taverns, courts and ski centres will resume operations as of 6am, Thursday, January 7, 2021.

What you need to know

Outside movement will continue to be allowed only for specific reasons and by sending an SMS to the five-digit mobile phone service 130 33. The night curfew from 9pm to 5am will also remain in place.

Travel to and around Greece

Also, until January 7, 2021, domestic travel will not be allowed and public gatherings will continue to be banned.

Those returning from countries abroad between Friday, December 18 and Thursday, January 7, 2021, will be required to:

  1. Submit a PLF and a negative Covid 19 test result (PCR) performed up to 72 hours before arrival.

2. Take a rapid Covid-19 test at the airport, upon entry.

3. Enter a 10-day mandatory quarantine.

*Images by Christos Ditoras

Check out more of Christos’ images here

Guide to Nafplio, Greece’s Most Romantic Town

Nafplio has been named Greece’s most romantic town, and for a good reason!

Set on a small port beneath the towering Palamidi fortress, it is filled with beautiful alleyways, neoclassical mansions and stunning Venetian houses. Located in the area of Argolis in the Peloponnese, Nafplio was the first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1834. 

Here is our mini-guide for when visiting this oh-so-pretty destination!

Insights Greece - Guide to Nafplio, Greece's Most Romantic Town

Getting there

Nafplio is approximately 94 km far from Athens. You can reach the town either by car or by suburban buses (KTEL) departing regularly from Kifissos bus station.

When to Visit?

Nafplio truly is an all-year-round destination. With quite a few beaches, it can easily be on your list for a summer getaway, however we believe this charming town is ideal in spring and autumn, as the local taverns, restaurants, cafes, bars, museums, and archaeological sites can be enjoyed without the huge crowds and there’s perfect weather conditions. 

Museums and History

Nafplio is home to an Archaeological Museum housed in a Venetian building on Syntagma Square. The permanent exhibition features statues, jewellery, costumes, sculptures, ceramics and rare artefacts from the Neolithic Period.

Make sure you also make your way to the Komboloi Museum, which opened in 1998 to showcase the history of Greece’s famous beads.

Nearby you will also find the first Greek Parliament, the War Museum, the Municipal Gallery, old Turkish Mosques, Trion Navarhon Square, and the Peloponnesian Folk Art Museum.

Located just one street before Syntagma Square at the center of the old town of Nafplio, is the church of Agios Spyridon. This church is known to every Greek because of an incident that sealed the fate of the New Greek State.

Also check out the Unesco sites: Tirintha, Mykines, Epidavros, and Mystras, and visit at least one of Nafplio’s three castles: Palamidi, Bourtzi, and Acronafplia.

Make sure you…

Bring some comfortable shoes, as this town is ideal for walking! Leisurely stroll around and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Old Town, with its bougainvillea-filled streets, hidden squares, and stunning neoclassical mansions.

And if you walk through the narrow alleyways, you will find an array of cafes and bars where you can sit down and enjoy a fine wine, throw back a beer, or sip on a cocktail. 

Where to stay…

You are spoiled for choice with boutique accommodation, as there are a range of luxurious hotels, stunning mansions, traditional guesthouses, and lovely budget apartments- this picturesque town really caters to all. We recommend you check out: Nafplion 1841, Nafplia Palace Hotel & Villas, The Amphityron, Filoxenion Luxury rooms & Lofts, 3 Sixty Hotel & Suites, and Castellano Hotel Suites

To eat

Nafplio has many traditional taverns that are ideal for those who love indulging in classic Greek dishes and some of our favourite eateries include: Karamalis, To Omorfo Tavernaki, Kavalaris Corner Mezedopoleoi, and Pidalio. Also make sure to check out: Taverna Old House, Zournal, and Taverna O Vasilis. For casual dining try Trendy Grill or Menta, Arapakos for seafood, and Scuola for pizza and pasta. 

