Why not come to the Peloponnese and hike along The Menalon Trail on a self-guided walking holiday. The Menalon Trail is a 75 km long mountain trail which has been award by the Leading Quality Trails-Best of Europe. The trailhead is located in Stemnitsa in the heart of the Peloponnese. During the week you shall walk passing some impressive monasteries built on cliffs, through authentic Greek villages and through remote unspoilt mountains. Along the trail, you will pass through the impressive Lousios Gorge and along the valley of the Mylaon River. Soon you shall reach Vytina famous for its black marble production. The scenery is varied from dense lush forests to open fields with walnut trees. The trail leads you across pretty stone bridges such as the ancient stone bridge at Zarziou, all the timekeeping at a high altitude of 1000-1500m.
The walks are mostly unsurfaced tracks; footpaths and mountain trails. This area is pretty remote, but a great place to immerse yourself in pure nature.
You will find all the overnight villages have a wonderful charm and are authentic, they do offer excellent accommodation.
Tsarbou Xenonas Stemnitsa: www.xenonas-tsarbou.gr/
Proselinos Xenonas : www.proselinos.gr/en-gb
Elati – Chalet Elati : www.facebook.com/chlat.elati/
Aiora Suites : www.aiora-suites.gr
Agropoli : www.agropoli.gr
Valtesiniko Studios: www.valtessinikostudios.gr/
Kentrikon : www.maniatis-hotels
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Hooked on Walking that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the chosen activity and for emergency evacuation and hospital care.
During the course of the day, you arrive into Stemnitsa. You can easily reach this from Athens or Kalamata airport via Tripoli by bus. When you arrive you may wish to visit the Menalon trail office in the central square of Stemnitsa for a briefing. Stemnitsa is the traditional village of goldsmiths, it still houses the Stemnitsa’s Silver and Goldsmith School. There is also a nice folk museum which is worth a short visit.
Today your first walk leaves Stemnitsa with a path that zigzags down into the valley, then via an old mule track, you reach the Prodomos Monastery which can be seen hanging on the high cliffs. After a visit, you can continue along the path that now traverses the gorge. You ascend to the Old Philosophou Monastery which dates from 963 before continuing to the New Philosophou Monastery that was founded in 1691! Now you walk through lush vegetation ascending via the left bank of the Lousios River towards Dimitsana. Now you cross the Tzani bridge across the river and come to an interesting Open-Air Water Power Museum. Nearby you find watermills and gunpowder mills, that made the fame and wealth of Dimitsana, a town built on the ruins of ancient Theftis.
The first section today from Dimitsana to Zygovisti ascends from the Lousios valley to the outskirts of a pine forest. The footpath ascends gently. Wonderful views of the median basin of the Lousios river with the settlements of Dimitsana, Paliochori and Zatouna standing out in the wooded landscape can be seen from the church of St. Paraskevi. You now have a section on footpaths and dirt roads through old agricultural fields. Zygovisti played an important role in the Greek independence war of 1821. You will see a big Memorial dedicated to this event. After a break at a local café the route continues and straddles the Western Menalon massif, first through a beautiful ravine to the country church of Agios Georgios and the adjacent spring, then the track ascends through dense forests until the saddle from where you can optionally ascend the Pliovouni summit of 1643m, the highest peak of this route.
After this demanding section, you descend via small roads and paths, passing fountains and chapels, to the mountain settlement of Elati.
Elati is well known for its woodcrafts and there is a workshop worth visiting. After this start today’s hike by descending to the riverbed of the Mylaon River. Soon you arrive at the Pirgaki Springs that supply Vytina with water. As you walk beside the river the vegetation becomes even richer with high plane trees. You will walk past abandoned watermills and across a nice wooden bridge. Now you shall leave the valley and ascend zigzagging via a path which is carved in the rocks all the way to the Artotsi Fountain. Nearby is the Agia Paraskevi church from which you have great views over the valley and mountain. Soon you shall soon reach Vytina your destination.
Firstly today you start with walking back to the Artotsi Fountain and then descend via a zigzagging path into the valley of the Mylaon River again. At the pretty wooden bridge, you now follow the river in a northerly direction. In the area called Zarzi, you will see the very beautiful single-arch bridge of Zarzi with 2 relieving openings on the sides. Gradually now you shall ascend to Old Vytina. Here you are back on the Menalon Trail that leads you to Mavra Litharia, a massive limestone boulder in the riverbed of the Mylaon River, thus creating an impressive gorge. You come to a second stone bridge that once secured the connection between Vytina and the western Gortynian villages. The trail descends to a short gorge before ascending gently through a rock-and-shrub landscape. Leading through oak and spruce forests, the trail descends to Nymfasia, a small village. You follow the route towards Kernitsas Monastery and just before the monastery head to your accommodation.
Today you walk to the Kernitsa Bridge, then ascend via a steep path to the Kernitsas Monastery, a big monastic complex surrounded by well-maintained terraced fields. After a visit, you cross a dense pine forest and arrive at the Sfyrida Hermitage with a spring in front. You traverse the foot of the long steep slope of Kastro. An old pathway leads you along with the Gavros Spring. You enter the small settlement of Magouliana where you can find a tavern or café for a nice break for refreshments.
Soon after this, you will come across a place with splendid views. You descend toward the old sanatorium, known as the Mana Sanatorium. A good path now leads you in a gradual ascent to the village of Valtesiniko.
From the upper peripheral road of Valtesiniko Village, we have splendid views over the northern plains. Now you walk via a footpath along the ridge where you find the Byzantine Fortress of Valtesiniko. Then you descend through the open landscape with stunning views until the church of Agia Triada. The route now traverses an extensive pine forest and you gain some altitude before going down again until the Krya Vrysi fountain. You ascend the path to the saddle and then, finally, on the western edge of this region, you will see Lagkadia. Through fields and along a small spring you come to the outskirts of Lagkadia where the Rapi Watermills are situated. The Menalon Trail now ends in Lagkadia, the village of the stone builders.
Depart after breakfast.
By plane to Athens and then by bus to Tripoli followed by a taxi or private transfer to Stemnitsa. You can also fly to Kalamata airport and then bus to Tripoli followed by a taxi or private transfer to Stemnitsa. On departure, you take a taxi or private transfer to Tripoli and then bus back to Athens or Kalamata.
2024 Prices – For a complete tour price breakdown please click the book now button and select your holiday tour date. Prices will then be listed.
|Tour Code||Prices From (per person)||Book Now|
|Menalon (7 Nights)||from £609||Book Now|
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