Mani, this blessed land hides inside it the beauty of the whole Greece. It is divided in Eastern and Western or the Laconian and Messinian Mani. The most famous of the two (Laconian Mani) has a wild character, accompanied by lack of vegetation, steep rocks (Peloponnesian cliffs) and pebbled beaches. But the eye cannot wander off of the wild beauty of the Maniot land, the Maniot stone towers and its crystal-clear deep blue waters. Mani also has a unique architecture, with stone having the first and last word. And as for the sun, do not bother yourselves at all. It “smiles” most days of the year, filling with light every stone-built mansion and making the arid land thirst even more!
Messinian Mani, on the other hand, is more approachable and friendly, while it offers different images. Here the sun is not so hard, shade appears in many locations and vegetation is more and higher. The sibling of Laconian Mani also stands out for the beaches with the crystal-clear waters, while its architecture has many common characteristics with the one of the Laconian structures.Mani may be divided in two, but for the older ones it is one and indivisible. Tameless because no-one could conquer it, unique because no other place resembles it and autonomous because it produces everything a person needs to live decently.
info Mani a) Mani has never been conquered by enemies, this is why on its flag it bears the motto “Victory or Death” and not “Freedom or Death”. b) Mani consists of 150 settlements and villages. c) In the village of Areopoli, in front of the bakery “To Psomi tis Milias” you will see a hole. It is the location where the Maniots started off to join the revolution of 1821. d) The stories about filibusters, pirates and treasures you will hear from the mouths of the old ones arouse the imagination! e) Cape Tenaro is Europe’s southernmost mainland point! f) Some say that, with a clear atmosphere, from Cape Tenaro they have managed to see Crete, while others claim they saw Malta!
What to see in Mani
AreopoliAreopoli is probably Mani’s largest chapter, as apart from being its historical seat, it is also one of its most beautiful villages. The main village projects a stately momentum which is reflected by its wonderful architecture and rich history. A place hard to simply pass by, as it easily traps you with its beauty! This is Areopoli!
Limeni When you say Mani, the first place that comes to your mind is Limeni! This small piece of paradise (for many) is Many’s most beautiful location. It is Areopoli’s port and it mesmerizes the visitor with the turquoise waters, rich bougainvilleas and stone-built houses that are literally on the wave!
Cape Tenaro Welcome to Europe’s southernmost mainland point, Cape Tenaro! It is one of Mani’s most popular locations. The beautiful but difficult trail, the sunset and the images you will obtain will simply be unforgettable.
Diros Caves The Caves of Vlychada and Alepotripa, a.k.a. Diros Caves, are Greece’s most well-known and beautiful caves. Through a 1,500m water route (300m on foot) you will see the amazing geological phenomenon of stalactites and stalagmites that take the color of the various minerals with which they come in contact.
“Petros Mavromichalis Archistratigos” Club of Mani’s Areopoli residents”The renowned club of Mani’s Areopoli residents holds Maniots’ flag high throughout the years and hosts events all over the country. It is also responsible for activities and projects in Areopoli, as well as the wider region of Mani. Do not miss the chance to visit the site and get informed about the area’s history.
Laconian Vathia Vathia is certainly Mani’s most Maniot village. The now abandoned village is an example of Maniot architecture with the stone-built tower-houses standing some strong and others half-ruined, for a few centuries. Take a walk inside the village and enjoy its quiet and picturesque character.
Panagia Agitria The chapel of Panagia Agitria or Panagia Odigitria has been nested for nine centuries inside a sharp mountain ledge in the area of Mezalimona. The well-hidden byzantine chapel offers a unique view of Cape Tigani, as well as the Peloponnesian Cliffs.Check the tips to see where it is hidden.
Maniot cuisine If you visit Mani and do not try its traditional cuisine, you will have missed out on all its magic. Flavors that excite the palate will make you love the Maniot cuisine. Especially if the dishes come from the hands of the true Maniot cook, then the result will be divine!
Gythio Gythio is the newest capital of Laconian Mani. The coastal town of 5,000 residents may belong to Mani, but it strongly resembles a greek island. Discover the Kranai islet and the ancient town with the theater, take a walk along the pier with the hanged octopi and end up at a tavern for some fresh fish.
Kotronas The arid and torrid coastal settlement of Kotronas is an example of Maniot architecture. Built on a strategic location, it is the ideal place to relax, away from the tourist crowds. Of course, its characteristic is the 300m-long peninsula, which connects the village to the islet of Skopa.
Mani’s Beaches We can talk about Mani’s beaches for hours…! No, they are not sandy (most of them), no they do not have large beach bars, no they do not have warm waters…what they do have is a calmness that takes you away, while they are extremely clean with rich seabeds. Among Mani’s best beaches we find Limeni, Gerolimenas, Skopa, as well as the beaches of Foneas and Kalogria.
Stoupa-Kardamyli-Ayios Nikolaos These three villages make up the pillar of Messinian Mani. Coastal, with high tourism growth and dressed in a discreet Maniot style, these villages will be a landmark of your exploration.
Maniot Towers The stone-built Maniot Towers are Mani’s trademark. They are present in every small or large village and they have become the gate-keepers of Maniot tradition. Looking at them, you think that they are ready to join the battle once again, while their imposing stature calls you to observe them for hours.
Gerolimenas The holy port is nested inside a cove on the south side of Mani. Blue-green waters, beautiful stone-built houses and an arid/wild beauty that captivates. Gerolimenas can be your own windless retreat!
Foneas Beach The beach of Foneas is located in Messinian Mani and it has crystal-clear turquoise waters. It is one of Mani’s best beaches, which is covered in pebbles and framed by a verdant natural landscape. The beach’s characteristic is the huge rock, ideal for diving and snorkeling!
