Off the Beaten Path in Greece's Southern Peloponnese

Athens & Southern Mainland Greece

Duration: 7 nights

Price: From £950 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, car hire and taxes

The Mediterranean counterpart to Scotland’s wild Highlands, the Mani peninsula stretches deep into Greece’s remote landscape. Corniced by coastal towns Yithio in the east and Kardamili in the west, the Mani was virtually unexplored before author Patrick Leigh Fermor climbed over the rugged Taygetus range to the middle of Greece’s three-pronged southern point. On this self-drive holiday, visit beautiful medieval villages, enjoy scenic boat trips and relax on secluded beaches.

With an aura of remoteness and mysticism still hovering about the place, you’ll be set up in a 
cliffside boutique hotel, a 19th-century tower and a spa retreat overlooking the castle rock of Monemvasia, to explore, slow-paced, the land where myths were born and gods once roamed. 
Perfect forSecond-time visitors to Greece and those who want to get off the beaten track and explore historic sites and stunning coastlines. This is also one for book lovers, who can go on a scenic literary homage, tracing the footsteps of writers Patrick Leigh Fermor and Bruce Chatwin.
In the knowImmediately accessible from the marinas in Athens, the Saronic Gulf is a fantastic area to sail during your trip to Greece. Consider adding a few nights to your itinerary to cruise through the waters, discovering Hydra’s chic harbour, Aegina’s spectacular Doric temple and the forested hinterland of Poros.

Best for

  • Couples
  • Cultural Immersion
  • History & Heritage
  • Landscapes & Scenery

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Itinerary details



Flying into Kalamata, you’ll collect your car and head to the beautiful coastal village of Kardamili and Katikies Manis, a luxurious retreat which sits above the sea. Head out on foot to explore Kardamili’s old town or one of the many frescoed Byzantine churches hidden amongst the eucalyptus trees. Catch your breath with a cooling dip in the sea, and spend some time on nearby beaches, before jumping in the car, heading either north to ancient Olympia or just south to Leigh Fermor’s house – with olive terraces that slide towards the sea and a sweet Mediterranean garden filled with wild flowers, this is the perfect writer's home and one of the most beautiful houses in Greece.
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Drive the length of Mani’s skeletal southern peninsula to Gerolimenas and watch the scenery peak with thick-walled stone towers, which were built by the resident Maniots in order to defend their lands from invading armies. You’ll stay in a 19th-century watchtower for three nights, basking in the panoramic views and spending lazy afternoons watching the sun set from your terrace.

Hemmed in by the sea, Tainaron Blue, an imaginatively converted boutique hotel, is a great base for walking around the area. Venture through the town of Vathia to see its distinctive towers, sail around the historic and myth-inspiring Cape Tainaron or follow the ancient paths south to the ‘end of the road’, where you’ll find the ruins of a temple dedicated to Poseidon clinging to the rocks.
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With two nights at the romantic Kinsterna Hotel, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to visit the medieval citadel of Monemvasia, located just 7km away. Car-free and still exhibiting Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian heritage, Monemvasia is shouldered on the east coast of a rocky island, linked to the mainland by a short causeway. Walk through its narrow streets, shadowed by the towering outcrop, before climbing to the eastern tip to see the octagonal church of Agia Sofia. A must during your stay is a day excursion to the famous Simos beach on the island of Elafonisos, as well as a trip to the underground caves of Kastania to see their stunning limestone stalactites.

With orange trees fringing the moat-like pool, an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the Aegean and a spa with authentic Ottoman scrubs, embrace the hotel’s ode to antiquity during your final nights by crushing grapes to make your own wine (which the hotel will later ship to you) and eating handmade ravioli.  
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Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

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