Walking in the Peloponnese

£10.00

Landscapes of SOUTHERN PELOPONNESE: walks and car tours

by Michael Cullen

The Mani was probably our best ever holiday in Greece and your book played its part! (JHG, Walton-on-Thames)

[The Author] chose the Southern Peloponnese because it packs the most variety into the smallest space… I cannot recommend this guide more warmly. It may just infuse you too with a little madness for the mountains. (Athens News)

As someone who has enjoyed trekking in Greece with Michael, I can tell you that this book is almost as good as having him by your side. His directions are full of his characteristic wit and humor and he shares his deep knowledge of Greek culture effortlessly, providing nuggets of history, botany and such miscellany as how to deal with fierce sheepdogs. Reading his descriptions may whet your appetite for taking every single walk, but he also tells you where you might not want to go if your legs are a bit weak or you have no head for heights. But you don’t have to have stout calves and hiking boots to enjoy this book. It also includes five possible car itineraries that take in suggestions for picnic spots, short walks and local landmarks. You’ll find places in here that you won’t find in any guidebooks, because Michael has been exploring the Greek mountains since childhood and worked on this guide for 10 years. If you think Greece is just islands and beaches, this book will introduce you to its other side, one that most visitors barely suspect exists. You couldn’t be in better hands. (DFL, Amazon)

Click below to read walker’s reviews and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.co.uk (RRP £12.99)

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Description

PeloponneseThere are hidden landscapes throughout mainland Greece, but the region which packs the most variety into the smallest space is the Peloponnese. From the beaches of Arcadia to the fir forests of Mt Parnon, from the olive groves of Kalamata to the pyramidal peak of Prophet Elijah, from classical Sparta to medieval Mani, this compact semi-island has it all. Though the ancients called it ‘the island of Pelops’, after their mythical king, this three-fingered landmass is joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus at Corinth. Only in the 19th century was a canal finally cut through the isthmus, but it retains the cultural diversity and spectacular scenery of the mainland.

Area covered: Because there’s so much to discover, the author has drawn an east-west line roughly through the middle of the Peloponnese, and limited the book to the southern half. By good fortune, this contains its highest mountain range (Mt Taygetus), its finest Byzantine chapels and medieval forts (in the Mani), its wildest seascapes (Capes Tainaron and Maleas), its largest forest (Mt Parnon) and, arguably, some of its loveliest beaches (Pylos, Kiparissi and Elafonisos, to name just a few.

The best months for walking in the Peloponnese are April and May, late September and October.

Where to stay

The best base for walking in the western finger is Pylos; for the central finger Kardamyli, Stoupa, Mystras or Anavriti; for the Mani Areopolis, Stavri or Gerolimenas; and for the eastern finger Leonidion, Polydroso, Velanidia or Neapoli.

Edition/contents etc

5 car tours (each with picnic suggestions), 55 long and short walks
136 pages + 2 touring maps (eastern and western Peloponnese), 1:50,000 topo maps
2nd edition 2014; ISBN 978-1-85691-451-2;
UK retail price £12.99 / USA retail price $17.99

Table of contents

Preface 5
Acknowledgements; Further reading 6
Getting about 7

TOURING
Car tour 1: Pylos and the Koroni/Methoni peninsula 10
Car tour 2: Mt Taygetus and the outer Mani 13
Car tour 3: Areopolis and the deep Mani 20
Car tour 4: Leonidion, Mt Parnon and the Arcadian coast 24
Car tour 5: Monemvasia and the Vatika Peninsula 27

WALKING
The walks 30
The land and people 30
Walk wisely 31
Equipment 32
Nuisances 33
Weather 33
Maps 34
Suggested bases for walking 35
Explanatory notes 35
A note about churches 35
Glossary 36

