Laconia is a prefecture of the Peloponnese, located at its southeastern end. Its attractive location between two of the largest mountains of the Peloponnese, Taygetos and Parnonas, combined with its long history and special cultural elements, provoke visitors to visit it. From the steep slopes of Taygetos to the wild Mani peninsula with its thousands of Byzantine churches and stone towers to the mythical castle of Monemvasia, Laconia has many places worth seeing.
The tour of the prefecture starts from Sparta, the capital of the prefecture. It is a modern city as it was created by Othona in 1824 near the castle town of Mystras. Visit the Ancient Acropolis, the Ancient Theater, the Leonidaion as well as the Archaeological Museum. Also noteworthy is the Olive and Greek Oil Museum.
Nearby is the mythical castle town of Mystras, standing tall on the imposing slopes of Taugetos. The Franks created the castle in 1249 during their raid on the Peloponnese and then it was handed over to the Byzantines. Walk between the imposing Byzantine churches and enjoy the view towards the fertile Laconian plain.
Above Mystra rises Taygetos, the highest mountain of the Peloponnese. Prophet Ilias is the highest peak where its height reaches 2,408 meters. From there the view impresses hikers. Below you will find beautiful villages such as Arna, Xirokambi, Anogeia and Anavryti. Hiking is the best way to reach the highest mountain of the Peloponnese is from Anavryti through the refuge of EOS Spartis and then moving up the ridge you reach Prophet Ilias.
Further south, you come across Gythio, the historic port of Sparta. Seat of the Municipality of Eastern Mani while the architecture of the houses refers to an island. Continuing south, rises Mani with its stone towers and its wild landscapes. Visit Areopolis, a city with a rich history as it is where the Greek revolution of 1821 began, the Diros Caves with their eerie landscape that impresses visitors, the picturesque fishing village of Gerolimenas and end up at the southernmost cape of mainland Greece, Tainaro. There is the Sanctuary of Poseidon and Apollo, the well-known necromancer. From here move north and after passing the coastal fishing village of Kokkala, visit Kotrona which is located on the ruins of ancient Teuthroni.
To the east you will find Monemvasia, one of the largest castle-states in the country, with about 40 churches. It is divided into two parts, the Lower Town is the inhabited one while the Upper Town has many churches such as Hagia Sophia. From there you can visit Kyparissi, a picturesque settlement built next to the sea, at the foot of Madara. At the same time, in the area you will find the only fjord in the country, that of Gerakas.
At the end of the Epidaurus - Limiras peninsula you will find Neapoli, a settlement built next to the sea. From there you can continue towards Kavo Malea, with the historic lighthouse illuminating the Myrtoos Pelagos. Elafonissos is the only inhabited island in Laconia. It is famous for its sandy beaches like that of Simos, while it is built on the ruins of Pavlopetri, an ancient city that sank after an earthquake in 375 BC, which turned it into an island.
Finally, it is worth a visit to the villages of Parnon. Parnonas is an elongated mountain range in the east of the prefecture. The fir forests combined with the small picturesque villages such as Polydrosos, Vamvakou and Karyes are reasons to discover the hidden side of Laconia. In fact, the Karyatides originated from the area, so in the village of Karyes you will find a monument with the Karyatides. Further south, Geraki is also located, a city built on the ruins of Ancient Gerothra. Visit its imposing castle with dozens of Byzantine churches.