Hampshire Hikes & Historical Sites
Bring intriguing coastal trails and history alive in South Hampshire
Feel the warmth of the sun and a gentle spring breeze against your face as you walk on the wild side of the Mani Peninsula.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 15700
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.
Feel the warmth of the sun and a gentle spring breeze against your face as you walk on the wild side of the Mani peninsula, on Greece’s mainland with Ramblers Walking Holidays. With the sea as your constant companion, roam through carpets of vibrant wild flowers and discover ancient sites keeping silent watch over the surrounding landscape. April is a perfect time to see one of the best spring flower displays in the world. Throughout the Peloponnese, the dry mountains contrast beautifully with the riot of springtime colour. At this time of year the flowers lend a dramatic backdrop to the many ancient sites in the region.
From our base in the fishing port of Gythion, located on the East coast of the Ploponnese peninsula, we’ll explore historical Mistra, close to ancient Sparta, with its wealth of plants and flowers notably anemones and orchids, follow trails taking us to traditional villages with panoramic view points of the Mani stone houses, as well as the Anavryta Gorge, one of the best flower walks in the area.
We’ll walk through the sparsely populated countryside dotted with small hamlets, offering spectacular coastal views, and may take a stroll on a free day to a long sandy beach for lunch in a beach taverna and a swim. Enjoy a taverna lunch or a spectacular view over a picnic. We’ll take dinner at Greek tavernas each evening, giving the opportunity to meet with locals, enjoy traditional Greek cuisine and sample some of their great wines.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
We fly from London Heathrow to Athens. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel in Gythion by coach. The transfer takes approx 3.5-4 hours with a stop to view the Corinth Canal and have refreshments en route (according to flight times). Late dinner on arrival at a local taverna.
Transfer Time = 3h 30m
Our walk this morning is fairly short but takes us up in the hills behind the village of Gythion, with some lovely views and, in season, many flowers can be found along the track - including orchids. 4.6kms; +160m/-160m; 2.15 hours walking time. Our afternoon walk again gives us good views and completes our orientation of the village and surrounding area. 9.5kn; +160m/-160m; 3 hours walking time
We travel by coach to Cape Tanero with a stop just above Vathia to see the unique architecture of the Mani en route. We may walk via a broad ridge or a lower path to a lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula. 6.7km; +180m/-260m; 1.45-2 hours walking time. On our return we visit the seaside village of Geralimanos, where an easy 1.45 hour walk takes us to the 10th century church of Agios Petros (St. Peter's) and back (approx. 6km). Alternatively, you may decide to relax and explore the village and shore. We'll enjoy an early dinner before we return to Gythion.
This day is primarily visiting the Archaeological Museum, Ancient Sparti and Mystras. There are great flowers and views on our walk, particularly at Mystras. First we'll make a stop at the Archaeological Museum before continuing to Mistra village. From here we'll enjoy a gorge walk to the site of Byzantine Mystras with its castle (approx. 1.45 hours). The site usually takes 2 hours to explore and we find a secluded spot for a picnic there. Refreshments follow at a nearby taverna followed by a visit to Ancient Sparta (1 hour), before returning to Gythion. Gorge walk - Distance: 5.2kms; +275m up the gorge/-238m through Mystras; 1.45 hours walking time
Today is a free day where you may wish to relax, further explore Gythion, walk to a beach for lunch and a swim or take a local excursion. Your group leader will be able to give you more information.
Today we take an interesting drive (1.30 hours) to Venetian Monemvasia on the furthest Eastern coast of Laconia. Called the Gibraltar of Greece, this impressive promontory is reached by a causeway along a lovely, flowery ascending path to the upper site. Divided into an upper ancient fortified site to be explored on rocky paths with impressive views and restored Agia Sofia church and lower small, thriving restored town with many churches, museum and delightful lunch opportunities, this provides a fascinating day."
The Anavryta Gorge walk is considered to be a highlight of the holiday and probably one of the best flower walks on offer. The ascent can be steep at times, but taken at a leisurely pace is within grade. We'll take a local bus and taxis to the start of the walk and stop at a local taverna for lunch. The afternoon offers an extended walk if you wish. Dinner is at a local restaurant in Gythion. Distance: 4kms,; +384m/-0; 2 hours walking time + 3 hours/384m if you take the extension walk after lunch.
