Approaching Monemvasia from the north is a delight with the added anticipation of seeing the large rock appear in the distance to keep your attention. The Byzantine settlement on the rock is hidden from view from the mainland as it faces East, out to sea, so you don’t see the town itself until you enter by the gateway through the imposing wall.
Monemvasia is joined to the modern [and not particularly attractive] town of Gefyra on the mainland by a causeway. You can drive along the causeway to the rock but parking is limited and cars are not able to enter the town itself. It may be a better option to park by the harbour for free and take and take the pleasant stroll along the causeway which takes about 20 minutes.
Wandering through the passageways of Monemvasia is an absolute delight, stepping back in time to a long bygone age. There is a museum and a 13th Century cathedral and hidden churches to discover. You can climb to the top of the rock up many stairs to the ruined castle to take in the views.
There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants that are inviting but they are all overpriced, as is the accommodation, so we stayed overnight in Gefyra and had our dinner there too. It was a lovely setting, eating dinner on the harbourside as the sun set, looking out on the rock and a lot lighter on the pocket.
There you have it, Monemvasia – and I even managed to avoid mentioning the Rock of Gibraltar as a comparison.