Leonidio, the local capital of Kynouria
When I first came to Greece I expected a holiday brochure of white washed island houses in the sun above a beach. What I found for the last 30 years has been that and so much more. The landscape and people of Greece have such depth and breadth that I still feel I have only scratched the surface.
Why did I choose Arcadia to be my home? The simple answer is that it has everything I have ever wanted in a tiny area that still remains unspoilt in this crazy world. I love wilderness and mountains, I want ever changing seascapes and spectacular sunrises over water. I also want deep forests and running streams, ancient historic places and monasteries, but most of all I want flora and fauna. Arcadia has it all and gives me the opportunity, every day, to see and experience something new.
One of my favourite walks (there are so many!) starts from my house, on a path two minutes from my door which wanders up the mountain behind us. It is the old route between our village Ano Tyros to Leonidio the local capital of Kynouria. Until 1957 this coast had no road and travel between villages was either by small boat or over the mountains on the mule track. My neighbour used to walk this path to school, and, if the weather was really bad, would find his way by holding on to his donkey’s tail!
It has views to the sea and the mountain top, with herbs crushed underfoot scenting the way, passing wayside shrines and small churches, threshing grounds and windmills. The route takes in one of the protected historical villages, Melana and I often stop here for a mountain tea at the local kafeneio (coffee shop). I hear the latest village news of births and deaths and saint’s day celebrations and enjoy the fresh taste of this endemic tea with local honey. Back on the path the only company are the birds and an occasional shepherd. The light is amazing and, no matter what time of day or year, the sea and mountain change their colours constantly.
Although the views are magnificent all along the way, the highlight for me is on the mule path heading down toward Leonidio. You turn a corner and see the whole town with its stone houses nestled below you with snow topped peaks rising behind. The famous red cliffs soar above and embrace the town and the river gorge. Every time it takes my breath away and I always sit here for a while and imagine how little life has changed here and hope that it will last.
As we are based in the largest National Park in Greece we also work with the park rangers and various University professors to record and protect the endemic plants and rare wildlife found here. We also enjoy the opportunity to share in the local knowledge of the older generations who have lived close to the land in their pastoral home and teach us the old folklore and usage of the plants we are surrounded by.
We offer walking from mid September to the end of May, breaking only for the hot summer months.
Each season has its highlights but we particularly recommend March through to June for the immense range of wildflowers and herbs that we find. We have special flower trails with local experts and a photography professional to teach you how to identify, use and capture the amazing plants.
Please take time to see more information about our Arcadia: between Mountains and Sea walking holiday here. You can also visit our website www.greeceonfoot.com and our facebook page.
We would love to be able to share our home with you and let you see that Arcadia is a living place not just an ancient idea.