Monemvasia: Vineyards & Fine Dining

Linked by a short causeway to a peninsula on the Peloponnese mainland, Monemvasia is a rocky plateau not dissimilar to Gibraltar off the coast of Spain, and the kind of place you only tell your closest friends about for fear of everyone else ruining it. Formerly a Byzantine fortress, Monemvasia makes a great stopover during a cruise along the coastline . The main settlement is the eponymous town at the foot of the 100m tall rock-face, which has retained its medieval charm and some fabulous Byzantine churches such as the Agia Sophia. Most of the houses also date from the medieval period, some with Venetian additions. From the water, it’s a staggered settlement of salmon pink roofs and dusty brick façades.

With its cobbled and narrow winding streets, Monemvasia is a slice of ancient Greece with the calm and serenity that comes from having more donkeys than cars and a mostly pedestrianized old town. Get your bearings at the village museum in the oldest surviving temple, Agios Andreas. There a detailed map of Monemvasia showcases the sights and some artefacts unearthed from the village. Walk through Christo Elkomenos Square, lined with bars, shaded by ancient olive trees. Locals and visitors spill onto the pavement and enjoy the warm evenings under clear skies resplendent with stars. The town overlooks Monemvasia bay’s gorgeous beach. Although only a small island, Monemvasia’s unique history and natural beauty make it a must-see during your charter, for at least a night at anchor to escape the crowds.


When to go:

April – end of October

High season:

July – August

Highlights

1

For unexpected chic and exquisite food, head to Monemvasia Castle’s Chrisovoulo restaurant: think crisp white linen and contemporary spun classic Greek dishes. Try the ‘salti’

2

Have a tasting at the Monemvasia Winery in Velies: the wines are modern in style but rooted in tradition. Stock up the galley fridge

3

Allow yourself to be enticed into Edodimopolio Honey shop by tasting the walnut ouzo they hand out. You’ll leave with bags full of local produce

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