Unforgettable Vacations in Kardamyli of Mani

7th Aug 2016

I fell in love with Kardamyli when I saw it in a Greek TV series and the last five years I lived with the dream of visiting it. «Are you sure? », my boyfriend asked me. «Kardamyli is part of Mani, a place that only a “Game of Thrones” fan would appreciate at most. And you are not a fan of “Game of Thrones”.

He was right. Medieval scenery was not my cup of tea; nevertheless, the physical landscapes of Kardamyli and Mani in general, were simply breathtaking. Emerald waters, pebble beaches, a place of a unique beauty.

“You can have your castles, I can have my waters” I said, and so, here we are in the car, driving the uphill and downhill road over the mountain Taygetos. A road trip full of bends, but really enjoyable, full of olive trees and pines. We could really smell the oregano and the thyme in the air listening to the song of cicadas....

Kardamyli is a typical village of Mani, located on the shore of Messinian Gulf, 35 km southeast of Kalamata. Anyone first sees Kardamyli gets excited as the scenery revealing its beauty –stone houses and emerald sea- and totally understands why Agamemnon offered this settlement to Achilles trying to persuade him rejoin the fight against Trojans (mentioned by Homer in Iliad).

Day 1

Main beach of Kardamyli: deep cold sea, refreshing water makes you feel alive and reborn, truly contacted to the nature as swimming on the foot of Mount Taygetos and impressive clouds pass above it…this place might have been a choice of ancient gods.

At a café behind the beach, tourists watch the sea changing color because of the coming sunset and read their books among olive trees. How peaceful and calm!

However, if someone has an explorative mood, he will be able to discover the history hidden in the stones of the Old Kardamyli.

Day 2

In the Old Kardamili, the Tower of Mourtzinos dominates the whole settlement. The visitor feels like participating in medieval scenery. The building complex includes: the church of St Spiridon, the three-storey tower house and the tall tower itself, the last shelter of the residents. Moutrzinos was the last captain of Mani and many of the townspeople claim to have their origin to him.

Day 3

We also managed to have a visit to Patrick Leigh Fermor’s residence, the famous English author and travel writer (Our friend Nikos from ATaxiQ made it all possible) “All of us here in Kardamyli called him Michalis” the housekeeper told us, “this name was given to him in Crete during the Second World War, when he planned and achieved the abduction of a German General as a member of the British mission”. His amazing house is located in Kalamitsi area, on a hill above the beach build traditionally with the help of the architect Nikos Hatzimichalis and his friend Nikos Hatzikiriakos Ghikas, the famous Greek painter and artist. As the housekeeper was showing us the stone buildings, we admired the studio he used to write in, filled with books and photos of his beloved wife, Joan. But we were astonished to see the sunny living-room with a tremendous view to the sea bay. Outside, the Mediterranean garden goes down to the water. Narrow stone steps lead to a small pebble coast. “Mr Michalis used to swim all over the little island Meropi” - That’s why he reached 96 years old, I thought. How boring and useless our lives seem compared to those of excellent men!

Well, this vacation had it all: nature, history and new experiences!