wild mani | classic
The Mani peninsula, on the central finger of the Peloponnese, is a place of myth and ancient refuge that is home to some of Greece's most beguiling landscapes. Yet it is largely ignored by most visitors to the Greek mainland.
Its variety is astonishing, from deserted hilltop villages and ancient monasteries to crystal clear turquoise waters, secluded coves and remote tavernas serving ice cold Peloponnese rosé, the Mani is the perfect place for slow exploration on foot and on two wheels.
The Mani was also home to travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor and wife Joan for many years. In May 2024, you can follow in the footsteps of the great writer on our journey Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Mani. You’ll soon see why Paddy and Joan chose the Peloponnese as their home.
When to go
Apr to Oct
From the moment you touch down in Greece, everything is included so that while you are with us you can forget about your wallet, relax and enjoy your time in the Peloponnese.
5 - 6 nights
- Dive into the crystal clear harbour at Mezapos shortly after you arrive in the deserted Deep Mani.
- Walk a wildflower-lined cliffside path on the Nicliani headland to a secret church, one of several local Byzantine relics.
- Cycle through the Deep Mani’s moonscape to mainland Greece’s southernmost taverna.
- Cycle in the verdant hills and beautiful hilltop villages between Kardamyli and the Taygetos mountains.
- Thomas and Spiros’s amazing al-fresco Mani feasts, washed down with the very best Peloponnese wines.
ON THE MOVE
There are two distinct regions in the Mani. We start our journey near its southern tip with three nights near Gerolimenas, enjoying walks and bike rides amid the stark beauty and iconic tower houses of the Inner Mani, with deserted, turquoise swim spots around every bend in the road.
We then cycle north to the Outer Mani and the hills around Kardamyli: green, full of wildflowers and olive groves and home for much of his life to celebrated travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. There we will spend two full days exploring the hills and villages around this charming seaside town and the nearby Ridomo Gorge.
The walking and cycling routes are varied, from ancient shepherds’ paths, through flower meadows and ancient olive groves, to dramatic coastal tracks. In the Taygetos mountains the hill climbs are long and steep, but our excellent e-bikes will do the hard work for you.
MEET OUR FOUNDER, OLI
I spent much of my honeymoon exploring the Mani’s secret coves and deserted hilltop villages. Having visited on a bike several years later, I’m delighted we are now able to introduce our guests to the people and behind-closed-doors treats that makes Greece such a thrill.
We designed our exploration of the Mani peninsula’s dramatic mountains, deserted beaches and ancient monasteries to be a 6-night experience. Below is the itinerary, although it can easily be offered as a 5-night journey too.
Morning cycle 17 kms, walk 2 kms – Afternoon cycle 16 kms
Our gentle introduction to the Mani takes us on a loop of the ancient heartland of Niclian warriors. Once heavily populated, feudal and fierce, the region is now a forgotten outpost, dripping with derelict churches and monasteries, battlements, ancient olive groves and wildflower meadows. We’ll meander inland and towards the sea, with plenty of opportunities to swim. A seafood dinner will be in nearby Gerolimenas.
Morning cycle 25 kms – Afternoon cycle 16 kms
Myth suggests the cave network at the southern tip of the Mani was the entrance to Hades. Today we’ll see for ourselves, as we cycle to the southernmost tip of mainland Europe. We’ll have lunch and swim in laid back Porto Kaigo before turning for home. On our way, we will visit Vathia, the best preserved abandoned village in the region, before landing back at Kitta for our final evening in the south.
Morning cycle 30 kms
Today we travel from the Inner to the Outer Mani. We leave Kitta on bikes and pedal north towards Areopolis, named after the God of War, and the capital of the Mani. After time to explore and lunch in nearby Limeni, we’ll travel north on the water – with swimming on the way – to Kardamyli, from where it’s a 20 minute walk to Liodentra, our home for the next three nights.
Morning walk 2 hours, cycle 20 kms – afternoon cycle 20 kms
We begin today with a visit to Old Kardamyli, before a glorious walk up into the hills on ancient paths. Then it’s on to remote, hilltop Kastania for lunch in the village’s only taverna and a visit to one or two of its 11 churches. It is an amazing cycle back to Kardamyli where we will have a barbecue dinner at Liodentra.
Morning cycle 25 kms – afternoon cycle 11 kms, walk 4.5 kms
Today begins with a beautiful ride towards the Ridomo Gorge on quiet backroads and tracks. Lunch will be in the meadows before an amazing ride to Kampos to visit an olive oil producer. The day finishes with a walk down to the coast with stunning views over Kardamyli and the Messinian Gulf. We will have dinner in our favourite restaurant in Kardamyli this evening.
HOW TO BOOK
There are two ways to travel with us. You can either travel on a set-date Scheduled Journey or put together your own private party.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS
A wonderful opportunity to explore a fascinating part of the world, to meet like-minded travellers and make new friends in a group of Slow Cyclists assembled by us.
TRAVEL WITH FRIENDS
If you love the look of the Mani and want to experience it in a small group of family or friends, get in touch and we will explain how we can make it happen.