It had been a long time since we had thought to visit the region of Mani. The last trip to the region had been about 3 years ago. The arrival of Sakis in the city of Kalamata for the weekend was only the reason to venture to the area of Mani and in particular in the eastern and southern part. The southern point of our journey abstained around 140km.
We started Saturday morning. We crossed the city of Kalamata and followed the signs to Kardamili - Areopolis. To the node where the Messinia Bay hotel is situated, we drove near the coast. Beyond that, through a spiral path with poor quality roads, we passed Kardamili and Stoupa (40km), known Messinian resorts. After Kardamyli, the route offers many places with beautiful views over the Messinian Gulf.
Continuing, at the same pattern, we reached the graphic village of Thalames (60km). The central square with its huge plane trees was a temptation to stop for a morning coffee...
We left Thalames and drove for about 15km. in a beautiful way, in a typical landscape area consisting of rocky land with a few olives. Along the way we see stone walls forming the boundaries between properties. Although the vegetation was minimal, the scenery was spectacular!
Shortly after the village of Oitylo -famous for its castle- emerged ahead the bay of Limeni. The way offered a spectacular view, where from far away we could discern the beautiful little village Limeni. As many times as anyone has gone by that point, he can not resist the temptation to stop in order to escape his mind from the unique beauty of the landscape!
After 2-3km. we went in Areopolis. Without visiting the picturesque downtown, continued for 1-2km. until the node Kotronas & Pyrrichos. From there we headed east, leading to a narrow path towards 'Prosilia' Mani. We encountered small villages with distinctive stone towers / houses. As we continued, the more we were impressed...
Arriving at the village of Loukadika (9km), we" snuggled " in the narrow streets, which lead to the highest point. We came to the half-ruined fort from which you could see the deep blue of the Laconian Gulf ... at the end of the horizon you could see the Cape of Malea and the island of Elafonissos ...
Further down was the village Kotronas, which we visited. We did stop a few minutes to shoot some photos and continued south route, which followed a short distance, on the coastline.
Flomochori, Alypa, Kokkala, Lagia are some quaint, traditional villages encountered along a stunning route, with consecutive turns. As we head south the vegetation decreased, making the scenery wilder ... The unique view we had to stop several times to photograph the place. We met many towers, most of who were abandoned to the mercy of time ... The tourist growth was much less than the western Mani.
Leaving the village of Lagia (25km), we were found at the node (2-3km) for Korogonianika, Achillio, Porto Kayio, Marmari. Although we wanted to visit the villages of Kyparissos and Vathia, we preferred to turn left and move south. We thought the route (5-8km.) would be more interesting ... and actually was! The tortuous path, almost deserted, had parts that give you the opportunity to enjoy the view of Cape Tenaro of Messinian Gulf of Laconia Gulf, and the small fishing village of Porto Kayio and Achillio.
Continuing we met the main road that connects Areopolis with Cape Tenaro. There we turned right, moving north to visit Vathia and Kyparissos, for who we had information of a beautiful beach.
Having travelled a few kilometres emerges ahead the traditional village of Vathia, which is perhaps one of the major attractions. The spectacle is impressive as at a hilltop dominates the stone towers of Mani, reminding you, perhaps, a stronghold of «Highlands of Scotland!
After a few minutes stop, we continued to Kyparissos and particular the beach of the Ancient Kenipolis. Although ultimately it was not the beach we were looking for, but it was very beautiful allocating turquoise waters and white pebble beach ... like most beaches in the Mani. We were cooled a bit and we continued to visit the fishing village of Porto Kayio.
Following -again- south direction we reached the village of Porto Kayio. Personally I was not impressed with the architecture as it has nothing special. Yet, there is a superb location, giving you the feeling you are in "nowhere"...
The time was 6pm. It had reached the time to visit Cape Tenaro ... the main purpose of the trip. Following the signs to Marmari and the archaeological site of Tenarus we were short (4-5km) found in the "end" of the road ... a road in the southern part of mainland Greece and Europe.
There lies the “Hypno-oracle” of Taenarus Neptune. Historical place Tenaro famous “Psychopompio” (Spirit-transfer), from which descended the" couriers" and took a macabre boatman for the underworld! Here the ancient ancestors believed that it was one of the gates of Hades from which descended Hercules and raised Cerberus on earth during his last epic. Locals say that the word "criteria», which is called the Cape “Akrotenaro” it does not mean Cape, but "Criterion of Souls or Supreme Court.
We left the bikes and followed the path leading to the lighthouse of Tenarus. After 30-35 minutes we were at the southern tip of the mainland of Greece, the famous lighthouse of Kavos Matapa. The Dorians when they reached the last point of the continent gave the name “Metapea Akra”, which means the Cape that is situated between the two seas (Laconian and Messinian Gulf), from which comes the name.
Originally we had planned to stay for a while, but the landscape did not leave us room. We stayed more than an hour and forced to leave because it was getting dark ... walking in this path, at some points, it was a little dangerous, without light. So we returned back to our motorbikes and visited the village of Marmari, where it has a nice restaurant with stunning view over the small bay.
The time passed without our knowledge when we got the way back. At 3 o'clock in the morning we returned back home, just outside the town of Kalamata. The last pictures before sleep were those of the beautiful places we visited...