Cape Tainaron

  • Looking back north from just above the lighthouse - © William Mackesy
  • Porto Kayio Bay with tower villages on far hillside - © William Mackesy
  • Across classical city bay. - © William Mackesy
  • Ancient city of Tainaron - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • North across ancient city bay  - © William Mackesy
  • Approaching the lighthouse - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy

Key information: Cape Tainaron

    • Walk the southern-most point of mainland Greece.
      • Ruggedly beautiful landscape and gorgeous sea views. And plenty of history, with a classical city and harbour round the remains of a Temple of Poseidon half way down the coast.
        • Walk circuits, either from Porto Kayio to the Temple of Poseidon and on (13km), or from the roadhead at the temple (4km).

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating90.5
  • Beauty31.5
  • Natural interest14
  • Human interest14
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating90.5

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: N/A
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
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North across ancient city bay  - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

The rugged, still-remote Mani Peninsula peters out into a single ridge which tumbles, exhausted, into the sea at Cape Tairaron (also called Matapan), the most southerly point in mainland Greece.

These final tough, grey limestone hills harbour a fine exhibition of the old Maniot way of life: towers glare at these surroundings, one involved in the last blood feud, sitting on a particularly barren hilltop; dour stone villages are surrounded by their handscrabble little terraces; it must have been a relentlessly tough life.

The area was busy for centuries: there are the vestiges of a temple and oracle of Poseidon and of the classical-era city that grew around them and the little harbour. You walk past rock-hewn building bases and cisterns and a vivid fragment of mosaic.

And there are wildflowers galore in Spring and birds to enjoy while you traverse the tough shallow-soiled limestone hills, and the ever-active sea in the background.

You can walk the cape in a number of ways.

Perhaps the best, if you have the time, is the circuit including Marmari, by the sea, Mianes perched near the high central ridge, and traversing below the ridge summit as it descends to the lighthouse; returning up the east coast, via Kokinoyia (and the temple and Classical city), the beautiful Vathy Bay inlet, the classic Maniot village of Palivos in its cascading terraces. As described by the Cicerone book, which says it is 11.5km/4hours10mins (which sounds a bit short).

A there-and-back from the delightful Porto Kayio, down the east coast and back the same way for half the way, then following the road inland the second half. As recommended by the Sunflower book, which says it's 13km/4hrs10mins, which sounds more realistic (although expect longer by the time you have enjoyed views and poked around Classical ruins).

A shorted there-and back from the Temple of Poseidon. 4km/1.5km.

Have a look at TripAdvisor, there are tens of millions of reviews, so you may get good, current views on guides, places to hike and places to stay in the area.

Sunflower's Landscapes of the Southern Peloponnese has 30 walks, including on this walk. The Mountains of Greece - Cicerone, Tim Salmon with Michael Cullen: has a worthwhile section too. Find relevant books by using our Amazon search function:

For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Taygetus and the Mani walk page.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Ancient city of Tainaron - © William Mackesy

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Porto Kayio Bay with tower villages on far hillside - © William Mackesy...
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