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Mountainous Arcadia with children

An ideal destination for families all year round




By saying mountainous Arkadia we usually mean the villages of Gortynia, which spread around Mt Mainalo. However mountainous Arkadia is also considered the area around Mt Parnonas. But that is not the point.
The point is that we essentially speak of a complex of beautiful mountain villages, mostly traditionally built. Villages which combine a rich tradition with equally many and important locations and monuments that are of an architectural and historical interest.
Surrounded by an environment of rare natural beauty, which not by coincidence gave birth to the myth of Panas and the Nymphs of Mainalo in the ancient times. A place sang by the romantic poets during the Renaissance.
It’s relatively short in terms of time, but rich in scenery, distances between the various locations of interest and activities, make the exploration of mountainous Arkadia with the company of little children an easy task.

Cave of Kapsia


If approaching from Athens, 32km after the toll station of Nestani is the Cave of Kapsia, at the same-named village. It is ranked in the top-10 most remarkable caves of Greece. Like in most such sites open to the public, a guided tour is included in the ticket price.

Old Watermills and Bridge at Mylaontas River


Two kilometers after the last (third) exit for Vitina, one can leave the main road and follow the exit to Methydrio. You can park at the end of the semi-circular detour. On the opposite side of the road (here is the link) there is a typical information kiosk of the Forest Agency, about the local mountain trails. However it is unfortunately overgrown with weeds most of the time.
We find ourselves on the hiking trail number 4: Elati - Vitina of the Mainalon Trail. The nearby river is Mylaintas and a bit further down the trail, between the dense riverside vegetation, we will come across the remains of three watermills and a little bit further more, at Zarzi, an arched bridge. This is the old mule passage of Vitina. The small ground deviations in altitude and the short distance from the road make this spot an ideal stroll for smaller children and anybody else who may find longer walking trails challenging.

Zoodochos Pigi at Elati


Alternatively if the children are even younger, if the weather conditions are restrictive, or in case you do not want to go on a mild trail walk, you can always stop at Trani Vrysi with the characteristic chapel of Zoodochos Pigi, at the next intersection, past Elati. This sport is iconic for a pic-nic and for visiting Mylaontas that quietly flows right behind the chapel settled in an amazing forest.

Horse Riding Elati is right at the entrance of the village and it is hard to pass it by and not notice it.

From the national road intersection to Lagadia, our base, it is only a 20 minute drive. On what you can do with the children at Lagadia, there is analytical information here.

The Open-Air Water Power Museum


One of the must see and visit of the surrounding area is the Open-Air Water Power Museum at Dimitsana. According to the site description “it highlights the importance of hydropower in traditional society. Focusing on the basic pre-industrial techniques that utilize water to produce a variety of products, it connects them to the history and everyday life of the local community over time”.
To our opinion, especially for children at primary school ages, the Museum offers a clear sense of the era of the erection and flourishing of Mountainous Arkadia, till the 19th century. It is an opportunity for the children to realize that the people of that time used to “build” with whatever they had at their disposal. With the power of water in Dimitsana, with silversmithing in Stemnitsa, with the craft of masonry in Lagadia, etc.

The “Papakia” Farm (Ducklings Farm).


Last but not least there is the Papakia” farm right outside of the historic village of Karytaina. This is about an hour drive from Lagadia and you leave Mountainous Arkadia. It is however a great place for the whole family, and a good reason to deviate a bit from your route on your way back. In a large organized area the children can feed various animals and play at one of the best playing grounds of Peloponnese.

Food and drink options on the spot are worthwhile and are also the sole income for the farm.

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