Swim and snorkel above the oldest submerged town in the world… 5,000 years of history beneath you
Just offshore from the remote south eastern finger of the Peloponnese (Greek mainland), a 2.5 hour drive from the city of Kalamata but only 12 km from the small mainland town of Neapoli, lies the oldest (5,000 years old) submerged town in the world - Pavlopetri.
Discovered in 1967 and subsequently explored and excavated, this underwater town dates from 2,800 BC but the remains which can still be seen are Mycenaean, from between 1680 BC and 1180 BC. Located in the Laconia prefecture of Greece, Pavlopetri was an important trading port, a centre for textiles and, from its location, it controlled the entire Laconian Gulf.
The submerged town, covering over two acres, lies 3m to 4 m beneath the waves, and between the tiny islet of Pavlopetri and the beach. You are not allowed to scuba dive there, but to snorkel is thrilling!
Pavlopetri (and the small island of Elafonissi opposite, reached by a short ferry ride and known for its white-sand beaches) are best explored from the atmospheric fortress town of Monemvasia less than an hour's drive away (36 kms) on the further coast. We can arrange short stays here as part of a Hidden Greece fly-drive.
Alternatively, Sunvil is once more featuring the beautiful island of Kythira (as air links to Athens are much improved) in the Ionian Sea just to the south of the Mani region. You will be able to hire a car on Kythira, take it across to Neapoli on the mainland on the ferry (1.5 hours) and drive the short distance (12 km) to swim or snorkel above Pavlopetri, returning to your island base after an overnight or two in the medieval, castled island of Monemvasia, linked to the mainland by a causeway
Kythira’s little satellite island, Antikythira, is where the world’s first computer, known as the Antikythira Device, was discovered by divers over 100 years ago; in ancient times, this was a busy sea-trade route between Sicily and Italy in the western Mediterranean and Turkey and Greece in the eastern Med. Doubtless the sea has many more secrets to reveal in this wonderful part of the ancient world!