THE WALKS
1 Around ancient Messene 37
2 Nestor’s Palace · Romanos Beach · Petrohori (or Voidokilia) 40
3 Golden Beach · Paliokastro · Voidokilia Beach · Profitis Ilias · Golden Beach 42
4 Two short walks near Pylos 45
5 Kato Karveli · Karveli · Lada · Artemisia 47
6 Profitis Ilias · Pigadiotiko Bridge · Pigadia · (Koskarakas Gorge) · Profitis Ilias 50
7 Sotirianika · Kambos · (Zarnatas Castle) · Kardamyli 53
8 Kardamyli · Viros Gorge · Lykaki Monastery · Tseria · Exohori · Ayia Sofia · Kardamyli 59
9 Kardamyli · Petrovouni · Proastio · Foneas Cove 64
10 Panayia Yiatrissa Monastery · Milia · (Eleohori) · Ayios Nikolaos 67
11 Itilo · Dekoulou Monastery · Neo Itilo Beach · Areopolis · Pirgos Dirou Sea-caves 71
12 Polemitas · Site of Aigila · Krounou Monastery · Nyfi · Alypa Cove 75
13 Two short walks near Stavri 78
14 Gerolimenas · Pepon · Leontakis · Mountanistika · Alika 80
15 Porto Kayio · Paliros · Vathy Bay · Kokkinoyia · Temple of Poseidon · Cape Tainaron · Kokkinoyia · Porto Kayio 83
16 Koumousta · Gholas Monastery · Rasina Valley · Koumousta 86
17 Ascent of Mt Taygetus: Profitis Ilias (Aï Lias) Peak 88
18 Ayios Georgios Chapel · Anavriti · Soha · Kalivia Sohas 91
19 Mystras · Taygeti · Zoodochou Pigis Monastery · Pergandeïka · Faneromeni Monastery · Langadiotissa Gorge · Mystras 95
20 Mount Parnon – from the EOS mountain refuge to Malevis Nunnery 100
21 Polydroso (Tzitzina) · Stamatira summit · Ayii Anargyri Monastery · Polydroso 103
22 Leonidion · Melana · Livadi 106
23 Trailhead above Leonidion · Tsitalia · Sintzas Monastery · Leonidion 109
24 From Pigadi to Poulithra 113
25 From Kremasti to Kiparissi 116
26 Around Monemvasia 120
27 Ayios Nikolaos · Vavila · Ayia Katerini · Faraklo · Mesohori · (Ayia Paraskevi Castle) · Neapoli 122
28 Velanidia · Ayios Pavlos Beach · Kato Kastania 126
29 Velanidia · Ayios Thomas · Cape Maleas lighthouse · Velanidia 128
30 Ayia Marina · Ayia Irini · Ayia Marina 130

