History by the Sea
The Mani peninsula, on the central finger of the Peloponnese, is one of Greece’s most fascinating and dramatic regions. Yet it’s largely ignored by most visitors to the mainland. A place of myth and ancient refuge, with endless villages and monasteries hidden within their folds, it has secluded coves and beaches above which tower the Taygetos Mountains, snow-capped until April. Each spring and autumn we host a very limited number of private groups on 6-night holidays here. We are also involved in the Benaki Festival, a new literary festival based in and around Kardamyli. Please, take a look below to get a sense of the place, and if you would like to know more please get in touch.
Our guests in the Mani experience a different kind of Slow Cyclist holiday. Instead of moving each night we spend three nights in two separate places, allowing you to unwind and soak up the sea, sights and sumptuous food and wine this remote part of the Peloponnese offers up in spades. Days are spent on electric bikes and on foot, seeking out secret coves, hidden valleys and ancient, abandoned villages. As ever, guests are accompanied by a team of three: two local guides and a host.
Patrick Leigh Fermor
The British war hero and author Patrick Leigh Fermor called the Mani peninsula home for about 40 years. His home, recently – and magnificently – refurbished by the Benaki Museum according to Paddy’s wishes, is one of the finest houses in all of Greece, and remains a fitting memorial to the great man.
Citta dei Nicliani
Citta dei Nicliani is in the heart of a tiny village called Kitta, in the southern or Inner Mani. It’s a small boutique hotel that is exclusively ours during our stays. During the Ottoman period, Kitta was the birthplace of the Nicliani, a strong Mani clan who were at the forefront of the Greek liberation campaign. In the early 20th century the buildings were home to the Greek Royal Gendarmerie. They were abandoned after WWII and lay derelict until the site was bought and refurbished by Panos, our host, and his family.
The Ilias Estate
The beautiful Ilias estate is a family home, built by James and Charlotte Heneage and completed in 2018. It sits above a terraced olive grove overlooking the sea to the west and the Taygetos Mountains inland. Rooms are spread throughout the five acres of olives. The property is just a few kilometres north of Kardamyli, where Patrick Leigh Fermor lived for much of his life. James and Charlotte host us during our stays, with James also acting as one of our cycling and walking guides in the Outer Mani.
New for 2022
Until now we have worked with just two properties in the Mani. However, from 2022 we are excited that for a handful of our trips we can offer the opportunity to stay in a villa set beside the turquoise waters of the Messinian Gulf and just a short walk from the centre of Kardamyli.
On the Move
The walking sections of the journey take you on ancient shepherds’ paths across pastoral landscapes, through mountain villages and along dramatic coastal tracks. The cycling is almost exclusively on quiet tarmac roads – they are a cyclist’s dream, with very few cars. The Taygetos Mountains run like a spine north to south. They are steep and dramatic, and there are a few long hills – both up and down. That said, you will always have time to experience village life and to gaze at the magnificent views. Electric bikes are used exclusively.