Mani is the central peninsula of the three which extend southwards from the Peloponnese in southern Greece. To the east is the Laconian Gulf, to the west the Messenian Gulf. The peninsula forms a continuation of the Taygetos mountain range, the western spine of the Peloponnese.
People that live in Mani are described as descendants of the ancient Dorian population of the Peloponnese and as such related to the ancient Spartans. The terrain is mountainous and inaccessible (until recently many Mani villages could be accessed only by sea), and the regional name "Mani" is thought to have meant originally "dry" or "barren".
In the early modern period, the inhabitants had a reputation as fierce and proudly independent warriors, who practice piracy and fierce blood feuds. For the most part, the Maniots lived in fortified villages (and "house-towers") where they defended their lands against the armies of William II Villehardouin and later against those of the Ottomans.
Diros Caves have been described as the most impressive limnetic caves of the whole world. They consist of three different caverns: the Alepotripae, Katafygi and Vlyxada that is the only one that is open for visits. Those caverns were first explored in 1950. The temperature in the interior area of the cavern is around 16-20o C and the water temperature is around 12ο C. You can explore the inside of the cavern with little boats along with the boatman showing you around and giving you information about the history of the cavern. The total length of the tour is about 1.2km long on boat and 300m on foot, and the duration is about 20-25min by boat and another 5-10min by feet. Inside the Neolithic Museum that is located beside the cavern, you can see many priceless historical findings that can be dated back in the Paleolithic period. Diros caverns and the Neolithic museum are two of the most famous attractions for all Mani visitors.
Tenaron is the southest part of coastal Europe. Here existed according to Pausanias, the temple of Tenariou Poseidon, who was worshipped especially by Lakones, and it became the center of the “Brotherhood of Freelakones”. It is said that the ancient temple of Poseidon was build near the chapel of Asomatos. They believe that they took stones and other materials from the ancient temple in order to build it. It is also noted in the writings of Pausanias and Ploutarhos that there was a Necro-temple that they made use of sciomancy in a small, desolated cavern in Tenaro. It is believed that there existed the entrance the Adis (underworld).
Follow the path that leads to the southest part of continental Europe and the Lighthouse of Tenaro. The distance is around 20-30 minutes by feet, but as soon as you get there you will be rewarded with the sense of ultimate freedom. The Lighthouse was built in 1882 by French, was renovated in 1950 and it still continues to offer its services to the local fishermen until today.
Tip: We suggest that you make the roundtrip beginning from Areopolis and returning through Kotronas.