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Menalon Trail in Peloponnese

€575 per person

Greece is not only ancient history, delicious cuisine, and marble beaches! The Land of the Muses is proud to have beautiful mountains, green pastures, and numerous lakes. This independent hiking trip will help you explore one of the longest mountain trails – The Menalon Trail. The whole distance is 75 km and it starts from Stemnitsa located in the heart of the Peloponnese. Awarded as one of the best hiking trails of Europe, it is well-signposted and well-maintained. Through the lush Lousios Gorge, the trail straddles the Western Menalon massif and runs through the Valley of the Mylaon River until the lively town of Vytina. The long-distance walking trail will passes through delightful green forests, crosses many bridges and from time to time you will reach pretty villages with unpronounceable names like Valtesiniko and Magouliana. The panoramas will leave you speechless, the rich history of the region and the whole country will invoke your curiosity and the dishes are not just a plate of food but an important piece of the whole puzzle called Peloponnese! Take a self-guided walking trip in Greece and make your Mediterranean dream come true!

  • Destination
  • Duration
    8 Days I Difficulty: 3/4 (of 5)
  • What is included
    7 nights accommodation (variety of 2-3* hotels and local guesthouses with en-suite rooms) on B&B basis (1 in Stemnitsa, 1 in Dimitsana, 1 in Elati, 1 in Vytina, 1 in Nymfasia, 1 in Valtesiniko, and 1 in Lagkadia); Luggage transfers on days 2-7; Detailed road book and maps in English; Emergency phone assistance;
  • What is not included
    Airport arrival and airport departure transfers; Travel insurance; Admissions and entrance fees of any kind; Drinks and other meals; City tax (payable locally in the hotels; 1,5-3 Euro per person/night)
  • Best period
    January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
1
Day 1 : Arrival in Stemnitsa
Best arrival airports: Athens and Kalamata (check the Rates & Remarks tab for travel hints, incl. public and private transfer options). You may visit the official Menalon Trail office in the central square of Stemnitsa for a briefing and suggestions. Stemnitsa is traditionally the village of goldsmiths and still houses the Stemnitsa's Silver and Goldsmith School. There is also a nice folk museum.
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Day 2: From Stemnitsa through the Lousios gorge to Dimitsana (13km, 5hrs, +780m/-910m)
Start the hiking tours from the village following a on old mule track that heads towards Prodromos Monastery - hanging on the high cliffs. You can visit it or continue along the path that traverses the gorge. If you wish, you can ascend to the Old Philosophou Monastery dating back to 963 before continuing to the New Philosophou Monastery that was founded in 1691. Greece is very rich of monasteries that kept the traditions, culture and language alive throughout the centuries or foreign rule.  Through lush plants, you ascend via the left bank of the Lousios River towards Dimitsana. Tzani bridge will cross the river and will take to the very interesting Open Air Water Power Museum. You can observe watermills and gunpowder mills that made the fame and wealth of Dimitsana, a town built on the ruins of ancient Theftis.
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Day 3: Walk from Dimitsana to Elati via Zygovisti (19km, 7hr, +1215m/-995m) (* possible to start in Zygovisti and reduce the mileage with 4,2 km)
The Menalon hiking trail is divided into sections and today's one (“Dimitsana-Zygovisti”) ascends from Lousios valley to the outskirts of the pine forest. The trail is not steep so you can enjoy it on your own pace with enough time for taking pictures and admiring the beauty that surrounds you. From the church of St. Paraskevi you can enjoy impressive views of median basin of Lousios river with the settlements of Dimitsana, Paliochori and Zatouna standing out in the wooded landscape. Your walking journey continues on dirt roads through old agriculture fields with remarkable peaks in the distant. Every place here has played even a simple role in forming the eternal history but Zygovisti played a huge role during the Greek independence war of 1821. A big Memorial located nearby is dedicated to this event of great local importance. Take a break in some of the local cafes until feeling ready to continue to the Western Menalon massif. The first part of the trail passes a beautiful ravine where you will reach another church (Agios Georgios) and the adjacent spring. The other half of the route will go uphill through dense forests, where you can optionally climb the highest peak - Pliovouni (1643m). After this challenging section, you descend via small roads and paths to the mountain settlement of Elati.
4
Day 4: From Elati to Vytina (9km, 3hrs, +350m/-505m)
You can postpone your hike by visiting first the woodcraft workshop before descending from Elati to the riverbed of Mylaon River. Once you start today's trek you will pass through Pirgaki Springs that supply village of Vytina with water, after which you reach a stone build Makrinou fountain - a very nice place to make a stop. Along the trail the vegetation becomes even more rich with high plane trees. Then you leave the valley and start zigzagging uphill via path carved into the rock until you reach the Artotsi fountain. Another church on your way will give you the opportunity to stop and admire the great scenery over the valley and the mountain. A small road will take you then down to Vytina - a small mountain village protected according to legends by Poseidon and Demetra since ancient times.
5
Day 5: From Vytina to Nymfasia via Zarziou bridge (12km, 4hrs, +630m/-830m)
Today you will have the chance to admire an amazing landscape. A zig-zag path from Vytina will lead you to the valley of Mylaon River. Many bridges you will cross (wooden/stone) but probably the most impressive one will be Zarzi - a single-arch stone bridge with beautiful openings from both sides. The path takes you further past a peculiarly shaped limestone pillar. Another stone bridge is the connection between Vytina and the Western Gortynian villages (Tzavarenas’ bridge). The path gains altitude and reveals a unique rocky landscape covered with shrubs. A more gentle trek descends down towards Nymphasia - a small vivid satellite of Vytina. You follow the route towards Kernitsas Monastery and just before the monastery turn to your accommodation.
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Day 6: Walk from Nymfasia via Magouliana to Valtesiniko (16km, 6hrs, +1200m/-930m)
Today’s walk starts from Kernitsa Bridge and steeply goes uphill to Kernitsas Monastery - a big monastic complex dated back to 12th century - probably the oldest monastery in the prefecture of Arcadia. Surrounded by well-maintained terrace fields, on the top of a rock, it gives the sense of a very isolated place. Back then and even now this is the preferred way of ascetic life for those who want to devote their life to God. Your trek continues on a long steep slope of Kastro. The old pathway will take you then to Gavros Spring, after which you enter a small village of Magouliana where you can spend some time in a cozy tavern or café. Once you are ready to leave Magouliana, the trail will show up with impressive views, surrounded by rocky peaks. Descend towards an old sanatorium, known as the Mana Sanatorium and then gradually lift off to the village of Valtesiniko (well-known for its woodcarvers). The village has plenty of taverns where you can enjoy your evening meal.
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Day 7: Walk from Valtesiniko to Lagkadia (14km, 5hrs, +810m/-980m)
Your final walking day, before you finish your Greek Adventure, will pass by an impressive old school in Valtesiniko Village and access the upper peripheral road of the settlement, from where the view overlooks all the northern plains. Gain attitude via a cement road (1250 m) after which the footpath runs along the ridge where the old Byzantine fortress of Valtesiniko is nested. The trail traverses a dense fir forest through numerous widened paths. You will pass many open spaces, forests, splendid panorama, churches, watermills and fountains until you reach the end of the Menalon Trail and your trekking adventure - Lagkadia, the village of the stone builders.
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Day 8: Departure

