Clinging to a hillside overlooking the Lousios Gorge in the Menalon Mountain range of the Peloponnese, the small hamlet lies northeast of Kalamata.
We’d chosen it to be our introduction to the area from among a dozen such small villages that are scattered across the region known as Central Arkadia (are-cod-EE-ah).
Lonely Planet’s guidebook describes it as ‘a tangle of precipitous ravines and narrow roads that wind their way through the medieval-village-speckled valleys of the Menalon Mountains. . .where you’ll find some of the most breathtaking mountainous scenery in the Peloponnese.’
The guidebook described it perfectly. But it didn’t prepare us for the lush forested peaks that rise from those magnificent gorges nor for the charm of its villages. I've caught myself wanting to use the word 'charming' in every paragraph of this post.
The guidebook could also have described it as:
'a magical land straight out of a fairy tale’.
|Amanites Guesthouse, Dimitsana - Our room with a view|
As the road became rougher, and thinking this place really was remote, we realized we’d taken the wrong turn back at the village with the castle (I said it was a fairy tale setting so of course there would be a castle). Once we got on the right road (which was narrow but well maintained), it didn’t take long to reach our destination.
|Oncoming traffic in Greece's Arkadia region|
Each of the roads had taken us through several picturesque towns each it seemed with an ancient castle, or bell towers or church or fortress.
|Villages in Central Arkadia - Peloponnese|
|No better place to sip a cappuccino than Stemnitsa, Peloponnese|
The Menalon Trail
Menalon Trail Map
The well-signed trail, completed in May 2015, offers eight sub-section hikes. One of the most popular is the 12.5 km route from Stemnitsa to Dimitsana. That route takes hikers past two Monasteries – each worth a visit.
We didn’t bring day packs and hiking poles, hats and gear for tackling the route, but having seen the area, we plan to return and explore at least a part of it one day.
|Lousios Gorge, Central Arkadia|
|Gunpowder Mill - Dimitsana|
We are glad we took their recommendations – it was a great trip back into the area’s pre-industrial past.
Paying the 3-euro per person admission we toured the restored grounds and mills of the long-ago bustling Agios Yiannis (St. George) mill. It is 1.6 km from the village, a nice taster-sized hike or you can drive and park at the site nestled into the side of the gorge. We watched the water-run flour mill operate as well as the nearby gunpowder mill. (Ammunition was produced here for the Greek War of Independence.)
|New upscale bars and bistrots line old cobble-stone streets in Dimitsana|
|8 p.m. sun was just setting over the Lousios Gorge - we had a front row seat|
|Breakfast buffet included at Amanites Guesthouse hotel - Dimitsana|
If we’ve teased your travel bug with this post, here are some sites you might find of interest:
Open Air Water Power Museum www.piop.gr
Amanites Guesthouse www.amanites.gr
Dimitsana is less than two hours drive from Kalamata.
That’s it for this week’s travels in Greece. We thank you for the time you spend with us and love hearing from you. And thanks to those of you who’ve been recommending Travelnwrite to your friends! Hope you’ll be back next week and until then safe travels to you and yours.
Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday
Weekend Travel Inspiration