Mani is one of our favorite areas in inland Greece year round. (The other one being Zagori). Its unique scenery, like no other in Greece, is wild and off the beaten path. Its architecture takes you back in time, with Maniot towers rising proud over the emerald sea, in total harmony with the surrounding nature. In the summer, you can enjoy amazing seafood in fish taverns next to playful turtles after your swim or snorkel. When it’s not hot, it’s ideal to wander in the cobblestone alleys in villages of bygone eras. But, can you go with kids? Are there baby friendly stays? What is there to do around here?
Family accommodation in Mani
Historic Arapakis Castle and Hotel Pandora: Two amazing hotels in the traditional village of Charia in Mani. The first one is actually a restored historic castle, turned into a first class hotel. Pandora is built next to it, designed by the same engineers (the lovely owners), to blend in harmonically with the quaint village and the surrounding castles. There’s a playground, homemade breakfast, fully equiped apartments with luxury amenities and proximity to the beach of Diros, next to the caves.
Where and what to eat in Mani
The traditional Maniot cuisine is one of the best in Greece. Some of the top chefs in the country agree and have moved to restaurants around Mani to creatively play with the local flavoures and dishes.
Don’t leave without tasting
Shrimps from the laconian gulf, in creative recipes in a seafood restaurant with a view to the… Laconian gulf! Sygklino, the traditional dry sausage, preferrably on pasta or pizza. Kayana, this amazing omelette with tomato, feta cheese and sygklino. Travihti, the local pancake, with honey on top. Tsouhti, probably the best greek pasta dish, with homemade pasta, olive oil, local ricotta like cheese and egg sunny side up. Lalagia, savory pastry goodies. You won’t find those anywhere else in the country.
Where to eat
Areopoli: It’s better to come for lunch, as it’s far less busy. We really enjoyed food at Poulos, Barba Petros and Mavromihaleiko. The latter has a roof top area with amazing views. The food is oh so local in all 3.
By the sea: It’s one of the top experiences here to enjoy your lunch or dinner at a tavern on a beach or cove. Most are not very easily accessible, so it’s good to know which cove has taverns: Alypa is a gorgeous pebble beach on a small cove with one quiet taver. Kotronas is larger and sandy and there 1-2 taverns here. Chalikia Vatta has 2 taverns. Gerolimenas offers many options by the sea. Limeni is ideal for food, especially at sunset. Oitylo for the amazing restaurant at Petra & Fos hotel. Valtaki beach has an amazing tavern. Skoutari is magical and the little tavern features some really creative seafood dishes.
Family friendly activities
Sandy beaches are hard to find around here. Stoupa and the other sandy beaches near it are almost 1 hour away, Kotronas 25 minutes and Skoutari 45 minutes away. Gyalia is just over Gerolimenas, 25 minutes away. Oitylo beach is 10 minutes away, Marmari 45. Limeni doesn’t have a beach, but when you’re in the sea, it’s sand on your feet.
Pebbles: Chalikia Vatta is 25 minutes away. Chalikia Dirou is just 1600 metres away and you can talk with the concierge at Arapakis Castle and Hotel Pandora to ride a horse to the beach! Alypa beach, Mezapos, Porto Kayo, Gerolimenas may not be suitable for sand castles, but if kids put on their plastic shoes they can enjoy swimming in crystal clear azure waters.
Contact Tenaro Adventures at Gerolimenas to organize some SUP, canoe, diving and short hikes ideal for kids. The sea bike is perfect even with 5 year olds and a great way to explore the nearby caves.
In Limeni, the water sports option are plenty.
Our favorite town to walk around is by far Areopoli, as it’s car free and has a playground. You can also visit the old castle town of Vathia or Laya. Diros caves are a must, as the visit is by boat! Kokkala beach is also perfect to visit and then dinner.