Mountainous Arcadia: Α getaway suggestion only a few hours away from the capital!

Dimitsana © GNTO/ photo George Kakoutis

  Let's follow George to a tour around the traditional villages of Mountainous Arcadia, a place synonymous with legendary heroes, fierce battles and glorious achievements.

  Today, thanks to its proximity to Athens and its striking beauty, Mountainous Arcadia is one of the most popular destinations in Greece. I am convinced that more and more of us seek to find ways to “escape” anxiety and the increased requirements of everyday life. As far as our vacations are concerned, the tough financial situation in our country urges us to discover destinations close to Athens and accommodation offering a good ratio between quality of services offered and price, the so-called value for money.

  This is how I came up with the idea to escape the city for a weekend together with four good friends of mine. Our destination was Mountainous Arcadia, home to places that combine the natural beauty of the landscape with the history of the Greek Revolution at the Peloponnese.

  We started our journey early in the morning. After an hour-and-a- half- drive we reached Vitina. The landscape and the town impressed us from the very beginning: beautiful stone-made lodges, traditional cafes serving tasteful Greek coffee and sweet delicacies, tourist shops dispensing artifacts of popular art from Arcadia, herbs, hand-made pasta and other products from the region. The contradiction between sunshine and the snowy slopes of the mountains made the setting even more idyllic.

  After a necessary stop for coffee, walks, and shopping from the local stores, we continued our way to the town of Dimitsana. After having settled at our hotel, we spent the next hours discovering the scenic hidden corners of the most renowned town in Arcadia. Our first stop was the Museum of Water Power, a few kilometers away from Dimitsana, where we came into contact with the process of leather processing at the tanneries, the ruins of old tanneries, that were renovated, and the gunpowder mills preserved from 1821. Relaxed after our lunch at one of the stone-made taverns of Dimitsana, where we tasted local dishes, sweets and local wine, we went on our touring at Loussios, a river that crosses Arcadia and forms the starting point for a visit to Ancient Gortyna. The night has come for good. We went back to Dimitsana for dinning, walks and drinks. Night makes Dimitsana ever more romantic and seductive!!! During our long walks, we had spotted some beautiful and elegant stores for food and drink- always in accordance with the local architecture.
  The morning after, relaxed and after having bought some traditional local products, we headed to our last destination, Stemnitsa. As every settlement in Arcadia, Stemnitsa offers a great variety of choices equally satisfying the weekend-visitors’ needs for relaxation, outdoor activities and good local cuisine alike. We were surprised by the plethora of young residents; the reason turned out to be the famous School of Silverware, which initiates several students into the secrets of gold- and silversmith. We had a quick lunch and in the afternoon we headed back to base truly relaxed, having taken back memories of beautiful landscapes with snowy slopes and tasted quality local dishes and wine.
  This excursion to the villages of Arcadia is truly an ideal choice for those who want to escape even for a single day away from Athens, to encounter historic places and… paint the town red!

George Kakoutis

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