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Tour 3

Monemvasia - Elafonissos - Neapolis.

At the far end of Peloponnese, on the southern east coast of the peninsula looking on to Mirtoon Sea, at a distance of 75 km form Gythion stands Monemvasia.
A distinctly shaped great rock - "capsized ship" according to Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos - rising from the sea, only a few meters from the coast is often refered as the "Gibraltar of Greece". A thin strip of land links it with the Gefyra, a fishing village on the main land. It takes 15 to 20 minutes walking from Gefyra to Monemvasia. On the north side of the bay there are a few houses consisting the small village of Palea (old) Monemvasia.

Walking along the road you find the cemetery where in 1989 the famous Greek poet Ioannis Ritsos was buried, as it was his motherland. After the cemetery you reach the lower town of Monemvasia, which is called "the Fortress" today.
A wall protects the lower town from three sides east, south and west. There are several churches around such as Panagia Chrisafitissa, Panagia Mirtidiotissa, Christos Elkomenos, Agia Sofia. A small zigzag path connects the lower town with the upper town. The Fort city of Monemvasia with the one and only gate as its name suggests (Moni=sole, Emvasia=entrance) turns a dream into reality.
Hordes of day-trippers mob the few cafes and souvenir shops nestled in grottoes of the original Byzantine dwellings, but at dusk peace returns. On top of the hillside is the church of Aghia Sophia, built in the 13th century. The paths that corkscrew down the hill reach the crystal-clear Aegean sea.

Some kilometres further someone can take a boat to pass opposite in only ten minutes to the small island of Elafonissos, famous for its beaches and fresh and cheap fish and lobster, or someone can go further to the most southern port of this promontory, Neapolis and come back to Gythion late at night, satisfied of his excursion.