The Peloponnese is peppered with little-known Greek coastal towns with bags of local charisma, beaches lapped by crystal clear waters and rocky scenery scattered with ancient Greek wonders.
Up on the hillside above Monemvasia is Kinsterna, a special hotel that’s a destination in its own right. Surrounded by terraces of olive, lemon and eucalyptus trees, the former Byzantine mansion has sensational views over castle city Monemvasia and the endless Aegean beyond.
Stay in cool, stone-walled rooms, furnished in great taste: some with Ottoman fireplaces, others with private pools or mint-filled gardens. Bathrooms are spacious marble affairs, with Korres toiletries. Shaded by orange trees in the hotel’s garden are two infinity pools, filled by a mountain spring with stunning sea views. Kinsterna’s restaurant has a sea-view terrace and uses ingredients from its own garden to rustle up delicious local fare and fresh seafood.
Be sure to book ahead for the spa, where each guest has full exclusive use for a treatment plus hammam, indoor and outdoor plunge pool and steam room. Guests are encouraged to join in with traditional, time-honoured activities at Kinsterna such as grape harvesting, beekeeping, baking Greek bread or picking and pressing olives for oil.
Just 15 minutes away on the coastline is not-to-be-missed Monemvasia. Its sheer cliffs rise from the sea into an imposing and spectacular rock fortress. Explore within the walls of the rock’s castle to find a fascinating mediaeval village amid narrow streets, and find cafes, bars and restaurants as well as residents who live in this unique citadel. Whilst on the coast, head to one of the numerous, nearby beaches and cool off in sparkling, turquoise water.