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Around Peloponnese

ITINERARY

EMBARKATION: ATHENS
DISEMBARKATION: KILINI

DAY 1         Athens        to    Hydra                             (38 miles)
DAY 2         Hydra       to    Spetses                             (17 miles)
DAY 3         Spetes         to   Kyparissi-Gerakas                      (28 miles)
DAY 4         Gerakas     to    Monemvasia         to    Elafonisos           (35 miles)
DAY 5         Elafonisos    to    Porto Kayio         to   Gerolimenas           (44 miles)
DAY 6         Gerolimenas     to     Methoni        to   Pylos               (40 miles)
DAY 7         Pylos         to   Kiparissia         to    Katakolo (visit Olymipia) (48 miles)
DAY 8         Katakolon    to    Killini                                (25 miles)

HYDRA is mountainous, arid, and devoid of vegetation. In 1821 it was the first island to pledge its sizeable fleet to the Greek cause. It has been said that but for the Hydroil fleet and sailors, the War of Independence against the Turks would not have been won. Hydra is a fashionable resort for the rich and famous. The town remains architecturally very much of the 18th and 19th centuries with large stately houses built around the natural amphitheater above the harbor. The total lack of vehicles adds to the atmosphere.

SPETSES is mostly covered by pine trees. The attractive town is popular with tourists and Athenians alike. The old harbor and environs with many grand old houses is a wonderful place to wander around. The local yards build the Spetses caique which is considered to be among the best in Greece. John Fowles' novel "The Magus" is set on the island. In September a small caique rigged out as an old trader is set on fire to commemorate the revolt against the Turks. This is accompanied by a noisy fireworks display and much merriment.

KYPARISSI is a large bay along the coast of the Eastern Peloponnese. The village itself is quite unspoiled and the bay surrounded by mountains, a spectacular spot.

GERAKAS is a small hamlet surrounded by the hostile mountains of the Parnon, hardly touched by outside influences. The entrance is almost invisible, hidden between the high cliffs. On the summit of the entrance is an extensive ruined acropolis, probably of Mycenaean origin. In the hot afternoon sun, out of the cooling
touch of the meltemi, the whole hamlet snoozes until the cool of evening when things come to life again.

MONEMVASIA island was called Minoa in ancient times suggesting a Cretan influence. The humpbacked island, likened to a little Gibraltar, is connected to the Peloponnese by a causeway. The old fortified village is of Byzantine origin although the Venetians rebuilt much of it. There are a number of interesting churches in the village, but to get to the best of them, Agia Sofia, you have to climb up the zig-zag path behind the village to the summit. The fortified path and tunnel into the fort, with its iron gates still intact, is as impressive as the fortification at the top.

ELEFONISOS island is separated from the Peloponnese by a shallow boat channel. Good restaurants in the village and magnificent beaches fronted by turquoise
waters.

PORTO KAYIO bay was called Psamathous in ancient times and Porto Quaglio by the Venetians from which the present name probably comes. The bay was used by the Venetians, the Turks, and by various Maniote pirates of whom the most famous was Katsonis - a monument to the freedom fighter stands near the
quay.

GEROLIMENAS is a bay tucked south of Capo Grosso a huge precipitous mass of rock that rises sheer from the sea to 250 meters and more, split by ravines and peppered with caves. At one time this was the principal ferry port for Mani.

METHONI bounded by the large Venetian fort and the sandy beach is one of the most beautiful places on the western Peloponnese. Methoni was mentioned by Homer as being "rich in vines". Later, under the Venetians, it was famous for its wine and bacon. Today the hinterland is still intensively cultivated. The Venetian fort guarded the shipping route around the Peloponnese, and Methoni along with Koroni was called "the eye of the Republic".

PILOS is an attractive town. Largely built by the French in the 19th century after the battle of Navarinon. Admirals Codrington, de Rigny, and von Heyden commanded the fleet which destroyed Turkish sea power. The fort close to the harbor was originally built by the Venetians.

KIPARISSIA was an important harbor for nearby Messene. The town and surrounding countryside are wonderful.

KATAKOLON was built in 1875 for the then thriving currant trade. Now it is used as a base for the visit to Olympia about 25 miles away.

KILLINI known in the Venetian times as Glarenza, was once an important link in the trade route around the Peloponnese. The castle on the heights to the south, built in 1220 by Geoffrey Villehardouin, now being restored, commands superb views over the surrounding countryside and the Gulf of Patras.