Situated below the Parnonas mountain range, by the Myrtoan Sea, this village reminds of a Greek island before the tourism boom


The Lakonia area in the southeast Peloponnese is not lacking in beautiful seaside locations. Mani is renowned for its breathtaking coastline scenery. Beaches such as Alypa have attracted international media attention. The Monemvasia rock is as renowned as the Rock of Gibraltar. The Gythio harbour is one of Greece’s most picturesque. Gerakas is like a Norwegian fjord.

Kyparissi is situated beyond the region’s well-known stone villages and beaches, at a secluded – even for Lakonia standards – corner of the Peloponnese’s east coast. This village seems like it is on the edge of the world. It is a two-hour drive from Sparta. The last part of the road includes a challenging section with bends and narrow stretches while heading down the slopes of the Parnonas mountain range. The difficult drive, however, offers instant gratification as soon as Kyparissi’s whitewashed two-storey houses and the Myrtoan Sea’s shoreline come into view.

The village, with a total population of approximately 400, is divided into three settlements. Vrysi, or Kyparissi, is the village section away from the sea, and the first of the three settlements to be encountered. It is also the oldest of the three. The other two more recent sections are coastal spots. Paralia attracts the greatest number of visitors. This settlement hosts most of the area’s cafes and tavernas. It also features traditional whitewashed houses right up against the sea. Photos of this setting have been widely published. You may have seen a shot or two. Mitropoli, Kyparissi’s third settlement, offers lots of accommodation and, generally, features newer buildings.

Truly traditional destination

Kyparissi has gone under this name for approximately 1,000 years. Life has been remote here over the years. Up until the 1970s, Kyparissi had no road connection to the rest of the Lakonia region. It could only be reached via the sea. A sense of detachment may still be felt. It feels as if time has stopped here. Not surprisingly, Kyparissi was chosen as the set for filming, last summer, of a TV series, “Vardianos Sta Sporka”, an adaptation of a short story by esteemed 19th century Greek writer Alexandros Papadiamantis, produced by state broadcaster ERT. Kyparissi was a superb choice for this period series. Even during the 21st century of rapid tourism growth, the location has, quite effortlessly, maintained its traditional character. This is what a village at a popular island destination in the Cyclades or Sporades would have looked like in the 1970s, prior to the country’s big tourism boom.

The village roads are narrow, just wide enough for one car to get through. Having mentioned cars, we recommend that you do not use one whilst here. It is worth parking your vehicle upon arrival and moving about on foot to enjoy the nature, featuring firs, cypresses and carobs, and also view well-kept house gardens with flowers. Head up the trail that is close to Vrysi and see the ancient asclepeion of Kyfanta, as Kyparissi was known during antiquity, plus the rock-hewn troughs which were filled with thermal water from the mountain. Walking to the Saint George chapel is a lovely seaside stroll, especially during the afternoon hours. Do not be surprised if you spot luxury yachts off Kyparissi or at the harbour. The destination was visited by Lady Diana with Dodi Fayed in the summer of 1997, shortly before they both died in the Paris car crash.

Where to swim

The Paralia settlement offers two beaches, Mikri Ammos and Megali Ammos. Contrary to the meanings of their names in Greek – “small and big sand”, respectively – the two beaches are pebbled. Their waters are crystal clear, while they are shallow and not wavy.

Some 2km from the village, Agia Kyriaki beach is endowed with a marvellous underwater world – it is worth having a diving mask – and blue waters of mild temperature. In the wider area, 20 km from Kyparissi, renowned Fokianos bay is one of the finest beaches in the entire Peloponnese. Many coves that may be reached by private boat grace the region’s coastline. They include Drymiskos, Vlyhada and Balogeri.


Coffee and drinks with fine sea views may be enjoyed at the Maritsela café (+30 2732055397) and Molos (+30 2732055250). Petrino Kamari serves coffee and drinks at a charming yard space. Ploes (+30 2732055237) and Cavo Cortia (+30 2732300414) offer exceptional fish and seafood dishes. Diners preferring meat dishes will find what they need at Kamares (+30 2732300400) and Takouras (+30 2732055217). Fancy-free Greek cuisine and pizza are served at Trocandero (+30 2732 055236). Many of the restaurants and tavernas in the area feature gogges, traditional Lakonia pasta, as well as kaltsounia, small pies filled with greens, on their menus.

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