« .. As a passer-by you see Mani in 3 days, as a walker in 3 months and in order to see its soul you need 3 lives. One for the sea, one for its mountains and one for its people .. »
In Laconia, you can combine the mountain with the sea, touch numerous monuments of history and culture, be enchanted by its castle towns, and visit monasteries hidden in landscapes of unique beauty. In Laconia, the combination of nature, history, myth and reality create a truly unique mix of contrasts.
Mani is an ideal destination for all seasons, since it combines the wonderful beaches with the impressive mountains. The magnificent architecture of the region with the traditional towers built from carved stone fascinates every visitor.
In the area, there are several cobblestone streets, ideal for hiking and six of the best gorges of our country, well-known to the hikers. Here, one may find also picturesque small ports and crystal-clear beaches with sand or pebbles, for all different tastes, for romantic but also family holidays.
The following areas stand out from the landscape of Laconic Mani: Areopoli, with its cobblestone streets and towers which have been declared monuments. Diros Caves, Limeni opposite to Oitylo, Gerolimenas, Vatheia, Kotronas with its breathtaking beaches and traditional architecture, Porto Kayio and Cape Tainaro are only a few of the attractions of Laconic Mani.
The cave of Diros consists of three different caves: Glyfada or Vlyhada, Alepotrypa and Katafygi have each one separately their own particular value.
Vlyhada cave was explored systematically by the speleologists Ioannis and Anna Petrocheilou. From 1949 to 1960, 1.600 meters had been explored and mapped. Nowadays, the known length of the cave is more than 14 kilometres. The findings of the cave with the impressive stalagmites and stalactites include fossilized bones of hippopotamus, panther, hyena, lion, deer and marten, as well as pottery, which indicate human presence. The boat tour to the lake sections of Vlyhada is a unique experience, which gives the opportunity to the visitors to enjoy a fascinating trip in time and place.
Alepotrypa cave, one of the largest and most important Neolithic caves of our country, was discovered in 1958 by the speleologists Ioannis and Anna Petrocheilou at the suggestion of the residents of the region. Smaller and larger chambers develop across the central path that runs through the cave (240 meters long). Alepotrypa was inhabited during the Early and the Final Neolithic Period and used as habitation, storage room, handicraft workshop and for the burial and worship of dead people. A strong earthquake in the late 4th millennium BC caused extensive detachments of rocks from the roof and side walls of the cave sealed the entrance and people were trapped inside the cave. The rich osteological material and abundant findings – pottery, stone, bronze, bone and tools and weapons, silver, stone, bone and clay jewelry – indicate that a populous society was developed in Alepotrypa dealing with merchant shipping, agriculture and husbandry.
Out of the three major caves of Diros, only Vlyhada can be visited. The tour on the lake section of the cave is done with small boats, is very safe also for children and lasts for 30 minutes approximately. The water temperature is 14 degrees Celsius throughout the year. No matter how many times you may have visited Diros Cave, you cannot stop admiring what has been offered to you as a gift by nature.