Location: Greece Duration: 8 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 and past. Corniced by coastal towns Yithio in the east and Kardamyli 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. With an aura of remoteness and mysticism still hovering about the place, you’ll be set you up in a cliffside boutique cottage, 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.

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Perfect for

Second-time visitors to Greece and those who want to go on a literary homage, tracing the footsteps of writers, Patrick Leigh Fermor and Bruce Chatwin.

In the know

Immediately 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 Poros’ forested hinterland.

Recommended for...
Couples
Cultural Immersion
History & Heritage
Landscapes & Scenery

KARDAMYLI – 2 nights

Flying into Kalamata, you’ll collect your car and head to the small, hamlet-like Notos, an intimate cluster of contemporary stone cottages with spacious sun-filled rooms, charming orchards and silver-emerald olive groves. Set against the Mediterranean Sea and the snow-capped Mt. Taygetus, the hillside studios and apartments all have balconies that look out towards the old zigzagging mule trails that weave between coastal villages. Head out on foot to explore Kardamyli’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 before jumping in the car, heading either north to ancient Olympia or just south to Leigh Fermer’s house – with olive terraces that slide towards the sea and a sweet Mediterranean garden filled with wild flowers, this is the perfect writers’ home and one of the most beautiful properties in Greece.

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GEROLIMENAS – 3 nights

Drive the length of Mani’s skeletal digit to Georlimenas 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, the imaginatively converted tiny hotel, Tainaron Blue Retreat, is a great base for walking 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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MONEMVASIA – 3 nights

With three 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 eating handmade ravioli, crushing grapes to make your own wine (which the hotel will later ship to you) and posing important philosophical questions, such as how are you ever going to be drag yourself away.

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