Hiking Sparta's Royal Ancient Trails | Experience Mt. Taygettos & Mani
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Hiking Sparta’s Royal Ancient Trails

Conquer the Majestic Taygettos Mountains

Sparta – the melodious name of a once-prominent city and home to an exceedingly proud people, whose warriors in ancient times were renowned for their tenacity and desire for victory.

Sparta is located in the Peloponnese, one of the best travel destinations in Greece. The imposing Taygettos Mountains, the southernmost mountain massif in Europe, tower high over the city. In ancient times, the mountains ensured the isolated location, as well as the political freedom, of the Spartans. Its peaks, almost 2,500 m / 8,200 ft. in height, seem to reach the sky. Those seeking to conquer these mountains today still need a touch of Spartan tenacity.

If you are looking for an extraordinary hiking adventure in pristine nature with breath-taking views of the Mediterranean Sea, the trails of the Taygettos Mountains are perfect for you. Wonderful evergreen forests, rich vegetation with colourful flowering plants, and impressive gorges and valleys await you here.  Your adventure on foot begins in Sparta and ends on the wild Mani peninsula by the azure sea. Look forward to plenty of variety and boundless Greek hospitality!


Highlights

  • Reaching for the sky: Conquer the 2,407 m / 7,897 ft. high summit of the Tayettos Mountains
  • Ancient and impressive: Visit the Byzantine ruins of Mystras
  • At the end of the world: Explore the seclusion of the Mani peninsula 
  • Travel back in time: Walk the ancient paths of the Spartans


8 days/7 nights
May – Nov
Moderate – Demanding
Kalamata
Kalamata
Persons: 2+
Age: 15+

Included Activities

  • Guided hiking tours in the Taygettos Mountains and on Mani as per itinerary
  • Visit to the medieval town of Mystras 
  • Tasting of Greek specialities

Dates

You can book this tour on any date between May and November, also as a private group (subject to hotel availability).

Due to the staggered tour prices, this tour can be arranged for as few as 2 participants. The larger the group, the lower the tour price for each individual.


DAY 1
Kalamata or Athens (Arrival): Individual arrival in Kalamata on the Peloponnese or in Athens. Your guide meets you at the airport and drives you to the city centre of Kalamata. During dinner at a harbour taverna, you are given a briefing about the coming days. Overnight stay in Kalamata.

DAY 2
Mystras – Hike to Anavryti (14 km / 8.5 mi. / 7 hours): After a hearty breakfast, we leave Kalamata and drive to Mystras. We take a mountain road giving us a first impression of the extraordinary beauty of the Taygettos Mountains. Our first hike begins at the stunning ancient ruins of Mystras, built during the Byzantine era. We walk through medieval stone buildings, past numerous churches to the fort situated high above the town. We then follow secluded paths to the village of Anavryti.

Along the way, we enjoy wonderful views of the Evrotas valley with the city of Sparta in the distance. Pine, cedar, and yew trees scatter the landscape. In the late afternoon, we reach Anavryti, where we spend the night in a cosy family-run guesthouse.

DAY 3
On the long-distance hiking trail E4 through the Taygettos Mountains (approx. 13 km / 8 mi. / 7 hours): Anavryti is situated on the eastern slope of the Taygettos 920 m / 3,018 ft. above sea level. As soon as we wake up, we can already enjoy the majestic mountain scenery.

Today we follow a section of the famous trans-European long-distance hiking trail E4. The picturesque trail leads through pine and fir forests up to an altitude of 1,550 m / 5,085 ft. Here, in complete isolation, lies the mountain lodge where we spend the night.

DAY 4
Highest peak of the Taygettos (approx. 10 km / 6 mi. / 8 hours): After breakfast, we get ready to climb the highest peak of the Taygettos Mountains. After crossing through the vegetation boundaries, we find ourselves in alpine heights hiking amidst the scent of herbs and past blooming wildflowers.

We later take a break with one of the most beautiful views of the entire mountain range. From here it is not far to the plateau of the highest peak at 2,407 m / 7,897 ft. above sea level. Breathtaking panoramic views immediately make you forget the effort of the climb!

We continue through a varied landscape to the small shepherds’ settlement of Agios Dimitrios. Here we pitch our tent, make camp and cook ourselves dinner. With a bit of luck, the shepherds will let us try some of their homemade cheese and yoghurt.

DAY 5
Viros Gorge (approx. 17 km / 10.5 mi. / 8 hours): Today, the queen stage of our hiking experience is on the itinerary: The descent to the Mani peninsula. This region is so remote that it was never conquered. The ancient Spartans used the path we walk today to access the sea.

Our path takes us through the spectacular Viros Gorge, surrounded by towering limestone cliffs with numerous stalactite caves. Once we reach the town of Exohori, we continue along an ancient, paved path. Extensive olive groves line our way and give us a glimpse into rural Mani life.

Arriving at our hotel, we are treated to a hot shower and then enjoy our dinner on the hotel terrace with a fantastic view of the gorge.

DAY 6
Mani Peninsula – Kardamyli (approx. 6 km / 4 mi. / 2 hours): After yesterday’s strenuous hike, we allow ourselves a more leisurely pace today. On our short hike, we follow a well-maintained trail to Kardamyli through beautifully rich vegetation with wonderful views of the deep blue sea.

We pass through several traditional villages and learn a wealth of interesting facts about the residential towers that are so characteristic of Mani. Old well houses, Byzantine churches, and flour mills bear witness to the everyday life of bygone times.

The route ends at the medieval residential tower complex of Old Kardamyli. The afternoon is free to enjoy a swim or relax at the hotel. In the evening we enjoy a meal in a local taverna. Overnight stay in Kardamyli.

