Choice of the Month: Mountainous Arkadia

Stemnitsa village in Arkadia, Peloponnese, Greece
 
    
1) Tripolis 2) Vorias Kynourias 3) Gortynias 4) Leonidiou 5) Megalopolis

 

Arcadia is a region in Greece. It is situated in the central and eastern part of Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan. In European Renaissance arts, Arcadia was celebrated as an unspoiled, harmonious wilderness.

Kastanitsa village, Arkadia, Greece

Dimitsana village, Arkadia, GreeceKardaritsi Village, Arkadia, GreeceAlonistaina village, Arkadia, GreeceKandila village, Arkadia, GreeceKollines village, Arkadia, GreeceKarytaina village, Arkadia, GreeceKosmas village, Arkadia, GreeceValtetsi village, Arkadia, GreeceLangadia village, Arkadia, Greece

View of the central street in Vytina, Arkadia, Greece

Karyes village, Arkadia, GreeceStemnitsa village, Arkadia, GreeceElaiochori village, Arkadia, GreeceRizes village, Arkadia, GreeceScene in Langadia alley, Arkadia, Greece

These wild mountains hide innumerable picturesque villages. These are traditional villages with a proud history of fighting during the revolution against the Turks up to 1821 and Greece’s liberation. Here you’ll find the Gorge of Lousio with the river of the same name, several hiking as well as biking trails. This is the place where you can meet the real, traditional Greece.

Stemnitsa village has a folklore museum. It includes various exhibitions regarding the traditional way of Stemnitsa life in the past including how candles were made, a jeweler’s workshop, a shoe repair shop and a copper tinning representation. It also houses an extensive selection of Byzantine icons, old costumes, copper- ware, guns and jewelry.

The Stemnitsa Silver-Gold-Smithery School is a public funded school where students can learn to craft jewelry from silver and gold. The School was established in the 1970s and the first director of the school was Lambis Katsoulis.

Lousios Gorge - Mainalo Mountain, Arkadia, Greece


Mainalo is a mountain range that spans about 15 to 20 from north to south (southwest of Tripoli to NE of Vytina) and from east to west from 5 to 10 km. (from Zygovisti to Kapsas.
Much of the area used to be covered in old-growth forests but most were unfortunately burnt in 2000 and especially in September 2011.

In the medieval times and until the late-20th century, the mountain was known as Apano Chrepa. It is also a village which is located in the mountain range and dates back to the ancient times. The mountain is home to the skiing resort which is located in the middle of a mountain 20 km NW of Tripoli and 9 km SW of GR-74/GR-33, northbound. The elevation of the skiing resort is at 1,550 m. The mountain range is entirely surrounded by roads, the GR-74 runs around the Mainalo to the north and the east and a road linking Tripoli and villages W of Tripoli and to Vytina with a low speed limit is to the south and west. The western part west of Mainalo does not have much roads. The mountaintop which is also known as Ostrakia elevates at 1,860 m is in the northwest central part. Mainalo is the tallest mountain in Arcadia, where the highest mountaintop is named Profiti Ilia. The entire area is a parkland.

Loussios river, Arkadia, Peloponnese, Greece

Lousios is a river and a gorge in western Arcadia that stretches from Karytaina north to Dimitsana. The river begins near Lykochori and flows through Lousios Gorge. The river is treacherous and flows rapidly. It empties into the Alfeios 2.5 km northwest of Karytaina and south of Atsicholos.

Lousios Gorge, Arkadia, Peloponnese, GreeceA view of Megalopoli and the Alfeios valley from Dimitsana, Arkadia, Peloponnese, GreeceOrchomenos, Arkadia, Peloponnese, Greece

The length of Lousios Gorge is about 15 km from north to south and it is approximately 2 km wide. The gorge is very popular amongst hikers. At the end of the gorge you’ll find the town of Dimitsana. At the other side of the gorge is the ancient city of Gortys with the temple of Asclepius. The gorge is encircled with the Karytaina-Dimitsana Road to the east and several rural roads and trails as well as zig-zag roads. You can have a panoramic view of the gorge from the east side. Much of the gorge is heavily forested, the remainder are treacherous cliffs. One of the roads crossing the south of the gorge is the road linking Karytaina and Atsicholos.

During rainy days, the gorge is dangerous to cross, and it is not permitted.

Ladon River

Ladonas river, tributary to Alfeios river, Peloponnes, GreeceLadon River rises on the western slope of the Aroania mountain, near the village Kastria, Lefkasi municipal unit, Achaea. It flows south, receives its left tributary Aroanios, flows along Kleitoria and turns southwest near the Arcadian border. It flows through the artificial Ladon Lake, and turns south again near Dimitra. It flows into the Alfeios 3 km southeast of the village Tripotamia.

