23.03.2021

Mount Mainalon and its picturesque villages

The mountainous heart of the Peloponnese

In the region of mountainous Arkadia, in the center of the Peloponnese is located Mt. Mainalon. A continuous mountainous zone over 1000m, with 50 peaks over 1500m, dense forests, beautiful meadows and spectacular gorges, many traditional stone inhabited villages, ruins of ancient, medieval and most recent settlements, temples, monasteries, watermills, stone bridges, old paved paths and forest trails. It is a unified natural, cultural and historical space. It is a unique geomorphological formation where the continuous succession of dozens of peaks and ravines, hundreds mountainous meadows and high plateaus form an impressively varied relief.

The area of Mainalo mountain range presents a great variability of habitats offering shelter to many Greek endemic plant species. However, the most important formations are, that of the forest ecosystems with, Abies cephalonica (Greek fir) and Pinus nigra subsp. pallasiana (Palla’s pine), which are the thickest and best represented in the Peloponnese. Several remarkable amphibians, reptiles and mammals have been recorded in this site. (NATURA 2000, GR2520001)

 

The main villages, all in perfect harmony with the beautiful lush landscape, are:

Stemnitsa; the town of silversmith. A picturesque historical village with stone mansions and typical stone paved allays, overlooking the high cliffs of the spectacular gorge of Lousios. It is built on the site of the ancient Arcadian city of Hypsous, at an altitude of 1080 m. Between Stemnitsa and Dimitsana, is located the spectacular gorge of Lousios River. On its vertical rocky cliffs, the monasteries of Prodromos and Philosopher’s (Philosophou) are nested.

Dimitsana; another picturesque historical town at the opposite side of Lousios Gorge. This is the liveliest village of the mountainous area of Gortynia, at an altitude of 950 m, built on the spot of the ancient Arcadian city of Teuthis that had participated in the Trojan War. Since the 18th century it has been a major commercial center and it has known almost 2 prosperous centuries due to the hydro-power (watermills, washeries, tunning and gunpowder mills)! The open-air hydro-power museum is very interested.

Zygovisti; a very quiet village built on a plateau, at an altitude of 1200 m, near the main passage of West Mainalon. Inhabited since the 16th century it has some very interesting buildings. During the war of independence against the Ottoman occupation, the inhabitants of this village where part of the personal guard of Theodoros Kolokotronis.

Elati; a small village hidden in a crease of West Mainalo, between the dense forest and the riverbed of Mylaon Sream. In vicinity the small settlements of Pyrgaki and Methydrion and also the beautiful chapel of Zoodochos Pigi.

Vytina; a large lively picturesque village built at an altitude of 1030 m, in a flat plateau at the foothills of Mt. Mainalon; at an area that used to be an important agricultural resource. It is believed to have been established after the decline of the ancient city of Methydrion.

Nymfasia; a small village, at an altitude of 840m, tightly bonded to Vytina. It is situated next to Mylaon Stream, which also forms an impressive gorge. At its vicinity the Kernitsa monastic complex and the spectacular Sfyrida hermitage nested on a vertical cliff. According Greek Mythology, the goat-leg god Pan and the Nymphs were frequented at the Nymphasia springs.

Magouliana; a quiet picturesque stone village at the altitude of 1240m, it is today the highest inhabited village of the Peloponnese!

Valtesiniko; another traditional stone village built on the north slopes of Mt. Mainalon at an altitude of 1100 m. It has impressive churches and a monumental old school building; witnesses of the prosperity in the past centuries. At about 1 km from the village, remains of an ancient city, Mycenaean walls and the ruins of a sanctuary of Artemis of the 7th B.C century where excavated.

Langadia; an impressive stone village built in a panoramic position, on the brink of a precipice, at an altitude of 1000 m. It is located at the exit of Mountainous Arcadia and from here used to pass during the antiquity the main road towards Olympia. People from the entire East Peloponnese used to follow this road, on their way to Olympia, in order to participate or watch the Olympic Games.

 

We invite you to explore a different aspect of the Peloponnese, following the steps of ancient mountainous tribes who had created a unique civilization close to mother nature that had inspire European art and literature throughout the centuries. “Et in Arcadia ego!”

An ancient kingdom, a mythical place, a mainly mountainous remote serein place, a very little advertised destination; the area of Mountainous Arcadia is ideal for multi-day adventure holidays but also for active weekends throughout the year.

It is the paradise for hiking and cycling tours and perfect for travelers who seek an out of the ordinary travel experience in Greece. Also a beautiful destination for families that look for unique activity holidays and ecotours.
 

Our tours in Mountainous Arcadia take you through the untouched nature of Mount Mainalon and its traditional picturesque villages.

Our “Trekking experience in the mountainous heart of the Peloponnese”, is a unique hiking experience based on the certified European path “Menalon Trail”.You walk on a trail designed in a way that gives you the opportunity to pass as many as possible of the picturesque traditional villages through the wooded slopes of this wonderful mountain. This is not just a hike in the intact nature but also a study of the tradition and human geography of the Arcadian people throughout the centuries.

In our “Cycling & MTB experience in mountainous Arcadia”, you go cycling and MTBbiking on secondary provincial paved roads and on dirt trails, at an average altitude of 1000 m. You ride your bike on 4 mountains, through the spectacular landscapes of Arcadia; a mountainous region in the center of the Peloponnese, and one of the less populated areas in modern Greece. The last day, you exit on the north coast of the Peloponnese and you go for swimming and relax by the beach.

During our “Southern Greece walking & culture experience”, half of the hikes take place in mountainous Arcadia; one of them takes you through the spectacular gorge of Lousios and another to the highest peak of Mt.Mainalon; Ostrakina at 1981m.

Other than through these tours, you can visit Mountainous Arcadia in tailor-made walking or biking adventures, in combination with other regions of the Peloponnese, such as Argolis and Elis and also include the visit of major historical and cultural sites in your holidays.
 

Arcadia is a must-see whilst traveling through the Peloponnese, in order to have the whole picture of a region that has practically everything one wish to do and visit during his/hers vacations throughout the year in Greece.

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