Most of the villages played an important role in the Greek War of Independence. Important battles took place in those, untouched by time, villages which were also the birthplace of and prominent personalities.
Geographical & Historical facts
In the heart of Peloponnese, you will find the biggest of the regions. Arcadia! A mountainous landscape which nevertheless has access to the sea. At the legendary Arcadia, is also Lousios river, the place that Zeus as a baby was taking his bath by the nymphs. According to mythology there was also the home of the god of nature, Pan the protector of flora so this implies a region like a nature masterpiece, a treasure trove for nature lovers. Myths associated with this region have no end but also the Arcadian mountains were one of the main theaters of the Greek War of Independence.
The mountainous villages of Arcadia
Traditional villages where each one has its own history and a different interesting attraction to visit. Most of the villages played an important role in the Greek War of Independence. Important battles took place in those, untouched by time, villages which where also the birthplace of prominent personalities. Unique churches and monasteries are spread around and some of them are the gems of the region like Iera Moni Agiou Prodromou, a place that we visit while hiking the route from Dimitsana to Gortyna.
Another highlight is the ultra-modern Water Power Museum that makes a huge impression as it combines the traditional and the contemporary in an incredible way.
Above the right bank of the Lousios river, there is the Philosophou Monastery where it was the center of education during the years of slavery. It is also known as Krifo Scholio and it is well camouflaged in the rocky environment.
Traditional stone-built villages, such as Vytina and Dimitsana, have beautiful guesthouses to stay in overnight.
The historical library of Dimitsana also had a role during the Greek war, as it was the place where ammunition was prepared. Unfortunately part of it was destroyed due to the lack of paper. Nowadays the building is available to the public and it is enriched containing about 35000 volumes of books and manuscripts.
In case you visit Arcadia in the middle of August, go to Tegea and check out the largest trade fair of Peloponnese.
Activities in nature
Lousios River is offered for white water rafting and for swimming. Mythology says that Zeus (the father of the Olympian gods) was bathed there after his birth!
So feel like a Greek god and swim in the refreshing waters. Dryads, nymphs and other spirits did it also!
But the absolute highlight for the adventure travelers is the hiking through the gorge. Menalon trail is the first certified trail by ERA (European Ramblers Association) and one of the most highly rated trails in Europe. 75 km of pure nature, well-marked in the heart of the mountains and separated in 8 different sectors for all level hikers. In each sector you can also visit picturesque villages, archaeological sites, monasteries, museums and watermills, stone bridges and also meet locals for whom nature is part of their daily life. Undoubtedly, hiking along the Menalon trail is a memorable experience.
The most important ancient site in the Lousios Valley is the archaeological site of Ancient Gortyna, a landscape that exudes a timeless energy. Excavations uncovered two acropolises, two Asklepeia (health centers), bath-houses, temples and thermal springs.
Traditional local products
Fine tastes such as local goats and lambs, fresh and tasty vegetables produced the traditional way are flavors that you must taste. Try also to drink a tsipouro, locals distill it with lots of passion.
Arcadia also has some special apple varieties full of wonderful aromas and full of antioxidants.
Don’t forget to find the Mainalo Vanilla Fir Honey that has a PDO status, and it is very rich in nutrients.
Good to Know
Here are some basic info and fun facts about Menalo!