There is only a single route to reach Monemvasia and that’s where the name of this beautiful castle rock comes from (Moni Emvasis, meaning sole entrance). Located in the southeastern side of the Peloponnese, Monemvasia is one of the most beautiful gems of Greece.
An impressive castle-town that dominates a huge rock, Monemvasia is a destination that you definitely need to include in your Peloponnese Tour plans. A magnificent settlement of Byzantine architecture, this marvel of the man and nature looks like a “stone vessel” – as per the verse in a poem of Yiannis Ritsos, that “travels you to the world”.
The castle-town is divided into two areas: “Kato Poli” the one which is full of churches, shops, restaurants and homes and “Ano Poli”, the upper – in ruins – part with magnificent old buildings and breathtaking views.
In order to reach Ano Poli you need to walk about 15 minutes to the upper side of the castle, on a stone-paved path. The most important building of that part of the town is the Church of Ayia Sophia, a temple that was built by the woman of Byzantine Emperor Andronikos as a tribute to the Ayia Sophia in Constantinople.
Kato Poli, the inhabited part of Monemvasia’s castle-town is full of small pensions, souvenir shops, traditional tavernas and restaurants, mansions and Byzantine churches. Among the Monemvasia attractions, you may visit the churches Elkomenos Christos, Ayia Anna and Panayia Chrysafitissa, as well as the Archaeological Museum of the town and the house of Yiannis Ritsos. However, the most interesting part of Monemvasia is its marvelous Byzantine architecture and the way that the intense sun blends with the rock and the deep-blue color of the sea.
Walk through the historic settlement and try to feel the aura of a place that experienced glorious times through the centuries, from the Minoan era, while as a naval station of the Cretans it was called Akra Minoa, to the ancient times when the Spartans built a small settlement, to the medieval period and the Byzantine acme, the occupation by the Venetians who called it Malvasia and by the Ottoman Turks, until the day of its liberation in the July of 1821.
The Monemvasia castle embraces the rock and creates a unique and imposing scenery. So, if you are looking for hotels in Monemvasia it is worthy to find a hotel in the interior of the castle. Most of their rooms are literally old homes and offer magnificent views. If you are looking for something more economical, then you may choose a hotel in the nearby village on the Peloponnese coast. The modern town is a great choice for anyone who wants to combine the proximity to one of the best travel destinations in Greece, with a more tight budget.