Transport timetables 133
Index 135
Fold-out touring maps inside back cover

Guidebook index

Aï Liás (peak of Mt Taygetus); see Profítis Ilías
Aígila (site) 75, 76-7
Alika 21, 80, 81, 82
Alypa (part of Nyfi) 20, 23, 75, 76-7
Amykles 16
Anavrití 13, 16, 91, 92
Ano Boularií 80, 81
Ano Kastaniá (Vátika) 126, 127
Anóyia 16
Arcádia Province 24-6, 106-115
Archángelos (beach) 27, 29
Areópolis 13, 18, 20, 23, 71, 73
Artemisía 13, 15, 46-7, 49
Astros 24, 26
Ayia Iríni (monastery, Vátika) 29, 130-1, 132
Ayia Kateríni (near Neápoli) 122, 123, 124
Ayia Kyriakí (Máni) 21, 78, 79
Ayia Marína (chapel, Vátika) 27, 29, 130-1, 132
Ayia Paraskeví (castle, Vátika) 122, 123, 124, 125
Ayia Sofía (village and chapel above Kardamyli) 59, 60
Ayia Várvara (chapel near Kiparíssi) 117, 118-9
Ayii Anárgyri (monastery) 103, 104-5
Ayios Andréas (cave, Vátika) 28
Ayios Geórgios (chapel near Anavrití) 91, 92
Ayios Ioánnis (cave-chapel near Polydroso) 24, 25
Ayios Ioánnis (cave-chapel near Velanídia) 27, 29
Ayios Nikólaos (also called Selinítsa) 67, 68-9, 70
Ayios Nikólaos; see Síntzas Monastery
Ayios Nikólaos (Vátika) 29, 122, 124
Ayios Nikólaos (village and castle, Vardoúnia region) 19
Ayios Níkon (mountain and village) 18
Ayios Pávlos (cove, Vátika) 28, 126, 127
Ayios Pétros 24, 26
Ayios Thomás (chapel near Velanídia) 128, 129, 130-1
Babála (plateau) 116, 118-9, 118
Dafnórema (gorge) 11, 45, 46
Dekoúlou/Dekoúlon (monastery) 18, 71, 72, 73
Díporo (near Geroliménas) 21, 81
Divári Lagoon 10-1, 12
Dríalos 20
Egiés 13, 17, 18
Elafónisos Island 27, 29
Eleohóri 67, 68-9, 70
Elíka 27, 29
Ellinikoú 27
Elona/Elónis (monastery; see Panayía Elona)
Episkopí (village and church, Máni) 21
Episkopí (near Koróni) 12
Exohóri 19, 59, 60
Faneroméni (monastery) 91, 95, 96, 97, 98
Farakló 28, 122, 123, 124
Finikoúnda 12
Fonéas/Foniás (cove and beach) 18, 64, 66
Gaïtsés 13, 14
Geráki (Byzantine site, town) 24, 25
Geroliménas 20, 22, 80, 81, 82
Ghólas (monastery) 86, 87
Giálova; see Yiálova
Giátrissa (monastery); see Panayía Yiátrissa
Golden Beach 10, 40, 42, 44
Gythion 13, 17
Hárakas Tower 22, 84, 85
Hóra 10, 12
Ithómi (mountain) 37, 38
Itilo 71, 73
Kalamáta 13, 14
Kálives (near Kardamyli) 14, 59, 60, 61
Kalívia Sohás 13, 16, 91, 92-3, 94
Kámbos 13, 14, 53, 55, 56
Kardamyli 13, 14, 18, 19, 53, 55, 58, 59, 60, 63, 64, 66
Kariovoúni 18
Karvéli 46-7, 48, 49
Kastaniá (Vátika); see Ano Kastaniá, Kato Kastaniá
Kastánia (Vardoúnia region) 19, 27
Katafighiotissa (monastery); see Panayía Katafighiótissa
Katafígio (part of Tséria) 60, 61
Káto Karvéli 46-7
Káto Kastaniá (Vátika) 28, 126, 127
Kelefá (village, castle) 23, 72, 73
Kiparíssi 116, 118-9
Kokkála 20, 23, 75
Kokkinóyia 22, 83, 84, 85
Koróni 10, 12
Koskárakas (river, gorge) 14, 50, 52, 52, 54, 55
Kosmás (village, pass) 24
Kótronas 20, 23
Koumoustá 13, 16, 86, 87
Kremastí 116, 118-9
Krialiánika 73, 74
Krithína (mountain) 28, 131
Kroúnou (monastery) 75, 76-7
Kynoúria (region); see Arcádia
Lacónia Province 13-29, 71-105, 116-132
Ladá 46-7, 48, 49
Lákki 76-7, 77
Langáda (pass, stream, gorge) 15, 96, 99
Langadiótissa (cave-chapel, gorge) 13, 15, 16, 91, 95, 96, 99
Láyia 20, 23
Leonídion 24, 25, 26, 106, 107, 109, 110-1, 112
Leontákis 80, 81, 82
Liméni 18
Lirá 27
Livádi (Paralía Livádi) 106, 107
Lykáki (monastery) 59, 60
Magne, Grande/Maina (castle) 78, 79
Malavázo (mountain) 100, 101, 102
Maléas, Cape 34, 128, 129, 130-1
Malevís (nunnery) 100, 102
Málta 55, 57
Máni Peninsula (see overleaf)
Outer Máni 13-19, 50-70
Inner (Deep) Máni
20-23, 71-85
Maráthi (beach) 10, 12
Marmári (village and beach) 22, 23, 84
Mavrinítsa (hamlet and spring) 53, 54, 55
Mavromáti 37, 38, 39
Mavrovoúni (mountain, Taygetus) 19
Megáli Toúrla (summit, Mt Párnon) 100, 101, 102