The Monasteries of Arkadia

Monastery Philosophou, Lousios gorge, Arkadia, Peloponnese, GreeceMonastery Prodromou at left, Monastery Philosophou (new) at right, Lousios Gorge, Arkadia, Peloponnese, GreeceMonastery Prodromou, Lousios Gorge, Arkadia, Peloponnese, Greece


Things to do

skiingSkiing: At the Plateau of Ostrakinas, near the top of Mainalo at an altitude of 1600m, is a modern ski center and mountain lodge. The ski center offers one of the best ski slopes in Greece and attracts many sports fans from Peloponnese and Athens. It has a chalet with lounge and restaurant; 3 lifts transport 200, 350 and 500/persons per hour and 5 slopes. The ski center was operating for years thanks to the efforts of the Alpine Club of Tripoli. Today it is supervised by the Municipality of Levidiou.

hikingHiking: The European hiking trail E4 passes the plateau of Ostrakina.
Νear the ski resort there is a modern mountain lodge owned by the Alpine Club of Tripoli. It has a capacity of 26 people and it has a kitchen, water tank, oil and wood stoves, fireplace, toilets inside the hostel rooms.
Access to the skiing resort and mountain lodge is easy via an asphalt road from Tripoli (27 km) or from Patras (via the road “111”). The intersection for the ski resort is on the road Tripoli-Patras at Kardaras village (18 km from Tripoli). The refuge is to be found 9 km from there (5.5 km of asphalt road and 3.5 km of dirt road in good condition).
Ostrakina Ski Resort also links with the Vytina forest road which has recently been constructed. Where the road ends, it has the name Alonistaina – Vitina. In the two settlements of the village Kardaras (the old village and the new settlement at the road Tripoli-Patras) you’ll find taverns and restaurants to serve visitors, climbers and skiers.

 

Karitena Clocktower with the Frankish Castle of Karytaina built on a steep rocky outcrop in 1245 seen in the background.Sheep grazing on a farm just east of Astros, Arkadia, GreeceArtwork on display in Langadia village, Arkadia, GreeceMylo, Fortified position of the 1821 revolution, Valtetsi village, Arkadia, GreeceClock tower (c.1900) in Karyes village, Arkadia, GreeceHouse in Dimitsana, Arkadia, Peloponnese, GreeceKardaritsi village with mount Afrodisio in the background, Arkadia, Peloponnese, GreeceA typical Kastaniot roof, Kastanitsa village, Arkadia, Peloponnese, GreeceOld Houses in Dimitsana village, Arkadia, Peloponnese, Greece

 

Biking trail at Mount Mainalo: Karkalou – Dimitsana – Zigovisti – Radou (17.39 miles)
See further information and map

Hiking trail in Arkadia:  Dimitsana – Karitaina (Route 32 – 13.04 miles)
See further information and map

Hiking trail Lousios, Arkadia: (near Dimitsana) through Lousia Gorge (5.18 miles)
See further information and map 

Hiking trail Dimitsana loop, Arkadia: Dimitsana – Zigovisti – Stemnitsa – Dimitsana (16.2 miles) on this beautiful trail you’ll pass the Monasteries of Philosofou and Prodromou, as well as the Bridge of Monoporis over the Lousios River.
See further information and map 

Eco Action: The whole area of the mountainous Arkadia offer great opportunities for a variety of activities like rafting on the rivers, horse riding, biking/mountain biking, trekking/canyoning, off-roading and bird watching.
Eco Action Website

The Open Air Water-Power Museum in the village of Dimitsana is a thematic museum centred on the importance of hydraulic power in traditional societies, which presents the basic pre-industrial techniques using water as their main source of energy to produce various goods.

  • Open Air Water-Power Museum
    Kefalari Ai-Yianni
    GR-220 07 Dimitsana
    Tel: +30 27950 31630
    Museum website

Organised trekking in Lousios Gorge
The trek offers a beautiful combination of history with nature. You will walk amongst trails of dense vegetation going parallel and criss crossing the Lousios River. You’ll visit monasteries that appear to be literally hanging from the cliffs and end the trek at the archaeological site of Ancient Gortys. This is one of the most stirring of all Greek sites as it is based along the rushing river known in ancient times as the Gortynios. A vehicle will take you back to the starting point.
Trekking Hellas Arkadia has it base in the village of Maratha (Vlachoraftis)
Tel: +30 2710 221912 (office), +30 2791 025978 (base), +30 6974459753 (mobil)
Website with further info and online booking… 

Rafting in Lousios river
Loussios river is where Zeus used to bathe himself! In the spectacular densely vegetated gorge and in the river’s crystal clear waters, you’ll enjoy rafting and discovering the hidden natural paradise of the area. The descent is of 2nd degree of difficulty, starting from Lousios, continuing to Alfios River, and ending to the spectacular bridge of “Koukos”.
Trekking Hellas Arkadia has it base in the village of Maratha (Vlachoraftis)
Tel: +30 2710 221912 (office), +30 2791 025978 (base), +30 6974459753 (mobil)
Website with further info and online booking… 

Cooking Workshop in Arkadia
In the heart of the Peloponnese has been created Arkadiani, a centre of Arkadian Greek cuisine. The centre has its own garden where most vegetables are being cultivated. It is like a small museum of Greek (Peloponnesian) Cuisine. Upon arrival you will meet the local women with whom you will start your cooking workshop.
Website with further info and online booking…

Accommodation

“Enastron” Guesthouse
Dimitsana-Arkadia, Greece
Tel: +30 27950 31684 email: xenonasenastron.gr   Guesthouse Website
Prices from: 90€ (2 pers.)

 Vytina Mountain View Hotel
Vytina 22010, Arkadia, Greece
Tel: +30 27950 29029  Hotel website
Prices from: 75€ (2 pers.)

 

 

 

 

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