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Gouves (Messinia) - Kardamili - Trahila - Gerolimenas - Vathia - Porto Kagio - Necromancy Temple of Tenaro - Marmari

Trip Details

Trips inside Peloponissos
Date: Sat, 27/05/2006
Distance: 240 km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Ploumisti, Dimitris, Nikolae
Copilots: Paschalina
Photographers: Manolis
Authors: Manolis
Map: Trip map
Photographs: Link

Sightseeing map

The weather was so hot like a summer day. We decided to escape from Athens and ride to Peloponissos and in particular to Messinia region. We spent the night at Gouves area near a village called Velika. On Saturday at noon, we started to visit the middle “leg” of Peloponissos, the Tenaro cape. This particular route was planned a long time ago. The total distance covered was approximately 240 km, whereas the distance from the place where we slept until the necromancy temple of Tenary Apollo was about 120 km.
Reaching Kalamata (the capital of Messinia) we followed the sea-side route. Leaving behind us this beautiful town we headed east through the area of Verga until the junction to Kardamili, where the hotel “Messinia Bay” is located. We followed the uphill devious route. The condition of the asphalt roadway is not good so one has to be really cautious especially when it is raining. The route to village Kabos (20 km), which is the birthplace of the politician Alexandros Koumoundouros, includes many sharp bends through olive groves and a small canyon.
Passing by the village Kabos we headed downhill through spiral road, while we had the chance to enjoy a panoramic view of Messinia bay. After riding for 10 km, we reached Kardamili village. It is a picturesque, typical village of Mani, which thanks to the consideration of the locals as well as many German residents, managed to preserve its traditional nature. We stopped for a coffee and rest. If you ever arrive in Kardamili we suggest that you wonder in the inner village following the paved with slabs mazy lanes.
We left the village and after 4-5 km we passed by Stoupa and the spectacular beach of Kalogria. 5-6 km later, at Agios Nikolaos cross-road, we turned right and following the coast line we headed to Agios Dimitrios and Trahila. The road is not in good condition with some parts of it broken resulting in a dirt road…fortunately not for long. Leaving Agios Dimitrios behind us we followed a deserted route. As we arrived at the village Trahila, in the rocks on our left, we glimpsed the caves used in the past as hermitage for the monks, while in the prehistoric years they were used as residence by the local people. In Trahila village the asphalt road ends and earth road follows until some caves as we were informed by travel guide books. Unfortunately, due to lack of time we did not have the chance to confirm it. The small village maintains its traditional character, mainly because of its isolated location.
In order to meet the main road to Areopoli, we returned to Agios Dimitrios, where riding through a beautiful as well as narrow route with a lot of bends we entered the Lakonia district. During this route we met scenic villages, built with respect to the traditional Mani style. Outside Itilo, we stopped to enjoy the view of the small gulf while in the distance we could discern the small village Limeni. In Itilo you can visit the castle which was built during the Turkish occupancy and is well conserved until today.
Having already covered 65 km from Kalamata we arrived to Areopoli and followed the signs to Diros caves. Our next stop would be Gerolimenas and thus we rode through a route with very low traffic and monotonous landscape. Gerolimenas is a village by the sea built in a small cove. It is obvious that the inhabitants have made an effort to preserve the Mani architecture style, amending “architecture mistakes” of the past. The time was already 5 o’clock in the evening. Although we wanted to return to Kalamata we could not resist the curiosity of reaching the end to Tenaro cape.
We carried on riding heading to the village Vathia. The landscape started to change and became more rocky and steep. Outside the village we stared at the well-preserved fortress settlement, an original specimen of Mani towers architecture, with a magnificent view. We moved on and at the next junction we headed to Porto Kagio. It is about a settlement, completely different to what we had met so far. It is probably built in order to serve the visitors who arrive there by boat. The architecture is not at all typical of Mani. Maybe, it is not worth visiting.
In the junction to Marmari we turned left and headed to the necromancy temple of Tenary Posidon or the “Gate to Hades”. The road ends at the ruins of a byzantine temple, which is built from the stones of the Apollo temple, something that one can unfortunately meet also in other places in Greece. From this point on you have to follow a path for about 30 minutes in order to reach the lighthouse which has been there for some decades.
After a few minutes stop we rode to Marmari which was less than 4 km far. There we had food in a picturesque tavern with magnificent view. In Marmari there is a beautiful beach that is worth visiting. The time was 8 o’clock when we decided to return.
In general, the route is amazing and you will be impressed. All the way through you will get the chance to see many rock towers typical not only for Messinia but also for Lakonian Mani architecture. Pensions, rooms to let and hotels are easy to find and the price vary according to your pocket. There are many beaches, isolated or not, most of which are located in small bays easy or less easy accessed. We wish you a wonderful quest…