Despite the popularity of Greece as a holiday destination in recent decades not only rugged Mani, but the Peloponnese as a whole, has somehow remained relatively untouched by mass tourism. Almost an island but joined to mainland Greece by a thin spit of land it was immortalised by the writer Patrick Leigh Fermor in his book “Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese”.
In Mani you can walk to the southernmost tip of continental Europe, at Faros, then swim in a little inlet near the ruined temple of Poseidon before having dinner at a local taverna. Porto Kagio, a little further north, is also great for swimming while Marmari is a little village with wonderful views and sandy beaches below. Probably the most impressive village in the whole of Mani is Vatheia, its towered houses rising from a hill and dominating the surrounding landscape.
But the true wonder of Mani is less in its man-made sights than in its natural and very rugged beauty. Jagged cliffs fall away from the road and there is no more dramatic coastal drive in any part of Greece. However, Mani is just one part of this peninsula that has remained at the heart of Greek theatre, literature and history for more than 3,000 years. Many of Ancient Greece’s city states are in the Peloponnese and it is also contains the sites of many Homeric tales, including episodes for the lives of Paris and Helen of Troy.
Now with several luxurious hotels to choose from, the Peloponnese is just waiting for you to discover it.