The Peloponnese Philosophy

Discover the cultural and heritage riches of the Peloponnese Peninsula, blessed with the incredible ancient sites of bygone eras, spectacular coastlines, aged-old traditions and an understated viticulture scene that has gone under the radar. On this exploration of the Peloponnese, we discover in depth the many facets of a region with infinite impressions. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Experience the ancient heritage and UNESCO sites of the Peloponnese

Stay in refined and exemplary boutique accommodations

Experience the charm of locals through its wine and gastronomy

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ATHENS / CORINTH / MYCENAE / LEVIDI

We set off from Athens for our journey into the Peloponnese Peninsula where from the mainland of Greece, we connect via the iconic Corinth Canal which connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. Thereafter, we enter into the Peloponnese where our first visit will be the ancient archaeological site of Mycenae, former capital of ancient Greece during the Trojan war and a major center of Greek civilization from 1,600 to 1,100 BC. On an in-depth visit, we explore the Mycenae Citadel, amongst remains of other important buildings and the Treasury of Atreus, also called the Tomb of Agamemnon. Be amazed by the beehive tombs where there were at least nine monumental tombs around the Acropolis of Mycenae, but this one is the largest and most impressive, which at the same time is also very well preserved.

Finally, our route for the day takes us to the small town of Levidi in the mountainous Arcadia region, surrounded by some of the most beautiful forests and landscapes in Greece. We arrive at the pleasant retreat of Villa Vager at the foothills of Mount Mainalon at an altitude of 900m where we spend the next 2 nights. 

Overnight: Villa Vager, Levidi

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: LEVIDI (INTO THE MENALON TRAIL)

An inspirational day of epic proportions as we take a hike into nature's grandeur blended with ancient heritage. We enjoy a day in the Menalon Trail - walking in the 12.5km scenic beauty between the villages of Stemnitsa and Dimitsana and descent into the spectacular Lousios Gorge, also known as the “Mount Athos of the Peloponnese”, on account of the monasteries that appear to be literally hanging from the cliffs. We visit the most historical monasteries including the stunning Prodromos Monastery. Temples, Monasteries, ascetics, hermitages, watermills, water jets and barrows are ingredients that make the scenery special. Among the most important religious monuments are the Old (10th Century) and the New (17th Century) Monastery of the Virgin of the Philosopher, the Monastery of Timios Prodromos (late 16th century), the watermill of the monastery of Prodromos, St Andreas Gortyn (14th Century) and the Ancient City of Gortyn (3rd Century BC). We will end the trek at the archaeological site of Ancient Gortyna, along the rushing Lousios river that used to be named Gortynios in the ancient times. 

Overnight: Villa Vager, Levidi

Meals: Breakfast & Picnic Lunch

DAY 3: LEVIDI / OLYMPIA / AMPELIONA

We leave Levidi today for a scenic drive to ancient Olympia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the land that gave birth to and hosted the Olympic Games throughout history. It was once the site of Zeus’ most magnificent sanctuaries which housed his gold and ivory statue, one of the seven wonders of the world. And now, the only place where the Olympic Flame is lit for each Olympiad. Explore the Archaeological site of Olympia, once the most important religious and athletic centre in Greece and is home to the sanctuary of Zeus and the many buildings erected around it, including the Temple of Hera, the gymnasium, the Philippeion, athletic premises used for the preparation and celebration of the Olympic Games. We will also visit the Archaeological Museum of Olympia to discover the excavations uncovered that houses many incredible treasures and relics of the ancient world. 

Thereafter, we continue to the historic Mercouri Winery Estate, founded in 1864 by Theodoros Mercouri that now spans over 40 acres producing some of the most revered Refosco grape varietal wines that is enjoyed both nationally and regionally. We discover the beautiful estate's sprawling grounds and enjoy the opportunity to learn about its wine-making process and olive oil production including a small folklore museum which houses a collection of old rural tools and instruments. Finally, a rewarding and pleasant drive takes us into the confines of the beautiful village of Ampeliona where get to spend 2 nights in the soothing environments of the Abeliona Retreat

Overnight: Abeliona Retreat, Ampeliona

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4: AMPELIONA

We start the day with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, erected between 420 - 400 BC by the citizens of Figaleia. The architect, Iktinos, designed the Parthenon in Athens. Iktinos combined different elements of the preceding archaic period with a contemporary classical style and introduced a variety of novel ideas both externally and internally. The result was so impressive that Pausanias, the ancient author and traveller of the 2nd century CE, considered it to be among the finest temples of the Peloponnese. 

