Experience the untapped beauty of this little corner on Earth!
In this two-day tour of Northern Kynouria, you’ll enjoy the hospitality of locals, taste home-cooked meals and discover hidden little villages and unique nature trails. From mountain peaks to wetlands, it is a place where history and tradition blend together to deliver gastronomic experiences that will awaken your palate and heighten your senses.
You’ll visit Northern Kynouria, an area steeped in history and tradition, spanning from the Neolithic Period all the way to the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Its name, Kynouria, derives from the Ancient Greek word for dog (kyon) and is testament to the Ancient Greeks’ love and respect for wild dogs.
Ancient ruins and UNESCO World Heritage monuments attest to the area’s glorious past. Having passed from the Byzantines, to the Slavs, the Franks, the Venetians and the Turks, Kynouria gained its independence in the mid-1800s and is now an area with a rich cultural heritage, attracting visitors from across the globe.
Starting off from Kalamata or Paralio Astros, you’ll discover hidden little villages, perched on mountainsides, and taste magnificent local products and food, prepared by Greek mamas.
The tour is available all year round. Sundays and official holidays are excluded.
Visit traditional villages, explore mountainous nature trails and enjoy local delicacies, at the foot of Mt. Parnonas.
Stop 1: Rizes– Winery Visit and Local Wine Tasting
During this 2-hour activity, you’ll visit a well-known estate in Rizes, one of the largest villages in the Municipality of Tegea, known for its local produce.
Established in 1989, the estate has been staying true to its motto since day one: Good wines are produced in the winery, but fine wines are made in the vineyard!
You’ll tour the vinification and wine ageing areas and the vineyards, and find out all about the indigenous varieties of Moschofilero and Agiorgitiko.
The tour concludes with a wine-tasting experience, paired with local cheeses. Whether you’re an occasional wine drinker or a seasoned expert, you’ll gain valuable insight about local wines, tasting premium labels of the latest vintage each time.
Stop 2: Ano Doliana – Tour of the Village and Full Lunch
This 3-hour activity is split into 2 parts.
Part 1: Coffee-shop stop and tour of the village and area
At an altitude of 1,050 meters (3,450 feet), Ano Doliana is a verdant village, known for its role during the Greek War of Independence in 1821 and its local folk museum, with exhibits highlighting the local history and tradition.
You’ll enjoy a coffee, tea or any other hot beverage and a light snack at the local coffee shop, before embarking on a tour of the village.
Two locals, George and Vicky, will recount the history, legends and traditions of the village, while strolling through the cobblestone alleys.
You’ll then go on a small hike of the surrounding area, taking in the natural beauty, before returning to the village for lunch.
Part 2: Full lunch with local cuisine at the village tavern
Enjoy some of the finest meals based on traditional recipes, cooked daily by a local mama, who uses the freshest of ingredients.
In this cosy tavern, you’ll get to taste comfort food in hearty servings, by the most hospitable people you’ll ever meet. And if the weather is a bit chilly, you’ll get to enjoy all this next to the fireplace.
Meals are seasonal and include entrees, mains and dessert, washed down with local wine. There is something for everyone, including vegan and vegetarian options, while the dish of the day may include wild boar, pork with garlic and walnuts, rooster in red sauce, homemade cheese and vegetable pies, and fresh oven-baked bread.
Stop 3: Agios Petros – Visit to Environmental Centre, Hiking and Visit to Traditional Shop
This 3-hour activity is split into 2 parts.
Part 1: Visit to Environmental Centre and hiking
Agios Petros is a picturesque village, listed as a traditional settlement, at an altitude of 950 metres (3,000 feet), at the foot of Mt. Parnonas.
The village has many hiking trails to choose from, some leading all the way to the top of Mt. Parnonas. The E4 European Trail also crosses through here. It is the ideal place for mountain adventurers and hiking enthusiasts.
Just outside of Agios Petros, you can visit the Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Malevi, a listed Natural Monument.
The village is also home to the Agios Petros Environmental Information Centre. A local tour guide will tell you all about rare and indigenous flora and fauna, types of natural habitats, and local areas of historic, religious and archaeologic interest.
The tour can be combined with activities in nature, such as exploring the Juniperus drupacea forest, a rare cedar species, unique in the entire European continent.
Part 2: Visit to traditional local shop
Discover unique local delicacies, such as walnuts, honey and aromatic herbs from Mt. Parnonas, in a traditional shop right on the central village square.
Maria, the owner, will reveal some of the secrets of local products, including trahanas (fermented milk pasta), liqueurs, homemade desserts and spoon sweets, and excellent cheeses. As a matter of fact, her sour cherry spoon sweet has received an award in a Greek contest. She’ll even let you try before you buy!