Mélana 106, 107, 108
Mémi (beach) 12
Mésa Hóra (part of Nyfi) 23, 76-7
Mesohóri 122, 123, 124
Messene/Messíni (site) 37, 38, 39
Messínia Province 10-19, 37-70
Methóni 10, 12
Mézapos 21
Miliá/Mileá 13, 18, 67, 68-9, 70
Mína 21, 76-7
Mitrópolis; see Kiparíssi
Monemvásia 8, 27, 120, 121, cover
Mountanístika 22, 90, 81, 91
Mystrás (Byzantine site, village) 13, 15, 95, 96, 97, 99
Navaríno Bay 11, 42
Neápoli 27, 28, 29, 122, 124, 125
Néo Itilo (also called Tsípa) 18, 71, 73
Nestor’s Palace 10, 11, 40, 41, 43
Nomitsís 18
Nyfi/Nymfi 23, 75, 76-7
Odigítria (chapel) 20, 21, 78, 79
Oriní Meligoú 26
Paleopanayiá 16
Paliókastro (castle) 42, 43, 44
Páliros 83, 85
Panarítis (beach) 27, 29
Panayía Elona/Elónis (nunnery) 24
Panayía Katafighiótissa (monastery) 16
Panayía Yiátrissa (monastery) 19, 67, 68-9
Paradísi 27, 28, 122, 124
Paralía (east coast); see Kiparíssi
Paralía Romanoú; see Romanós
Paralía Tiroú; see Tirós
Parálio Astros 26
Párnon/Párnonas (mountain range) 24, 25, 100, 101, 102
Paróri 91, 96, 99
Passavá (gorge, castle) 17
Pedinó (part of Tséria) 60, 61
Pendadháctilo (ridge, Taygetus)
Pépon (village and valley) 22, 80, 81, 82
Pergandéïka 95, 96, 98
Petalídi 10
Petrohóri 40, 41
Petrovoúni 64, 66
Pigádi (near Leonídion) 113, 114
Pigádia (near Kalamáta) 50, 51, 52
Pigadiótiko (bridge) 50, 51 52, 52, 54
Pírgos Diroú 20, 73
Sea-caves 20, 71, 73, 74
Pláka (near Leonídion) 7, 24, 104, 110
Plátsa 18, 134
Polemítas (part of Mína) 21, 75, 76-7
Polydroso (also called Tzítzina) 24, 25, 103, 104, 104-5
Pórto Káyio 20, 22, 83, 85
Poseidon (Temple of) 83, 84, 85
Poúlithra (town and bay) 113, 115
Proástio 19, 64, 65, 66
Profítis Ilías (chapel near Gaïtsés) 50, 51, 52
Profítis Ilías (chapel near Petrohóri) 42, 44
Profítis Ilías (peak, Mt Taygetus) 63, 64, 88, 89, 90
Profítis Ilías (mountain, Vátika) 28, 130-1,132
Prosílio 14
Pylos 10, 12, 45
Rasína Valley 86, 87
Refuges
EOS refuge at Arnómousga (Mt Párnon) 24, 100, 102
EOS refuge (Ayia Varvára, Mt Taygetus) 88, 90
Ríglia, Káto 68-9, 70
Ríndomo/Ríntomo (canyon) 49, 50, 52, 54; see also Koskárakas (gorge)
Rómanos (village, beach) 10, 11, 40, 41
Sangiás (mountain) 20, 74, 75
Sapounakéïka; see Tirós
Síde (site, Vátika) 128, 129, 130-1
Sidheróportas (monastery) 46-7, 48
Símos (beach, Elafónisos Island) 29
Síntzas (monastery; also called Ayios Nikólaos) 24, 109, 110-1, 112
Skoutári 20, 23
Sohá 15, 91, 92-3, 94
Sotiriánika 14, 53, 55
Sotíros (chapel near Itilo) 13, 18, 72, 73
Sotíros (monastery; Viros Gorge) 59, 60, 62
Sparta (Spárti) 13, 16, 97
Stamatíra (mountain) 103, 104-5
Stávri 20, 21, 78, 79
Stavropígio 14
Stoúpa 13, 18, 19
Taínaron (ancient city) 84, 85
Cape 20, 22, 83, 85
Taygéti (village) 95, 96
Taygetus (mountain range) 4, 13, 15, 50, 51, 52, 88, 90
Thalámes 18
Tigáni, Cape 78, 79
Tirós/Tirosapounakéïka 24, 26, 108
Tragána 40, 41
Trípi 15
Tséria 59, 60, 61
Tsikália 80, 81, 82
Tsitália 109, 110-1
Tzítzina; see Polydroso
Vaidénitsa (monastery) 13, 19
Vámvaka 20
Vardoúnia/Vardounohória 13, 19
Vassilikí (forest) 19
Váthia 20, 22
Vathy (bay and beach near Páliros) 83, 84, 85
Vátika Peninsula 6, 27-9, 122-132
Vávila (mountain, pass) 28, 122, 124
Velanídia (Vátika) 6, 27, 28, 29, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130-1
Virós (gorge) 59, 60, 62
Voidokiliá (bay and beach) 10-11, 40, 41, 42, 43
Vório (part of Gaïtsés) 12, 48, 50, 52
Vrísi (east coast); see Kiparíssi
Xirokámbi 13, 16
Yámia 12
Yeroliménas; see Geroliménas
Yiálova 10, 11, 45, 46, 46
Yiatréïka (part of Tséria) 60, 61, 63
Yiátrissa monastery; see Panayía Yiátrissa
Zágha (beach); see Mémi
Zahariás (part of Tséria) 60, 61
Zarnátas (castle) 14, 53, 55, 56, 57
Zoodóchou Pigís (monastery) 95, 96, 97

