We collected information from the Internet and also bought the book "The Peloponnese" by Dana Facaros and Linda Theodorou to get around Peloponnese this summer. It was our 7th trip to Greece but first to Peloponnese. I was surprised to see that it has equally good beaches to the islands and also very impressive sites and places to see. Monemvasia was breathtaking at first sight and very lovely. The road trip from Athens to Sparta is nice but the road from Sparta to Monemvasiais very windy. The old town is unique, I haven't seen anything like that: a whole village built inside a rock, with actual streets and small houses. Very impressive! The paths in Monemvasia is very slippery, watch out and do not wear heels!! You can't make a step with heels, believe me! All restaurants inside the rock were good, but a bit overpriced. It took us two days to realize that taverns in the new town outside the rock are cheaper and equally nice, plus you have a great view to the rock in the day. At night, there are no lights. Maybe to enlighten softly the rock at night would make it even more impressive. In Monemvassia, I strongly recommend that visitors stay on the mainland and walk across the causeway to visit the castle. Rooms in the castle are small, not well appointed and overpriced. Walking the castle walls & shopping are good, but staying there is not.
We stayed in Nea Monamvasia and our hotel had fantastic views across to the islet, yet was only 10 minutes walking from the entrance. Hotel rooms in Palea Monemvasia were much smaller, no good view and overpriced. The modern village has lots of small tavernas and a beautiful cake shop. The shops in Palea Monemvasia were mostly selling gifts and souvenirs. There were also many restaurants. In fact, we had one of the best meals in the Old Town, service was quick, charming and very reasonable in price.
Don’t miss Marianthi’s Tavern, located along the main cobbled path in the lower town near the main square. Marianthi’s serves excellent stewed octopus in wine, fresh pitas (or pies) made with wild greens, and soutzoukakia (spiced meatballs simmered in tomato sauce). A meal for two people (with local wine) is about 40 euros.
Another option is Matoula’s Tavern, open since 1947 and overlooking the rocky cliffs of the old town. Matoula Ritsos, Monemvasia’s oldest resident, started the restaurant, which serves a variety of Greek specialties, including the area’s fresh seafood. A dinner at Matoula’s, now run by Ms. Ritsos’s niece, costs about 40 euros for two.
For dessert, try one of the local amygdalota (almond cookies), available by the piece in cafes or in boxes of 12 in specialty food and wine shops. One of those, To Kellari, also has an excellent selection of wine from Laconian vineyards, including versions of the famous Malvasia wine made in Greece during the 13th century.
The port of Monemvasia in Greece is a perfectly preserved medieval town clinging to the side of a tiny island off the eastern Peloponnese and overlooked by a ruined fortress, or kastro, on its summit. The island, essentially a sheer-sided monolith, broke away from the mainland in an earthquake in 375 AD.
What's interesting about Monemvasia, which in Greek means "single entrance," is exactly that; from the mainland, all you can see is the bare rock. Around the side, though, there's a tunnel through the chunky medieval ramparts, opening out in to the main cobbled street of an exquisite little town. This is the only way in. A short causeway connecting the island to the mainland was built in 1971.
For trips from Athens see George the Famous Taxi Driver, but plan to stay overnight. The drive is around four and a half hours from Athens. You should probably plan on coming here by car or bus. There used to be a Flying Dolphin and a ferry but no longer. If you are a sailor, going down the east coast of the Peloponessos is a wonderful trip, eaqual to or better than any journey through the Cyclades. See My Sailing Pages for info on charters and skippers.
To rent a car and drive from Athens to Monemvasia check out Swift Rent-a-Car . They will pick you up at the airport or your hotel and drive you to the National road and let you by-pass the notorious Athens traffic or deliver the car to you. You will probably want a car to explore the surrounding area and the nicer beaches are outside of town. From Monemvasia you can easily reach Mystras, Githeon, the island of Elafonisos, the Diros Caves and the Mani on day trips. One nice excursion is to the small town of Gerakas (remember the original article) where there is a very nice fish taverna called Remezzos, owned by a Danish woman and her Greek husband, where many people from the area travel long distances on goat infested roads for a nice fish lunch or dinner in a lovely setting.
If you don't have a car you will be pleased to know that there is a bus that goes from the causeway in the new town to the entrance of the fortress town that leaves every fifteen minutes or half an hour. (I asked and they told me but I forgot).
These days Monemvasia incorporates both the rock, with its medieval village enclosed within the walls of its kastro (fort), plus the modern mainland village of Gefyra, just across the causeway. ‘You can find everything you want in this city – except water’, observed an 18th-century Turkish traveller. Remarkably – given that for most of its existence Monemvasia's only source of drinking water came from the sky – Monemvasia has remained inhabited to this day. These days, though, only around 20 people live in the kastro permanently – the rest go home to Gefyra after a day's work. In spite of Monemvasia's immense popularity, the extraordinary visual impact of the medieval village – and the delights of exploring it – override the effects of mass tourism.
Monemvasia a must see place if you go to Greece
Get there by land or sea but get there, we go there with FANTASY SAILING VACATIONS with a sailboat, this place is great place to see from the water, the town built in the year 583 AC. there are 12 people that live there permanently all others live in the new town in main land 1 mile away. again this is a must if you have time. google Monemvasia and look at pictures..
A magical place
It's a fortified city with exclusively pedestrian access. It's a wonderful country where it seems to be back in the past. The road to get there is very busy so I recommend getting there by taxi or by city bus from Gefira. Try climbing up to Kastro (more difficult if you have young children).
