Peloponese Road Trip: Elafonisos & Mani

I love a good road trip and it’s been a while that I actually took one! During our summer vacations, my husband and I revisited Elafonisos island and road tripped in the Peloponnese. The whole trip lasted 6 days, 3 spent in Elafonisos and the rest 3 covering various places of interest in the Peloponnese. I will split my posts about the trip into 3 parts so I can add as much information and of course photos to each post. So let’s crack on with Part 1.

Days 1-3: Elafonisos

Elafonisos was charming as always with those crystal clear waters and the sandy beaches, which I took advantage of, a lot! I spent hours reading my book under the umbrella, taking dips in the sea and even got some tan! P.S. note how my bikini matches the sea color!!

This year the island was busier, being (still) August and all that, but not asphyxiating. We got to visit some of our favorite restaurants from last year, like Kouzini.  New discoveries were made as well, such add  Aronis fish tavern in the south west part of the village and Thalassa café bar, where we ate a delicious crepe with Nutella and ice cream!

Related: The Essential Guide to Elafonisos

Day 4: Mani Peninsula

After 3 days of relaxation in Elafonisos, we drove to Kalamata passing by (and stopping at) the Mani peninsula. This area of the Peloponnese has a rich history since the Paleolithic era. It was a semi-autonomous region during the Ottoman rule and the Greek Independence War was first declared here in 1821. In late 19th and early 20th century the villages of Mani where almost abandoned as a few roads existed back then and connection with the rest of the Peloponnese was poor.

Nowadays though, the road conditions have very much improved and the villages are inhabited again making Mani a prime travel destination from April to October. Notable places to visit in the peninsula are Gytheio, Areopoli, Diros caves, the abandoned village of Vathia, Gerolimenas, Stoupa and Kardamyli. Of course we didn’t have time to cover all these places, so we only made 3 stops on our way to Kalamata.

Our first stop was Gytheio, a coastal town, where we spent some time on the promenade and around the port. Then we took the road to Areopoli, which admittedly is a gem and it’s probably my favorite stop in this road trip. Areopoli’s old town has pedestrian streets and it’s full of Mani’s characteristic architecture: stone made castle houses. It has picturesque cafes and restaurants and I couldn’t resist snapping off colorful doors because apparently #ihaveathingwithdoors!

Stoupa, Mani, Peloponnese, Greece

On our way to Kalamata, we made a brief stop in Oitilo (which was super quiet as it was 3pm) and one for late lunch in Stoupa. The weather turned cloudy by the time we got there. As you can see in the photo above the cove was very moody, but people  were still swimming and lounging around. Stoupa can be described as a “resort town”, as it has lots of hotels and rooms to let, plus a sandy beach! We wanted to explore Kardamyli too, but it was raining by the time we got there, so we skipped it and drove straight to Kalamata, where we spent the night!

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