PLACES TO VISIT
Prompted by the opening of the Mani Folk Museum in Platsa, and questions about places to visit, we started this page with information about recommended places. If you have been somewhere you would recommend, please send us details so we can publicise them. You might also get some ideas from Tripadvisor's 'Things to do in Messinia'
Kaiafa thermal baths
: About 2 hours drive from Stoupa, recommended by Christina-Maris, the baths are open until the end of November 2016, from 9.00 to 13.00, 3 euro person. One of the facilities at Anilio Plaza "The thermal baths of Kaiapha Lake area, about 5,500 acres is located with 3.5 kilometers to the southwest coast of the Peloponnese one kilometer outside the town of Zacharo Ilia. The status of the sulfur baths are beneficial for many modern diseases skin and many more, giving a wellness throughout the body! The baths of Kaiafas are 26 km from the Pyrgos, and just 5 km from Zacharo. The area of Kaiafas is a unique ecosystem. Between the lake and the shore of Kaiaphas is the beautiful pine forest of Strofilia, where you can make beautiful walks. Visitors can admire the natural beauty of the area and to escape the endless blue of the unique lake of Kaiafas with its healing mineral springs. The water temperature is 32 - 33.5 C" Anilio Plaza (November 2016).
Lake 'Doxa' and Lake Stymfalia
Lake Doxa is an artificial lake in west Feneos, Korinthia (NW Peloponnese
) The lake has been formed by the Feneos-Doxa dam in the waters of the Olvios River. The region's landscape is enchanting and it's worth walking along the perimeter course. The14th century Paliomonastiro is located at the lake's centre (linked to the shore by a narrow strip of land
). The small but beautiful lake is located at an altitude of 890 meters, in the middle of an area full of verdant firs, pines and oaks. Lake Sytmphalia is on the Stymfalia plain. It is one of the few mountainous lakes in Greece, at an altitude of 626m. The surface of the lake is not constant, but varies depending on the season. Some drought years, it can even dry up completely. It is considered the most important mountainous wetland , not only for Korinthos , but for the whole Peloponnese. Hiking routes around Lake Doxa Photo from the Assoc. of Women of Mani - taken during their excursion to lake 'Doxa' and the Monastery Saint George. (November 2014)
Mount Chelmos & Vouraikos Gorge National Park - butterfly mountain
Located in the north Peloponnese region is Mount Chelmos, also known as Aroania, a mountain range in Achaea. It is generally damper and more forested than the mountains located in the southern half of the Peloponnese. Chelmos and its environs are one of the best places in the whole of Greece for the naturalist, with a diverse range of habitats and an incredibly rich array of flora and fauna. So rich is this natural bounty that it was declared a National Park, covering and area which extends for 544,000 sq. m. Chelmos is celebrated as one of the best in Greece for butterflies, with over 100 species recorded. A visit in spring can also mean a treat to the senses of the sights and sounds in the forested slopes of birds such as Crossbills, Serins, Bonelli's Warblers, Nightingales, several Woodpecker species and lots more besides.(Matt Berry)
Chelmos is also a Geopark. In order to cater for tourists the Geopark has developed an information centre, two museums in area of the Cave, several view points and five trails. These facilities show the visitor how geology provides the basis for a biological, archaeological and cultural richness. europeanparks
Vagonetto - Fokis Mining Park:
Journey to the center of the earth - Fokis Mining Park-Vagonetto is a unique theme park, situated on the 51st km. of the Lamia-Amfissa National Road in Greece, between mountains Ghiona and Parnassos. In September 2003, the Vagonetto-Fokis Mining Park opened its doors to the public, after the construction works have been completed and all necessary safety measures taken. The vagonetto used by the miners to transfer bauxite becomes a means of transportation for the visitors to get to the starting point of their walking itinerary. The visitor will get to know the mining history of Fokis, the various mining techniques, as well as the environmental rehabilitation methods post mining.
The Interactive Digital Technology Wing, a multifaceted experience, is addressed to everybody. The audio-guide digital system is in six languages (Greek, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
), was co-funded by the European Union and Greece Admission charges & opening times
Tel. +30 22650 78819, +30 22650 28826, Fax +30 22650 28679
e-mail: info\vagonetto (February 2014)
Athens Zoo - Attica Zoological Park
Initially opened in 2000 as a bird park, Attica Zoological Park
, is a 49-acre private zoo located in the Athens suburb of Spata, Greece. The zoo is home to about 2000 animals representing 400 species, and is open 365 days per year." It is very well done
. It is situated near the airport, not that well signposted but you would need a good ½ day to look around
. ", "..........If you happen to be in the airport with a couple hours or more between flights then why sit around looking at stressed people when you can jump in a cab and see a bunch of happy animals?"