Thereafter, we continue to the picturesque mountain village of Andritsaina, adorned with charming alleyways and cobbled streets with a medieval atmosphere that developed during the Frankish period (12th – 13th Century AD) and refers to the Chronicle of Morea. Andritsaina played an important role in both the Orlof (1770) and the Greek Revolution (1821). In 1826, the city was destroyed by the troops of Ibrahim. We also have the chance to visit the mesmerizing village of Karytaina, one of the most picturesque and historic villages of Arcadia. It is built on top of a hill around a medieval castle, the site where the ancient Vrenthi was. It is said that in the ancient city Vrenthi the “War of the Giants” took place.

Overnight: Abeliona Retreat, Ampeliona

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5: AMPELIONA / MESSENE / KALAMATA / MANI PENINSULA

Depart the village of Ampeliona today as we head south to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Archaeological site of Messene, with well-preserved remains complete with a grand ancient stadium, an ancient agora, an ancient theatre with a capacity of up to ten thousand spectators, and a fountain house. Founded in the 4th Century BC by Epaminondas, enjoy stories of the ancient city backed by high mountains, dominated by the summit of Mount Ithomi leaving you in awe. 

We continue further south to Kalamata, second-largest city in the Peloponnese and renowned for producing some of the finest olives in Greece. On a walking tour, enjoy a storied insight of the ancient city that still has traces of its Byzantine past. Visit the old town lined with plenty of interesting cafes, shops and boutiques from where we start from the town's square. Visit the Ypapanti Church - the  the largest church in the city and built in glorious Byzantine style in the 19th Century.  You will see also the Church of St. John, which was built inside a cave and was used by the Greeks as a secret school for their children during the Ottoman era. The next highlight of our adventure is a tour of the Kalamata Castle. Walking through the narrow cobbled alleys, among the ruins of the salon of Isabella and her father William, you will feel like the princesses or the knights of your childhood fairy tales. 

Finally, our drive takes us far south to the astonishing Mani Peninsula where we finally arrive at the Aria Estates where we shall spend the next 3 nights. 

Overnight: Aria Estates, Mani Peninsula

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6: MANI PENINSULA

Nothing can quite prepare you for the incredible gems of the Mani Peninsula from where we finally come face to face with the austere, elaborated and warlike Mani Towers, built to protect the local population from the piracy & dangerous times during medieval life up to the 19th Century. Its inhabitants are also the descendants of the ancient Spartans and this combination of geography & hardy people kept the region independent to develop its own character from the rest of Greece. Enjoy an inspiring experience of the southern Mani Peninsula admiring its unforgettable Byzantine churches, jaw-dropping coastlines, charming fishing villages and awesome local cuisines that is quite an unknown identity from mainstream Greece. 

On Flexible Touring, sites of interest in the Mani Peninsula includes:

* Cave of Diros

* Ancient Towers of Vathia

* Cape Tainaro & the Temple of Poseidon

* The Byzantine Museum at the Tower Pikoulakis at Areopoli

Overnight: Aria Estates, Mani Peninsula

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 7: MANI PENINSULA (EXCURSION TO MONEMVASIA & GYTHIO)

Today, we head out for an exciting excursion to discover the castle town of Monemvasia, a mystical stone-built settlement, nestled at the edge of a big rock by the sea that was founded by the Byzantines in the sixth century. Peer into the history of the fortress –the so-called “Gibraltar of the East”–, which was occupied by the Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Venetians, and the Turks in the past. Wander around its narrow cobbled streets, the Upper and the Lower part of the town, and admire the beautifully restored stone buildings. The Venetians used to call Monemvasia "Gibraltar of the East" and taking a walk through its incredible old town offers you incredible admiration of its townhouses entirely carved on the slopes of rock, offering breathtaking sea views from the highest spot. We visit important buildings such as the stunning Church of Elkomenos Christos - dedicated to "Christ in Pain" built in the 13th Century by Byzantine Emperor Andronicus.  Archaeological Museum, the Church of Agia Sofia, built on the edge of a cliff with some of the most impeccable views of the Mediterranean and the Church of Panagia Chryssafitissa

On our return to the Mani Peninsula, we stop by to visit the pretty port town of Gythio, adorned with colorful Neo-Classical houses, atmospheric seaside restaurants and a busy harbor with many fishing boats. Enjoy leisure time for lunch or coffee to unwind before we return to the Aria Estates. 

