Spend eight days trekking through Hellenic heaven on the Peloponnese Peninsula’s 75km Menalon Trail, which covers the Western Menalon massif and Mylaon Valley, traverses walnut and olive groves, and leads you to ancient architecture such as the Old Philosophou Monastery. There is also an option to climb up Pliovouni, the highest peak of the trail at 1,643m. On this self-guided walking holiday, enjoy the local philoxenia (hospitality) staying in a mix of family-run guesthouses and hotels. Open for travel all year round, this is a very popular winter natural adventure.
- Monasteries of Lousios Gorge
- The ancient stone bridge of Zarzi on the Mylaon River
- Hidden hermitage of Sfyrida
- Traditional mountain villages
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Day 1: Arrival Stemnitsa
Arrival in Stemnitsa from Athens or Kalamata airport. There are many restaurants, tavernas and cafes, and you will also have the chance to visit the Menalon Trail office in the village’s central square for a briefing before setting off on your hike.
- Accommodation: Guesthouse Tsarbou (Stemnitsa)
Day 2: Stemnitsa to Dimitsana | 12.5km
Follow a scenic path that zigzags down into the valley. Follow an old mule track to Prodromos Monastery, which is perfectly poised on some high cliffs. Visit the monastery and continue along the path that traverses the gorge. Ascend to Old Philosophou Monastery before continuing to the ‘New’ Philosophou Monastery. Follow the Lousios River’s course through lush vegetation towards Dimitsana, cross the river via the Tzani bridge, and come to the Open-Air Waterpower Museum. In this area you will also see various watermills and gun powder mills that put Dimitsana on the map, a town built on the ruins of ancient Theftis.
- Walking for the day: 12.5km, 5h, ↑830m ↓950m
- Accommodation: Xenonas Theonimfi (Dimitsana)
Day 3: Dimitsana to Elati | 19km
Prepare for a long but extremely rewarding hike. Start with a gentle ascent from Lousios Valley to the outskirts of the pine forest, with great views as you emerge. Continue via footpaths and dirt roads to the village of Zygovisti, which played an important role in the Greek War of Independence war of 1821. After a break at the local café, the route continues and straddles the Western Menalon massif. Continue past the ravine to the church of Agios Georgios and follow the route uphill through dense forests to Bilali Pass. There is an option to continue up to the summit of Mount Pliovouni, the highest peak of this route at 1,643m. Descend via small roads and paths, passing fountains and chapels, to the tiny mountain settlement of Elati.
- Walking for the day: 19km, 7h, ↑900m ↓690m
- Accommodation: Anagnostou Homestay (Elati)
Day 4: Elati to Vytina | 8.5km
After breakfast, visit the woodcraft workshop before descending from Elati to the riverbed of the Mylaon River. Pass Pirgaki Springs, followed by the stone fountain of Makrinou, which is a perfect place for a short break. Further along the river, the vegetation becomes even lusher, and you find yourself surrounded by tall plane trees. Walk past abandoned watermills, cross a traditional wooden bridge, leave the valley and walk uphill via a rocky path to Artotsi Fountain. Nearby is Agia Paraskevi church, from which you have great views over the valley and mountain before arriving into the village of Vytina.
- Walking for the day: 8.5km, 3h, ↑235m ↓380m
- Accommodation: Aiora Suites (Vytina)
Day 5: Vytina to Nymfasia | 10km
Today’s route starts from Vytina and takes you back to the Artotsi Fountain. Descend via the zigzagging path into Mylaon River valley. Pass Zarzi bridge and ascend to Old Vytina. Here you are back on the Menalon Trail, where the massive limestone boulder in the Mylaon River’s riverbed has created an impressive gorge. Cross a second stone bridge and descend into another gorge before climbing again gently through rocks and shrubs. The trail takes you through oak and spruce forests.to the small village of Nymfasia and your accommodation next to Kernitsas Monastery.