Since it opened, world of reptiles, Greek fauna, the African Savannah exhibit, a big cat exhibit, a monkey exhibit, Land of the Cheetah, a chimpanzee and gibbon exhibit, a Somalia exhibit have gradually been added, and most recently, the zoo opened a dolphinarium and added white rhinos to its residents. Trip Advisor
The Zoo is open everyday from 9.00 to sunset. Admission14 € for adults, 10€ for children. English is spoken and all the animals have their signs in English and Greek. For information you can call 210 663-4724 or 5. You can e-mail them at zoo\atticapark
For comments on the exhibits see Matt Barrett (February 2014)
Pylos castle + underwater archaeology museum + Marine parks
Two castles are built on the summits of the two hills at the ends of the Bay of Navarino, overlooking the town of Pylos: the older castle of Navarino, called Palaiokastron and the more recent castle, called Niokastron
.The restored hexagonal Fortress on the top of the hill houses the Museum and the Underwater Archaeological Research Centre. Since the renovation work on Niokastro
in 2010, the Pasha's building has hosted the exhibition of 'Sunken journeys, man's explorations: Important traces of the Peloponnesian Seas'
. Pasha's building
is the first museum of underwater archaeological finds in Greece. Also its eastern part has turned into an outdoor area, suitable for educational programs.Marine parks
are located off the south western Peloponnese coast near Pylos. Here scuba divers can discover the historic treasures ships dating from Roman, Byzantine and medieval times.The dive sites will be open in the summer of 2014
according to a spokesman from Marketing Greece, a new promotional agency for the Greek tourism industry. The dive sites are not only of interest to those who enjoy underwater archaeology but divers can also enjoy the teeming marine life of the Mediterranean. Marine Park Diving (February 2014)
Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae
This famous temple to the god of healing and the sun was built towards the middle of the 5th century B.C. . The temple has the oldest Corinthian capital yet found. Being located away from the city, the temple long remained undiscovered.WORLD HERITAGE
(2012) On the western slopes of Mt. Kotilion near the ancient city of Phigaleia. The mountain is scored with ravines (vassai
), which give the place its name. In this bare, rocky landscape, 1131 metres above sea level, the people of Phigaleia founded a sanctuary in honour of Apollo. A sacred road connected the sanctuary with the city, nearly thirteen kilometres away. Artemis and Aphrodite were also worshiped in this area, in a separate sanctuary on the highest peak of Mt. Kotilion.
"..... visiting this beautiful temple was amazing. If there is such a thing as "spirit of place" - this is one location that is very special - almost magical. The beauty of the mountains, the isolation, the magnificence of this ancient temple creates a very unique experience".(January 2014)
Ag Floros - North West of Kalamata
Agios Floros is an ideal destination for all those who want to escape the bustling city. Built on the banks of the river Pamisou, this picturesque and verdant village awaits you to enjoy its beauty. The Pamisou river and the historic tree is associated with serious historical events in the region in the 17th and 18th centuries. The name of the village was in a chapel of the Holy Martyrs Florus and Lavra, which was built near the present church of Agios Floros. A lush landscape with lush vegetation and abundant water emerges in front of the visitor. In the area there is also a trout farm, (Romantza Restaurant)
and holiday center.
Ag Floros, located just 20miles NW of Kalamata, is about half an hour from Kalmata and 2 hours from Athens. Click on PICTURES for views or YouTube Map on Facebook (January 2014).
Navarino Natura Hall by Hellenic Postbank
An innovation in Greece, the interactive exhibition center uses the very latest digital technologies to inform visitors and locals about the uniqueness and beauty of Messinia's natural habitats and raise environmental awareness, particularly among young people
"Interactive exhibits on plants and animals are fascinating." "
This is an easy walk from the Weston resort. Excellent museum atmosphere. in cool environment. Kids will love it. Unique perspective of the natural habitat of the area." Navarino Natura Hall , which opened in 2011, is the fruit of co-operation between Stockholm University, The Academy of Athens, The Hellenic Ornithological Society, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Assoc, Hellenic Postbank and Navarino Foundation. Youtube NAVARINO NATURA pdf
Call 27230 91170 for more info. (January 2014).