We say goodbye to Gythion and transfer by coach to Athens Airport. Subject to flight times, we may be able to spend some time visiting Ancient Corinth on our way to the airport. At the airport we board our flight to the UK
Departure dates for your selected tour
10th Apr 2022 - 17th Apr 2022 (7 Nights)
17th Apr 2022 - 24th Apr 2022 (7 Nights)
24th Apr 2022 - 1st May 2022 (7 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
We stay in twin bedded and single rooms with shower and wc at the comfortable and friendly Hotel Pantheon in Gythion. Situated on directly on the sea front, views from much of the hotel are magnificent, with the port and blue Aegean in the foreground and mountains rising from the sea in the distance.
All sea facing rooms offer en suite facilities, a/c, television, hairdryer and telephone. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
The hotel bar, located on the ground floor, has magnificent views of the port.
This Grade 4/Flowers Interest holiday includes full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain and includes an element of sightseeing as well as we visit archaeological sites. Actual walking time will average less than 4 hours per day. The routes cross undulating ground, follow the coast or visit archaeological sites. We use quiet roads, tracks and paths for most of the walking. Walks are taken at an unhurried pace and generally average 5 miles to 9 miles a day with time to appreciate the flora. A couple of the walks, towards the end of the holiday, are top of the grade and give us the opportunity for us to stretch our legs a bit further. Expect ascents and descents of between 275m and 600m.
Actual walking time will average less than 4 hours per day. The routes across the undulating ground, follow the coast or visit archaeological sites and may include villages, churches, convents or beaches. We use quiet roads, tracks and paths for most of the walking, these are rarely steep. Climbs are normally less than 150m per day, but could possibly be over 300m once or twice during the holiday. There will also be free time during the week, and your leader will give you more information on what you can do on this day. We use transport to reach the start of the walks. Some journeys are longer than others, but the scenery is beautiful and very interesting.
Our flower holidays appeal to everyone from the casual walker to the botany buff, but whatever your knowledge, you might find that a bit of reading before you travel can add significantly to the joy of your holiday discoveries. Look at the ‘Discover Wild Plants’ section of the www.plantlife.org.uk website for fascinating facts on a huge range of plants you might see both in the UK and abroad. They have ‘spotter sheets’ to use on your walks to help you get your eye in, and a good section on Habitats.
Often it’s not only the name of the plant that’s of interest, but the way it grows and the stories behind it. www.ukwildflowers.com has tons of information of flowers way beyond just the UK. Try googling ‘wild flower photography’ to get some new ideas to try out. Naturally, it’s completely fine if you just turn up with no prior knowledge, ready to be delighted and surprised by what out out there beneath your feet.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
The currency in Greece is the euro.
Banks and ATM machines can be found in Gythion.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
We travel from London Heathrow (LHR) to Athens (ATH) with British Airways.
Details of your baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent approximately 10 days prior to departure.
On arrival the transfer from Athens Airport to Gythion takes approximately 3 ½ hours by road. A stop will be made for refreshments en route.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Breakfasts and dinners are included in the holiday charge. Breakfasts will be taken at our hotel and dinners will be at local tavernas, giving us the opportunity to sample the great Greek cuisine in a local atmosphere.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Greece
Electricity in Greece is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Greece – The Rough Guide
Greece - Athens and the Mainland – Eyewitness Travel Guide
Peloponnese and Athens – Dana Facaros & Linda Theodorou – Cadogan Guides
Flowers of the Mediterranean by Oleg Polunin & Anthony Huxley - Published by the Hogarth Press
Wild Flowers of the Mediterrean by Marjorie Blamey and Christopher Grey-Wilson – Published by Bloomsbury publishing.
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Greece
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Greece.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may also wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.
There is a low to no risk of malaria in Greece. Malaria risk is from May to October and is very limited; confined to the villages of the Evrotas delta area in Lakonia district. Please seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/ehic
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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