TOUR LOCATION

Price
575 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (01/05-29/09)
610 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (01/01-30/04; 30/09-31/12);
* Triple rooms available upon request.
** N.B.: If your travel period falls into two periods with different prices, the one with the higher price will be invoiced!
Single room & Solo Traveler supplement
Single room supplement:
315 Euro (01/05-29/09)
360 Euro (01/01-30/04; 30/09-31/12)
Solo traveler supplement:
425 Euro (01/05-29/09) (incl. sgl. room supplement)
480 Euro (01/01-30/04; 30/09-31/12) (incl. sgl. room supplement)
Tips
Daily departures between January and December. Because of the altitude of the trek (between 1000-1500m), the best spring period is after 20/04 until end of May. Also June, September and October are very suitable periods for this trip. July & August average temperature is 32C. It is also a great winter destination. Temperatures in December-February drop to 7–10C, with high chances of snow. Accommodations provide excellent facilities and have fire places.
Best arrival airports: Athens and Kalamata. From Athens Airport you can travel by public transport from Athens Airport to the KTEL bus station Kifissou with a direct Express Bus. There is direct bus from Bus station Kifissou to Tripoli, appr. once per hour. From Tripoli Bus station to Stemnitsa you can take a taxi on the spot. A prepaid optional taxi transfer can be booked at the time of your booking. From Lagkadia to Tripoli Bus station you can take a taxi on the spot. A prepaid optional taxi transfer can be booked at the time of your booking. There are appr. 3 public buses daily. From Tripolis Bus station to Athens is a long distance bus, app. once per hour. If you are landing at (or departing from) Kalamata Airport please check details for public transportation with us.
Private transfers (per car, 1-4pax): Lagkadia-Stemnitsa: 45 Euro; Lagkadia-Kalamata airport: 175 Euro; Lagkadia-KTEL Tripoli: 90 Euro; Kalamata airport-Stemnitsa: 130 Euro; KTEL Tripolis-Stemnitsa: 60 Euro; Athens Airport-Athens center and vice versa: 75 Euro; Lagkadia-Athens airport: 230 Euro; Athens airport-Stemnitsa: 230 Euro;
Moderate day walks are interspersed with more strenuous excursions, 4-6 hours per day (excluding breaks) on hilly to mountainous areas using well kept, sometimes stony paths. The walks are mostly via rocky footpaths, dirt roads and occasionally cobbled footpaths (kalderimia). There are no section on asphalt road. The area is remote and during the day you will be in pure nature, now and then encountering a local farmer. The villages where you stay overnight are of exceptional charm and beauty and offer excellent accommodation and good food. By booking this trip, you sponsor the Menalon Trail voluntary organization for the maintenance of the paths and marks with 12,50 Euro.
Accommodation
Combination of of 2-3* hotels and local guesthouses with en-suite rooms incl. breakfast (1 in Stemnitsa, 1 in Dimitsana, 1 in Elati, 1 in Vytina, 1 in Nymfasia, 1 in Valtesiniko, and 1 in Lagkadia);

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