Worth a Trip: Langada Pass

If you have time and your own wheels, the 59km Sparta–Kalamata road is one of the most stunning, if time-consuming and winding, routes in Greece. The road crosses the Taÿgetos Mountains by way of the Langada Pass.

The climb begins in earnest at the village of Trypi, 9km west of Sparta, where the road enters the dramatic Langada Gorge. To the north of this gorge is the site where the ancient Spartans left to die those babies too weak or deformed to become good soldiers.

The road then follows the course of the Langada River before climbing sharply through a series of hairpin bends, fringed with plane trees and pines, to emerge in a sheltered valley. This is a good spot to stop for a stroll among the plane trees along the riverbank. The road then climbs steeply once more, to the high point of 1524m, crossing the boundary from Lakonia into Messinia on the way. The descent to Kalamata is equally dramatic.