Attractions near Stoupa
Stoupa is a seaside village of Mani that can charm the visitor all year round. It is the most popular tourist destination not only in Lefktro but throughout Messinia. East of the village rises a castle which was the citadel of the old state Lefktro. According to Pausanias there was a temple of Athena on the castle. The Frankish period [1204 – 1259] The castle was rebuilt and named Beaufort.The famous Nikos Kazantzakis and Alexis Zorbas, lived in Stoupa while working in the mines of the Neo Proastion of Prastova and was where he inspired and wrote the play “Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas”.
The village has two sandy beaches, one is in the village and is known as the main beach of Stoupa and the other is the famous beach of Kalogria. In terms of tourist services in Stoupa, you can find everything. Stylish and comfortable apartments and hotels, good quality food, cafes and bars for evening entertainment and most importantly of all, people willing to serve you in whatever you need, as the natives are well known for their hospitality. Apart from the beautiful beaches, it is worth to enjoy the breathtaking sunsets from anywhere in the village.
Agios Nikolaos (or Selinitsa) is a picturesque harbour of Mani 3 miles away from Stoupa, sometimes with serious commercial traffic, which now serves as a wharf and anchorage for fishing boats. The name means “little moon” or little Helen. There is a small but beautifull beach with fine sand, next to the delta of the river of Pamisos Milia and opposite the island of Pefnos, birthplace of the Dioscuri. It is worth visiting the churches of St. Myron and St. Nicholas, from where the name of the village originates.
Southeast of Ag. Nikolas, is the quaint little fishing village of Agios Dimitrios with the rocky island Pefno,at which according to mythology, the Dioscuri brothers were born.They were named Castor and Pollux, and were demigods, patron of sailors and brothers of Helen. They were born from an egg that was the result of the love of Zeus who was transformed into a beautiful swan, and Leda, daughter of Glaucus, who in order to avoid him, had transformed into a goose. Pausanias said that there was a kingdom at Pefno with king Tyndareus, father of Helen, Queen of Sparta and Clytemnestra, Queen of Mycenae.
Beside the the delta of Pamissos river there small beach with fine sand. Great attractions in the region is the tower of the Christeas (chieftain of 1821) and the cave “Katafygion”
This is also a seaside village located in Mani, 35 km south of Kalamata, and maintained as a small or large city more than 3000 years. It is a beautiful area with historical lineage retaining its ancient name and was refered by Homer as the first of the “seven well-governed and well-inhabited cities” that Agamemnon would give dowry to the marriege of Achilles and one of his daughters.
The section is also now a tourist spa town with many attractions, for Greeks and foreigners. It is where the municipal authorities are found: local court, post office, elementary school, high school, and is ever growing to accept more tourists.
It has a population of 574 inhabitants which multiplies the summer months due to the significant tourism development.
The road to the west, which starts at the High School Kardamyle leads us to a lovely pebble beach, the “Ritsa”, where paople resort to enjoy swimming.
Nestled on a gentle hillside just behind the main street of the modern village is the secret location of the Old Kardamyli: a small collection of abandoned fortified tower houses grouped around a beautiful 18th century church. During the 19th century Kardamili (originally called Skardamoula) was the stronghold of the family-Troupaki Mourtzinos, allies of family Mavromichali from Aeropoli, a city in southern Mani. The two families have played very important roles in the Greek Revolution of 1821.Their reinforced towers are fairly well preserved and the tower Mourtzinos (Mourtzinos was the nickname of the family Troupaki) has been recently renovated.
You can visit Old Kardamili by foot, leaving the main road of the village right next to the bridge and follow the path that leads to a main gate. Soon you reach the church of the 18th century, Agios Spyridon whose the thin 17 meter steeple bears motifs with a two-headed eagle. Farther along, there are some towers and the small chapel of Agios Theodoros. As you return to the modern Kardamyli you will see the last tower houses which now belong to the descendants of the patriarchs Troupaki-Mourtzinos: the families are Dimitrea, Petrea and Theodorakea. The walled and enclosed property generation of Troupaki-Mourtzinos has now been beautifully renovated and there are moves to be converted into a museum of Mani.
