The Mani

This spectacular peninsula juts out of the Mani coast like an upside-down saucepan and, indeed, its Greek name means 'frying pan'. The high point of Tigani offers majestic views and is dominated by the ruins of a medieval fortress. Historians disagree as to whether this was the location of the famous Frankish crusader castle of Grand Maigne.

It's an exhilarating if shadeless walk to the castle from the village of Agias Kiriakis. From the end of the road (it gets quite rough and turning is limited at the end so you might want to leave the car at the cemetery along the way), you descend a path through scratchy bushes to the exposed peninsula itself – go carefully over the stony ground. Climb through the walls on the far right to reach the fortress, where you'll find the ruins of a Byzantine church among other buildings. Be careful, as there are uncovered cisterns around.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Mani attractions

1. Diros Caves

6.61 MILES

These extraordinary flooded caves, inhabited since Neolithic times, lie 11km south of Areopoli and are signposted near the village of Pyrgos Dirou. The…

2. Pikoulakis Tower House Museum

8.41 MILES

Housed in a restored tower, this museum displays exquisite Byzantine pieces from Mani churches. These include a 12th-century marble templon (chancel…

3. Church of Agios Ioannis

8.42 MILES

The Church of Agios Ioannis, built by the Mavromichalis family on a tiny square west of the main square, contains a series of well-preserved frescoes…

4. Church of Taxiarches

8.47 MILES

On the southern side of Plateia 17 Martiou is this 18th-century church. Its picturesque five-storey bell tower marks it as the most important of Areopoli…

5. Cape Tenaro

12.61 MILES

From the car park at the end of the road in Kokinogia, at the south of the Mani peninsula, it's a beautiful 2km walk along an uneven rocky path to one of…

6. Marathonisi Islet

18.52 MILES

According to mythology, tranquil, pine-shaded Marathonisi, connected to Gythio by a thin causeway, is ancient Cranae, where Paris (prince of Troy) and…

7. Shadow Theatre Museum

18.52 MILES

This beautiful little studio-museum-shop is run by personable local artist Giorgos Hassanakos. The small upstairs gallery pays homage to traditional…

8. Folkloric Museum

18.57 MILES

It may be compact, but this museum does a wonderful job of bringing to life the past residents of Gythio and the surrounding Mani. Themed rooms exhibit…