Explore the mountains of Arcadia
If you dream of getting away from your daily routine and enjoy a trip in the countryside you must visit Arcadia or otherwise, Gortynia. The mountainous villages are beautiful all year round, and it’s up to you to discover their magic. Green landscapes, incredible atmosphere in traditional villages and delicious food all lie within a relatively short distance from Athens. If you prefer some action, then go skiing at the Menalo ski centre, practice your favorite extreme sport in Lucius River or pick a hiking route and explore the countryside. Stone bridges, gorges, rapids, impressive monasteries, the stone streets of Dimitsana, the sound of Lucius river, green Vitina, the mansions ofStemnitsa and castle Karitenaare only a few of what you can admire.
The “precious jewel” of Arcadia
Upon the ruins of the ancient town of Teuthis, is a large village called Dimitsana. The beautiful mountain view, abundant wildlife above the river Lucius, and the rich culture of the village attracts scholars and adventurers alike. If you need a place you can relax and calm down your soul, then Dimitsana is exactly what you are looking for. One of the many myths associated with Jupiter says the Nymphs, who had given his upbringing, bathed in the icy waters of the river Lucius. So, it seems that God took care andlet something of the divine power endowing this place with unparalleled beauty.
Walk to the “path of love”
Vytinais a beautiful mountainous region of Peloponnese, with incredible beauty and tourist appeal. It consists of picturesque stone buildings, old houses and clean, full of trees, streets. It was the region where the supply to the forces of Kolokotronis took place, in the years of the Revolution. “Hidden” in relation to the surrounding villages, trying to protect the “wild” beauty, Vytina will enchant you from the first minute. You will immediately feel that you are in another era, reviving a trip back in time. Walk to the “path of love”, when young men and women had the opportunity to exchange erotic glances and meet their partners through a walk, in one of the most romantic landscapes among fragrant maple and plane trees.
On top of the world
Idyllic routes in a green canyon, extreme sports to nature and a ski resort that has nothing to envy of the rest. Do not forget to visit the highest village of Menalo and highest inhabited village entire Peloponnese Magouliana.
A village perched at an altitude of 1,356 meters, where the winter is permanently covered by clouds. You must take a ride at the village of Piana, where according to legend, the god Pan was born. Do not forget to visit the church of St. George, to admire the spectacular views of the slopes of Menalo. Seven kilometers west of Piana, the historic Libovisi, home of Kolokotronis has been restored and turned into a museum.
The other star of Menalon, the also stone and noble Stemnitsa, will steal your heart with unexpected silence, its beautifully tended gardens, and picturesque paths. You will admire the imposing landscape and you will get a strong dose of oxygen.
What to see
The Open-Air Water Power Museum: A green park with running water, 1.5 km outside Dimitsana, hosts the Open- Αir Water Power Museum, which promises to teach you all about the water and power.
The Castle ofKarytaina: The Castle is situated upon a steep cliff in mountainous Arcadia and used to serve the area as a natural fortress during the Turkish occupation and the revolution of 1821 due to its highly strategic position. Although the Castle’s exterior is still relatively well preserved, its interior remains absolutely ruined. Climbing up the stone-paved path which will lead you to its entrance, you will be rewarded with a wonderful, panoramic view of the plains of Megalopolis and the gorge of Lucius river.
Kapsia Cave: You will be impressed by the colorful stalactites and stalagmites, the 330 meters of paths branching inside, and the impressive lighting. The cave seems to be inhabited by humans during the Neolithic era, and has been called one of the ten most important caves in Greece.
The Ancient Lykosoura: The “oldest city of the world” , at least according to the description of Pausanias. The holy city of Arcadia is located about 12 km from Megalopolis.
The Lucius River: A gorge of rare natural beauty and great history. On the steep banks of the monasteries are built Philosopher and Baptist. Impressive vegetation and old bridges, create a beautiful backdrop.
The Temples Philosopher and Baptist: They are unique historical monuments of Arcadian history and worth a visit despite the difficult access. Α walk through the gorge of Lucius, takes you there.
Canoe Kayak: The crystalline waters of Lucius invite you to explore Greece in… paddle. The fascination of this sport lies in the fact that combines the magic of the water element, the beauty of the natural environment and the sense of freedom.
Trekking: If you want to admire natural landscapes of incredible beauty by foot, Arcadia has one of only eight internationally certified trails in Europe, Menalon Trail. The first track starts and ends Stemnitsa in Dimitsana has a distance of 12.4 km and takes about 4.5 hours, and there are several more trails to walk.
Rafting: You will experience moments of pure thrill and times of absolute serenity. You will paddle in the crystal waters of the river through a tunnel from plants and trees. The rocks that are in the river, creating exciting passages and obstacles, offering a unique experience.
Ski / Snowboard at Menalon ski center: One of the closest skicentres in Athens, which is ideal for families, as it is a mild mountain with easy access, ideal for ski learning and games in the snow. -Volta 4X4: In the mountainous Arcadia starting Leonidio or village Kosmas, you can explore the … mountains, which will surely offer many thrills.
Mountain Bike: Descend the mountain and the slopes on your bike and experience the most of the experience of downhill mountain bike.
Riding: Explore the forests of Arcadia horseback and feel that you are in another era. Breathe fresh air and becomes albeit briefly, at one with nature.
In case physical activity has whetted your appetite, you will find a large selection of delicious dishes and local recipes to taste: rooster or rabbit cooked with chylopites (a Greek type of pasta), lagoto (a famous dish consisting of hare meat with skordalia made from meat broth and walnuts), lamb cooked with artichokes in the oven andchortopita (mixed pot-herbs covered with an olive oil pastry). Every village of Arcadia has its own tradition. The basis is common, the unaltered Arcadian products. Fine meats, especially the excellent local goats and sheep, organic vegetables, herbs and the authentic cheese, are only a few of what you can taste. The Arcadia bread is a special case, while the Mantineia wine is famous since ancient times until today.
“Drymonas”(Dimitsana):You will enjoy homemade dishes, juicy grill and a lovely view across the village and the slopes of Menalo.
“TreisLaloun”(Dimitsana): The cafe bar you must visit. Jazz and ethnic music, hip drinks, good coffee, pastries, pies and gourmet dishes are among the highlights.
“ΤhePapakia”(Karytaina): Homemade- cooked dishes with fabulous juicy grilled on a farm – restaurant, with swans, foxes and pheasants, you must visit.
“Gerousia” (Stemnitsa): One of the most historic taverns with traditional recipes and local products that will excite you.
-“The house of Athena”(Vytina): Traditional dishes made by the hands of grandmother Athena. Sample traditional pie with myrrh, tyropitari, wine sauce with rosemary pork, pig in a poke and deer with plums, are the highlights.
“Joseph”(Menalo): A famous local tavern serving braised wild boar, grilled and very well cooked homemade dishes.
Arcadia lies in the centre of Peloponnese and can be conveniently reached by car, bus and train from Athens. Bus departures are very frequent from Athens and reach Tripoli via the National Highway. Tripoli is 165 km far from Athens and the trip lasts for about 1,5 hour. When you get to Tripoli, you can easily reach reach Mountain Menalo.
Intercity buses depart from Tripoli to other Peloponnese towns and vice versa, while there are direct trips to Thessaloniki, as well. If you prefer to travel to Tripoli by train there are daily departures from the Athens and Piraeus train stations to the Tripoli central station. However, it is really worth travelling to Arcadia Greece in your own car, so that you can reach the remote areas and explore at your own pace the magic natural beauties of its mountains and seaside.