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Monemvasia and the South East

Monemvasia and the South East holidays

The vast fortified island rock of Monemvasia, with sea to three sides and reached only by a narrow causeway, is one of the major attractions of the Greek mainland. Sometimes called 'the Gibraltar of the East' (for obvious reasons), this remarkably preserved medieval town should not be missed.

Monemvasia is about a third of the way down the east coast of third 'finger' of the Peloponnese. Founded in the 6th century the town was the commercial port of Byzantine Mystras and soon thickly fortified (its very name means 'single entrance'). Only ever breached by siege, Monemvasia was subsequently occupied by Crusaders, Franks, Venetians and Turks, all of whom have left evident traces. Within the castle's walls many of the crumbling buildings are now restored and you will find an excellent choice of atmospheric restaurants and cafes.


Holidays In Monemvasia and the South East

Beaches along the mainland shore are functional but for some of the most beautiful sandy beaches in the entire Peloponnese head to the off-shore islet of Elafonissos, a 50 minute drive to the peninsula's west coast followed by a short 10 minute hop on one of the frequent ferries (in season they can run as often as every 30 minutes) - a car plus 2 persons should cost no more than 15 euro. Simos is the best, a long wide expanse of white sand shelving into Caribbean-hued waters. We doubt you can find better in Greece!

You can also visit the beautiful island of Kythira from the port of Neapolis, although you may need to overnight here.

Monemvasia is remote, a 3 hour drive from Kalamata Airport via Sparta, and our holidays here include a car. A short visit is best done as part of a fly-drive itinerary. For those seeking upmarket luxury, the Kinsterna Hotel, 6 kms to the south, is very special. Alternatively we have arrange stays in small boutique hotels within the castle walls (cars are parked on the mainland and a free shuttle bus takes you to the gate) or in the modern town itself. If you prefer not  to drive straight off the plane we can arrange your first night in Kalamata.

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