Overnight: Aria Estates, Mani Peninsula

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 8: MANI PENINSULA / SPARTA / MYSTRAS / NAFPLIO / PORTO HELI

We leave the Mani Peninsula today heading north towards the ancient city of Sparta, home to the brave Spartans. Visit the ruins of the Acropolis and Archaelogical Museum of Sparta, unearthed in the 1910s and relive the once-greatness of this city state sensationalized by the feats of King Leonidas and his 300 men who fought the Persian army in Thermopylae. A short drive away, we visit the Archaeological site of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage site dating back to the 13th Century that was occupied in medieval times by the Byzantines, Ottomans and Venetians before being totally abandoned in the 1830s. On our insightful visit of Mystras, we explore monuments such as the Pantanassa Monastery, Peribleptos Monastery, the stunning Archaeological Museum and the storied Despots Palace

Our drive then continues to the ancient seaport town of Nafplio, which has remained significant throughout the times of the Trojan war to the Byzantine period and then to the times of the Frankish, Venetian and Ottomans which left the city in incredible marks of influence and architecture. We explore the heart of the city from its historic Syntagma Square admiring its romantic essence while visiting the glorious ruins of the Palamidi Castle standing proudly atop 216m above sea level with rewarding views of the town and the Mediterranean. 

Finally, we will arrive in the resort town of Porto Heli where we save the best for the last luxuriating in the intoxicating settings of the Amanzoe - a treat for Amanjunkies!

Overnight: Amanzoe, Porto Heli

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 9: PORTO HELI (EXCURSION TO EPIDAVROS)

This morning, we enjoy an excursion to the ancient archaeological site of Epidavros, a UNESCO World Heritage site best represented by the spectacular Great Theatre of Epidavros, regarded as the best preserved ancient theatre in Greece in terms of its perfect acoustics and fine structure. It was constructed in the late 4th Century BC and it was finalized in two stages. Originally the theatre had 34 rows of seats divided into 34 blocks by stairs and walkways.

 

Inspired by the ancient classical architecture of Greece, enjoy the second half of the day to be a hedonist luxuriating in the pretty town of Porto Heli, indulging in wellness rejuvenating from a tired body after a week's adventure in the Peloponnese. Spend a day at leisure to unwind properly. After all, the Amanzoe is one of the great resorts of Europe we are talking about. 

Overnight: Amanzoe, Porto Heli

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10: PORTO HELI / DEPART ATHENS

We bid farewell to an unforgettable sojourn of the Peloponnese as we re-cross the Corinth Canal to return back to the Greek mainland to Athens where we return home or continue on another adventure to the infinite explorations of Greece. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

In Arcadia, at the foothills of Mt Mainalon with its rich forest, at an altitude of 900m, Levidi stands proud and boasts not only of its past, but also of its present. Levidi, surrounded by the beauty of Pine trees, is the only place in Greece with a view to 5 different geographical areas of Peloponnese where the Villa Vager is situated. 

Villa Vager, Levidi

Abeliona Retreat, Ampeliona

Abeliona Retreat is built on the mountainside with a view out to the hilly landscape of Arcadia, a few minutes’ drive from the great temple of Apollo Epicurius, the retreat rests in an area that has always been praised not only for its generous natural beauty, but also for giving off a blissful sensation of belonging. 

Aria Estates, Mani Peninsula

Wisely located in a place where history meets nature, Ariá Estate Suites and Spa offers an elevating hospitality experience in an unparalleled universe of serenity and elegance. Refined and authentic, the Ariá Estate Suites & Spa, boasts unique apartment style suites that provide complete privacy and thrilling views of the Messinian Bay.

Amanzoe, Porto Heli

Wellness retreats don’t get much more exclusive - or decadent - than the Amanzoe. Imagined as a modern day acropolis by designer Ed Tuttle, the Amanzoe’ sleek looks are only rivaled by the breathtaking landscapes of the Peloponnese countryside, which you can take full stock of from the hotel’s hillside setting. As with all Amans, the spa is a superlative experience: a 2,850 square meter space of relaxation with treatments inspired by the teachings of Hippocrates.

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