Sweet treats

For some of the best desserts in town, we recommend Pergamonto, which serves traditional Loukoumades (Greek honey puff donuts). For gelato check out Antica Gelateria di Roma and Gelarto. And for a variety of Greek sweets head to Central Boulangerie Bakery

To drink

There’s a range of all-day cafes and bars where you can grab a great coffee or a luscious cocktail. When you’re in the mood for a drink, make your way to Kontogiorgos Café, Xenon Café, Arti, Teori Oldtown Bar, BluBlanc Beach Bar3 Sixty, Alkioni Wine Bar, Mediterraneo Wine & Deli, Sokaki Café, Teory, and Yacht.


If you are here during the warmer months head to Arvanitia Beach, Karathona, Tolo, Kastraki, Banieres, Mili, Kiveri, and Neraki for a swim. 

Don’t leave until you…

Have an ancient Greek massage at Panta Rei.

Check out Karonis Distillery Exhibition and Shopestablished in 1869, the spirit producing company is one of the oldest in Greece. The current owner makes ouzo, tsipouro, liqueurs, and brandy with the same passion as his forefathers.

Savor a Nafplio food tour.

Go to the ‘Laiki’ (local markets) on Wednesday or Saturday.

Visit one of these three caves: Didima, Franchthi, and Kapsia

Our Complete Guide To The Other Worldy Castle of Monemvasia

Wandering around the castle of Monemvasia, in the Prefecture of Laconia, which happens to be the birthplace of famous Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos, feels like a journey to the past, to places and times we have only read and heard about.

Spartan nobles, Romans, Turks, and Venetians are some of the former inhabitants and their presence has remained strong throughout the centuries. Churches, fountains, hammams, and wealthy merchants’ homes are still standing within the cobblestones of the castle as well as small wooden arched doors reminiscent of the land of Hobbits.

Today, the Castle of Monemvasia is one of the most beautiful in the world, with a fairytale atmosphere and romantic vibe. 

Insights Greece - Our Complete Guide To The Other Worldy Castle of Monemvasia
 What you need to know before you arrive

Cars are not allowed in the Castle; you have to park outside and find your hotel on foot. And there are no ATMs here either but you will find some in Gefira, the new part of Monemvasia.

Getting there

The distance from Athens is about 285 km (about 3.5 hours). The shortest and easiest route from Athens to Monemvasia is the one following the A7 motorway that crosses Corinth and Tripoli. In Tripoli, you take the exit for Sparta (sign “Sparta without tolls”) and as soon as you reach Sparta you take the Sparta ring road and follow the signs to Monemvasia. When you enter the new city of Monemvasia, continue on the main road, cross the bridge that leads to the Castle and you will find yourself at the gate of the mythical Castle.

If you have the time (and enjoy driving), there is another option, much longer (about 5 hours from Athens) but it’s a journey of scenic beauty, and you will even cross a gorge. Immediately after Corinth, you need to follow the picturesque seaside route that passes through Argos, Astros, and Leonidio and continues through the traditional mountain villages of Kosmas and Geraki until you reach Vlachiotis, Molasses and finally Monemvasia.

Where to stay & Getting Around 

I would strongly recommend staying in the Castle -even though it’s a little bit more pricey- here is where you will experience the magic. Cars are not allowed in the castle, so you have to explore it all on foot.

Best time to visit

All-year-round. Summer is considered the most touristy season but for me, the ideal season to visit is spring. If you want to enjoy the place in peace and quiet, go during winter.

Where to sleep 

Kellia Guesthouse is a listed building, right on the recently renovated Chrysafitissa Square, and the house where the Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos was born.

Casa Rodanthi right at the entrance of the castle offers sea views and elegant décor.

Where to eat

Matoula, great value since 1950, is renowned for its freshly cooked fish.

Kanoni for fresh fish with nice views from its terraces.

Voltes for Greek delicacies.

Chrisovoulo Restaurant & Wine Bar for gourmet dishes with scenic views.

Emvasis for breakfast.

What to eat  

Saiti or Tsaiti, is a fried pie typical of the Laconia region with local goat’s cheese and fresh herbs.

Where to drink

Malvasia Café is an impressive spot away from the crowds- perfect for zen moments. And head to Enetiko Café & Cocktail Bar where you should order the Mediterranean breeze cocktail.

