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Monemvasia, the Gibraltar of Greece


More Adventure travel tales in Greece:
Samos
Athens
Peloponnese
Nafplion
Mycenae
Olympia
Other Southern European Tales:
Ruins of Pompeii, Italy
Venice, City of Water
Cappadocia, Turkey
Selçuk, Turkey


The rock, behind which Monemvasia is located

Monemvasia is a small town located on a rock just in front of the coast of the Peloponnese, Greece. It is a lovely medieval town, with defensive walls and great views over the sea.

The bus drops us off in Gefyra, a village on the mainland opposite of Monemvasia. The travel agent points us to a hotel which is supposed to have rooms for € 20. The owner is surprised when we tell him that, but gives us a room with shower, toilet, kitchen, TV, and a balcony. On the door we notice that the room costs € 70 in the high season, and is supposed to cost € 40 now. We feel a little lucky.

We inspect Gefyra, and conclude that it is a bit deserted. Many restaurants are closed, and there is not much to do. The bridge to Monemvasia looks a bit deserted as well. Monemvasia itself cannot be seen from the mainland, it is located on the backside of the rock. The Medieval town of Monemvasia seen from aboveWe do find an Internet café in Gefyra, where we also enjoy a drink on the terrace. We are more or less forced to have dinner in an expensive restaurant, and the food isn’t very good either. The rest of the evening we spend in front of the TV, on which a good movie is playing.

Medieval

After a good, self-made breakfast, we head out to see Monemvasia. We walk over the bridge and around the rock to the walls surrounding the city. When we walk through the tunnel on the wall we arrive in the small medieval city. Narrow streets, old houses, arches, and churches, it is very lovely. Obviously it is also very touristy, with souvenir stalls and restaurants. But luckily this is the low season, so we are almost the only tourists here.

The defensive wall of MonemvasiaAfter seeing the free tiny museum, we climb up along the rocks. Besides the low town there is supposed to be a high one as well, although not much is left of it. But the defending wall itself is worth the climb, and on top we find the church of Ayia Sophia, although in decay. And obviously, on top we can enjoy the views over the low city, the sea, and the mainland.

After descending to the low town, we enjoy lunch on a terrace, accompanied by 15 cats. Then we walk along the defensive walls to the far side of town, where it is completely deserted. We also pass a narrow passage at the sea side, and spend some time looking at the sea, with the wall behind us. But wonderful and photo genetic as the town is, after spending 3 hours here, we have seen it all.

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