Things to do
With their sheltered coves and mountainous scenery, the beaches on the Mani envelope you in nature. Skoutari’s wide beach is backed by a little Byzantine church, while Itilo Bay is defined by its famously turquoise waters and livelier atmosphere. The sand and shingle beaches in Kardamyli offer you plenty of choice, including the chance to snorkel, scuba dive or simply relax.
Take a silent boat ride through the magnificent – and eerie – Diros Caves, which bear marks of human habitation from Neolithic times. If you’re after history and mythology combined, Cape Tenaro is home to the ruins of the old Roman town of Tainaron – and the cape itself features in Homer’s Iliad. For a glimpse into the region’s Byzantine past, visit the Pikoulakis Tower House Museum. Or see these buildings up close with a visit to the abandoned hilltop town of Vathia.
FOOD & DRINK
The Mani’s arid and mountainous landscape – and its ancestral olive groves – produce world-class olive oil, wine and Kalamata olives. Drop into family-run tavernas for deliciously simple dishes like moussaka, beef stifado, grilled sardelles (sardines) and octopus. The region is also famous for its singlino – smoky, salty ham, as well as its cheeses, like sfella. For a sweet contrast, reach for a lalagia – a crunchy, Peloponnese doughnut.