A legendary Greek road trip
No other part of Greece combines stupendous mountain scenery and scenic hikes with deserted, pristine beaches and an incredible wealth of ancient sites like the Peloponnese. After all, this is where gods and heroes were said to walk the earth and the world’s greatest sporting event was born. Add to that terrific winery-hopping, boutique accommodation in historic stone towers and the unfailing hospitality of the locals, and you have the recipe for a memorable road trip.
Hike the Lousios Gorge
East of Tripoli and the E65, a narrow mountain road snakes its way past medieval villages, high above Mt Menalon’s most precipitous ravine – the Lousios Gorge. The Mylaon River runs through the lush valley at the bottom of the gorge, paralleling the most popular section of the 72.5km (45mi) Menalon Trail which connects the villages of Stemnitsa and Dimitsana.
You can descend into the gorge near Stemnitsa, to admire the Prodromou Monastery which clings to the rock face, and ascend on the opposite side, taking in the ruins of the Old Philosophou Monastery. Or begin your hike from Dimitsana, walking a mixture of footpaths, wooded trails and dirt roads through forests, past Byzantine fortress ruins and stone houses, over a mountain pass and through open countryside.
The villages of Stemnitsa and Dimitsana make the best hiking bases, with their concentration of tavernas serving typical mountain fare (game casseroles, bean soup) and comfortable guesthouses. Mpelleiko in Stemnitsa is a 17th-century converted house where you can sleep in the former “donkey basement” and feast on organic produce, while Dimitsana’s Amanites has elegant rooms with balconies high above the gorge.
SOURCE: Lonely Planet