Cruise to A Charming Town of Grecian Traditions
Gythion is a welcome reprieve from some of the more action-packed legendary sites in Greece, since an earthquake in the 4th century destroyed much of the ancient town. But that just means that rather than digging though thousands of years of history, you can spend the day in pursuit of here-and-now happiness.
Nature lovers will appreciate the beaches along Lakonikos Bay, which are not only home to warm turquoise waters but also endangered loggerhead sea turtles that flock here to breed. If you like dark and dramatically lit places, head to Diros Caves to be punted along (in a boat) through one of the earliest inhabited places in all of Greece.
And because it is Greece—where there’s no escaping the past—you can get your UNESCO World Heritage fix at the 13th century Byzantine citadel of Mystras. For fans of ancient city-states, it’s worth the 30-minute drive to the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia, just to climb out of the car and bellow, “This is SPARTA!”
Or simply walk across the causeway from Gythion to the island of Cranae, allegedly where Paris of Troy and Helen from Sparta spent their first night together. Then saunter back to the mainland for a frappe, the ubiquitous Greek coffee that gives you an excuse to lounge for hours at a café, watching the world go by.
Explore the small island of Cranae, connected to Gythion by a causeway. According to legend, Paris of Troy and the abducted Helen from Sparta spent a night here. Take in Tzanetakis Tower, the Ethnological Museum, and the lighthouse, housing the Maritime Museum.
With sparkling clean waters and a sandy beach extending over 6KM, Mavrovouni Beach is an excellent spot for swimming, windsurfing, and surfing. The beach also offers nesting protection to endangered loggerhead sea turtles.
Surrounded by mountains and fragrant olive and citrus groves, today's Sparta is much different from its history as a military powerhouse. Explore ancient ruins, the Archaeological Museum, and the Museum of Olive Oil.
Gythion, Greece At a glance