Peloponnisos or the Island of Pelops, a son of Tantalus, is a region rich in myths and historical sites are numerous enough to keep the myths alive. Our trip concentrates on the Great Mountain Taygetus. From Sparta we will hike on the European Trail E4, a route combining history and mountaineering. We will enjoy a fascinating insight into the history of the Byzantine city of Mystras and then on well-marked trails we will hike up to Taygetus summit at 2404m altitude. Crossing the forest of Vasiliki and passing through some remote villages we will end to the seaside town of Gytheion.
Day 1: Arrival in Sparta - Mystras
Arrive to Sparta and settle to your hotel in Mystras.
Spend the rest of your day, sightseeing hiking in Mystra Byzantine citadel. Mystras was a fortified town in Morea (the Peloponnesus), on Mt. Taygetos, near ancient Sparta Mystras was built as an amphitheater around the fortress erected in 1249 by the prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin. Reconquered by the Byzantines, then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, the city was abandoned in 1832, leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape. In 1989 the ruins, including the fortress, palace, churches, and monasteries, were named a UNESCO’s World Heritage site.
Overnight Mystras http://www.mystrasinn.gr/ (or similar)
Day 2: Hike to Anavryti village (approx. 4 hours trekking)
From Mystras we follow the E4 trail for about another 3,5-4 hours until reaching the picturesque village of Anavriti.
O/N Anavriti guesthouse @https://kaneltrekking.gr/en/ (or similar)
Day 3: Hiking Anavriti – Lakkomata – Refuge EOS of Sparti (alt.1550m) (approx. 5 hours trekking / 12 km)
After breakfast depart on a 5 hour hike (approximately) from Anavriti village to the refuge of the Hellenic Mountaineering Association of Sparti. The path passes through cultivated areas as well as through fir and pine forests. It is a route of great beauty. O/N Refuge EOS of Sparti
Day 4: Refuge EOS of Sparti – Mt. Taygetus peak Profitis Ilias (alt.2404m)
Today, enjoy a 2 ½ - 3 ascend up to the peak of Mt. Taygetos. The peak is renowned for its pyramid shape and its unique views. The view from the top includes most of the Evrotas valley and the Parnon range to the east, while the view towards the west includes Kalamata and the eastern half of Messenia. Most of the southwestern part of Arcadia can also be seen from the summit. The route is initially on forested ground of Greek fir and black pine and then continues on the alpine zone with no trees.
Return to the refuge (another 2 ½ - 3 hrs). O/N Refuge EOS of Sparti
Day 5: Refuge EOS of Sparti – Vasiliki forest - Arna (approx. 7 hours trekking /16 KM)
Today we will hike in the most popular antiquate passage of the region, the famous “royal road” that connected the ancient Arkina (an ancient city lost in the woods between the villages Sparta and Gola) with Messinia. The road passed by the magnificent Vassiliki Forest that preserves today the name of the ancient road (Vassiliki means royal).
Day 6: Arna - Sminos river valley - Agios Nikolaos Gythio (approx. 5 hours trekking 16 KM)
From Arna down to a stream and then a mythic path to the monastery of Panagia Jatrissa . The itinerary leads front of the monastery on the sloping asphalt road towards Gythion. The hike ends in Agios Nikolaos from where a taxi will take you to Gythio – END OF SERVICES