Mini tip: It is very easy to miss the path to the beach.
Agios Dimitrios Shipwreck The Shipwreck of Agios Dimitrios is located a bit outside Gythio and it is the tourist attraction of the area and beyond. Do not miss the chance to make a quick stop to see it and ask a local to learn about its history…!
Food Mani Food in Mani is something unique! Restaurants are many and serve traditional flavors, which are based on local olive oil. From the traditional lalagia, the galatopita and kayianas to the open Maniot cheese pie, the Maniot salad with orange and the delicious Maniot sygklino, the flavors will stay on your palate for quite some time. For a two-person meal (with bulk wine) you will pay between 20 and 30€ per person. Also, do not miss the chance to try the sour tarhana, sfela cheese, fried diples as well as the amazing tsouhtes (pasta with sour myzithra and egg). But let’s see which the best places for food in Mani are..
To Mavromichaleiko (Areopoli): On Areopoli’s central walkway you will have the chance to enjoy a high-quality meal. The Maniot salad with orange and coq au vin (of their own production) will impress you.
Taverna Vaggelis (Triantaphyllia): Vaggelis’ tavern is the safest and more economical option for food in Mani. It may be unknown to the general public, but it serves notable traditional food in very affordable prices.
Itan Keros (Diros Tower): … “Itan Keros”, meaning it was time…or rather it is time…for a quality restaurant with original Maniot cuisine, exquisite raw materials, large servings and reasonable prices. Make sure you order the tsouhti pasta dish.
Taverna Drosopigi (Drosopigi): 20 minutes outside of Areopoli and at an altitude of 430 meters, you will find a family tavern with quality dishes, traditional flavors and pretty affordable prices. The view from the balcony will take you away.
Fish-tavern Trata (Gythio): It is one of the few restaurants that, while located in a tourist spot, offers excellent and fresh fish in very reasonable prices. Mini tip: Ask for the fish caught on the same day!Teloneio (Limeni): A good option to see the sunset and enjoy your coffee right where the waves break.
Bukka Home Bar (Areopoli): Casual style, beautiful decoration and clean drinks! What else can one ask for a pleasant evening in Mani?
Accommodation Mani Accommodation in Mani is something that will not give you a hard time as the area has high tourism growth and offers many options for every budget. Proof for that is that every year many new accommodation sites open that offer traditional, as well as plainer Maniot accommodation. Of course, if you want to stay in a newly-renovated tower with a view of the sea, you must be prepared to put your hand deeper into your pocket. Hotels are fewer than apartments, while a big portion of the market consists of villas and guest houses. The average cost for a double room per night (high season) ranges between 80 and 120€.
Papoudiko (Omales): The experience of staying in an accommodation site where some of its buildings are older than 1,000 years, is one of a kind. To complete the dream, book its three-storey tower! Prices and quality are excellent.
Achelatis (Areopoli): View, quality and very reasonable prices are what Achelatis in Mani’s Areopoli offers. A vfm stay.
Mavromichale (Limeni): If you wish for luxury accommodation right by the sea, opt for the quality of the Mavromichale tower. Prices are reasonable considering both its benefits and location.
Anaxo Resort (Riglia): Anaxo Resort offers an excellent quality-price package! The stone-built tower, comfortable and clean rooms and the wonderful view of the sea. Discover the rest.
Citta dei Nicliani (Kitta): The 18th-century stone-built tower has rooms full of character and quality, which, combined with the amazing breakfast, offer a pleasant stay (even though it is far from the sea).
Petropoulakis Tower (Gythio): 5km outside Gythio you will find the renovated Petropoulakis tower. Good prices, amazing breakfast and comfortable stay are the 4-star hotel’s strongest weapons.
Transportation Mani The sole means of public transport in Mani is the bus, which are terribly unpunctual and only go to big villages. This is why transportation in Mani is something that can happen only by car. This way, you will have the opportunity to discover its every small and large village. Caution, as streets are narrow and local drivers are not very cautious! Also, (during the summer months) it would be best to park your car away from the villages’ square and reach the location on foot. Car congestion usually causes problems that would better be avoided.
Read Also: The ultimate guide of Peloponnese
- In many spots of Southern Laconian Mani (starting from Gerolimenas and to the south) you will find jackals that come out to find their prey.
- The consecutive, narrow road curves can cause stomach disorders. It would be good to have some Dramamines with you.
- In many tourist villages the central streets are closed in the evening hours (from 20:00 and onwards) and are turned into pedestrian walkways. (Summer season)
- The best season to visit Mani is in mid-September. Tourist traffic is limited, temperatures are bearable and prices at hotels are lower.
- The best time for the trip to Cape Tenaro is 40 minutes before sunset. That time there are much fewer people and the colors you will see are unique.
- The average temperature is 14-18 ºC.
- The sun makes its appearance more than 250 days a year!
- In order to reach Cape Tenaro you will have to park your car at the end of the road and follow the 2.1km, 30-minute challenging route that you will find HERE.
- The sun makes its appearance more than 250 days a year!
- You will NOT see the best sunset at Cape Tenaro, but a bit outside the village of Limeni.
- The highly tourist-friendly Limeni is not a good option for food, as prices are pretty high, while service is at low levels.
- Park your car at the end of the dirt road and follow the path that will lead you to Panagia Agitria. Check out the route HERE.
- For Cape Tenaro you will have to wear shoes as there are sharp rocks. Also, you should be ready to wash them afterwards, as they will be “dyed” with red dust!
- The boat ride in Diros Caves lasts about 25 minutes. If you want to avoid lines, make sure you are there at the opening.
Travel Guide Mani: Bathed in light, Dressed in stone