Mani never came under Ottoman Turkish occupation like most of Greece. Its wild and mountainous terrain coupled with the fierce and aggressive mentality of the locals explains why the region in the south of the Peloponnese was never invaded by enemies.
The difficult living conditions in the Mani forced the Maniots to built fortified tower houses and to live within the protection of clans.
This is one of the reasons the area is so appealing to the traveller seeking something off the beaten path. Despite its rugged landscape, the part from Kalamata to Itilo, Messinian Mani, is a destination with plenty of greenery and many options and has become a great tourist attraction
Small bays, impressive beaches, nice taverns, and great bars overlooking the sea will definitely fill your days. The largest settlement in the area that stands out is Kardamyli with a walk in the jewel of the Old Town a must when you visit. Take a walk through the more touristy Stoupa and walk to the coastal village of Agios Nikolaos.
Bath in Kitries
In the small port, you will enjoy diving and good fish. In the tavern “Gaitanaros” by the sea, you will taste fresh fish and seafood, since the owners are fishermen themselves. There are also beach bars for coffee and drinks in the bay.
Info: Gaitanaros, Kitries, Messinia, Tel. 0030 27210 58370
Walk in Kardamyli
Kardamyli essentially consists of two areas, the old and the new Kardamyli. Take a walk in the old quarter with its picturesque alleys and climbing bougainvilleas, see the Mani towers and Byzantine churches and travel back to the time of pirates and corsairs. The new settlement hosts the shops with tourist items, cafes, and bars. The new Kardamyli does not lose in picturesqueness and tourism development has been achieved in full harmony with the natural landscape and the history of the area.
Food at Lela’s
The tavern of Lela in a beautiful courtyard above the rocks and the sea has virtually become an institution. You will stop here for the famous moussaka with beef ragout, potato cream, and local gruyere cheese, the lemon-cooked kid with oregano, and the uniquely cooked fresh fish.
Info: Kardamyli, Messinia, Tel. 0030 27210 73541
The sunset in Aquarella
With magnificent views of the sunset and the sea, here you will come for coffee, cocktails, and sweets. They make a very nice mojito and make a delicious cheesecake. The music is relaxed and blends in well with the environment.
Info: Kardamyli, Messinia, Tel. 0030 27210 75010
For swimming in Kalamitsi
Cypress trees by the sea? Yes, that’s right. Messinian Mani has a lot of green and you will find it on the beach of Kalamitsi, shortly after Kardamyli. Calm, shallow, turquoise waters, pebbles outside, sand inside. It is not organised and you will need supplies.