My name is Dina and I’m a Greek kindergarten teacher currently living in Germany. I was born and raised in Thessaloniki, but much of my family roots are found in different parts of Greece including Monemvasia.
My passion for languages led me to start traveling Europe. Then came the need to capture moments, which made me a photography lover – even though my father, being a photographer himself, played an important part too. My paternal grandmother was born and raised (until the age of 14) in the old town of Monemvasia and afterwards she moved to the newly built village, just outside of the old town.
That’s where my father was born and raised (until the age of 2). The family then moved to Athens but would always return to Monemvasia for the summer holidays. Like father, like daughter, I’ve spent all the summers of my life in Monemvasia and it’s where my heart feels at home. Reconnecting with family, hearing stories and tales about the old times, and learning all about my origin created a special bond between me and Monemvasia.
My Favorite Places in Monemvasia
My favorite places in the old town of Monemvasia are one, Yiannis Ritsos’ house – a famous poet also known as “the great poet of the Greek left” – because first of all it’s a great monument and second the view from his house is fantastic. And two, the even older town (known as the Upper Town) which lays on the top of the rock and offers visitors a breathtaking view of the lower town.
Top 5 Things To Do in Monemvasia
1. Wander Around the Old Town of Monemvasia
Wandering around the Old Town is a journey through time and beauty. This fortified island town – often called the “Gibraltar of Greece” – is a testament to history. Its cobbled streets wind through medieval buildings, Byzantine churches and Venetian architecture – all perched on a dramatic rock overlooking the Aegean Sea. Visitors can lose themselves in a labyrinth of narrow alleys, discover hidden courtyards and enjoy panoramic views.
2. Visit the Church of Elkomenos Christos
Elkomenos Christos in Monemvasia is a historic Greek orthodox chapel renowned for its well-preserved frescoes and unique architecture. Nestled within the medieval fortress town, this small church offers a glimpse into the rich religious and artistic heritage of the region.
3. Climb to the Upper Town of Monemvasia
Climbing to the Upper Town of Monemvasia is a wonderful activity, especially during sunrise time in summer – as the heat later in the day may deter you from doing it, plus the view of the rising sun from the sea is excellent. Once at the top, you can also check out the magnificent Hagia Sophia Holy Orthodox Church.
4. Try the Regional Wines, Especially Malvasia
While in Monemvasia, don’t miss the opportunity to savor the exquisite regional wines with a special recommendation for the renowned Malvasia wine. Delight your palate with the flavors and aromas that this historic region has to offer. From crisp whites to robust reds, the diverse wine selection promises a memorable tasting experience that reflects the rich viticultural heritage of the southeastern Peloponnese.
5. Taste the Regional Dishes of Monemvasia
Experience the culinary traditions of the region by tasting its delicacies. Indulge in local favorites such as tsaitia, a delightful dish pronounced as “cha-ee-tya”, or relish the flavors of kolokithoanthi, a rice-filled zucchini flower dish, pronounced “co-lo-key-tho-an-thee”. To satisfy your taste buds further, be sure to try broustoula, a pie with a great taste, pronounced “brus-too-la”. These dishes provide a glimpse into the heart of Monemvasia’s gastronomy.
Stay Longer to Explore the Area
If you visit Monemvasia, you don’t need more than 2-3 days. However, the region around Monemvasia is quite beautiful – so you might want to have some extra days. You could visit Kythira (an island with lots to explore), Elafonisos known for Simos Beach, the Laconian Mani region including the towns of Areopoli and Limeni, Kyparissi and the Caves of Diros. Each of them, with the exception of Kythira, can be visited on a day trip from Monemvasia.
Tips for Visiting Monemvasia
Monemvasia is accessible only by bus or car, however both the island of Kythira and the city of Kalamata have an airport. Also, before you climb on the Upper Town, make sure to ask if it’s open for visitors – as they often do reconstruction work. And check the opening days and hours of Hagia Sophia Holy Orthodox Church.
The best time to visit Monemvasia is definitely the summer, as it’s not as crowded as you might think and you can enjoy the beautiful blue waters of the region. But springtime is also a good choice, because the scenery is all green and the weather is nice.
Last but not least, a recommendation for the accommodation is to choose a village a few kilometers away from the town of Monemvasia – like Agia Kiriaki, Agia Paraskevi or Xifias. They are more quiet and peaceful, closer to the beaches and good restaurants, and it’s easier to find a parking spot.