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Patrick Leigh Fermor's Mani

Patrick Leigh Fermor's Mani | EXPERT-LED

Hellenophile, writer, musician and translator Joshua Barley leads this exploration of the Mani peninsula, on the southern Peloponnese, as we indulge in the music, history, food and stories that made Leigh Fermor fall in love with - and set up home in - this most beautiful corner of Greece.

On this journey, we’ll cycle and walk in the region that inspired some of his great works, including the celebrated Mani, exploring hilltop villages, turquoise harbours and olive groves carpeted in wildflowers.

Group Size

Max. 14

Price from

£3,250

What's included?

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. 

Duration

5 nights

Travel Privately

Journey highlights

  • Experience a private visit to the Leigh Fermor house outside Kardamyli.
  • Cycle along peaceful coastal and mountain roads, seeing the landscapes that inspired the Leigh Fermors.
  • Listen to expert talks each evening by guide Joshua Barley and guest speakers.
  • Enjoy an evening of poetry and traditional music with the celebrated Kalogerakis brothers.
  • Visit the tiny hilltop village of Kastania, home to one taverna and 11 churches.
The Slow Cyclists journey through the mountains of the Mani on mainland Greece.
A mountain view from a church at a high point of the Mani, on mainland Greece.
ON THE MOVE

Our journey loosely follows that of Patrick Leigh Fermor in his classic book Mani. We begin in Kardamyli and the surrounding hills before travelling by boat to the Inner Mani to walk and cycle on the scenic southern tip.

Along the way, there will be plenty of knowledge shared by guide Joshua Barley as well as a programme of evening talks and music. We will also eat and drink exceptionally well, sampling the freshest seafood, extra virgin olive oil and some fine Peloponnesian wines.

Slow Cyclist guide Joshua Barley
MEET YOUR GUIDE, JOSHUA BARLEY

Our journey is hosted by Athens-based writer, translator and Hellenophile Joshua Barley. As well as guiding Slow Cyclist journeys for several years, he is also a published author and expert in the history and culture of Greece.

An aerial view of the Kyrimai Hotel where Slow Cyclists stay on the Patrick Leigh Fermor's Mani journey

Patrick Leigh Fermor's Mani

Our journey through The Mani takes place over 5 nights, exploring the lives of the Leigh Fermors as well as the history and culture of the Peloponnese. 

Day 1 - Arrival
Our driver will meet you at Athens Airport and transfer you to Kardamyli. This evening, enjoy a welcome talk from Joshua who will introduce you to the history and geography of the region, setting the scene for the days ahead.
Day 2 - The Home of the Leigh Fermors

Today we will enjoy a private tour of Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor’s wonderful Kardamyli house and garden, hearing stories of life in the house. There will be time after lunch at a local taverna to explore the beautiful coastal town of Kardamyli. In the evening, we’ll enjoy a talk about Patrick’s love of Greece and the Mani and his role in the Greek Resistance during World War II.

Day 3 - The Hills Behind Kardamyli

Morning Cycle 20 kms – Afternoon Cycle 20 kms

We begin today with a cycle through the picturesque villages scattered in the hills behind Kardamyli. We will stop at a church made famous by English travel writer Bruce Chatwin, as well as tiny, hilltop Kastania to visit one or two of its 11 churches. Lunch will be in a taverna overlooking the majestic Vyros Gorge. From here, it is an amazing cycle, mostly downhill, back to Kardamyli. In the evening, we will have dinner in a secluded courtyard in Old Kardamyli, where Joshua will introduce you to the world of Greek folk music, so beloved of Patrick Leigh Fermor, and we will be joined by one of Greece’s most celebrated folk singers. Get ready for plenty of singing and dancing!

Day 4 - South To Gerolimenas

Afternoon Cycle 30 kms

This morning, we will take a boat from Kardamyli to the harbour at Limeni, outside Areopolis, the capital of the Mani. Once again, we’ll be walking in the footsteps of the Leigh Fermors, as they arrived in Limeni for the first time by boat. We’ll enjoy a tour of a traditional Maniot tower before a seafood lunch in Limeni. If we are lucky we’ll be able to swim with giant turtles in the crystal clear waters of the harbour. After lunch, there is the option to cycle to Gerolimenas, or simply relax in Kyrimai, your beautiful hotel beside the sea for the next two nights. This evening, Joshua will deliver a brief history of modern Greek literature, informed by his own research, writing and translations. He will be joined by a local author.

Day 5 - Cape Matapan

Morning walk 5 kms (or Morning / All day cycle 25 or 50 kms)

We’ll begin our morning with a visit to Vathia, the best preserved abandoned village in the region, before walking to a lighthouse at the southern tip of continental Europe. Lunch will be in laid back Porto Kaigo before a relaxed afternoon, with opportunities to swim. In the evening, for a last hurrah, we will be joined by the celebrated Kalogerakis twins for an evening of poetry and music. The brothers are the latest exponents of the great Greek tradition of putting poetry to music. There will be recitals of poetry along with an unforgettable musical performance by the sea.

Day 6 - Departure
On our final morning, we’ll visit the charming town of Gytheio and its ancient theatre before enjoying lunch in a taverna. After lunch, we will bid you farewell and drive you to the airport for your flight home (1.5 hours to Kalamata).
 

Upcoming Scheduled Journeys

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