Having visited many of the Greek Islands over the previous years – including Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes – we never bore of the Greek people, hospitality, food and weather, so there’s always a desire to return to Greece. This time we’d like to experience something different, namely Mani, which is mainland Greece. Mani is located the centre of the three Peninsulas that make up the Southern Peloponnese.
Across the Mani area, you’ll find a rugged landscape of mountains, cliffs and beaches. With a selection of churches on the hills and locals who consider themselves descendants of the Spartans, Mani has a certain mystique and roughness about it which makes it inviting, and different from the rest of Greece.
We want to stay at the The Architect’s Villa
Set close to the town of Stoupa and overlooking the Messenian bay and the Taygetos mountain The Architect’s Villa is designed by an award winning architect, Nikitas Hatzimichalis. The villa is secluded and includes four bedrooms, a large open living area, a private outdoor swimming pool, and an outdoor seating area. There are plenty century Byzantine churches, as well as mountain villages and unspoiled beaches nearby for us to explore as well.
We want to eat and drink at Voula’s Yesterday and Today Restaurant and To Steki and Enigma Cafe
Besides having a quirky name, Voula’s Yesterday and Today restaurant looks appealing due to its proximity to the villa, located in Stoupa, meaning it will be an easy and short drive. Many of the dishes have been passed down generation to generation in the family and the owner even gives the occasional bread making classes. While it has an ever changing menu there seems to be some classical dishes such as the grilled meats and moussaka but we’d also like to try the Ouzo Chicken!
Again, as we’ve found out on our trips to Greece before, it can be hard to find a good coffee shop. Luckily there seems to be two in Stoupa – To Steki and Enigma Cafe, again near the villa. So there will be two places to visit to see if they can create a decent coffee, early on a morning, before hitting some of the rugged terrain.
We want to workout across the Mani area
It will be hard to come by a regular gym here so the aim will be to bring some resistance bands and perhaps a customisable sand bag so we can create our own workouts alongside hiking and sprints in the many mountains and hills that surround the area including a hike through Viros Gorge! There’s a free volleyball court on the Kalogria beach and pine tree walks all around the area. There’s bike hire courtesy of 2407m, so we intend to hire bikes and see the wider area.
We want to visit Taygetos – ‘The Evil Mountains’
Just the name sounds enticing enough to make you want to find out what is there!? Whilst we may not be enthralled by undertaking the five hour climb to the top of Taygetos, just visiting the mountain range, which has a length of over 100km, will be exciting enough and the drive there is sure to be interesting, with plenty of photo opportunities and also some new areas to use the TRX.
Are you a Greek Short Motivation follower from the Mani region? If so, please give us your Mani insider tips? Have you been to Mani and want to share your tips? What locations would you recommend we visit? We’d love your feedback. Let us know in the comments below.