South of the stunning Itylo Bay is Areopoli. It’s easy to shoot past as it is on a bend on the main road flanked by modern and ugly supermarkets and a garage and it does not look very inviting. Park up and walk in and you will be in for a surprise.
As you approach Areopoli from Itylo bay you will see a rather imposing flat top mountain looming over the town to the left with a communication mast atop. To the left of this you can just make out with the naked eye a white Church. An Areopoli resident told me that it is Profitas Ilias Church on the mountain of the same name. Locals celebrate the saint on July 20th at the church, an arduous two hour walk. There may be a road, I will investigate this next year!
In 2013 Leashia and I decided to drive to The Diros Caves near Areopoli which we had heard was a must see. It’s not that the road from Finikounda was dreadfully slow but the journey had so many distractions that we kept stopping to marvel at it all. So by the time we got to the caves, it was getting on a bit and we were tired and sticky. So we popped into Areopoli and decided to stay the night.
We checked into an inexpensive hotel on the modern square. We had no change of clothes or toiletries so bought what we needed from the supermarket on the edge of the town. We return to Areopoli every year, but are now better prepared.
The large modern Athanaton Square is smart and has a monument to Petrobeis Mavromichelis, who is credited with starting the Greek rebellion in Areopoli in 1821 as well as an attractive but tiny church nearby. There is also a wall plaque dedicated to the rebellion in the old town.
Keep going and the streets become cobbly with a maze of narrow passageways to explore. It’s an absolute delight. There is a small museum in a tower house, more churches [which always seem to be locked] and plenty of cafes and tavernas.
The town comes alive at night and the roads are closed to cars. Sofas and tables appeared outside of the bars and tavernas and sports events were projected onto screens on the side of buildings. When we returned a couple of years later a large screen had been erected on the modern square and a Carry On style Greek comedy was shown. On one visit a large stage was on the Square and there was a live performance of Greek music in the evening.
At the end of a hard evening wining and dining we have made it a tradition of having a late night drink and sharing a huge pancake at the large bar by the main square.
If you are in Areopoli on a saturday morning you should pop into the rather vibrant open market which is held by the main road.
We now like staying at the family run Mani Hotel on the edge of the town. There is plenty of parking and the rooms are comfortable.
Our restaurant of choice is Barba Petros, where you can eat in the small yard or on the flat roof behind, but all the restaurants look inviting.