Sparti: The Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil,
unique of its kind in Greece, shows the various aspects of the olive tree and of olive oil, whether economic, applied or symbolic, from antiquity to the present, are being presented, along with the relevant oil-processing technology from the prehistoric times to the pre-industrial age. The Museum belongs to The Piraeusbank Group Cultural Foundation Museums Network Website
'This is a new museum and has been thoughtfully laid out to give an interesting and thorough understanding of the olive and olive oil. There is an informative video showing soap making, some interesting models and re-constructions. There is a cafe and shop which are a welcome escape from the streets of Sparta. The museum uses a good mixture of labelling, artefacts, banners. It has a spacious feel. I especially liked the species of olive planted outside, from which I was able to identify the one growing in my own garden. This museum is just what it says it is and it is well-done. We enjoy small museums that teach us about local customs, history, etc. This left us feeling informed and even excited about olives! We've visited the museum many times when being with guests. Every time it's also for us a joy the view the exhibition. It's not a museum with many shards etc. in order to fill the space, but a travel though times of the olive production and its spinoffs' Comments and picture courtesy of Trip advisor (October 2013)
Kiparissia:The Old Water mill
is located in the small community of Myloi*
, which is about 5 min drive from Kiparissia Adequate road signs indicate the way from both directions near the north entry to Kyparissia. (* meaning mills, as in this area their main occupation used to be olive oil processing and flour milling
The reconditioned mill has been open since early summer 2013. The mill is helping to preserve local traditions and monuments and is supporting the local community. It is a water mill, which technically speaking utilizes waterfall power (mass of water/time unit and height of water fall) to turn a heavy milling stone squeezing wheat grains below and producing flour. This old methodology was in use till sometime within the last century, and is available for you to see still in action in this mill!
The mill actually produces flour during weekend time (best time to visit). The renovation is absolutely perfect both aesthetically and technically. Detailed explanation of how the mill works and references of background history are happily offered by the mill's crew on the spot. Behind the mill, the owners have created a sitting café area where you can have a variety of drinks (infusions, beer or local strong alcohol). My personal suggestion is to try miller's mature tsipouro alcohol as it is unique. The go-together dishes with tsipouro are home-made and simply fantastic. Do not forget to ask for the special pamphlet which provides additional historical details and information. The photo of The Old Watermill is courtesy of TripAdvisor (Sept 2013).
John Gerontidis "G-fish" Fish Farm - Kastori, Laconia
(about 30km NE of Kalamata)
In 1969, Gerontidis family founded in Kastori Laconia one of the first fish farms producing trout and salmon in Greece. Since then it hasn't ceased to improve and evolve constantly, leading today to be the only company in Greece that produces gourmet Greek products such as smoked trout, salmon, sturgeon and salmon caviar.
Since 1998 they have had the brand name "G-Fish" which has now become a quality seal in the Greek market. The company to expanded its business in 2001 into salmon farming, and since 2005 has added, sturgeon and salmon caviar.
Their products are available in a range of selected stores nationwide but also from their own shop in the street Gortsologou in Sparta. "G-Fish" have received international awards including the Gourmet Award for sturgeon in 2012 for the smoked and marinated trout, the same year the newspaper "Ethnos" have included John Gerontidis in the "100 Greeks who make a difference. "Eleftheria For product details see http://www.g-fish.gr/en/
While in the area, Tripadvisor recommends a visit to Kastora and Vrisiotikos Canyons.<[p>
Polilimnio Waterfalls - Halfway between Kalamata and Pylos
It is this hidden gorge. A paved walkway takes you to the first of the 15 little waterfalls, where the water tumbles into teal-colored pools.
To find the actual location, drive to Kazarma village. When you arrive there should be a sign either to Charavgi village or to the waterfalls. In Charavgi take the road pointing you directly to the waterfalls. There are two parking spots near the location, first approximately 300 meters up the road from the second one. Park at the second one if you are comfortable passing those 300 meters of steep gravel road with your vehicle.
There are several lakes and waterfalls with the top ones being the gems of the location. It is approximately 500-1000 meter walk from the nearest parking down and up the mountain paths, so you better wear comfortable shoes.
Running water from the mountains formed several lakes along the way. The temperature of water is approximately 1-2 degree Celsius, even on the warmest day. The water is so cold it takes your breath away. That doesn't stop all comers from diving in from the towering rock ledges. The photo of Polimimnio Falls is courtesy of TripAdvisor (Sept 2013).
The Folk Collection of Mani
is located in the old school in Platsa. It opened in August 2013 and has over 700 items with excellent presentations in both English and Greek.Update 2016: Perhaps due to lack of funds, the exhibition appears closed
There are also audio-video displays showing various crafts, and explanations of the historical origins of traditional skills. The presentation is in Greek with English sub-titles and aimed at Greek and foreign visitors who wish to get a better understanding of the traditional life of Mani in the last two centuries.
Admission was free until the end of 2013. Opening hours are limited. During October 2013: Tues, Thurs, and Sat 10.00 to 13.00. Contact 69879 80261 the Mayor’s Office for more information. PHOTOS (Sept 2013) MANI VOICE.