The Vasiliki forest covers about 11,000 acres. Woodland, mainly spruce and pine, and extends into the southern portion of the Taygetos Mountains. From Ag. Dimitrios we can get the international path E4 and then going down to get in the bed of the Viros gorge in the Shadow of the Prophet Elias. We now walk in the footsteps of the ancient Royal Road of Kings of Lakedaimonos(Spartans) who had access to the western coast of Tainaro. The passage goes through the Sites Dilagkado Troskona and After 5 – 6 hours uphill to the left side of the ravine for Exohori (alt. 420m.) Located 10 km from Kardamyli.From here it is 21km of forest road before you reach the royal forest.
Katafygiο, 500 meters after the village of Ag. Dimitrios, is definitely something that should not be missed. It is a landscape of stone slabs that run parallel and off into the sea. The landscape is definitely something you have not seen before. If you want to enter the water, make sure that there is no waves and that you have a safe exit from the rocks, as it is quite a number of accidents that have been made by people who underestimated the risk.
The capital of Mani and one of the most popular villages in the region is a well-preserved village with cobblestone streets that bear live traces of past glory, preserved tower houses, hostels and guesthouses. The village center is a big square with a statue of Petrobey Mavromichali, where on Saturdays, local producers in their stalls ,sell local products. Around the main square you will find many shops, restaurants, cafes and the city library. Walk in the traditional part of the village and admire the towers (of Stylianos Mavromichali ,Kyriakoulis Mavromichali ,Barelakos and Pikoulaki). The seaport of Areopolis,Karavostasi (or ocean Oitilo) has been developed with great hotels and restaurants, while the nearby picturesque Limeni by the sea is an ideal setting for eating fish,while in the background,you can admire the tower of Mavromichali. Areopolis and its surroundings are one of the most popular bases for excursions throughout the Mani. Stone villages with impressive towers (the Vathia and Gerolimenas are two of the most famous), small pebble beaches and stunning scenery will delight driving through, while walkers will find many excuses for hikes.
This seaside village was establishement of Mavromichali familly. It would be perhaps the most beautiful traditional village of Mani, if there wasn’t the famous Vatheia,But Limeni combines sea side and the beautiful scenery.
Walking down the mountainside suddenly appears a small bay, with old stone houses clinging to a rocky hillside with a few cypresses,next to the sea with deep blue color,it has a charm that is rarely met elsewhere.
Limeni, as port of Areopolis, played an important role in the liberation war of 1821 and there is the restored storey Pyrgokastro of Mavromichali with arched openings. The mansion Mavromichali, demonstrating the development of the village in the years before the revolution, has been restored and used as a museum (Benaki).
Caves of Diros
Leaving the main road just south of Areopolis, the village Pyrgos Dirou descends to the coastal location of caves Glyfada (or Vlihada), Katafygi and Alepotrypa. Beneath the ground,an unspeakable beauty is hiding , the most beautiful lake cave in the world.
It’s underground river developed in two main parallel runways with several secondary. The exploration of the cave began in 1949 by a pair of cavers John and Anna Petrocheilou the Greek Speleological Society.
In 1958 the exploitation began and in 1963 an onshore section of 600 meters was also in use. In 1979 new sections were discovered and mapped terrestrial and lake corridors, so that today the total length reaches 6000 meters. The cave consists of stalactites and stalagmites, and was formerly a land, but over the centuries the water rose from the sea and so the formations of stalactites resemble white columns coming out of the water. No matter how many times you visit the caves Diros,you will not get enough of the eye, and will be stunned of what has been offered as a gift of nature. For 45 minutes on a winding path, the visitors are left speechless.