A hidden gem
Monemvasia is known as the Gibraltar of the East. It has more local than foreign tourists which makes it a very pleasant place to visit without having to face the crowds of the more popular sites of Greece. The fortress is very easy to explore and as you go higher up to reach the church at the top - the Agia Sophia- you are rewarded with magnificent views of the fortress and the sea.
I've always had a strong desire to visit Monemvasia as I had heard so many good words about it. I didn't know how beautiful it would truly be until I finally traveled there last summer. For those who don't know, Monemvasia is a peninsula off the Peloponnesian east coast and it belongs to the prefecture of Lakonia. It's mostly known for the medieval fort which is actually amazing to visit. We decided to stay in a hotel which is located in the Old Town of Monemvasia, inside the castle. During our walks in the castle, we saw many traditional taverns and we tasted great foods (and others not that great!). I recommend you go to Petra Club if you enjoy clubbing. I can tell you Monemvasia is definitely ideal for couples who wish to spend some days in a romantic place. We went to two beaches, the Mandraki beach which was very relaxing, near the port of Monemvasia. The other one is Pori and it is 2 km from Monemvasia. I really liked this beach because it was fully organized with umbrellas and sun beds plus that it was a great attraction for the tourists. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
My first view of Monevasia after I had crossed the 200-meter long causeway from the new town was magnificent: a fortress town with an imposing wall and gateway beyond which no vehicles are allowed. I walked through the labyrinth of narrow alleyways and got the feeling of having stepped into a different world, that of partially restored and derelict buildings and fountains carved out of the steep terrain and having a decidedly medieval feel to them. Although I was a little wary of getting lost in the maze of narrow streets, I quickly realized that the possibility of such a thing happening is rather remote, as the place itself is so small that you are bound to reach your starting point some way or the other. I wandered around the village and counted over 30 Byzantine churches and towers, and I could see that there were still more to go. A paved path leads to the summit of the hill on which stands the ruins of the medieval castle which towers over the town. There are a few traditional Greek restaurants in Monemvasia, and all of them have a fantastic location beyond the majestic walls and overlooking the sea. I heard that all are equally good, but since I had only a day to spend in Monvemvasia, I tried Matoula, one of the more popular ones. The red mullet and lobster is a must try and stamna, a Greek stew with local cheese, baked in a clay pot was out of the world.
Monevasia is beautiful, breathtaking and unique: an area of living history that delights the visitor with every step through this ancient walled city. As one approaches the rock that juts into the sea, the surprise of Monemvasia is yet to be unveiled. Upon entering the tunnel through the ancient wall, the thrill begins. The lower town of Monemvasia continues to be inhabited and the buildings lovingly restored, so that the visitor gets an amazing sense of what life was like in the 12th- 13th century. A walk to the upper town makes one appreciate what was once there (especially the beautiful church of Agia Sophia) and how important it is to preserve what remains. Greek history and spirit of the Greek people who have survived conquest by many nations comes alive in Monemvasia.The town is charming, the people warm and welcoming. An absolutely wonderful place! As for the tourist facilities, there are only 3 tavernas within the Old Town. The food was tasty and not too expensive. The taverna with a view of the sea (forgotten the name) was our favorite - good food, helpful staff and a wonderful view. Breakfast at a small cafe overlooking the church square consisted of yogurt and honey followed with fresh squeezed orange juice - it was wonderful. My advise to future visitors? Spend the extra money to stay in the Old Town. There are no cars to annoy and pollute and the atmosphere is fantastic. My advise to the town authoritis? Keep maintaining the current policy of limiting merchandisers, banks, etc, out of the Old Town. It truly has the feel of a 12th century town. Source: www.greeka.com
Unlike other archaeological sites around Greece, the magic at Monemvasia continues well after sunset. Nighttime walks under the moonlight and visits to tavernas, serving local Malvazia wine, are ideal here; a place where different eras continue to co-exist in a magical way.
The Castle Town of Monemvasia is among the most impressive places in Greece. Located on the south eastern side of Peloponnese, Monemvasia Greece was entirely carved on the back side of a sea rock in the Medieval times. This huge sea rock is not visible from the mainland, so that the locals could avoid enemy attacks. The only way to reach Monemvasia was by boat, while later on a paved pathway was constructed to connect the castle entrance to the mainland. This is how the name came out, meaning single passage. A new town has been constructed in the mainland, just opposite the rock. A walk around the Castle Town is a travel to the past, while the sea view from the castle top is breathtaking.
Monemvasia in Greece is one of the most romantic places in the country. This is a Medieval Castle Town, exclusively carved on the slopes of a rock. This fantastic place was originally constructed in the Medieval Ages and has been continuously inhabited since then. Today most of the old mansions have been converted into guesthouses and boutique hotels. Outside the Rock, there is a new modern town with many tourist facilities. Holidays in Monemvasia can be combined with day trips to Gythio, Mystras, Neapolis and other regions of south Peloponnese.
It’s a beautiful town. There are strict rules for construction or renovations to the outside of the buildings, so it all looks ancient. There are narrow cobblestone paths to explore, and a good hike to the top where there is an old church. Many places have breathtaking patios or balconies overlooking the sea. Perfect for a day trip. That whole area (mainland) has beautiful beaches, hotels, and restaurants, and is not nearly as busy/touristy/expensive as the islands.
When life is particularly intense I daydream of living in a place just like this.
Wow! I love this place. I like this kind of footage a lot. I was there some years ago and tasted the best wines of my life! Monemvasia is gorgeous. I went there during springtime but I'd like to try it during the summer season as well. Elafonissos is also close by, they can be combined easily!