Stop 4: Agios Ioannis – Cheese Tasting and Dinner
This activity is split into 2 parts.
Part 1: Visit to local cheese farm
You’ll visit a small local cheese-making farm, where Takis produces graviera, myzithra and feta cheese with milk from local farms.
Takis will give you a tour of his farm and will explain the whole cheese-making process, from the moment the milk is received to the end product.
You’ll then enjoy a cheese tasting experience at the local cheese shop, accompanied by rusks and olives. You can even buy any of the cheeses that take your fancy.
Part 2: Dinner at local tavern and overnight stay
The small guesthouse and tavern are housed in the same building and they are among the cosiest and most hospitable establishments in Greece.
Stone-built and wood-crafted, the guesthouse is simple, warm and welcoming, ideal for all travellers, including families with children.
The tavern, with its fireplace and rustic décor, is the best place to wind down after a long day. Sit back and enjoy the comfort food prepared by the local cook, which may include olives, local cheeses, fried pies, homemade pies, roast lamb and potatoes in the oven, fish soup, pork stew with celery and wild greens, fresh bread and wine.
The menu includes appetizers, a main and dessert, while vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
Stop 1: Platanos – Cooking Class and Full Lunch
Depending on availability, there are two options for this leg of the tour: either lunch in Kastanitsa or cooking class and lunch in Platanos, a nearby village. Whatever the case may be, the food will be delicious.
Platanos is located on the north-eastern side of Mt. Parnonas, at an altitude of around 500 metres (1,650 feet), surrounded by a rich pine, fir and fruit tree forest. Its name derives from the countless plane trees in the area.
The area’s microclimate is so unique that it is possible for olive trees, pine trees and orange trees to grow next to each other, with spring waters running wild all around the village. The area is also known for its juicy cherries, which are abundant when in season.
Platanos is a listed protected settlement, with stone-built houses, a traditional arched bridge and the sound of running water echoing in every corner of the village.
After a short tour of the village, you’ll head to the warm and welcoming tavern for a cooking class with a local cook, who’ll unravel the secrets of traditional recipes, just like mama used to make, with chestnuts and cherries taking centre stage.
You’ll then enjoy a full lunch, with homemade appetizers, mains and dessert, accompanied by local wine. The food is prepared daily, using the freshest ingredients from the vegetable garden. And the signature dish? Spaghetti in goat-meat sauce. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!
Stop 2: Kastanitsa – Visit to Environmental Centre and Walking Tour
Perched on the mountainside of Parnonas, at an altitude of 840 metres (2,750 feet), Kastanitsa is known for its traditional Tsakonian architecture, with its landmark tower-houses and slate-rock rooftops.
Here you’ll visit the Kastanitsa Environmental Information Centre, where you’ll find out all about the protected area of Kastanitsa, the area’s natural monuments and local architecture, the traditional local forestry professions, and the Tsakonian dialect. The Centre is housed in an old school, dating back to 1870.
You’ll then take a tour of the ruins of the Byzantine Tower on the northern part of Kastanitsa and marvel at the panoramic view of this traditional village, with its cobblestone alleys, which has been designated as a listed protected settlement since 1967.
The tour continues through nature trails that lead right to the chestnut forest, a scenery of immense beauty, spanning over 1,000 acres. The area is known for its chestnuts, as production used to reach 500 tonnes at one time. That’s why the village is also home to the Chestnut Festival, taking place in late October of each year, with its origins stemming from the late 1700s.
Stop 3: Moustos Wetland – Tour and Observation of Local Fauna
The Moustos Wetland is a designated protected area, integrated into the Natura 2000 European Network, and the most important wetland in the eastern Peloponnese.
It is refuge to rare, endangered and protected species of water birds, and a gateway to many migratory birds that fly along the eastern coast of Greece.
You will take a tour of the Wetland with a local tour guide, while you’ll also have binoculars, a telescope and related informational material at hand to observe the indigenous fauna.
The Wetland is also home to rare species of flora, unique to this area.
Stop 4: Koutroufa – Ancient Olive Tree
The last stop of Day 2 will take you to a unique natural monument: the ancient olive tree in the village Koutroufa.
The life of this olive tree began around 2,500 years ago! It originally grew in a nearby olive grove, but in February 2010 it was uprooted illegally to be sold outside Greece.
Thanks to the swift actions of the town council, the cultural association and the locals, this natural monument was saved and replanted in the village square.
The tree is 4 metres (13 feet) tall and has a trunk circumference of 11 metres (36 feet). Its invaluable history and tradition make this blessed olive trees a unique natural monument, not just in Greece but worldwide.
Included in the price
Excluded from the price
To make your visit even more memorable, here are some tips:
If you have your own vehicle and want to opt out of the hotel pick up, you can meet us in Kalamata, and join the tour in your vehicle!