Monemvasia is a Jewel in Greece’s Fertile Peloponnese Region

The heartland of Greece has a look and feel similar to Tuscany. The prevalent fields of the agricultural industry and surrounding villages adorn picturesque valleys and hillsides. Architecture is also similar with predominately red-tiled roofs atop stone or stucco structures.

But the most distinguishing characteristic of the Peloponnese region of southern Greece is its rugged natural beauty, defined by its thick groves of olive trees—the largest and most precious of which are the Kalamata groves. Kalamatas can be identified from the number of other types of olive trees grown in the region by their silvery green leaves.

The largest city in the region named after these treasured trees, Kalamata, is easily accessible from Athens or has a decent sized airport of its own as well. The drive from Kalamata to Momenvasia is about two and a half hours.

The town and fortress of Momenvasia are located on the extreme southeastern tip of the region overlooking the Mediterranean. They are actually on an island separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 375 AD but is connected by a short causeway today.

The town was first founded in 583 and developed into a prosperous trade and maritime center, eventually becoming an important landing place for the Byzantine Empire.

Vasillios (Bill) Ardamis grew up outside of Sparta and first came to the area when we was attending university studying economics. He fell in love with the history and architecture and thought if someone was able to have a home there, it would be incredible.

He went on to establish a restaurant on the main highway that leads to Monemvasia, which grew to become one of the most successful restaurants of the region and served as the means to attain the dream he envisioned as a young college student.

So, years later, Vasillios learned about a property being sold in Momenvasia and went to take a look. He discovered an opportunity to purchase some of the most important buildings of the castle which had served as guest quarters for the various kings’ visitors. It includes the only tower that exists in the castle, 14 meters high with seven windows and 800 year old marble in place. In total there are approximately 3,500 square feet inside the walls of the property he purchased.

The man with the vision–Vasillios Ardamis
The unforgettable view from our terrace.

When restoration began, a Byzantine coin dating from 711 was found in the ruins. Vaillios didn’t originally plan to make it into the collection of guest suites that it is today, but later decided that this special place needed to be shared. Without altering any of the distinctive architectural elements, the Traditional Houses of Ardamis are a collection of eight fully air conditioned spacious suites. Vasillios and his wife, Despina, operate the guest services at Ardamis.

Each of the suites is individual to itself and finished with the utmost in quality materials and furnishings. This includes super premium mattresses and linens. The level of cleanliness is equivalent to a five-star resort in America. The suites each offer their own unique overlook to the sea, and Ardamis’ huge common terrace provides the quintessential view of the Mediterranean. Night is particularly dramatic thanks to Ardamis’ stellar architectural lighting.

All the history and luxuries aside, this would not be as special as it is without the exuding warmth and hospitality of the Ardamises themselves. They know everyone in town (thanks to Vasillios’ 13 years of service as President of the Area Business Association) and referred us to other special people that added to our outstanding experience.

Wandering through the network of alleyways on the lower slopes of the castle citadel amongst the ruins of ancient archways and byways are many fascinating galleries and specialty shops where we met several more business owners we count as friends that we will seek out on future visits.

We heard wonderful things about the white sands beaches of Elafonisos, accessed by a short ferry ride from the tip of the island, and will put that on our list of things to do on our next visit to the Peloponnese. In our minds, any trip to Greece would be incomplete without some time spent here.

Monemvasia is a not-to-miss treasures for anyone visiting Greece’s Peloponnese region. It proves that you can truly stay in the Peloponnese region and not miss a thing you would hope to experience in Greece— the sea, the beaches and the islands here are all picture postcard worthy.

Yia Sas!
(To your health!)

 The To Kanoni Restaurant is named for the cannon that sits just beside it; there we enjoyed this view. The grilled octopus, freshly caught fish, and superb Baked Lamb Riganto was simply spectacular. And we got to know the precious owners Pietre and Despina.
our room at Ardamis

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