We’d set out one morning during our stay in the small town of Kardamili to explore the surrounding countryside in this part of the Peloponnese known as the ‘Outer Mani’ .
The two-lane paved road twisted its way through olive groves and wild flower bouquets up the hillside toward the peak of Mt. Profitis Ilias (Prophet Elias). The mountain with an elevation of 7,897-ft (2,407-meters) is the highest mountain in the Taygetus range. The towering mountain is visible from miles away.
What we didn’t realize when we started out is that we were headed to Exohori, the small hamlet that serves as a gateway to Viros Gorge (Gorge Virou), a stunning deep river gorge that runs from the foot of Mt. Profitis Ilias to Kardamili (Kardamyli).
While the morning’s light cloud cover obscured the mountain’s peak, it highlighted the contours that make up this popular hiking area.
The map pictured to the left was posted at the beginning of the gorge trail showing just how many different directions you could explore. . .if you had hiking boots (which we hadn’t).
So we set out on the wide gravel road to at least get a taste of hiking the gorge:
As we walked we couldn’t but think of the history held in the heart of these mountains. The name Taugetus or Taygetos is one of the oldest recorded in Europe (it is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey).
The trail beckoned us to walk just a bit further, then a bit further, amid scenery that was a feast for the soul.
However, on the off chance anyone was walking along and was too dense to recognize their breathtaking surroundings. . .someone had erected a sign in Greek and English – which made us laugh - to help them take note:
If You Go:
The nearest airport is at Kalamata, Greece about 40 kilometers away, (click the link provided).
For accommodations, there is one hotel in Exohori, Hotel Faraggi that overlooks the gorge and it has rave reviews on Trip Advisor and Hotels.com. The gorge views from its balcony are unbelievable! (It can be seen on the left cliff in the second to last photo.)
A larger selection of restaurants and tavernas are found in ocean side Kardamyli (click the link provided).
That’s it for Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox and Noel's Travel Photo Discovery which appears Mondays.