Monemvasia, the fortress city by the sea, is replete with history and redolent of staggering views.

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As a rocky outcrop rising proudly above the surrounding sea, Monemvasia resembles a ship about to set sail for distant lands.

It is tethered to the mainland by the thin strip of earth from which it derives its name, a term which translates directly from the Greek to mean “sole entrance.”

Many claim that Monemvasia is none other than the ancient Akra Minoa, the renowned naval stop of King Minos; however, it was not until the 375 AD earthquake that the huge rock broke off from the southern Peloponnese.

Excavations indicate that the area remained uninhabited until 588 AD, when the inhabitants of Laconia fled to the area following the barbarian invasions.

Though many of the Laconians migrated to Sicily, some settled in the southeastern part of the peninsula, naming their final destination Monemvasia Megara.

They then built churches, as well as a formidable wall in the Lower City, and a second one high up on the fortress of Ghoula hill.

Even to this day, these walls appear impenetrable, with the modern asphalted road leading you straight to the bullet-ridden iron plaques of the gates.

The walls of the Lower City, along with the massive wall of the fortress, have withstood countless raids over the centuries, surviving today in a virtually untouched state.

Strolling along the narrow, stone-paved lanes of this Byzantine-Medieval-Venetian fortress city, it’s hard to take in all that lays before you.

Everything you come across will seem like it has been frozen in time. The tiny, but well-kept homes, as well as the proud flashy mansions, emanate a warm, friendly feeling.

Though the houses were constructed one on top of the other in an effort to squeeze the city into the confined space demarcated by its Medieval stone walls, they maintain their impressive detail and innate decoration.

To deal with the limited area, the villagers contrived a variety of city planning solutions, such as the domed arcades that lead from one part of the city to another. Then, above such arcades, the villagers would construct entire housing complexes.

Sparta is approximately 95 km from Monemvasia, and Gythio is 90km away. Following the road to Gythio, at about the 20 km mark, turn left at Chania and from there continue along the meandering road to Molaous. 


Although the fortress of Monemvasia is in all its glory during the summer months, the heat can be stifling.

Because the area is a haven for tourists, you must book well in advance, especially for a room within the city’s stone walls.
Don’t be surprised to find non-Greeks roaming the streets of the castle during the winter.

Most of them are permanent residents who have bought the best properties!


One of the best hotels in the region is KINSTERNA HOTEL

Address: Agios Stefanos, 23070 Monemvasia

Peloponnese, Greece, Tel: +30 27320-66300, Fax: +30 27320-66116



At the official site of the municipality will also find many other accommodations

The following are the city’s leading,hotels:

Vizadino  Tel.  +30 27320 61 351     Fax. +30 27320 61 254     e-mail:

Lazareto   Τηλ: +30 27320 61991   Φαξ: +30 27320 61992    e-mail:

Αrdamis    Τηλ. +30 27320 61887  Τηλ./Fax 27320 61886   e-mail


A plethora of charming, picturesque tavernas and cafes can be found hidden within the castle’s walls. Generally speaking, the food is both good and authentic, albeit expensive.

There are far more choices, all of which will be much more reasonably priced, beyond the castle walls.

The little harbor of Plytras, just outside of Monemvasia and below Asopo, boasts arguably the best seafood in all of Greece. Similarly, the harbor of Geraka (20 km from Monemvasia) prides itself on its delectable fish snacks.

Even if you are not particularly fond of fish, I would recommend the area for its charming environment. Enjoy the view while sipping on a cup of coffee.


For more information visit the beautiful official tourist site of the Municipality of Monemvasia

Texts and photos from the official tourism site of the Municipality of Monemvasia

Useful Telephone Numbers:
Area code 27320
Town Hall 61222
Police 61210
Health Centre 61204

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