Our last port of call with Star Clipper was Monemvasia, also known as the “Greek Gibraltar”. In a bright morning my husband and I were standing on the bow when the “Big Rock “ started to appear on the horizon. With its strategic geographical position, no wonder why the island was ruled by Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, & Turkish conquerors over the centuries.
There is a single paved road connecting the mainland with the Fortress Town used by all cars and tour busses. That’s how the name “Monemvasia” came out, meaning “single” (mon-), passage. After a brief stop at the map point, conveniently located right after the bridge where the road splits, we decided instead to start climbing the Rock from the North Side. At the beginning, we didn’t realize that, unlike the South side road, there was only a somewhat rough path, just boulders marked with red paint, and steep cliffs below us, ending into the azure waters of the Aegean Sea.
Travel Tip: Do not attempt this hike unless you are physically fit. It's just over a 1 km (2/3 mile) route, with uneven ground.
After nearly an hour of occasionally intense climbing and battling with the strong winds, we finally reached the Castle Town extensively carved on the slopes of the rock. We started ascending by walking on the cobblestone narrow streets, which didn’t seem to have an end, and passing Byzantine churches, boutique hotels housed in restored Venetian Mansions, wine bars, and local craft stores. From the top of the castle, the views of the gleaming waters of the Aegean Sea were breathtaking! Perched on the very top of the Rock was the Fortress, which unfortunately was closed due to renovation.
Travel Tip: After done exploring reward yourself with Mediterranean meal or cocktail at Chrisovoulo Restaurant & Wine Bar outdoor terrace offering stunning vistas of the sea.
We’ve heard that Monemvasia is one of the most romantic places in Greece which take you back in time and I completely agree!
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