Photo of Monemvasia

About Monemvasia

Monemvasia is one of the most mysterious and magical Peloponnese towns and a really unique destination. A medieval wonder built into an amphitheatre of rocky cliff, topped by a spectacular castle fortress. Some of the best places to stay in Monemvasia are the restored Venetian mansions turned into boutique hotels in the medieval part of town, though if you're looking for something more modern you'll find plenty of choice in Gefyra.

Local History

The Byzantines founded Monemvasia in the sixth century, on a rocky outcrop just 200 metres off the coast of the mainland. Their castle was built on a plateau which rises 100 metres out of the sea, with the rest of the town on a rocky ledge below. The figures are even more breathtaking when you see it.

It may not look it today, but Monemvasia was once a great port on the trade routes between the Mediterranean and the Levant. Around 40,000 people lived here, and they lived well - think fur coats and fine foods. Taken by the Venetians and Ottomans, Monemvasia is a fine example of a city founded by Greeks, transformed and fortified by Venetians, and then restored and fortified again by the Ottomans.

Modern Times

A more modern town has gradually built up on the mainland across from the rocky atoll, with a wonderful, narrow crossing in between. This is called Gefyra. One of the fantastic things about Monemvasia is that you can't really see the town from the mainland, it's hidden - but that does mean that if you stay in Gefyra you won't have the lovely views of the kastro you might imagine...

These days only half of medieval Monemvasia is inhabited, the lower town. But even in the inhabited part there are beautiful ruins in amongst the narrow cobbled streets which also hide a wonderful 16th century Mosque, several Byzantine churches, a Christian Cathedral, the Archaeological Museum and some surprisingly fine restaurants - including one in the roof of an old tower house.

What Not To Miss

  • The upper part of town, leading up to the fortress, is where you'll find more Byzantine ruins. The church of Ayia Sofia, a rare 11th century octagonal church which offers spellbinding views over the Aegean - on a clear day you can see all the way to Crete.
  • As far as swimming is concerned there's Kakavos, a pebble beach to the left of the bridge, which has a row of cafes and bars behind it, Kourkoula, which is more like a giant rock pool on the rocky atoll, and Portelo, also on the rock, which is pretty unusual place for a dip - right in the shadow of the castle.
  • Whilst small, the Archaeological Collection of Monemvasia houses a fascinating collection of ancient artefacts. A nice spot to spend an hour or two.

If you're visiting in the busy summer months be sure to book ahead as the best places to stay in Monemvasia get quickly booked up!

Luxury and Relaxation

  • If you're looking for a luxurious escape, the Kinsterna Hotel & Spa is ideal. This collection of 27 rooms is arranged on a working olive and wine estate, in a group of beautiful, traditional buildings and done up in sumptuous style. There's plenty you can do here - explore walking trails, snorkel, visit the sights, or just eat extremely well and totally relax.

For An Apartment Or Villa

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Monemvasia's obviously nicest weather-wise in the summer, with the average daily temperature rising to 33°C in July. This however is peak season, so for a quieter and cheaper alternative consider coming in May, September or October.
  • International visitors can fly into Athens International Airport, served by direct flights from most UK airports by a number of airlines.
  • From the airport, you can take a bus to Monemvasia - though remember to bring a good book as the journey time's around 6 hours!
  • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in Monemvasia

Best Hotels in Monemvasia

  • Kellia Monemvasia 12 rooms from £58

    Local exploring  -  From days by the sea to cultural attractions, Monemvasia has a host of activities to offer.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the nearby Medieval Fortress and Agia Sofia Church,
    Full of character
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Air conditioningGardenNo pets

    A chic guesthouse located in the historic Castle of Monemvasia. Individually styled rooms are packed full of charm with exposed stone walls, beamed ceilings and antique furniture. Indulgent breakfasts are served and wine and olive oil tasting can be arranged on site. See More

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  • Monemvasia Village Monemvasia (Peloponnese) 12 rooms from £52

    Hideaway  -  A tranquil hideaway set in a scenic and secluded position with independent villas offering real privacy
    Self catering  -  Each villa comes with a kitchenette and a private terrace allowing guests to stay quite independently
    Families  -  Family Bungalows are a comfortable option for those travelling with children
    Views  -  Enjoy the fabulous views over Mirtoon Sea and the Castle of Monemvasia
    Air conditioningSwimming PoolGardenViewsParking

    A collection of twelve cottages in a prime spot above town and with superb views over to the castle of Monemvasia. Studios and apartments are done in traditional style and each comes with equipped kitchen and private terrace. Plus there's a pool and spacious terrace. Great base for local exploring. See More

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  • Bastione Malvasia Monemvasia 14 rooms from £79

    Local exploring  -  Located in the heart of Monemvasia with many of its sites within walking distance.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the church of Ayia Sofia in the upper city, perched on the cliffs.
    Full of character
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Air conditioningViewsNo pets

    A charming boutique property in the centre of the historic town of Monemvasia. A handful of rooms are uniformly styled with whitewashed walls, beamed ceilings, light wooden furniture and the best have a private terrace. An ideal base from which to explore the cultural attractions of the town. See More

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  • Astrolithos Monemvasia 3 rooms from £103

    Local exploring  -  A tranquil base from which to discover the region's natural and cultural attractions.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the majestic Castle of Monemvasia.
    Full of character
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Air conditioningGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A charming country house boasting fabulous sea views. Traditionally dressed rooms are cosy and characterful with whitewashed walls, dark wooden furniture, exposed beam ceilings and private balconies. Indulgent breakfasts are served on the terrace and there's an array of activities in the region. See More

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  • Byzantino Boutique Hotel Monemvasia (Peloponnese) 24 rooms from £102

    Hideaway  -  Located on a small island off the east coast of the Pelopennese, this castle makes a perfect hideaway holiday
    Romantic Break  -  The historic castle setting and beautiful sea views make a great romantic setting for a couple's holiday
    Local exploring  -  The picturesque cobbled alleys surrounding the castle are great for local exploring
    Great walks  -  Explore the many famous marked hiking trails through the beautiful natural landscape
    Air conditioningViews

    This boutique hotel is set within Monemvasia Castle, on an island off the coast of the Peloponnese. Suites are dressed with antique furniture and a regal palette in keeping with the hotel's heritage; the best have a balcony and sea views. Enjoy a coffee al fresco at the hotel café. A unique getaway. See More

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  • Moni Emvasis Luxury Suites Monemvasia (Laconia) 3 rooms from £168

    Local exploring  -  Being located in the heart of a Byzantine castle citadel means there's plenty to explore.
    Sights nearby  -  Make a trip to fascinating Mystras a Byzantine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    Sailing  -  Spend a day exploring the coastline from the sea.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Air conditioningRestaurantViewsNo pets

    A boutique property boasting a unique location inside a Byzantine citadel. Beautifully refurbished rooms keep the building's original charm, showing exposed beams and stonework, while having a clean contemporary feel. Sunny terraces enjoy spectacular sea views and there's a fabulous restaurant too. See More

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  • Kinsterna Hotel & Spa Monemvasia 27 rooms from £161

    Garden  -  The estate produces its own crop of wine and olive oil.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, CN Traveller, Tablet

    Five Star luxury on a beautiful olive and wine estate. A traditional building with romantic terraces stepped into the valley, each with pools and relaxation areas. Sumptuous rooms and suites are chic and understated. Excellent restaurant, beautiful views. Dreamy. See More

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