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Ano Doliana - Kosmas - Eloni's Monastery - Leonidio - Plaka - Peleta - Mari - Fokianos

Trip Details

Trips inside Peloponissos
Date: Sat, 28/05/2011 to Sun, 29/05/2011
Distance: 250km.
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Sakis, Giorgos Z., Stratos
Photographers: Manolis, Sakis, Giorgos Z.
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Sakis
Map: Trip map

Sightseeing map

"It's a few times when returning from the trip, wondering if there are still such places in Greece ...". But let's take things from the beginning...

The last weekend of the spring we wanted to go for a trip. While we were on the verge of the summer, the weather did it again and it was rainy. Looking at the last minute weather forecast, we decided to visit the area of Leonidio in NA Peloponnese, an area we wanted to explore some time ago.

So, the meeting was on Saturday morning in Ano Doliana. I came from Kalamata and Sakis with Stratos from Athens, we were there at 11pm. It was a good opportunity to meet with our friends George and Vicky and enjoy the first coffee of the day waiting for George Z. from Nafplio to come later due to work commitments.

The time passed very pleasantly, as usual, at the "Oneirologio" cafe discussing various travel topics. At 3pm. came George Z. and after an hour we started to get to the town of Leonidio through the mountain of Parnonas. Following the path Mesorrachi - Ag.Petros - Polydroso (Tzitzina) crossed 60km. a stunning area consisting of tall and dense trees, something common for those who have traveled to Parnonas, and has very beautiful unspoilt scenery and many dirt roads.

Arriving in Polydroso, we entered the village for a short stop in the picturesque square, which is found a beautiful house, the old school. We asked the owners about the way we wanted to go through Platanaki - Paleochori to reach the village of Kosmas. We were prevented, however, as the dirt road (15 km) was in a bad condition because of recent rains. Apart from this, our bikes were not the most suitable for this case.

So we continued for the next 30km. south until we reach the outskirts of the village of Geraki. There we turned left towards Kosmas (16 km) and Leonidio (42chlm.). The tortuous path elevation climbed up the beautiful and picturesque village of Kosmas at 1,200 meters. in a landscape composed of firs. We stopped for some time to enjoy the picturesque square with its stone houses and tall trees, in its shadows the residents enjoy a coffee and meal.

The time was 7pm. Although the distance to Leonidio was short (about 30 km.), we were told that we would need for about 45 minutes to ride. In addition, we wanted to visit the monastery of Eloni (16 km) located on the way to our final destination.

The history of the monastery dates back to 1300a.c. The history says that the shepherds of the area saw in an inaccessible part of the slope of Parnonas, a light. Initially they have not given importance, but the continuation of the phenomenon, peaked their curiosity leading to resort to the bishop of Reontos and Prastos. The bishop gathered all the people of the village and tried to give an explanation to the strange incident. The result was to realize that it was a light of a candle that was lit in front of a picture. The amount, however, that the image was rendered impossible any attempt to approach.

Tradition says that after their prayers, the figure went down to a lower point. The bolder attendees climbed the mountain by finding that it was a picture of the Virgin and Child. Then they built a makeshift wooden chapel, where they placed the picture, while for the access to it, they built rope ladder.

Today, the monastery will impress even the most discerning visitor causing with awe when you see perched on the cliff. We visited it and we were impressed with both the monastery and the wild landscape.

Continuing the winding, narrow route (17km) crossed the gorge Dafnona. At 8pm. arrived at the picturesque Leonidio, the capital of "Tsakonia" with its rich history. There we met Theodore, member of “Motofriends of Leonidio”, a group of motorcyclists with many activities.

Theodore giving genuine hospitality courses left his social obligations and came to meet us. We asked for somewhere to eat and he sent us to a beautiful restaurant with delicious cuisine. He sat with us for some time, until Manolis came, another member of the "Motofriends ", to avoid us from being alone. As expected, we had the opportunity to discuss about travel and motorcycles, as well as various aspects of the local society. In the pleasant company, the hours passed without realizing. Besides the guys, people were very friendly and welcome us with a smile ... something that is difficult to come across nowadays.

Manolis and Theodore invite us to watch together the final in soccer of the Champions League in a cafeteria. For the night we thought to do free camping, but Manolis proposed us to camp on the land of a relative next to the sea in the village of Plaka (4 km). So, late at night, we were erecting our tents with the help of the lights of motorcycles. We just finished sitting in to enjoy raki, which the guys from “Oneirologio” offered us, accompanied by the sound of waves and music, talking about future trips...


Next day...

The first sunshine was able to wake us up... we got up quickly, mainly motivated by our curiosity to see the place we had camped in the light of the day. It was impressive... only a few meters from the beach... We gathered our tents and went to Leonidio to find something to eat for breakfast. Our aim was to visit the villages located south of Leonidio. Having traveled, 6km. from Plaka, we met the village of Poulithra. The stone houses have spectacular views of the Myrtoo Sea.

Passing the village, the path climbed in an upward spiral in Parnonas offering a spectacular view. The road passed through the villages Pyrgoudi (3 km) and Peleta (9 km) before coming to a barren plateau. There it hosted the villages of Kounoupochoria that most of it is difficult to approach because of the road. Continuing, the road climbed, reaching 1200m elevation. Where we met again tall and thick trees, just outside the village of Kounoupia. In the few stone houses there is a cafe, but it was closed.

Driving with south direction, we wanted to get to the village of Mari (5 km), which Theodore and Manolis had proposed. Once we arrived we realized why they insisted that we go... The many waters running up a very nice effect, consisting of small waterfalls in the shadow of tall trees... water is very cold... We sat for some time, looking for excuses to delay our departure...

We returned and made a stop for coffee in the square of the village of Peleta. Watching the buildings you can see that it was stone classic. Some of it was preserved, while the newly built houses were a few... At 3pm. we left Peleta and follow the road of Amigdalia - Pigadia, we approached the village Fokiano and the namesake bay. The downhill course was with many tight turns. Nevertheless, the view of the Myrtoo Sea combined with the wild beauty of the mountains, created a unique effect!

Approximately 2km before the settlement we met a passable dirty road. The area is also known as home to a multitude of wetland birds. Across the dirt road between the beach and wetlands, we reached the small port with little fishing boats. The stunning blue waters, indeed, we were impressed! We were very lucky and the only tavern of the village was open! It was the most suitable place and appropriate time to stop for lunch. The customers are scarce and foreigners ... it is really surprising that people from other countries know pretty unknown corners of Greece, which most of us ignore...

The time passed very pleasantly when we got the way back to the town. Unfortunately the sky was charged too much and the rain that we met was more than satisfied. At the village of Pyrgoudi, we turned left to take a beautiful route (10km), which led to Leonidio through the village of Tsitalia. But the weather did not give a chance to enjoy it, and soon after began a heavy rain made riding dangerous...

When we arrived in Leonidio-under unrelenting rain-hardly we greeted each other by following different routes, I went to Kalamata (through Sparta – mount Taygetos) and others to Athens (via Nafplion). The rain was very hard and lasted until Taygetos in a road network that does not leave you space to relax for a moment!

However, reaching the 'Tourist shop' of Taygetos, the rain had stopped. I had an attitude change to take off shirt and tarpaulin. I did not feel tired at all... I felt renewed and full of pictures of the places we visited, but most the hospitable people we met... Unfortunately because of the way we left, we didn’t have the opportunity to thank them for their hospitality... this may ultimately be the opportunity to revisit them soon...

Be always well... We thank them for all!