Monemvasia is located in the southeastern Peloponnese in the prefecture of Laconia, 400 meters from land having been separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 375 A.D. Its name derives from two Greek words, mone and emvassi, meaning "single entrance". It was called Malmsey by old English writers, Napoli de Malvasia by the Venetians and Malvoisie by the French.
It was founded by the Byzantines in the sixth century and shortly after it became an important port. It remained in Byzantine possession for almost seven hundred years until it was captured by the Franks in 1249 after a three year siege. However, it returned to Byzantine hands ten years later and became the chief port of the Despotate of Mystra.
When the rest of the region was captured by the Turks in 1460, Monemvasia remained unharmed by placing itself under the control of the papacy (1460-1464) and later under the Venetians (1464-1540). In 1540 the Turks gained control of Monemvasia after the Venetians abandoned their garrison. Although Monemvasia experienced decline under Turkish control, it underwent a revival when it returned to Venetian hands between 1690 and 1715.
In the War of Independence, Monemvasia was the first of the major Turkish fortresses to fall after a four month siege in July 1821. On August 1st 1821, overcome by misery and illness the Turks agreed to surrender to Demetrios Ypsilantis.
During World War II the New Zealand 6 Brigade numbering several thousand men was successfully evacuated on April 28th 1941 mainly from the causeway and the two piers. Soon after the Germans entered Monemvasia, which was not used as a defensive position but rather as a place for wounded soldiers to recover.
Today a causeway links the mainland town of Yefira/New Monemvasia to Monemvasia or Kastro (castle). The Kastro is divided into a lower and an upper town. Many ruins of the original 800 houses and only four out of the original forty churches can be found in the lower town. Among them is the Church of the Elkomenos Christ (Christ Dragged), which is named after a famous icon of Christ given in 1700 to the church by Andreas Likinios, philosopher and chief physician to the ruler of Moldavia, Dimitirs Kandimir. The oldest church is St. Paul’s, which was built in 956, and today houses the museum. Further on, towards the eastern edge of the lower town and closer to the sea is the whitewashed Our Lady of Hrisafittisa, which was built in the sixteenth century.
High above, castle walls protect the upper town on the summit. There one can see the remains of Byzantine houses and public buildings and a vast cistern that ensured a water supply at times of siege. A fortified zigzag path from the upper town leads to the Fortress of Goulas on the summit overlooking the town. It is entered by a tunnel that still retains its ironbound gates. Among the ruins of houses and cisterns of the acropolis of the upper town stands St. Sophia, a Byzantine church founded by Andronikos II Paleologos on a plan similar to that of Daphni in Athens.
Starting from Athens in the morning you will enjoy a drive through the spectacular country landscape. Pictures change one after the other, mountains (Taygettus), pine-trees, olive-trees, grapes, fields,orange trees, small villages, sea and again fields and mountains to reach Monemvassia and its Venetian glorious ancient castle ( 6th century).
MONEMVASIA means “single entrance,” and as you cross the narrow bridge separating this fortified fist of land from the southeast tip of the Peloponnesus, you can see why.
You can have an unforgettable overnight stay in the castle, in one of the comfortably and fabulously formatted apartments of it, depending on your accommodation and rate requirements. Small souvenir shops in the Castle's narrow paths & traditional taverns, can offer you a nice dinner and friendly prices & service.
Moreover, if you wish, we can easily reach the Monemvassia village (5-10mins driving) for a wider variety of taverns.
Free in the morning and after check out we will start our drive back to Athens. We will have a stop enroute at the town of Sparta for a lunch break and to visit the Museum of Olive oil (optional).
Alternatively we can depart morning from Monemvassia to visit Mystra near Sparta.The choice is yours.
PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION BELOW AS WELL AS OUR TERMS OF SERVICEBEFORE BOOKING YOUR TOUR:
►All prices include all taxes, fuel, insurance, and parking fees.
► The total price for the tour is per group size. Individuals may split the cost of the tour among themselves as they wish.
►This tour does NOT include entrance fees to any archeological site and museum,meals, hotel accommodations, gratuities, or other client personal expenses. Driver’s hotel expenses are not included in the price but If our company book the hotels we use frequently you can avoid this cost. If you wish to book your own hotels then you need to pay a room for the driver.
► For your safety inside the vehicle, drivers provide commentaryonly when it is deemed safe to do so while driving. When your driver must concentrate during difficult driving conditions, please refrain from any distracting behavior as your safety during the tour is our top priority.
► Greece has strict laws and regulations in place to protect licensed tour guides, this it makes it unlawful for Tour Drivers to offer commentary about sites outside the vehicle. In order for us to comply with Greek laws, Tour Drivers may not tour our guests near or inside monuments or museums. Your Tour Driver will provide commentary and basic information only inside the vehicle. Only licensed Tour Guides may accompany or guide you at the sites you visit. If you wish to have a personal licensed tour guide please include this on your request.
► Your Driver will drop you off as close to the sites as legally possible and in accordance to the local Municipality and Traffic laws of Greece.
►Once you fill out our booking form and provide your credit card information, you are legally bound to a contract with us.
► Our service is solely confirmed when the potential customer has received an email confirming services along with the details of the tour. If the confirmation email is not received than please conclude that the service has not been confirmed. We suggest you contact us immediately for further clarification.
► Modes of Payment: Payment for the tour will be made in Euro funds at the end of your journey.
Important Note: Only cash payments are accepted for licensed tour guide services.
Please, note that there will be no charge if you cancel your reservation by e-mail within at least 5 days before date of requested service. If is not done in these terms, our company reserves the right to debit the "no show fee" on your credit card which is the total amount of requested services.
► Cancellations are accepted only via E-Mail so your cancellation is on record. We do not accept cancellations by phone, text message, or 3rd parties.
► If you have contacted us earlier asking for specific dates but have not confirmed those dates, it does not mean that these specific dates have been reserved for you and therefore may no longer be available. We will do our best to satisfy any need of a last minute request but obviously based on what we have available
Entrance fee to each monastery is 2 Euros pp.
Free admission for:
• Persons under 18 (with current identification to prove age)
• University students from Greece and the E.U
Free admission on specific Greek holidays: January 1, March 25, May 1, in the morning of Good Friday (April 18), Easter Sunday (April 20), December 25 and 26; no tours will be performed on those days.
* The total price for the tour is per group size. Individuals may split the cost of the tour among themselves as they wish.