In Leonidio it’s all Greek even to the Greeks.
In the province of Kynouria and at just less than 3 hours drive from Athens, there is the township of Leonidio, built between the sea and the foot of the mount Parnon.
Leonidio is known for its unique eggplants which are grown in farms on the plain between the town and the sea. They are the light purple with white stripes and they are called tsakonikes.
The township is characterized as a traditional historical settlement, featuring listed monuments, mansions and towers dating before 1800, as well as buildings of neoclassical architecture dated from the 19th century.
Located at the foot of the imposing Mount Parnon, in an amazing gorge listed as a Natura area and surrounded by the blue frilled coastline of Myrtoan Sea, this historical place enchants the visitor with its beautiful architecture, narrow alleys, pebbled courtyards and whitewashed terraces with all kinds of flowers giving each season a special aroma.
After wandering around the traditional neighbourhoods of Leonidio, head to Plaka the area’s quaint harbor. Here, visitors have the opportunity to savour local cuisine or an aromatic coffee in the tavernas and cafes lining the cost of the fishing port.
Leonidio is an ideal place for couples looking for alternative tourism, families who seek relaxation, as well as nature lovers.
Thanks to the beautiful and pristine nature surrounding Leonidio, as well as due to its unique location at the foot of the imposing Mount Parnon, guests visiting this exciting destination can try out a plethora of activities.
- Rent a bike in the town and ride it through the narrow roads or breath-taking countryside paths.
- Climbing – The sheer volume of limestone, the mild climate, the several fields within walking distance and the recent development of the wider region make Leonidio one of the most popular climbing destinations. Ask us for further information.
- Hiking – If you enjoy hiking start your wonderful trip to the chapels of Panagia Chatzalious, St. George, Prophet Elijah and St. Athanasius, and gaze at the citrus and olive groves of the fertile plain. Through the short or longer hiking trails on the Mount Parnon you will experience wonderful and rejuvenating moments, as you discover the authentic beauty of the countryside and the unique endemic plants and flowers. For more information see here.
- Diving –The majestic seabed of the Argolic Gulf and the Myrtoan Sea offer unique experiences for diving enthusiasts. In Leonidio, visitors will find an organized diving centre, accredited by the organization PADI, which provides training, as well as guided boat trips. The clean sea water ensures a good visibility and makes the dive really pleasant.
- Easter in Leonidion is magical. One of the most renown Easter celebration in the whole country. On the evening of Holy Friday you can listen to the last part of the liturgy along with the other parishes accompanied by explosions, bangers and flares. In the night of Resurrection you can watch the burning of a Judas’ model. After the “Christ has risen” you can see dozens of homemade colourful balloons risen in the sky. The competition between parishes for the biggest and most numerous handmade flying laterns, is always accompanied by bangers, fireworks and flares. Suddenly the whole sky lights up… At the noon of Easter Sunday locals offer visitors sweets, red eggs and baked lamb, while in the afternoon you will experience the Sequence of Love in the square, where the Gospel is read in first quarrel.
- Melitzazz Festival is more than just a festival. It’s a celebration where everyone can participate in their own way. Events include concerts given by jazz bands exploring a variety of musical pathways, bands playing a Greek type of music called rembetika, as well as musical ensembles with a strong Greek character, taking us to the heart of Tsakonia. Always accompanied by fine cuisine based on the unique Tsakonian eggplant creatively cooked by local and guest chefs!
- Visit the festival of “tsakoniki” aubergine in August, every year after the 15th when delicious dishes are served based entirely on aubergine, and cooked on the spot by the local cooks. There is a competition for the best eggplant based dish. The EU has designated Leonidio as the eggplant capital of Europe, with the best and most sweet tasting eggplants.
So, welcome…or better “Kaour ekanate” in the Tsakonian dialect!
The beaches of eastern Peloponnese are famous for their cleanliness and turquoise water.
The beautiful pebbled beach of Plaka is just a short distance from the village of Plaka, which is also the picturesque harbor of Leonidio. Small taverns and shops create the feeling of a picturesque island. Here, you will find many traditional and cozy tavernas, the springs of St. Nicholas chapel ending up in the sea, as well as a flock of ducks swimming among the fishing boats.
The greenery from the edge of Mount Parnon blend harmoniously with the turquoise waters and meet the beautiful pebble beach.
- Agios Georgios
A small paradise on earth boasting a heavenly scenery complete with a quaint chapel right on the end of the beach.
One of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, combining the blue of sea and sky with the green slopes of Mount Parnon reaching the shore.
Places to visit:
- Monastery of Panagia Elona
A very important and renowned monastery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built in 15th-16th century, in a recess of a vertical cliff above the canyon Dafnona, seemed like she was hanging to chaos, located only 17 km from Leonidio, the capital of the municipality. When you see it from the bottom of the road tern as you pass the ravine you are amazed by it’s the glory and its sanctity.
The image of the Virgin is miraculous. It is a creation of the evangelist Luke, one of the 70 images has devoted her, is made from beeswax and mastic.
The monastery is a jurisdiction of the Patriarchate, hosts many relics of Saints and Gospels, Holy Relics and specials in honor of the many miracles she has done.The temple is wooden and wonderful, the catholic has been built in 1812, when Veli Pasha commanded. The history and the holiness of the monastery are very great. The monks who founded were killed by the Turks and the monastery have been sacked and burned several times during the Ottoman era, had a great part and contribute in the Revolution of 1821. Today it is a female monastery that celebrates on 15 August and 21 November.
There are many chapels surrounding the beautiful valley of Leonidion or the “Garden of Dionysus” as called by Pausanias in antiquity. The most famous ones are the Our Lady of Chatzalious , Prophet Elijah, St. Leonidas and Agios Athanasios. From there visitors can gaze at the fertile plain of Leonidio featuring orange and olive groves. On some days when the breeze is light you can also see Spetses.
The last village of Arcadia nestled in Mount Parnon, 1,150m above sea. It features stone-built houses surrounded by walnut and chestnut trees. The main square is the beating heart of the village. Here, you’ll find the stone-built church of Agioi Anargiroi, the huge shady trees, as well as cafe serving syrupy sweets. There are also tavernas with local cuisine and traditional shops selling honey, herbs and handmade ceramics.
Seaside village with stone-built mansions, flower gardens and beautiful beaches full of fishing boats and traditional tavernas.
- Agios Vasileios-Palaiochori-Platanaki
The scenic lush villages of Mount Parnon create a beautiful natural environment filled with springs running from fountains, stone-built houses and cobbled streets. There is also a forest with plane trees and cedars. Just before Agios Vasileios, visitors will meet the monastery of the Archangels of Moorea with their beautiful frescoes, whereas in Palaiochori you can visit the Mycenaean tombs and caves featuring beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
- Tsitalia – Amygdalia – Peleta – Pigadi
Charming villages with two-storey mansions and stone arches, beautiful squares and traditional tavernas where many festivals take place during summer. Peleta is famous for its aromatic red wine and a cave 490m deep. After passing by Pigadi, visitors will find the pebbled beach of Fokianos. The area is a wetland and in the migratory months you may also see flocks of rare birds.
- Sampatiki – Pragmatefti – Melana
Sampatiki is a picturesque fishing village with a beautiful harbour, Pera Melana is a typical Tsakonian village hosting a Folk Museum with exhibits from the cultural tradition of the area and Pragmatefti offers views to amaze every visitor.