The area is ideal for various activities all year round. From olive picking during November and December to the spring time when everything blossoms and you can visit and wander in the nearby villages and enjoy the colourful landscape. During summertime, the nature is full of scents from oregano, sagebrush and camomile and, besides swimming in small beaches, you may go diving, biking and horse-riding and visit Diros Caves, the picturesque traditional settlements and wonderful churches, whereas the lovers of hiking will find many interesting paths to follow.
Starting from Olea Stone House, you may walk across the main cobblestone street, wander around the streets of the village, enjoy your coffee at the traditional cafés and listen to the surrounding sounds, scents and colours.
There is no better way to get to know a place than walking around it and it would be extremely difficult to find another place similar to this rutty, harsh but at the same time attractive place. Here, one loses the sense of time and travels to other eras, charmed by the beauty and the history of the place.
Mani is one of the most traditional regions of Greece with 800 towers and tower houses, more than 1000 byzantine and post-byzantine churches, 8 castles, 98 out of the 118 traditional settlements of Peloponnese and more than 100 caves, with Diros Caves being the most well-known ones. Given its natural and cultural wealth with the strong contrasts, it is rightly acknowledged by experts as a big open-air museum and as a place of unique natural beauty. 1000 plant species grow here, more than 120 endemic species of Greece and 32 local endemic species that are unique all over the world.
Get the opportunity to visit the numerous traditional villages, have a tour guide in towers and monuments, stand with devout concentration in byzantine and early Christian churches, walk on the battlements of castles, get to know natural paradoxes that only few know.
- 22 hiking trails (through paths, unpaved routes and sealed roads) of 100 kilometers, with a duration from 35 minutes to 4,5 hours and different levels of difficulty.
- 1 gorge (Karavostasi-Mylolagkado gorge-Panagia Spelaiotissa), 5,5 kilometers, 2 hours and low level of difficulty.
Olive picking and the entire olive-oil production process takes place in Mani from end October to December. The first stages include cleaning, weighing, separation of olives from leaves and then grinding and malaxation. The final stage includes the separation of liquids and solids and the isolation of olive oil. The visitor is allowed to participate in the entire process and get acquainted with all above mentioned stages of the process.
Inform us on your intention prior to your arrival at the guest house so that we may organize your visit to the field and the oil mill in the best possible way and offer you an excellent tour and a unique experience.
Strange, unexpected and mysterious, Mani is a blessed place and, besides its well-known beauties, it has to offer amazing beaches for the visitor who will seek to discover them.
If you are looking for beaches with fine golden sand, then you may choose among Agia Varvara (known also as Koufonisia of Mani) close to Kotronas, Marmari, Skoutari, Mavrovouni (which is indicated for those that love water sports and windsurfing) or Stoupa and Kalogria that are more organized beaches on the side of Messinian Mani.
On the other side, there are very beautiful beaches with pebbles and clear waters, such as Porto Kayio, Gerolimenas, Alypa, Almyros, or Fonea, Limeni, etc that welcome the visitor for swimming during summertime, for walks during wintertime and with fresh fish and traditional cuisine at the local taverns throughout the year.
Besides the traditional villages and the beaches, Mani has to offer various other interesting places to visit. Among others, we suggest that you visit:
- The breath-taking Diros Cave
- Diros Neolithic Museum
- The tower of Mavromichali family in Areopoli
- Tainaro, the southernmost point of mainland Europe, with the temple of Poseidon
- The ancient theater of Gytheio
- The island of Krani (or Marathonisi) with the traditional tower of Tzanetakis Grigorakis which houses the Historical and Ethnological Museum of Mani
- The church of Taxiarchis (of the 11th century) at Harouda
- The church of Agia Varvara at Erimos, which is characterized as the “perfect church in Mani” due to its elegant proportions
- The church of Metamorfosi of Sotiros (of the 11th century) at Gardenitsa
- The castle of Maini which was the military and administrative center of Southern Mani at the early Christian and Middle Byzantine period. Inside the castle, stands the three-aisled basilica of the 7th century.