DAY 7
Free day in Kardamyli: You wake up in a Mediterranean paradise and can look forward to a free day in the beautiful village of Kardamyli. Enjoy the sea and sun to your heart’s content, relax in exceptional seaside cafes and bars, or hire a car and explore the spectacular Mani on your own!

Alternatively, take a kayak tour off the coast of Kardamyli (extra charge). We would be happy to help you book this extraordinary paddling experience. Lunch and dinner are individually arranged today, just choose your favourite spot and enjoy! Overnight in Kardamyli.

DAY 8
Departure from Kalamata or Athens: After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and transfer to Kalamata Airport or Athens Airport. Individual journey home or extension of your holiday in Greece. If you would like to see and experience more of Greece, please see our extension recommendations.

Traditional guesthouses, mountain lodge, and camping

On this trip, we stay 5 nights in carefully selected, family-run guesthouses and hotels where tradition meets comfort. The friendly staff ensure that you want for nothing. Every day starts with a rich and varied breakfast. WIFI is usually available around the clock in the hotels. For the ultimate adventure that a Taygettos climb inevitably brings, we also stay in a mountain lodge and enjoy a night of camping with a campfire.

What are the age requirements for this tour?
This tour is not suitable for young children due to the length and the challenging nature of the hikes. In our opinion, young people aged 15 and over with a good level of fitness should be able to manage this tour.

In which language is this tour conducted?
This tour is guided in English only.

What meals are included?
The tour price includes a daily breakfast as well as 5 x lunches and 6 x dinners. Lunch during the hikes usually consists of a picnic. As is typical of Greek culture, our groups usually eat together. This allows us to try a wider variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. If you would like to eat vegetarian or have food intolerances, please let us know before you start your trip. Vegan meals are unfortunately not available on this tour. All drinks are not included.

Are changes to the tour itinerary possible?
We are constantly updating our unique itineraries based on new information and experiences. The hikes, accommodations, and visits listed are therefore subject to change. We reserve the right to make changes to the published itinerary if we deem weather conditions warrant it or if the safety of participants can no longer be guaranteed.

How difficult is this tour?
The moderately difficult hikes require a very good level of fitness. The tours also include steep ascents and descents. Hiking poles can be very helpful here. Participants should have hiking experience and be sure-footed, be in very good physical condition and be able to walk for at least five hours without any problems. The more demanding hikes require strong physical endurance. In places, we cross rough, mountainous terrain and the tour can involve up to eight hours of active walking.

What are the terrain conditions like during the hikes?
Although the trails are fairly well maintained, the terrain is often very rocky and stony during the hike. We primarily hike on footpaths and mountain trails. There are often steep passages, especially on the summit hikes, for which you should have a good head for heights.

How do I get to Kalamata or Athens?
Kalamata has its own airport with both domestic and international flights. If you can’t find a direct flight to Kalamata, we recommend connecting via Athens Airport. Transfers between Kalamata or Athens Airport and the hotel on the day of arrival and departure are included in the tour price.

What should I include on my packing list for this tour?
Greece has a temperate climate. We, therefore, recommend that you dress in layers, so that you can always take something off or put something on if it is too warm/cold. We also recommend packing as light as possible, as heavy luggage can quickly become a burden. Below is a small list of items we recommend bringing. This is only a guideline and can always be modified to suit your own needs.

Official papers: 

  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets

Luggage:

  • 40l daypack to carry clothes
  • climbing gear
  • camera
  • water bottle
  • snacks, etc. 

Clothes:

  • Hiking shorts
  • Quick-drying synthetic T-shirts 
  • Casual clothing made of light fabric
  • Hiking trousers
  • Comfortable underwear
  • Swimming shorts / swimsuit / bikini
  • Fleece jumper
  • Rain jacket
  • Possibly rain trousers / poncho 

Footwear:

  • Good hiking shoes (preferably with ankle support)
  • Comfortable shoes for the evening 

Accessories:

  • Sun protection
  • Headlamp
  • Personal hygiene items

Optional accessories:

  • Safety bag or money belt
  • Trekking poles
  • Camera
  • Personal 1st aid kit
  • Travel pillow
  • Insect repellent 
  • Electric adapter

Basic Tour Price (per person in a double room*)

  • 2-4 participants: 1,190 € per person
  • 5-8 participants: 1,060 € per person
  • 9-12 participants: 980 € per person
  • 13-15 participants: 930 € euro per person

*Single rooms can be booked for an extra charge of 220 € /week.

INCLUDED SERVICES

  • 8-day hiking tour in the Taygettos Mountains and on the Mani Peninsula
  • 5 nights in carefully selected guesthouses and hotels, 1 night in a mountain lodge (dormitory), and 1 night in a mountain camp
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
  • 7 x breakfast, 5 x lunch, 6 x dinner
  • Transfers between Kalamata or Athens Airport and hotel on arrival and departure day
  • Transfers and luggage transport during the trip
  • Guided walks and sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Entrance fee to the archaeological site of Mystras
  • English speaking tour guide throughout the tour

NOT INCLUDED

  • Journey to Kalamata or Athens
  • All drinks & meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to individually visited sights
    •  

ADDITIONAL BOOKABLE SERVICES

  • Single room (only possible with hotel accommodation), surcharge: 220 € /week
  • Additional nights in Kardamyli, Kalamata, or Athens: on request
  • Kayak tour in Kardamyli: 75 €/person
  • SUP & Snorkelling tour in Kardamyli: 75 €/person

Trip

Tour Extensions