Discover history

The Castle Town of Monemvasia was constructed in the Medieval Times. From the 10th century, it started to become an important trade and maritime center. Then in the mid-12th century, the city bravely resisted the Norman and Arab invasions. However, another effort of invasion by William Villehardouin, lead to the defeat of the town in 1249. Ten years after this, Michael Paleologus imprisoned Villehardouin, who recovered his freedom by taking the side of the Byzantine rule, helping them to regain the fortresses of Monemvasia, Mystras, and Mani. Unfortunately, its development attracted pirates. In 1419, the Venetian invasions caused the decline of the Byzantine Empire. The Venetians handed the city over to the Turks in 1540 and later returned in 1690 for a period of 25 years. After a second Ottoman occupation, Monemvasia was the first city to be liberated by the Greeks during the War of Independence in 1821.

Insights Greece - Our Complete Guide To The Other Worldy Castle of Monemvasia


Top activities

Apart from total relaxation, a top (real) activity in Monemvasia during autumn and spring is hiking. There are many old footpaths in this region that lead to tiny chapels, small settlements, and hilltops with a breathtaking view of the sea.

Where to shop

Edodimopoleio Honey Shop was created by a group of olive oil producers, famous for their honey wine. They offer free tastings of all their products, so you can try and then shop. They also own the “Monemvasia Cosmetics” company, with aromas of prickly pear, myrtle and cyclamen, and other amazing local goods.

What to see… 

the Church of Elkomenos Christos, dedicated to “Christ in Pain”. It was built in the 13th century by Byzantine Emperor Andronicus.

The Archaeological Museum of Monemvasia is housed in a Muslim mosque opposite the church of Christ Elkomenos. It was constructed in the 16th century by the Turks, as a mosque, then became a public building, a prison, a coffee shop and today it hosts the archaeological collection.

The church of Panagia Chryssafitissa, built on the edge of the rock in the 17th century.

Malva Gallery, where you will discover paintings by a well-known artist of the region, it’s located next to the main entrance gate of the renowned city of Μonemvasia.

Insights Greece - Our Complete Guide To The Other Worldy Castle of Monemvasia

The Church of Agia Sofia perched on the cliff dates to the 11th century with breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea, and when the skies are clear you can see as far as the island of Crete.

The home of Yiannis Ritsos. Outside you can see the statue of the famous poet, located near the entrance of the fortified castle. 

Take a day trip to… 

Monemvasia can serve as the perfect base to explore the beautiful region of Laconia by car. You can visit the small seaside village of Gerakas and the beautiful villages of Kyparissi and Plytra with crystal clear and shallow blue sea. Also, Elafonisos, is a destination on its own.

Can’t leave until…

you have a glass (or several) of PDO Monemvasia-Malvasia, a famous sweet wine produced in Monemvasia since the Middle Ages.

All images by Polina Paraskevopoulou © (Copyright)  

Kinsterna Luxury Hotel, Overlooking Monemvasia

Kinsterna is an impressive mansion and sprawling estate that has been meticulously restored and returned to its former glory. Located on the southernmost tip of Europe, and boasting majestic views of Monemvasia, it’s surrounded by idyllic vineyards, olive trees and fruit orchards, while only being a few minutes away from the Aegean Sea. 

Where & Why?

Located in the eastern Peloponnese, this unique hotel offers spectacular views of the medieval fortress town of Monemvasia. Bringing guests peace, serenity, and crisp, fresh air, here you can truly disconnect from the world and allow yourself to be immersed in a rich history that surrounds you. If you are visiting during the warmer months, it’s just a five-minute drive down to the beach, or you can dive into the infinity pool which is filled with spring water flowing from the nearby mountain. There is also a spa with a traditional Ottoman hammam, water cabins, treatment rooms, and jacuzzis.

Style & Feel

Traditional, elegant, and charming, the space is warm and deeply peaceful, plus somewhat mysterious.

Food & Drinks

There is plenty of options at the hotel including Sterna, which is for fine dining and only open for dinner. All-day restaurant Mournies and Linos Taverna are great for lunch or dinner and you can eat the freshly made bread that comes straight out of the wood fire oven. Belvedere is great if you would like to sip on some tea or have an afternoon coffee with dessert, and there is also a Lobby and Pool Bar, which serve food, and the drinks are made with fresh ingredients grown on the estate. 


