The Mani Peninsula (Greek: Μάνη, Mánē), also long known by its medieval name Maina or Maïna (Μαΐνη), is a geographical and cultural region in Greece that is home to the Maniots (Mανιάτες, Maniátes in Greek). The capital city of Mani is Areopoli. Mani is the central peninsula of the three which extend southwards from the Peloponnese in southern Greece. To the east is the Laconian Gulf, to the west the Messenian Gulf. The peninsula forms a continuation of the Taygetos mountain range, the western spine of the Peloponnese.
The region of Mani is located in Southern Peloponnese, and it expands in the prefectures of Lakonia and Messinia. It is an area of great history and beauty and offers visitors a variety of activities. I am very lucky to have spent many summers and weekends in the area, as I have a lot of friends from there. I have stayed in both prefectures, Lakonia, and Messinia, not only in friend’s houses but hotels as well.
Things to do in Mani Peloponnese:
It’s a picturesque fishing village with excellent fish taverns and beautiful tower houses. Here you can admire the tower house of the Mavromichalis family, which played a significant role in the Greek War of Independence. The village is perfect for swimming as well. Although it doesn’t have a proper beach, a few steps are leading to the turquoise waters of the sea. I had my first bath of the season there earlier in June.
Areopoli means the city of Ares, the ancient Greek god of war. It is the capital of the area, and it was declared as a traditional settlement. At the center of the town, there is a big square with the statue of Petrobay’s Mavromichalis. Around the plaza, there are some beautiful stone alleys, with many preserved tower houses, churches, shops, taverns, and bars.
In ancient times, it used to be the most important port of the area. Now it’s a traditional fishing village with lovely restaurants and a pebbled beach.
The village of Gerolimenas
The traditional settlement of Vathia is located on the top of a hill with incredible views. It is a scenic village with around 70 tower houses that are all abandoned. During the 19th century, it was a community full of life. Vathia is among my favorite places in Mani; I love walking around the abandoned tower houses.