Current update

Southern Peloponnese, 2nd ed (2014), updated 21/06/2016

Updates for walks and car tours (drives) in Southern Peloponnese given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

Walk 6: The road access from Vorio to the starting point at Profitis Elias was blocked March 2016. Instead we turned right at the entrance to Vorio, then after 1 km left, and then after nearly 1 km left again and after 750m parked at a new chapel on a sharp right hand bend with views to Profitis Elias. This is the 3 minute point in the walk description. After crossing the walk on the concrete bridge (1h 20min) the path quickly became too overgrown with brambles and we had to turn back. (User, 5/16) + The road access from Vorio to the starting point is no longer blocked. (User, 5/16)

Walk 7: Access to Zarnatas Castle is now blocked with fencing. March 2016.  (User, 5/16) + There was no fencing visible to us and access to the castle was easy. The description at 4h20min is confusing. There was no blue and yellow waymark below the newly built house and indeed if one continues on the road it’s possible to cross the stone bridge with owls’ nests. (User, 5/16)

Walk 8: the path at the left hand hairpin at 2h52min was not at all visible and we had to resort to the road. (User, 5/16) + Walk is OK until you get to “in the groves below Kalives village” and “follow the green Pendio sign”. Someone has used this sign as target practice and most of the letters have gone, though as you would be expecting this sign to appear it has to be this way. The 30 minutes of steady climb is quite badly overgrown in places and had I not been walking on cobbles all the way I might have wondered if I had gone off route. Quite big bushes up over head height with attendant sturdy branches. You have a nice photograph on page 63 of the path east of Yiatreika, this path is getting overgrown at this point also. Getting into the gorge bed: from the text on page 61: “…to reach the gorge bed by a wall. Just before the bed there are some big steps down a steep boulder spill. Pick your way down the bed for 100m to the end of the wall on your left. Then scramble up past the bottom of the wall…”: Recently a metal ladder has been spiked into a rock slab, so you follow the water pipe down until you can see the ladder. Climb down maybe 5m or so on the ladder and you are in the bed just opposite the wall, climb up a bit and over to the other side and the water services track. I did this and ignored the climb down the rock step. Also, before, as you decide to take the ladder or the big step, there is a path that goes off left up stream. I think this is part of the cross-country route 32. This goes into the gorge bed further up and over to the other bank and climbs up to join the kalderimi which runs up the east side of the gorge and is marked blue and white. The following day I was on this kalderimi heading back to join the water services track when I met a couple coming the other way. They were heading for Yiatreika. I said they should be below on the water services track and cross the gorge bed there. No, they said, it was not a safe scramble; they had been told as much by some English woman who lived in Yiatreika or Tseria; this was the best route, they said. Continue along, drop down to the bed, up the other side, backtrack on the other side, and pick up the kalderimi going up to Yiatreika. I did not like the look of it at all, messy scree down and into the bed, but it is a marked path. It might be OK coming up maybe, but not going down… The rest of the walk, back to Kardimili, was quite straight forward. (User, 6/16)

Walk 12: The description after the 2h-point is very confusing. It took several readings before realising that the description of the descent was to the third meadow rather than after the third meadow. Even then it describes the descent as being down the right-hand side of the valley initially. We tried down the right hand side of the valley after passing a “very” derelict stone animal enclosure. After over 30 minutes of trying to force a way down we gave up. We returned to the saddle and a less derelict stone animal enclosure. We then found the black pipe which is presumably the one referred to in the text but this was going down the left hand side of the valley so we decided not to risk it and returned to the start by the way we’d come. It was very frustrating. (User, 5/16)