- Walking for the day: 10km, 3h, ↑400m ↓580m
- Accommodation: Agropoli (Nymfasia)
Day 6: Nymfasia to Valtesiniko | 15.5km
Start your walk by crossing Kernitsa Bridge. From there you ascend via a steep path to the Holy Monastery of Kernitsas, one of the oldest monasteries in Greece. Continue through a dense pine forest to Sfyrida Hermitage. Traverse the long steep slope of Kastro, passing Gavros Spring, before coming to Magouliana. At 1,250m this is the highest inhabited village in the Peloponnese. Take a break at a local taverna before heading to the village of Valtesiniko, well-known for its traditional woodcarvers.
- Walking for the day: 15.5km, 6h, ↑465m ↓900m
- Accommodation: Valtesiniko Studios (Valtesiniko)
Day 7: Valtesiniko to Lagkadia | 13.9km
Today’s hike starts by following a footpath along a ridge to the Byzantine Fortress of Valtesiniko, perched high in the mountains. Enjoy stunning views of the small country church of Agia Triada. The route now traverses an extensive pine forest, and you gain some altitude before descending again to the Krya Vrysi Fountain. Continue through fields, past a small spring to finally come to Rapi Watermills, on the outskirts of Lagkadia.
- Walking for the day: 13.9km, 5h, ↑600m ↓780m
- Accommodation: Hotel Kentrikon (Lagkadia)
Day 8: Departure
Departure after breakfast. We can also organise optional extra nights in Athens.
What to expect
On this walking holiday, you will be staying in private en-suite rooms in family-run guesthouses, one night in a homestay and one night in a two-star hotel. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
- Guesthouse Tsarbou (Stemnitsa) – double rooms only
- Xenonas Theonimfi (Dimitsana)
- Elati Chalet (Elati)
- Aiora Suites (Vytina)
- Agropoli (Nymfasia)
- Valtesiniko Studios (Valtesiniko)
- Hotel Kentrikon 2-star (Lagkadia)
- Optional extra nights in Athens, Hotel Acropolis Hill 3-star (before or after the tour)
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
The overnights are on bed and breakfast basis. Every morning you enjoy a traditional breakfast with ingredients from local produce. Items for lunch are on purchase in the local mini-market in the villages. In most accommodations you can order a packed lunch; discuss with the hosts what they can make for you and what you like and pay for your lunch on the spot in cash. Evening dinner can be enjoyed in one of the local tavernas or at some of the accommodations where you will stay for overnight.
Difficulty and terrain
Moderate walks with more strenuous options, 4-6 hours per day (excluding breaks) on hilly to mountainous areas using well kept, sometimes stony footpaths, dirt roads and occasionally cobbled footpaths (kalderimia). There aren’t any sections on asphalt road. The villages where you stay overnight are of exceptional charm and beauty and offer excellent accommodation and good food. (read more about difficulty grades).
We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes maps and an app, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.
When to go
This trip is available throughout the year. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season. During April, May, October and November, you are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures that fall between 20-25C. The hottest months are June, July, August and September, with an average maximum temperature of 31C). The coldest month is February, with an average maximum temperature of 15C (59C). The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
Click to view travel options
By train or bus
- Athens Airport: Take a shuttle bus from Athens Airport to the KTEL bus station Kifissou with OASA and then a bus to Tripoli. For more information, please visit KTEL Arkadias (hourly, travel time: 3h 15mins) or Ktel Ileias (only three buses per day, travel time: 1h 30mins). From Tripoli to Stemnitsa you can take a taxi (40mins). Private transfers can be booked in advance.
- Kalamata Airport: A shuttle bus will take you to KTEL bus station Kalamata (10mins). Hop on the direct bus from Kalamata to Tripoli, more information available here. From Tripoli to Stemnitsa you can take a taxi (40mins).
- Private transfers can be booked in advance.
- 7 nights accommodation as detailed in the itinerary (private en-suite)
- Breakfast each day
- Luggage transfers
- Detailed road book and maps (a digital copy, provided before the tour)
- GPS tracks
- Original map of the region, Anadigit 1:25 000
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- €10 per booking contribution to the non-profit organisation maintaining the Menalon Trail
- Souvenir t-shirt of the Menalon Trail
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights available upon request