Travel guide

Monemvasia


General info

Welcome to Monemvasia ...

Monemvasia is a historic town in the eastern Peloponnese, in the prefecture of Laconia. It is located 95 km away from Sparta, 301 km away from Athens and is one of the most popular destinations in the Peloponnese. Its name derived from the long narrow strip of land (a low bridge) which links the rock of Monemvasia to the mainland, thus creating a single gateway to Monemvasia. Its main feature is the mighty rock of Monemvasia, where a small division joins the rock to the modern city with its medieval fortress – the landmark of the area. The rock has a length of 1500 meters and its maximum width is 600 meters. Its height reaches to 300 meters. This charming creation is the result of a strong earthquake which occurred around 375 AD causing the coast of the Laconian peninsula to subside.


In the past…

Lakones , who first settled in Laconia in 582/583 AD., had fled there so as to escape from the incursions by the Avars and the Visigoths. Later, its natural strategic position aroused the interest of the Byzantines, who turned Laconia into the administrative headquarters of the buildings in the Peloponnese. Throughout history, those who invaded Monemvasia were the Franks, the Venetians, the Pope, the Turks successively. During the 13th and 14th century, the town prospered to such an extent, that this period turned to be called "the golden age of Monemvasia." The various names are the result of different habitations. Until the entry of the Turkish troops into the Morea (1458), the region of Laconia remained an independent Greek state which established in Mystras in 1278. During the Ottoman domination and until the revolution of 1821 the rebellious Mani remained self-governed and frequently triggered the decision to rise up in arms against the Turks. Between 1688 and 1715 Laconia fell into the hands of the Venetians. Mani was the base of operations for the revolution in the Morea. Besides, Laconia as a whole was liberated even from the first days of the rebellion race (before the advent of Ibrahim and the final liberation in 1828).


Nowadays…

Today, this quiet town unfolds before the visitors’ eyes all the riches of nature nearly at every step. The Castle (called “Kastro”) on the rock is of course what monopolizes visitors’ attention. Inside the surviving buildings, there is the settlement of Upper and Lower Town with their defensive construction and several small Byzantine churches. A short walk is ideal if you wish to enjoy this natural beauty. Here you can visit the tomb of the great Greek poet Yannis Ritsos. The new Town is equally beautiful, with a wide range of amenities to offer to visitors. Do not hesitate to dive in crystal waters and enjoy the beaches such as Kastraki, Pori, Votsalo, Portelo etc. Along the picturesque port of the town, you will find charming shops for drinks or meals. An ideal touring experience of this town remains incomplete without its famous local wine, which poured into the glasses of the medieval princes of Europe, without the local almond marzipans (called “amigdalota”), the Sweet Cheese Pies (called “kaltsounia”), the soft cheese pastries (called “Melitinia”), the deep fried honey rolls (called “diples”) and, of course, the famous virgin olive oil of the Laconia land. The "Gibraltar of Europe", as it is usually called, promises to enchant you with its unique landscapes. You will definitely come back to visit it again.

Sight seeing

If you happen to come by or stay in this beautiful city, then
you can visit:

 

• the rock of Monemvasia, which is linked to the new town via a narrow strip of land

 

• The church of "Agia Spfia" on the Upper Town, which is a monument of the Byzantine era and one of the most important of Monemvasia, built in 13th century

 

• The Lower Town with its picturesque streets, where you can find the church of Christ the Elkomenos, whose hagiography was removed and transferred to Istanbul by Isaac Angel


• The Church "Panagia Chrysaphitissa". According to the tradition, Virgin Mary’s hagiography was moved from Chrisafa to Monemvasia. In this temple there is the only small spring which is considered to be holy water


• The mosque in the Lower Town, where you can pay a visit to a collection of archaeological excavations in the vicinity


• The Church of "Agios Andreas"and "Agios Dimitrios" as well as other various smaller temples

 

• The beautiful beaches such as "Kakavos", "Kourkoula", "Portelo Kastraki", "Pori" and many others

How to go

By Car:

Monemvasia is located 310 km away from Athens. After you have entered the Attica Road, follow the highway of Athens-Corinth (for about 80 km, 40-50 minutes journey.). After you have left behind Corinth, keep in the direction to Tripoli (attention should be paid to the road signs so that you do not miss the exit –approx. 80 km, 40 min. journey). After you have reached Tripoli, take the exit road to Sparta – Gythio. Approximately 20 km after Sparta there is a fork junction on the right, leading to Monemvasia. The villages you meet before you reach Monemvasia are Skala, Vlahioti and Molai. From there, you will need another 22 km until you will arrive at Monemvasia.

 

Total travel time : 200 - 230 minutes


By Bus:

There are daily itineraries from Athens to Monemvasia. The departure point is at the main bus station of Athens. (KTEL Busses Kifisos - Kifissou 100, on the national road of Athens).

 

For more information please call:

KTEL Busses Athens : ☎  (+30) 210 5124910

KTEL Busses Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61752

KTEL Busses Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 26441

 

 

By Train:

For more information and itineraries, please visit the following websites:

www.proastiakos.net  and  www.ose.gr

Useful telephones

Police Station Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61210

 

Taxi Station Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 - 61274, 62050


Health Center Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61204


Drugstores Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61444, 68362


Post office Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61231


National Bank Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27350 41502


Emporiki Bank Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61562


Citizen Service Centre (KEP) Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61231


Municipality Offices Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61222


Fire Department Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27310 22147


Port Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61266


Archaelogical Museum of Monemvasia : ☎  (+30) 27320 61403

Distances

From the city of Monemvasia to:

Athens

299 km

Thessaloniki   

790 km

Piraeus

296 km

Larisa

641 km 

Volos

614 km 

Ioannina

554 km 

Zakynthos

357 km 

Pylos

196 km 

Kalamata

148 km

Nafplio

207 km 

Patras

316 km 

Sparti

88 km 

Corinth

221 km 

Igoumenitsa

620 km

Pyrgos

278 km