Areopoli is a town in Mani on the south of Peloponnese in Greece. For years it has been a financial and cultural center and played a crucial role in the development of the whole area. Pages of Greek history are written in this small town, which was a starting point for the revolution against the Ottoman empire.
It is not clear when Areopoli was built, but the first historical sources talking about it are from the 18th century. At that time, the Mavromichalis family was the strong family of the area. They were among the pioneers who revolted against the Ottomans on March 17th, 1821.
During the 20th century, a big part of the population from Areopoli and the surrounding area migrated to Germany, USA, and Australia, looking for a better life. Many of the descendants of these people come back to Mani today, looking for their roots.
In the last decades, Mani and Areopoli specifically have become a pole of attraction for tourists from Greece and abroad to come here to admire the nature, culture, and overall experience of life in Mani.
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Things to do in Areopoli, Greece
Areopoli has two parts; one is the old town and the other the new one. The old town is picturesque, with stone-paved streets and charming traditional houses. In the old town, there are taverns, restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops. The alleys with colorful doors surrounded by flowers are the best background for your summer photos.
The central square is called Platia Athanaton. It is the meeting point of locals who flock there in the evening: children with bicycles and scooters, companies of elderly, and families stroll around the square. On one side, there are a few cafés that serve delicious pastries.
The main road of the old town is called Kapetan Matapa street. If you follow it, you find a historical square dedicated to the revolution of the 17th March 1821. In the center of the square is the cathedral of Areopoli called Taxiarches, a stone-made church built in the 19th century.
Inside the church, you can see relics and artifacts that represent the great wealth and history of Areopoli. The tall tower bell of Taxiarches is a true jewel. A bit further is a sculpture that shows the local warriors taking their oaths before going to the war.
In Areopoli, there are many old chapels, a sign of the faith and religious devotion of the locals. Among them are some that you should not miss. The church of Saint John, built by the Mavromichalis family, has beautifully painted walls, dating back to the 18th century.
The religious history of Mani is exhibited in the museum Pyrgos Pikoulaki, next to Saint John’s Church. The permanent exhibition is called ‘Stories of the religious faith of Mani’. Tickets cost 3 euros, and the museum is open 8:30-15.30.
The tall stone towers that you see around the old town are typical samples of the local architecture. They have two or three floors and small square windows. Often the doors and balconies are decorated with arches.
In the new part of the town, you will find all sorts of services like banks, markets, a post office, and a small hospital. There is also a free parking area out of the old town.
Τhings to see around Areopoli, Greece
Limeni is a coastal village a few minutes away from Areopoli. Visitors love this beautiful port with the turquoise waters and the beautiful stone-made towers. Around the coast, there are taverns and restaurants where you can eat fresh fish and enjoy the view of the gulf.
There is no beach in Limeni, but you can dive in the crystal-clear waters from the rocks. Also, the community has created steps that lead you to the sea.
Relaxing day at Neo Oitilo
If you want to spend a relaxing day at the beach, all you need to do is drive a bit further from Limeni, at the cove of Neo Oitilo. There you will find a long sandy beach next to the charming village.
Access to the beach is free. You have the choice of renting an umbrella and a set of loungers if you want, but you can also have your equipment. There are showers and changing rooms at the promenade above the beach.
After your swim you can have lunch in one of the fish taverns you will find in the village.
Those who live in Areopoli, usually come to Neo Oitilo for swimming in the sea.
Day trip at Diros Caves
10 km far from Areopoli is the caves of Diros, one of the most beautiful stalactite caves in Greece. Its length is 14 km, but only 1,5 km is accessible to visitors. You walk for 200 meters and explore the rest of the cave by boat.
The tickets cost between 15 and 7 euros, depending on the route you choose to follow. In the summer months, the opening hours are 9:00-17:00.
Where to stay in Areopoli, Greece
Areopoli is touristic therefore there are many hotels and guest houses in the town. You can find accommodation for all budgets. However, since the place is popular, it is advisable to book your room early enough to have more options.
Many visitors choose to stay in Limeni or Neo Oitilo because they prefer to live by the beach. They drive to Areopoli in the evening to enjoy the nightlife.
Recommended hotels to stay in Areopoli:
Areos Polis Boutique Hotel: this family-run boutique hotel is located at the center of Areopolis and offers elegant rooms with satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, and traditional breakfast.
Kastro Maini: located in the center of Areopolis it offers a pool with hydro-massage, a pool for children, and a restaurant. Rooms are spacious with private balconies.
How to get to Areopoli, Greece
Areopoli is in Peloponnese, which is part of the Greek mainland. You can get there by car or take a flight to the closest airport.
If you come by car from Athens or Patras, you follow Olympia Odos highway with direction to Sparta. Follow the signs taking you to the Provincial Road that connects Gytheio with Areopoli. It is one road that you must follow until you arrive in Areopoli.
The international airport of Kalamata is the closest to Areopoli. There are many domestic and international flights, especially in the summer months. Outside the airport, there are rental companies from where you can rent a car and drive to Areopoli.
There are shuttle buses from Athens and Kalamata to Areopoli daily. However, the area of Mani does not have public transport, so if you want to discover the whole area, you’d better have a car.