Mani is my favourite summer destination. I have spent there every summer of my life – and some Easter holidays as well. After the construction of the new road, Mani is only 3 hours from Athens.
Limeni and Oitylo
When you arrive in Mani, you will see a crossroads. You can choose between heading towards Areopoli or Limeni and Oitylo. Let’s start this trip by going to Limeni and Oitylo. Both are located by the sea. Especially if you happen to be there in the evening, I am sure that you will fall in love with this place because of its unique sunset. In Limeni as well as in Oitylo, you can swim and enjoy your meal at the local seaside tavernas. They mainly serve seafood dishes with fish for all tastes. Here, you will be pleasantly surprised. Why? Because you will have the pleasure to see two sea turtles. The most daring ones will also have the chance to swim with them!
Now, if you continue straight ahead to the crossroads that I previously mentioned, you will reach Areopoli. There you will find a very beautiful square and our little friends can have fun at the playground. As for the rest of you, there are various cafés and tavernas around the square, where you can enjoy your coffee and regional specialities such as the traditional pies that are called “travixtes” and which I recommend that you try before leaving. Feel free to wander around the alleys and enjoy the trip, leaving, of course, your car behind. You will see many shops with local products, culinary specialities and sweets from Mani.
Moreover, you can visit the churches that you will find there. They are three in total. However, the most beautiful one is the Taxiarchon Church, located at the end of an alley. I never miss the chance to take photos at this place every time I am there. Furthermore, I would also advise you not to leave from Areopoli without visiting the traditional bakery (200 years old) “The bakery of Kyra-Milia“. There you will find fresh homemade bread and other products such as cookies, rusks, lalagia (fried dough cookies with oil), cheese pies, greens pies and travixtes pies, all baked in a wood-fired oven.
On your way to Diros, you will see a street on the left that leads to Kotronas, another beautiful place in Mani. Although I have been there only once, I can say for sure that it is a lovely place and you can visit it either for a meal or to swim in one of the beaches! Be careful, especially during the night hours, because it isn’t rare to see a fox or a hedgehog on the street. However, don’t be scared! They are definitely more scared than you are!
The next destination of our road trip in Mani is Diros. This place is known for its caves that totally worth a visit. It is a unique experience. The guided tour starts inside a little boat (10 person capacity) and is conducted by people who know all about minerals! It lasts around 30 minutes and after the tour, you can walk around exploring the place on your own. Don’t forget to smile during your walk because, at some point, the tour guides are going to take photos of you. You can take these photos at the end of the tour.
Don’t miss the chance to swim in the sea next to the caves. The colours of the landscape are amazing. Before leaving, you can also visit the Neolithic Museum.
Vatheia is a very beautiful and picturesque village. What struck me is that it consists solely of stone houses. While driving, you will reach a place where you can enjoy Vatheia from above and take photos with the stone houses in the background.
Located by the sea and ideal for a meal, a cup of coffee, a swim in the sea or just a walk next to the sea.
The final destination of this road trip is Marmari. It is around 40 minutes from Diros. The ride is a little difficult because you have to drive up and down the mountain. But it is worth the trouble. A beautifully wild sight is awaiting you. Parking might be a problem. But Marmari is one of the few sandy beaches in Mani. There you can find a hotel and tavernas overlooking the blue-green waters.
There are even more magical places in Mani where I have never been. However, I am sure that the above-mentioned destinations will amaze you.