Monemvasia is a characteristic example of architecture in a city founded by Greeks, transformed by Venetians -the experts on military architecture- and completely restored by Ottoman rulers. It offers exceptional fortifications commissioned by Ottoman generals and rulers, built by local masons who imitated the art and techniques taught to them by Venetian architects.
Its official name is Monemvasia, although there are some slight variations in Greek, along with different forms of pronunciation –such as Monovasia. In the Middle Ages, the Franks called it Malvoisie, to the English it was known as Malmsey. Its Greek name is derived from the two words meaning single entrance, that is, the only entrance to the fortress town.
The old town of Monemvasia is a perfectly preserved medieval settlement still inhabited, a world cultural heritage monument and a major attraction for every traveler in the Peloponnese. It has a unique, magical atmosphere and a fascinating history. Monuments and churches are scattered throughout the old town. An important archaeological collection is housed in the old mosque in the Square of Elkomenos Christos.
At the other end of the causeway on the mainland is the new town of Monemvasia. Along the coast to the south is the settlement of Nomia. Neighbouring Aghios Ioannis is recommended for authentic local dishes. Both within and around Monemvasia are a number of excellent beaches.
Noteworthy sights further inland include the watermill at Talanta and the Velies Folklore Museum. Religious monuments outside the old town in the surrounding area include the twin churches in Teria and the church of Aghios Nikolaos in the homonymous village.
Gerakas is a small, medieval village built on a natural harbour surrounded by steep hills, where the sea runs inland creating Greece’s only fiord. In ancient times, the entrance to the harbour was known as Porto Cadena (Chain), because of the chain that was used to close off the entrance to the harbour.
The Byzantine fortress town of Monemvasia, known as the “stone ship” is situated on the southeastern coast of Laconia, ready to travel the visitors on a historic journey back to time. Castles, walls, old mansions, narrow lanes, churches, imperial marble thrones and Byzantine icons give the impression of a town untouched by the time.
Inside the castle, at the end of the Lower Town and then the walls follow the signs to the castle, located in Portello. The output is a Portelo down the walls that leads to a narrow strip of rock, but also a unique experience of swimming and literally in the shadow of the castle of Monemvasia.
Heading to Athens about 6 km if you turn left towards Agios Ioannis and Geraki follow the signs to Epidaurus Limiras and will reach the sea in Kastraki, there is the beach of Kastraki. This is a great and pure beach full of sand and very small pebbles.
On the way to the castle of Monemvasia is the Kourkoulas, a sheltered harbor which usually resembles a swimming pool and is protected by 3 points, ideal for swimming. With the help of small stairs, immediately immerse in cool and clear water next to you having the imposing rock towers.