Kyparissi is a small village in Lakonia, squashed between the slopes of Mountain Parnonas and the shores of the Myrtoan Sea. It has a character and an architectural style quite different from other seaside villages of Peloponnese. Until the 1970s there was no motorway leading to the village and the main way of communicating with the mainland was by the sea. Therefore the village developed a way of living similar to that of an island and the main jobs of the inhabitants were related to the sea (sailors, ship owners, fishermen, etc). Also, their houses resembled more the ones at the islands than the ones at nearby villages of Arcadia and Lakonia.
The village has a long history. During ancient times it was known as “Kyfanta” and was a well-known therapy center. The patients were bathing in bathtubs curved on the natural rocks which were filled with water from a nearby thermal spring. The location of the ancient therapy centre is named today “Vrisi”, which means spring. During the Byzantine years there was a castle built, known today as “Kastelli”. During the hard times when the pirates were plundering the shores of Peloponessos, the village was relocated away from the beach in order to remain unseen by the intruders. Later, two seaside settlements were built and named Panagia and Mitropolis.
During your stay in the village you could visit the ruins of the ancient city at Palaiochora, the remains of the Byzantine castle at Kastelli and the beautiful church Koimisis Theotokou (built in 1893). Inside the village there are two beaches, on both sides of the small harbour, Mikri and Megali Ammos, while there is also Agia Kyriaki beach just 3 km from the center of the village. All the beaches have sand, small pebbles and crystal clear turquoise waters, ideal for snorkeling. A unique small beach, with rocks formatting a natural pool, can be found in front of the Hotel Cavo Cortia. The last two years a new road, 20 km long, connects Kyparissi with Fokianos, probably one of the most beautiful and unique beaches in Peloponnesos (for more info about Fokianos check out our article about the best beaches in Arcadia).
During the last years Kyparissi is developing into a quite, peaceful touristic destination with excellent amenities. There is a good choice of rooms and hotels and our favourite is Hotel Cavo Cortia (check reviews and rates on Tripadvisor) and also a few but excellent restaurants. Our choice from the restaurants is Trokantero, an excellent Greek tavern with a good variety of local food, fish and meat. Here you could taste the local pasta goges (γκόγκες) with local white cheese and fresh butter.
You can either reach Kyparissi from the road Athens – Sparti – Geraki – Kremasti – Kyparissi (320 km – 4 hours) or from the road Athens – Argos – Leonidio – Fokianos – Kyparissi (270 km – 4 1/2 hours). Both roads are quite difficult when you leave the National Road – the first from Geraki to Kyparissi and the second from Leonidio to Fokianos – with many turns and narrow points.
Kyparissi is a true gem, hidden in this isolated corner of Peloponnesos. It might be a long and sometimes tiring journey to reach it but you will be rewarded by this unique place.