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Traveling to Greece: A guide to Arcadia

3 min read

Travel to Arcadia, Greece

This week, we are taking you to the mountains, as Greece has become an increasingly popular winter destination, and usually with a good dose of sunshine. The regions of the Peloponnese, Meteora and Epirus are great options for a winter escape, especially if you love breathtaking hikes, a mild climate and good food.

In this edition, we will be focusing on the mountainous region of Arcadia, in the Peloponnese. As always, we don't get any benefit from sharing these, we simply want you to experience the authentic Greece we grew up with and some new gems we discovered along the way.

Discover Arcadia

Arcadia, nestled in the heart of the Peloponnese peninsula, is a region steeped in myth, history, and natural beauty. Renowned in ancient times as the idyllic homeland of Pan, the god of the wild, Arcadia is characterized by its rugged mountains, lush forests, and serene valleys. In Greek mythology, Arcadia was celebrated as a place of rustic simplicity, inhabited by shepherds and nymphs, embodying the pastoral ideal.

Today, it continues to captivate visitors with its picturesque villages, ancient ruins, and breathtaking vistas. The region's rich cultural heritage is evident in its traditional festivals, folk music, and culinary delights. Whether exploring its ancient sites, hiking its scenic trails, or simply immersing oneself in its timeless charm, Arcadia invites travelers to experience the essence of Greece's mythical and timeless past.

Villages to visit: Dimitsana and Stemnitsa

The two most famous villages of the region. Dimitsana, perched on the slopes of Mount Mainalo, is renowned for its well-preserved stone houses, cobblestone streets, and traditional craftsmanship. You can visit the historic monastery of Panagia and the renowned Open-Air Water Power Museum, which showcases the region's traditional watermill technology.

Dimitsana village in Arcadia

Stemnitsa, with its stunning views and medieval ambiance is known for its silver and goldsmithing traditions. You can get a glimpse of the past at its Museum of Folk Art and History and shop at the numerous handmade jewelry shops.

Stop by Gerousia, a traditional coffee shop open since 1870(!) for a coffee and a snack. Gerousia means the Senate in Greek and takes its name from the Peloponnesian Senate, a provisional regime assembled in 1821, at the outbreak of the Greek war of Independence. 


Stemnitsa village in Arcadia

Where to stay: Manna hotel, a former Sanatorium turned Retreat

Amid these captivating landscapes, you will find Manna, a 5* hotel tucked away in the ancient fir forest of Mount Mainalo in Arcadia. The former sanatorium, built in 1929, has now been completely transformed into a unique mountain retreat, offering a blend of history, luxury, and natural beauty for those seeking a memorable winter getaway.

Where to eat: Taverna Zerzova

We stumbled upon Zerzova by chance the first time we visited the area and we spent hours looking for it the second time, years later. It was in the middle of August, the village was empty and we shared drinks with the owner who opened the taverna just for us on that summer afternoon. It has been a favorite ever since!

We love the authenticity and comforting taste of their dishes, but especially their commitment to sourcing the majority of ingredients from their own garden and production. The owners embody a unique philosophy towards cooking and hospitality, offering the highest quality ingredients and are the definition of the "farm to table" concept. They even forage for mushrooms and horta (wild greens, typically boiled and enjoyed with olive oil and some lemon). If you visit, consider calling ahead for a reservation.

Adventure time: Menalon Trail

If you love spending time in nature and are looking for a more active holiday, visit the website of the Menalon Trail to learn all about the various hiking paths in the area. The Menalon Trail is founded by a group of volunteers dedicated to the mapping of hiking trails and the development of hiking tourism and they are doing a wonderful job at promoting the unique beauty of their land.

Let us know which Greek places you're itching to explore, whether it's a hidden gem on a quaint island or mountain escape, and we'll share our insights!

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