Our vacation in Monemvasia has come to an end and it's time to share our experience with you! Monemvasia (meaning 'single entrance' in Greek) is a town in Laconia, famous for its Castle. The so-called Gibraltar of the East is the perfect place to spend some days away from the hassle and bustle of the city. We also spent one day in Elafonisos, which is a little gem of an island at a very short distance from the southern Peloponnese and the perfect getaway when you visit Athens!
Pori beach - credits: http://monemvasia.gr
Summer holidays in Greece means spending many hours on or by the beach. Pori beach is one of the best places for swimming, at just a short distance from Monemvasia (2-3 km). The beach used to offer the luxury of sunbeds and umbrellas in the past, but at the moment, there is only a canteen available for refreshments. In 2013, it was awarded a blue flag and to this day, it is one of the cleanest and most peaceful beaches of the Peloponnese.
After our swimming adventure in Pori, we drove to Foutia, a village located 15km away from Monemvasia. The main reason for driving up there was 'Epidilion', a delicious restaurant with a breathtaking view, in which -if you are lucky enough to find an edge table- you will enjoy one of the most romantic dinners of your life. The food is cooked with high-quality, local products, while it is surprisingly affordable. A must-visit culinary experience if you decide to visit Monemvasia!
Castle of Monemvasia - credits: Nick-K/Shutterstock.com
After our breakfast, we headed to the Castle of Monemvasia. Finding a parking spot on the road in front of the castle is not an easy task, so it is better to go either on foot or take the minibus from the central square. We chose 'Enetiko cafe' for our morning coffee, a great coffee spot with a stunning balcony view. If you visit 'Enetiko Cafe', don't miss the opportunity to taste the orange-pie. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it!
Later on, we visited 'Asopitan plaz' in Plytra, less than 30 minutes away from Monemvasia. 'Asopitan' is a great beach bar-restaurant and a great choice to spend your day relaxing under the warmth of the Greek sun. A sunbed costs only 1,5€ allowing you to afford a tasty snack and a cold, refreshing coffee as well. The beach of Plytra (named Pachiammos) has also been awarded a blue flag, certifying its excellent waters!
After spending multiple hours under the glorious sun doing absolutely nothing, we felt hungry. Our choice for dinner was 'Thalamigos Dimitra'. It is a family restaurant in Plytra port located by the sea, with mouth-watering offerings and reasonable prices. We ordered a variety of grilled meats, pastitsio, horta salad and a selection of appetizers. Having a full stomach, drinking our wine and gazing at the sea helped us relax before returning to Monemvasia for a good night's rest.
Simos Beach - credits: Discovergreece
On day 3 we decided it was time to visit Elafonisos, the small island between the Peloponnese and Kythira, popular for its sandy beaches and blue-green waters. The island is easily accessible by ferry, which leaves from Punta beach every 30 minutes, with the tickets for two people and a car costing only 12€ and the duration of the journey being approximately 15 minutes. The most famous beaches of Elafonisos are Sarakiniko, Panagia and Simos. We decided to spend our morning at Simos beach, which met and surpassed our expectations. It is located in the south of the island and is a white-sand beach with crystal-clear, turquoise-colored waters and a striking view of the island of Kythira. Simos beach is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, one that everyone has to visit at least once in their lifetime!
A different view of Monemvasia - credits: siete_vidas/Shutterstock.com
On our last day in Monemvasia, we visited the Cave of Kastania. Located near the village of Kastania on the southern tip of the Peloponnese, just minutes away from Neapoli, the route follows the winding mountain road leading to the forest-covered eastern slopes of Mount Parnon. The cave can be accessed by following the circular route that connects Neapoli with the mountain villages Kastania, Ano Kastania, Faraklo, and Mesochori.
Rich in its density and variety of shapes, colors, and figures, Kastania Cave is classified as the second of its kind in Europe. Nature needed three million years to create this awe-inspiring sight with its unique formations, such as the enormous red and white "waterfalls”, the gigantic columns, the “curtains” and the “sheets” that overflow like a waxwork from the roof and the coral nests, among other magnificent creations of the earth.
In the evening, we headed to the port of Gerakas, a small village 25 km outside Monemvasia. This place is a well-kept secret of astonishing natural beauty. Gerakas is famous for its natural fjord and is also home for many rare species of birds and indigenous flora. The tranquillity of the surrounding landscape and the pretty seaside village make this place ideal for a sea-side walk or lunch at a traditional Greek tavern.
The perfect spot for a drink in Monemvasia is inside the Castle, especially if you want to gaze at the moonlight. Our choice was 'Malvasia cafe-bar'. Actually, it is the bar of Malvasia hotel, but you have to walk a bit in order to find it, as it is hidden behind the small square with the cannon in its center. 'Malvasia cafe-bar' was one of the best choices we made on the trip, as we enjoyed our drinks while looking at the moonlight and listening to great jazz music. As it turns out, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.
Our trip to Monemvasia was an unforgettable experience that rewarded us with a bunch of great memories. It is an excellent destination, both for summer and winter, and we recommend it wholeheartedly as a great choice for your Greek vacations.