The rooms scream history and each one has its own character. There is a Junior Suite, Byzantine Suite, Kinsterna Suite, Premium Residence, Deluxe Residence, and the Kinsterna Pool Villa.

Ideal for…

Couples who wish to hike around the mansion, participate in wine tours, cooking classes, grape picking, or horse riding. It’s also great for families as there is a kids’ pool, petting zoo, bike riding for families, and a library for reading and playing board games. It’s also perfect for a girls’ getaway as you can enjoy the spa, wine tasting, bread-making classes, harvesting, and gathering honey from the beehives.

Facilities & Services

  • Safety Box
  • Spa & massages
  • Springwater pool
  • Lobby bar, Pool Bar, Bar in the upper area of the castle.
  • Wifi all over the hotel
  • Free toiletries
  • Minibar
  • Free Parking
  • Room Service
  • Laundry service
  • Tailoring service (at cost)
  • Hair salon on site
  • Babysitting service

Kinsterna Hotel 

Exploring Porto Heli, the “Greek Riviera”

Labelled the “Greek Riviera,” Porto Heli is a luxurious destination in the Peloponnese and home to 5-star hotels, fine dining restaurants, lovely beaches, secluded coves, private bays, and breathtaking landscapes that attract affluent visitors throughout the warmer months.

Location, location!

A 2.5-hour drive from Athens, or 25 minutes by helicopter, this opulent destination is set across from Spetses and Hydra, making it the perfect base for day trips to nearby islands. Porto Heli’s harbour is well protected from the wind and with a gorgeous marina that offers easy access to the Saronic Gulf, it has become extremely popular amongst those who love to sail the Aegean Sea.

To Stay

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa is an elegant hotel with impressive spaces and stunning sea views. Offering guests a glamorous and upmarket experience, here you can enjoy one of its 66 state-of-the-art rooms and suites, two fine dining restaurants, and the world-renowned Beach Club, where you can relax poolside with a drink, and taste local seafood, all while listening to a resident DJ playing cool summer tracks. Otherwise check into Amanzoe, which is one of the most expensive hotels in Greece. This ultra-exclusive and carefully designed resort has an emphasis on health and wellbeing and features an exclusive private beach club and a decadent spa. If you prefer to stay in a villa, there are plenty of options via Porto Heli Villas, where you can rent an exclusive property with panoramic sea views and a private beach, and also check out PortoHeli Exclusive, as they offer a vast portfolio of luxury villa rentals that are ideal for families and anyone with a larger group.

Eat & Drink

Porto Heli provides various options when it comes to wining and dining and is most known for its delicious fresh fish, which can be found at any of the local eateries. Our recommendations are Veranda del Vino, Big Blue, Salt & Pepper, and Rozos Restaurant. For a gastronomical Japanese experience head to Nama, or if you are after something more casual try The Drunken Clam. When craving something sweet, Solo Gelato serves freshly made gelato and desserts, and Café Da Luz is the place to go for a leisurely coffee. As for a place to sip on a cocktail while watching the sunset check out Ostria Café Cocktail Bar.

Tip: don’t miss going to the fishing village of Kilida, about 10 km northwest of Porto Heli, here you will be treated to the freshest and most mouthwatering prawns.

Water Activities

Sailing and yachting are very popular here with a renowned water ski school and the annual Spetses classic yacht regatta. Sea lovers can enjoy plenty of watersport activities such as scuba diving, marathons, kids sailing, paddle boating, and windsurfing.

To Swim

There are so many beautiful beaches, bays, and coves including Hinitsa, Kounoupi, and Blue Beach, which has a nice tavern and also check out Ververonta Beach for its calm water and fancy beach bars. Paralia is the main beach with lots of water activities, while Triantafyllou, Petrothalassa, and Paralia Kosta are secluded and ideal for a picnic.

Day Trips

In 10 minutes you can arrive by taxi boat to the picturesque island of Spetses, as well as the nearby islands of Poros and Hydra, where you can discover pretty towns, shops, cafes, bars, and seaside restaurants. Porto Heli is also great for road trips to historic sites such as the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Nafplio

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


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)