Peloponnesos tour #4: time to explore The Mani Peninsula
After spending only a week in Kyparissi, we decided to move on for now. We know we are coming back for some more serious climbing when we are both in better shape. Therefore, now is an excellent time to explore The Mani Peninsula of the beautiful Peloponnesos.
Mani is the middle of the three south-facing fingers of the Peloponnesos. Apparently, it is characterised by desertedness, vast landscapes and beautiful, mostly abandoned, stone villages. This is indeed what we’ve seen and it’s absolutely stunning. These deserted landscapes are constantly surrounded by the beautiful Mediterranean sea and sheer rock cliffs dive steeply into the ocean.
We made a little hike beside the rugged coastline and ended up at the southernmost tip of mainland Greece (and Europe?); the Tenaro lighthouse marks the endpoint of the Mani Peninsula. No sight of Africa in the distance yet though! Unfortunately, Africa is not as close here as from Tarifa, from where we could actually see Maroccan streetlamps on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Gates of Hades
At the starting point of this hike to the Mani Peninsula lighthouse, you can find the Sanctuary and Death Oracle of Poseidon Tainarus. We came here looking for the Caves (or Gates) of Hades, expecting to find an impressive cave leading into the underworld where Hades – King of the Dead – ruled in Greek mythology. Unfortunately, we found only a scrambling of rocks with a small altar inside. Bit of a downer to be honest… but we had a lovely hike nonetheless!
Another beautiful place on the Mani Peninsula is the Katafygi cave or the Cave of Agios Demetrios. In summer this is a popular swimming spot. Now, however, in the middle of winter, we had the place all to ourselves. These marble limestone rocks resemble an amphitheatre going straight into the ocean! So stunning.
Winter is coming
After a few days cruising through this gorgeous peninsula, it is time to drive upwards into the mountains, and as it seems, straight into winter. Look at that snow in the distance!