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Gythio Greece is a port town placed in the southern Peloponesse and belongs to the prefecture of Laconia. In ancient times, it used to be the port of Sparta, while today is the capital of Mani, an area between Sparta and Monemvasia. This seaside town is characterized for its clean beaches and its good fish restaurants. Because of its long history, Gythio also has some interesting archaeological sites, such as the remains of the ancient town and an ancient theatre.

The most famous part of Gythio, however, is the islet of Kranae. The myth says that this is where Prince Paris and Helen spend the night before they left for Troy. The islet, right in the harbor of Gythio, hosts a small church, the church of Agios Petros, the tower of Tzanetakis and a lighthouse, where the nautical museum of Gythio is found.

The traditional features of Gythio make it very valuable. However, the town does not lack proper tourism infrastructure. Gythio is a very popular destination among the Athenians, who usually come here and spend their weekends. In fact, Gythio is a well-organized town with modern and varied accommodation options, gift shops and entertainment options.

Furthermore, there are a good number of beaches in a short distance from the town center and most of them give the chance to do some water sports. Also, windsurfing is also popular in the area due to the fine wind conditions of the gulf.

The beaches of Mavrovouni and Skoutari are the best reputed and they are also suitable for camping. In these beaches, a sea turtle species, Caretta-Caretta, nests and lays its eggs. Gythio is also close to many famous towns and sites, such as Areopoli, Mystras and the caves of Diros, so it is a good base for excursions.

Read also in our blog: Gythio: The unprecedented beauty of Peloponnese | Gythio: Take a walk to the picturesque side


8 Reviews
  • cretef33 14 Jun 2011
    Holidays with romance
    If you ever get the chance to visit the town of Gythio, you will be amazed by the picturesque beauty. I've heard before that some places in Peloponissos are worth visiting. Gythio is definitely one of those destinations where the architecture and scenic atmosphere captivate visitors. At the town of Gythio, you see many neoclassical houses, narrow streets, and shops lined in front of the port. The town has some romance. We also visited the ancient theatre up the hill.

    Gythio has the finest beaches with clean waters and sandy shores. Top is Mavrovouni, the best of all beaches in Peloponnese. Actually most rooms and hotels in Gythio are located in Mavrovouni. In the evenings, we wondered around the town, all the way up to the hill and to the small islet of Kranae. We ate good seafood dishes, a little expensive but tasteful. The most typical scene of Gythio is the octopuses hang at a line to get dry. A good day excursion from Gythio is the Cave of Diros, the most beautiful lake cave I've visited. I had been to another lake cave in Melissani Kefalonia, but think Diros is more impressive.
  • ginaelaine 08 Oct 2009
    Stoupa and the Peloponnese for the first time
    We returned from our very 1st trip to Stoupa in July- and only 4 days into our holiday...... We booked to return next July!! We rented a perfect 1 bedroomed house just a few minutes stroll from the beach/harbour - we had a kitchen/living room downstairs, a bedroom, balcony and bathroom on the first floor and an outside spiral staircase to the roof terrace.

    The flight with T. Cook went as well as a flight with T. Cook can - we arrived in record time due to a very strong 134 mph tail wind! It took just over 2 1/2 hours - a personal best according to the pilot! Our bags arrived quickly, we collected the hire car and were on our way within just over 30 from landing. It was a pleasure to land at such a clean and efficient airport - compared to others that shall remain nameless!!

    We had directions to drive from Kalamata to Stoupa and they proved to be spot on - the only thing that we found was instead of taking just over an hour, the drive took us just over an hour and a half - because we kept stopping to take photographs!!

    We - eventually - found our house, after a phonecall to the local contact and quicky unpacked the essentials - swimwear, towels, suncream and cash before setting off to find some lunch. We were both rather hungry, and so we stopped at the first harbourside taverna we came across, and what a good choice it was! We have been visiting Greece several times a year since 1997, and I can honestly say that ALL the food we had in Stoupa was by far the best we have ever had in Greece - quality, quantity and price! We had found our favourite lunchtime taverna - Akrogiali - and had most of our leisurely lunches there, washed down with a jug or two of excellent house red. We then wanted to swim, swim, swim and we did just that! It was so warm we were still on the beach at 7.30 pm, and it made a pleasant change for the sun beds and umbrellas to be free! We eventually dragged ourselves away from the beach to shower and change for dinner, and after walking the full length of the bay, we settled down to eat in Liastres, overlooking the bay. Another excellent choice, with great food, great views and friendly, efficient service - so much so that we ate there several nights during our stay.

