Once the port of ancient Sparta, Gythio (yee-thih-o) is the gateway to the Lakonian Mani. This attractive fishing town, with its pastel-coloured, 19th-century buildings, has suffered through the recent economic crisis. It lacks the bustle it once had and businesses are struggling. Nevertheless, it's a charming spot. Six kilometres of sandy beaches extend from the village of Mavrovouni, 2km south of Gythio.