Big and small
The Mani offers unforgettable and unique experiences to travellers seeking an authentic taste of Greece. With its rich heritage of marvellous landscapes, ancient ruins and traditional villages, the Mani is a must-visit destination for those voyagers wanting a more detailed, in-depth and meaningful holiday.
One recommended experience in Kardamili is the opportunity to explore hidden coves and secluded beaches accessible only by boat. As one cruises gently along the coast, they are greeted by crystal-clear, mostly-placid waters and a dramatic, gorgeous coastline with cliffs and outcrops that provide a stunning backdrop to the journey. The calmness of the sea allows for a peaceful and pleasant ride. You can rent a boat for a couple of hours—easy to drive, no license required—or hire a cruiser with a captain for the entire day. In addition to the natural beauty of the coast, there are impressive stone towers and modern villas that add an extra layer of fascination to any boating excursion.
Indulging in Greek cuisine at local well-known tavernas should not be missed during any visit. From fresh seafood dishes to traditional Greek delicacies like souvlàki and moussakà, there are great culinary delights waiting to be savoured.
Another must-do activity is simply walking! Walking around the different neighbourhoods in Kardamili, or hiking along the scenic trails that wind their way along the Mani’s rugged coastline or up into the Taygetos foothills. Picturesque villages with ancient architecture, florid gardens, crystal-clear seas, dramatic cliffs and rugged coves make for splendid scenery at every turn. Whether it’s a short stroll around the village or a half-day guided trek up the Viros Gorge, these trails offer an opportunity to connect with nature and discover hidden gems off the beaten path. You can easily visit the dozens of Byzantine chapels (with well-preserved frescoes dating back to the 13th century) and fortified tower houses built by local clans as defensive battlements during historic times of conflict. An amble through these places gives visitors a glimpse into the region’s turbulent past and allows them to imagine what life was like for its inhabitants.
For archaeology enthusiasts, no trip to the Mani would be complete without exploring the historical sites of the southern Peloponnese. The grand sites of Ancient Messini and of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in nearby Sparta, are must-see destinations. Here, one can marvel at impressive, well-preserved temples and imagine the glory days of ancient Greece and of Byzantine civilization, precursor to the Renaissance.
Lastly, attending one of the yearly events, or participating in traditional activities such as Greek Easter and olive harvesting, also is a must. These experiences allow visitors to engage with welcoming locals and gain a deeper understanding of their way of life. The Mani offers an array of recommended experiences that cater to various interests. Whether it’s delving into history, exploring the countryside on foot, embracing nature through simple star-gazing at night, or immersing oneself in local culture, this remarkable region has something for everyone seeking an enriching travel experience.