    The next morning we drove to Agios Nicholas, which is a very pretty little harbour with lots of waterside tavernas and fishing boats. Many photographs later we drove back past Stoupa to Kardamilli beach for a refreshing swim from the pebble beach before heading back to Stoupa for lunch. More swimming followed lunch and then drinks in Angeliki before dinner again at Liastres.

    Up early Tuesday and off to the famous Diros Caves. The drive down was lovely, passing through some lovely traditional Mani villages (more photo stops!!) and amazing scenery. The caves were commercialised, but not overly so. I purchased my ticket and waited for the next boat. What can I say - the caves were amazing, like something out of fairyland with stalactites and stalagmites wherever I looked - my poor camera went into overdrive! All too soon the magical boat ride was over and it was time to walk the last few metres back to the outside world. It was so hot outside after the cool of the caves, that it was time for yet another swim, before visiting the little church above the beach. We then headed back to Akrogiali for lunch before spending a lazy afternoon on the beach. That night we had dinner in Pefki before walking along the bay to Enigma for late night drinks.

    Wednesday morning saw a very hot walk to Kalogria beach for a swim, but we found it a bit too busy for our liking, so we headed back to our fav taverna for lunch. This was followed by another lazy afternoonn on the beach, drinks in Angeliki and dinner at Liastres.

    I have forgotten to mention that most evenings we watched the sunset from our roof terrace, which was lovely. It was one of the only times we were able to sit up there for any length of time as it was so hot!

    Another early start on Thursday saw us heading towards Kalamata to find the mountain road to Sparti. We had hoped to turn off before we hit the town, but we missed the turning and had to brave the town and all the traffic! I won't go into details, but 30 stressful minutes and a couple of wrong turns later, we were on the right road!! And what an amazing road it was - a real mountain drive with hairpin bends, deep gorges and cut away rocks and a tunnel! Words do not do it justice - it has to be driven to be appreciated. We took a detour to visit the Byzantine settlement of Mystras, which was incredible - had to fit a new camera battery!! There were churches, palaces and other ruins all over the hillside with a huge fortress at the top. It was very hot again that day, and so we were only able to walk around just about half of all that was there - we will return next year to see more. We continued our drive through Sparti to Gythio and beyond to a wide sandy beach for a swim before lunch and a drive back along the coast to Stoupa (avoiding Kalamata!!) and dinner at Akrogiali.

    Agios Dimitrios and Trachila were our destinations the next morning - both vey pretty harbours with lots of friendly cats to photograph! Back to Akrogiali for lunch and then out in kayaks to explore the sea cave between Stoupa and Kalogria beach. Dinner again at Liastres and then a slow stroll back home along the beach in the early hours!

    Our last full day arrived all too soon, and we set off to explore the mountain villages behind Stoupa. We drove through Kastania, Sidona and Exochori - stopping for goats a couple of times - before dropping back down to the coast road near Kardamilli. We had a final lunch in Akrogiali, did some more swimming and went out in a double kayak - taking the video camera this time! Muggins here was in the front doing all the work while Chris sat in the back filming! We wanted to go back to the sea cave, but the sea was a bit too rough, so we had to be content with filming Kalogria and Stoupa from the sea! We had our last dinner in Liastres and said goodbye to the two lovely hardworking waiters there - with promises to return again next year!

    We had to leave for the airport by 10.00 am, so we were up bright and early to pack. Half way through packing, at about 8.00 am we both decided to go for one last swim and it was fantastic!! We had a good drive back to Kalamata and a reasonable flight home. Once again, the airport ws very efficient and the reps friendly - even though we were independent travellers! Landing at LGW was a bit scary, as there was a very strong head wind!

    We have since decided we can't wait until July, and so have booked a week in May as well!!!
  • olga30 28 May 2009
    Nice town and landscape
    We had much fun in our vacations in Gythio. Actually, we stayed only for three days there during our tour in Laconia. Last summer, we thought not to visit another Greek island but see a bit of mainland in Greece. After Monemvasia, we went to Gythio. This is a lovely typical port town. With many fish taverns along the port and nice beaches around. We had rented a room in Mavrovouni, a gorgeous large beach less than 10 minutes drive from Gythio. There were watersports for the kids in Mavrovouni, my daughter loved banana rides! Other close beaches are Selinitsa, picturesque for photo but I didn't let my kids swim there because a rusty old shipwreck was on the shore. But other people were swimming there. The landscape around Gythio was full of old stone towers and the locals told us that they belonged to fighters of the Greek revolution. Areopoli was a nice town, too. Unfortunately, we didn't know about Caves Diros and we didn't go there. From the photos I have seen on the Internet, it must be nice.
  • vasilikiang 02 Feb 2009
    Gythio and Diros Caves
    We went to Gythio on a daily excursion from Movemvasia. The trip was not very long, about 1 hour and a half by car. After we crossed some nice barren landscape, we went first to the Caves of Diros (or else Vlychada cave), about 1 hour away from Gythio.

