Mani (Μάνη) in the Peloponnese (Πελοπόννησος) is a place with a fascinating history and landscapes of incredible natural beauty. It is a place of wild beauty where the rough terrain is combined with the rocky coasts and the unique architectural styles of traditional towers. One of the least known magical spots in Mani is Mezapos (Μέζαπος).
It is a small fishing settlement that is built in the bay of the same name on the Tigani (Τηγάνι) peninsula, 18 km south of Areopolis (Αρεόπολις), in Mesa Mani. It is located on a rocky site next to the sea, between two streams. Findings of an early Christian temple built in the 5th or 6th century indicate that Mezapos may have been inhabited since Byzantine times.
However, it appears in history much later, during the 18th century, due to the actions of the famous pirate Nikolos Sassaris (Νικολός Σάσσαρης), who was a resident of the village. With origins in Sardinia, the pirate operated during the second half of the 18th century in the Mediterranean. He became known in history as the “one-eyed pirate” because a Turkish pirate stabbed him in the eye in a skirmish on Andros Island. He had built in Mezapos a 16-meter-high tower, in which there were specially constructed basements as well as secret corridors that led to the sea. The end of the infamous pirate came in a battle with Turkish ships, as he was returning to Mani with a French ship as booty. His lifeless body was left forever at sea. According to local tradition, his treasure is still hidden in one of the caves of Mezapos.In 1805, the English soldier, diplomat, and traveller, William Martin Leakes, referred to the settlement as the safest port on the entire western side of Mani.
Today, all that exists is a small traditional settlement built on a rock by the sea. On one side of the rock, there is the beach of Chalikiada (Χαλικάδια) and on the other, the impressive cove with the beach of Kourkou (Κουρκού). Both beaches have impressive emerald waters and are easily accessible.
Also, in the settlement, there are no shops, and the only tavern is a small place on the veranda of a private house with the sign “Taverna – Sea Food – Beach”, which was not working when we visited the village, and so we do not have a personal opinion. Therefore, be prepared with the appropriate supplies. Finally, the parking space for cars is relatively limited.
If you want to stay in Mezapos the only hotel is the Ippola Boutique Hotel, a fully organized accommodation with a sea view. Its architecture respects the tradition of Mani and is fully integrated into the surrounding landscape [check availability and rates]. There are also some other houses available for rent if you search online.
Mezapos with its magical waters is one of those hidden secrets that you want to share with everyone but are afraid of destroying their incomparable and virgin (still) beauty. It is an image of Greece that will carry with you for a long time. However, the truth is that no video or photo can fully capture the magic of the place.
This short video is from our visit to the beach of Kourkou.