Monemvasia – Up to the Kastro and Other Points of Interest

The weather was very pleasant during our stay.  We were very lucky as we had heard about the Saharan sand storms that had blown their way over to the Cyclades.  Apart from one overcast day we had beautiful spring sunshine and the temperatures of an English summer!

We had planned to walk up to the Kastro and decided that early evening would be the best time mainly because it would be cooler and also because it would be lovely to see the sunset up there.

There are several ways to walk up to the Kastro.  We took the steps from behind our hotel, the Malvasia and just took any path that seemed to lead in an upward direction.  Take time to explore the charming houses and alleyways!

It looks far steeper than it really is and people far older than me were making it up with relative ease.  The only thing I had to try and keep under control was my vertigo!  Even with vertigo, the walk was fine as the paths near the top had a wall to shield you from the sight of the sheer drop on the other side!

I even get chance to discover more door knockers for my collection!

As you walk through the arched entrance you get the impression of entering a noble town and this in fact was the first part of the rock to be inhabited and dating back to the 10th Century AD.  Three storey houses were built on the ancient acropolis for the wealthy and it was heavily fortified.  The plateau on which they are built is 100 metres above sea level and provides you with views of the lower town.  From here you can see several of the remaining churches and it is believed that there were around 40 churches built on the rock, many now reduced to rubble.

Continuing up you will come across the impressive church of Agia Sofia which is the only complete building in the upper town.  You almost get 360 degree panorama’s from here.

The sun begins to set and the stone on the ancient ruins turn to amber and gold.  Time to make our way down.

We were very limited as to exploring outside of the rock as we were travelling by bus.  We did make enquiries at the bus station close to the entrance of the causeway to see if there were any local buses to surrounding villages.  It seems that there are none.  Monemvasia really is a car-centric destination.  We did walk over to mainland Monemvasia (Gefyra) nearly every day.  The walk over the causeway was good exercise and the mainland was a place to seek refuge when the tour buses arrived with day trippers.

There is an excellent choice of cafe’s and patisseries that specialise in the sweet almond pastries.  Castello Cafe close to the entrance of the causeway is another one that we sampled – so indulgent!

There is a good selection fish taverna’s in Gefyra and all the basic shops that you need such a good pharmacy.  It is worth the walk over to Gefyra just to get another view of the very unique rock!

We decided to go back to To Kanoni for our final meal on Monemvasia.  Peter chose a very unusual pork dish that had a topping of savoury kataifi and was flipped from a pot onto a plate and then reversed onto another plate.  It was served with a flourish as if being magicked out of a black hat!

Check out their menu here:  To Kanoni Menu

As we prepare to depart from what has been an amazing 5 night stay on Monemvasia, my one handy hint is when you come here – bring good shoes!  I don’t mean your best Laboutins but a good pair of flat, sturdy shoes.  The cobble stone streets have been walked for centuries and those stones have been polished to within an inch of their lives!  They are slippery and uneven so shoes with a good grip will be useful.  Also if you venture forth around the city walls and down towards the pharos, the paths are made of shingle and it is easy to slip.  I just about survived in my Birkenstock sliders!

Tomorrow we are heading off to Kythira!



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