The medieval walls of Monemvasia encircle one of the best preserved and most beautiful castle-towns of Greece that attracts increasingly more fans by the year.
The castle, the winding cobbled streets, the hammams, the fountains, the rich merchants’ mansions, the old low arches, and the dozen Byzantine churches are elements of the most interesting castle-town in Greece, a town that seems untouched by the passage of time.
Houses, Venetian mansions and sculpture-like alleys, carved in stone, have earned Monemvasia, this unique medieval settlement of the Peloponnese, the nickname of “Gibraltar of the East”.
The town has passed through the hands of the Venetians, the Turkish, the Francs, the pirates, and finally the Greeks, many times.
You get to Monemvasia by car that you’ll park just outside the gate, on the road that links the castle to the new town, as no cars are allowed within the old town. Prepare yourselves for a hike. As you enter the walls, on your left, you’ll come across Yiannis Ritsos’ (famed Greek poet, communist and active member of the Greek Resistance during World War II) house, as he was from Monemvasia. In fact, in one of his poems he calls Monemvasia a “a ship of stone”. The main road is called Yannis Ritsos, while he poet’s tomb is located in the castle’s cemetery.
This castle-town’s magic is unique. It calls you to wander around its alleys, around a town that looks like a set, while you half expect knights and ladies clad in crinolines to appear.
Monemvasia is one of the rare holiday destinations in Greece that is equally successful all year round. Within the castle’s walls you’ll find everything you need: hotels, taverns, shops, patisseries, banks, cafés, souvenir shops, and small supermarket branches.