The region of the southern Peloponnese has wonderful sights, magnificent nature and picturesque locations that are worth visiting by car. We recommend the following points of interest to start your exploration:
Medieval castle of Monemvasia
The beautiful castle town of Monemvasia is of great historical, architectural, cultural and geographical importance. Walking through the castle town, we get to know its historic churches, walls, low and grand arches, and picturesque cobbled streets that betray its medieval past. The Byzantine fortress, envied by the Venetians, the Slavs, the Franks, the Arabs and the Ottomans in many different periods, stands proudly at the entrance to one of the most enchanting corners of the Peloponnese. The medieval castle town is only a ten-minute drive from the Kinsterna Hotel. Starting the ascent route from there, you can also visit the Upper Town with its 13th century Byzantine church, Aghia Sophia. You also have the opportunity to tour around the castle town with a unique boat ride which you can book through Kinsterna mansion to admire the excellent view of the medieval castle from the sea.
Cave of Kastania
The tour of the cave of Kastania will enchant you. It is considered to be only the second of its kind in Europe and dates back to the Jurassic period. The impressive stalagmites and imaginative rock formations are a unique attraction. The journey by car takes one and a half hours, and for this destination you also have the option of visiting the cave with the mansion’s boat.
Pavlopetri, the oldest sunken city in the world
For those who are fascinated by stories of mythical cities submerged in deep blue waters, a visit to the ruins of the ancient city of Pavlopetri, located opposite Elafonisos and a 20-minute drive from the mansion, should definitely be added to the list of experiences to be had during your stay at Kinsterna Hotel. Another attraction worth visiting is the ancient sunken city of Asopos, on the beach of Plytra.
Visit this beautiful traditional port, with the only natural fjord in Southern Europe, which connects to the mainland. It is a wetland ideal for birdwatching, as, due to the shallow depth of the water and the abundance of food, it acts as a migration and wintering station for migratory birds and sometimes swans and green-headed ducks. Fish restaurants and waterside cafes promise a delightful conclusion to the experience, with views of the sea and the mountain. At a distance of 200m, there are the ruins of the ancient city of Zaraka (200-150 BC).
East of Neapolis is an impressive petrified forest next to the sea. Sections of palm trees and other trees that have turned to stone are visible to the naked eye, both scattered across the rocky landscape surrounding sandy beaches and below the surface of the water. This miracle of nature is a rare phenomenon and is included in the Atlas of Geological Monuments of the Aegean.
Talanta water mill
It is the only watermill of the 11 in the area that was restored and today uses the energy of water for grinding. The watermill is an excellent example of old technology and is located in a beautiful natural landscape full of walnut, plane and myrtle trees. The watermill at Vrysika, 20 minutes away, is also an interesting place to visit.
Travelling a distance of 98 km by road we reach Areopolis, in the Eastern Mani. It is a historical settlement that maintained its independence during the Ottoman rule and has been declared a protected settlement, since it still preserves the traditional colour of Mani.
Kyparissi is one of the well-hidden “secrets” of Laconia, one of those places that have not been altered by mass tourism. The access is not the easiest, but it compensates the truly adventurous: Kyparissi offers an excellent climbing field, with at least 15 climbing routes, through vertical limestone cliffs, with stalagmites and caves.
Next to the traditional village of Geraki, with its numerous Byzantine churches of the 12th century, there is a unique Byzantine castle. Hiking up to the castle is a real pleasure.
Ottoman house at Megalo Perivoli
At a relatively short distance by car (35′) from Kinsterna and in the area of Megalo Perivoli, next to the village of Koulendia, there is an old Ottoman house dating back to 1760 A.D. The house is also accessible through a hiking trail which “follows” the footsteps of the Byzantine path dating back to 1300 A.D. (2 hours hike from Kinsterna).
In the uninhabited settlement there are two “twin” Byzantine churches of the 13th century. According to tradition, they were built by the daughter of Emperor Manuel Palaiologos. A large spring gushes from their sanctuary. The distance of the settlement from Kinsterna measures 8,5 km of which 2 km is a dirt road.