The Peloponnese is one of Greece’s most magical destinations yet one of the most “hidden.” In our latest Hidden Tales, we’ll introduce you to the lush trails, swift rapids, charming villages and beautiful monasteries that make this destination so special.
Visit the Peloponnese: Arcadia Nature
Those who love nature, love exploring the Peloponnese. In the Peloponnese, Arcadia stands out as a destination that is rich in adventure experiences. One of the longest and most organized trails called Mount Mainalo is the first hiking trail in Greece to receive the European Leading Quality Trails certification. Stretching an impressive total length of 75 kilometers, the trail takes over eight different paths that run through verdant forests and valleys.
Beneath Mount Mainalo, explorers can head into one of the country’s top caves for a different type of adventure. French Archaeologist Gustave Fougeri discovered the Kapsia Cave in 1887 while working on local excavations.
Another nature lover highlight when you visit the Peloponnese will be rafting the Lousios River. It is known for its river flows, making it the perfect destination for those who want to raft in Greece. You’ll appreciate the wilderness that surrounds you as you raft under beautifully built Frankish stone bridges.
Visit the Peloponnese: Monasteries
If there was ever a unique monastery to visit in Arcadia, it is the Prodromou Monastery. This monastery is a sight to see since it was built on the side of a huge rock inside of the Lousios River’s gorge. While it is an impressive architectural feat, it is also a place of history. Built in the 16th century, it ended up playing a role in the Greek revolution as a medical station for wounded soldiers. You can still see bullets lodged in the main entrance door, a result of the skirmishes between the Greeks and the Turks.
Also on the Lousios Gorge is the Filosofou Monastery which was founded in 927. You can explore the Old Monastery and the New Monastery. Venture into the monks’ rooms that were built hundreds of years ago and view the fantastic mural paintings from the Byzantine era.
Visit the Peloponnese: Enchanting Villages
Dimitsana is one of the most beautiful inland villages in Greece. Tucked in the region’s mountain slopes, Dimitsana is known for its medieval character, stone houses and stone paths. The atmosphere here is unique making it one of the most photogenic village destinations in the country. Its location is the perfect home base for anyone planning to hike, raft or ski in the Arcadia region.
Further along the curved mountain roads, you can also stop by Stemnitsa which is also perched in the mountains among lush forests. It was once an important metalworks center in the Balkans and today you can still buy quality handmade jewelry by local artisans.
Another enchanting village highlight during your visit to Arcadia is Karytena. The houses here are a mix of architectures and many were built in the 19th century. Stroll down its cobbled streets and visit the imposing Frankish castle which offers outstanding views to the surrounding area.
Visit the Peloponnese: Ancient Gortyna
The ruins of the Ancient Gortyna archaeological site are worth exploring to learn about how that very spot was once one of the most important Arcadian cities during ancient Greece. The area was first excavated in the mid-20th century when the notable Temple of Asclepius was discovered by archaeologists. Today, you can explore the walls, walk between the crumbling but fascinating remnants of ancient baths, sanctuaries and dwellings that remain.
This sums up our Hidden Tale about Arcadia, one of our favorite hidden gems in Greece? Have you ever paid a visit to the Peloponnese region?