    They were some beautiful caves with strange formations of stalactites and stalagmites. You would jump into a boat, wear your life jacket and make the tour of the lake cave. You can see formations of a horse, a child, the room of the colours, many nice pictures all made of water and colour... If I remember well, the caves close at 4 or 5 in the afternoon, I am not sure. The ambience around is barren and rocky, while a narrow beach is close to the cave entrance.

    Back to Gythio, we just wandered in the waterfront, where there are many cafeterias and fish taverns. The islet of Kranae close to the harbour is connected to the mainland with a short paved walkway. A white church, dedicated to Agios Petros, is in the front side, but unfortunately it was closed when we went. Some small ducks would play and sing on the rocks underneath the church.

    In the centre of the island, there is the impressive and very well-preserved Tzanetakis Tower. Today, it hosts the Museum of Mani but it is open only in the morning on weekdays. At the back of the island, there is a lighthouse that is said to be a naval museum, however we saw some newly-washed clothes outspread in the yard of the lighthouse. I guess someone is living there permanently, maybe the lighthouse keeper or a sailor on duty... As for beaches close to Gythio, I can't really speak because we didn't swim. However, I've heard that Mavrovouni is the best.
  • zane 09 Dec 2008
    Enjoy the special aura
    Gythio is very nice coastal town with its special aura created by small fishermen boats all around the harbor and houses perched on the hillside. We stayed at Gythio Hotel just in front of the harbor. There was a wide choice of restaurants all along the port. Food was great everywhere, especially fresh fish. The most impressive place we visited were the Caves of Diros, with the underground river and fantastic formations of stalagmites and stalactites. I was surprised that the caves are not popularly known and very little information is found in travel guides. Another "must" place is Monemvasia - a medieval town perched on the side of the cliff. The town was so charming with its narrow pedestrian streets, old churches, small shops and restaurants. In low season, both places should be visited in the first half of the days, as caves close early and also in Monemvasia most shops were already closed when we were going away in the afternoon. For those who say that they do not need the shops, the town looses third of its aura without them, believe it or not.
  • pakotini24 10 Aug 2008
    You will love Mani
    I like the Greek mainland more than the islands, since I get too tired of ships. So, we went to Gythio to spend our summer holidays this year. It is was first time there and I truly loved the rocky soil of Mani. Gythio has both impressive neoclassical buildings and old mansions, ready to collapse. The hotels in the area are generally new and modern. We stayed in Mavrovouni, where most tourists actually stay. You can find from luxurious hotels to rooms with 40 euros a night. Rates vary actually!! It depends on the facilities you want. In Gythio, definitely visit Tzanetakis Tower and you should better go in the daytime to catch the Museum of Mani open.
  • fmigni 06 Jul 2008
    From Gythion to Mani Peninsula
    Gythion is just an excuse to write about Mani; I have visited Greece for Holidays since 1970; I have been in more than 30 differente Islands (which I loved), but the Mani experience last year was something extraordinary! I was prepared reading the book of P. Leigh Fermor; Mani is completely different from Greece but ... still you feel as being in Greece! Beaches, Food, Churches are similar to the rest of Greeck Islands, but the villages and the people are completely different. The Mani experience is something will last in your memory. If you want to go there, Porto Kajo bay is the best place to stay. From ther you can visit the most impressive tower-villages, the wonderful beaches with cristal water, the Dirou Cave, one of the best marine cave I have ever visited, etc. etc. I recommend Greeka's Administrators to open a section dedicated to Mani.
  • iliasgek34 24 Jun 2008
    Lovely enough to go
    This is a nice destination for a weekend. We live in Athens and go there frequently. Not much sightseeing but nice sea and good taverns close to the port. The most famous sight of Gythio is Kranae, a small island with a strong tower and a lighthouse on it. A festival is held there usually in August, with some theatre performances and concerts. The best beach is of course Mavrovouni, although it is very crowded.