Walk 14: detour to Ayios Panteleimon: I have several times years ago made this detour and seen the church but now I find that your route is now blocked.  However,  there is an alternative approach as mentioned in “Inside the Mani” http://www.insidemani.gr/2011/05/the-mani-loop/
Agios Panteleimon is one of the earliest surviving churches in Mani with some frescos over 1,000 years old. To reach it, drive past the large modern church of ‘The Dormition’ and take the next left turn; (on some maps this area is marked as Diporo) .You pass some houses and derelict houses and towers and the road turns to track. Approximately 100 metres further on, you will see a man-hole cover protruding from the dirt road. Directly below this you will see the slate roof of the church. It is an easy scramble down to the church, which is not locked. The frescos are dated by an inscription to 991 and although somewhat crude, are very striking – especially the portraits of the martyrs Panteleimon and Niketas in the double conch set in the apse behind the strangely shaped templon. The whole effect gives the sanctuary a cave-like quality. Other images include the Ascension, Baptism, washing of the new-born Christ, various Saints …. (User, 10/15) + From the junction of gullies at 1h10min to Pepon the path became near impassable: faint and very overgrown with brambles, though navigation is not a problem. We did push through to Pepon. The flower filled track shown on p 82 has now been concreted from Pepon to Leontakis. We recommend at the 1h10min point to take the right turn to Leontakis, then making return trips to Pepon and Mountanistika before returning along the same path to Diporo. (User, 5/16)

Walk 19: From Mystras, I did this walk with a variation. When I got to Pergandeika, instead of going downhill over the river I picked up the vehicle track which contoured around and took me to Anavriti, through the village and then down the kalderimi which took me out onto the road just above the stone crushing plant (now disused) and from there back to Mystras. No problems encountered on route. I then repeated this walk from Mystras. I tried the Xerovouna detour from Shela Place. I found the gravel path about 20 metres beyond the crest (I built a small cairn to improve visibility). The route goes as you describe, right at the rock face and up to the brow. In the past year or so, someone has cut back the vegetation to make the route clearer and more obvious and there are red/orange paint markings on the rocks. Once you get to the brow and start to move forward, on level ground the paint is not so clear, for unless you are standing on the markings you cannot really see them and need to scout around for the next one. All the grass is the same length, there is no obvious path and each “way through” the vegetation is the same. So I gave up. I was expecting a better view of the mountains and I had seen Sparti from Mystras the day before so I never got to the trig point or the chapel. It’s not the fault of the guide book, it was just me: I thought I should conserve my energies as I might well need them for later. When I reached Pergandeika I did not turn right between 2 houses (nettles/vegetation), but kept on behind the houses and landed on the road about 10m from the house which is no longer inhabited (permanently) but looks in much better condition than all the rest. When I got to the tree and the spring I could not at first see the waymarker which should have been to my left but then spotted it quite some way downhill. The path through the thick nettles/thistles/whatever was not immediately obvious but I made my way down where it appeared a path should be or animals had been through, and thanks to another way marker I found the bridge. I was not really bothered, I knew the bridge had to be there somewhere, it is part of the adventure to find it. The monastery was closed when I passed and I headed down the E4 and then the gorge with the water conduit. On one long exposed section they have erected metal poles with thick wire as a sort of handrail at the point where the path is cut into the overhang — but in other, equally exposed places, there is nothing. You are the only one who makes reference to and shows the path in Mystras Gorge from Ayios Ioannis chapel to the Upper Gate. It is not shown on either the Anavasi 1:50.000 Taygetos North nor their 1:25.000 map. Such pity; it would make a nice circular walk. (User, 6/16)

Walk 26: The bad news.  The Old Town is closed in 2015 for renovation so part of the route is inaccessible. Good news.  The perimeter walk of the peninsula has been waymarked enthusiastically and is easy to follow with vegetation already dying back.  It stays well above sea level with no real danger of getting wet.  It is better  to do this in a clockwise direction according to the information board in the car park.  There is some clambering over rocks but not difficult for anyone of reasonable agility.  The lighthouse buildings are near the end of restoration and although there are safety notices in Greek we carried on without interruption.  The walk took no more than 1 hour 40 minutes circular from Lower Town. There seems to have been an attempt to waymark other paths in the wider area so it might be worth looking out for further information. (User, 5/15) + The citadel and fortified upper town was closed to public access in March 2016. Based on comments on internet message boards this appears to be an ongoing issue.  (User, 5/16)