- Koita, which is one of the most characteristic architectural landscapes of Mani. It is the home of Nikliani, one of the most powerful clans of Mani.
- The famous Castle of Mystras, which is impressive all year round.
- The vaulted tomb of Vafios at Amykles
- The Museum of Olive and Greek Oil at Sparta
Every year Mani celebrates with particular glory the beginning of the Greek revolution and the revolt against the Ottomans by Petrobei Mavromichali and the people of Mani. The festivities that are organized by the Municipality of Oitylo and are primarily based in Areopoli, reach their peak on the 17th of March, the date that Greek Revolution started in 1821, and continue until the 25th of March.
Olea Stone House is located at an ideal place between Messinian and Laconic Mani so that you may organize nearby excursions and explore the wider area.
First stop is the town of Ares, the beautiful Areopoli with the cobblestone square, the picturesque small stone streets, the magnificent Basilica: the church of Taxiarches of the 18th century and the Historical and Ethnological Museum of Mani. You will begin your tour in the town from the main square with the statue of Petrobei Mavromichali and the church of Taxiarches, where every March 17th people celebrate the beginning of the Greek Revolution. Then, you may wander around the cobblestoned streets, the old fortified settlement and the imposing towers of Pikoulakis, Kapetanakos, Mavromichali, families that wrote the history of Mani.
Second stop is the capital, Gytheio with its picturesque port, fishermen and numerous fish-taverns, neoclassical buildings, beautiful neighborhoods and beaches. It is worth visiting the Archaeological Museum, the roman theater and Kranai island, which is actually a peninsula and carries the story that Paris and Helen of Troy spent a night here before heading to Troy. Here, you may see the stone tower of Tzanetakis Grigorakis (3d bey of Mani) and the lighthouse of the island (1837) that is 23 meters high.
Our suggestions include also a short tour to Diros Caves and Diros Neolithic Museum. (The Museum is located at the entrance of Alepotrypa cave. It includes representative findings of the cave – pottery, tools, weapons, bone material). You may swim in the same area and then continue towards Limeni where you may visit the family house of Petrobei Mavromichali and have a stop for fresh fish at the local taverns. Walk in Oitylo with a view to the sea and visit the castle of Kelefa and the gorge of Spelaiotissa and see the monastery of Ntekoulos.
Alternatively, you may drive towards Gerolimenas to see the rock of Cavo Grosso and the port that used to be an important commercial center. Continue towards Kyparisso with the beautiful beach and end up to picturesque Vatheia. Drive towards Marmari with the sandy beaches where you may swim and then, after passing by Porto Kagio and Kokkinogeia, where you will see the ancient nekromanteion with the byzantine mosaic, you will end up after 45 minutes' walk to Cape Tainaron (or 'Gates to Hades'), the southernmost point of mainland Greece with the unique lighthouse and the amazing view.
Another interesting excursion is to explore Messinian Mani, a different version of Mani, with a milder and greener beauty. On the way to Stoupa and Kardamili, you will pass through traditional villages such as Agios Nikonas, Lagkada and Thalames. You may swim at the sandy beach of Agios Nikolaos or explore the wild beauty of Trahila.
We remain always at your disposal for any additional information or help related to the excursions you plan to make.
The diet of Mani consists of simple recipes, flavoured with fragrant herbs, honey and vegetables, always cooked with olive oil. Their diet includes pork, poultry, as well as gamy, vegetables, hilopites pasta, trachana and local cheese. Do not be afraid to try Mani syglino (smoked salted pork), pork with celery, rooster with red sauce and spaghetti, sfouggato (spaghetti with mizithra cheese and omelette), pancakes, lalaggia, hilopites pasta, trachana and of course warm bread. For dessert, choose traditional pancakes, diples and milk pie.
And when the journey reaches to its end, take with you those exceptional tastes from the local stores. Olives, olive oil, honey, cheese, delicious sweets, marmalades, herbs, oregano, tea, sage and local wines are sold for unique culinary memories….