This little seaside town attracts mainly two type of travelers. Those who want to spend their day in extraordinary beaches and the nature lovers who get amazed by the wild beauty of this area. The main landmarks of this town are the church of Agia Triada (St. Trinity), which is visible throughout the city and the statue of the Vatika Seaman.
The town has a good variety of hotels and rooms to let as well as cafe bars and traditional restaurants. The local food will excite you and don’t forget to taste some goat cheese, pumpkin pies and sweets like samousadhes and kourabiedhes.
Neapoli offers on a daily basis transfers to the beautiful islands of Elafonisos and Kithira.
Neapoli is located in the place where the city of Ancient Voion was in the past. The ancient city was established between 1050-950AD. There have been found Mycenaean elements, like vaulted graves, which support the statement that the area was a Mycenaean city.
During the Roman Period the city was an important trading sport. In 375AD a powerful earthquake destroyed the city and the place wasn’t of great important during the subsequent years. Many byzantine monasteries were built in Kavo Malias, the cape in the wider area.
People from the area helped in the Greek War of Independence in 1821 by every possible means. The construction of the modern city started in 1837 following the architectural plan which was created by the Bavarian architect Birmach.
In Neapoli, just under the seaside street, you will find the sandy beach of Neapoli. Next to the beach you will find plenty of restaurants and cafeterias to enjoy a coffee or local specialties. The beach is awarded every year with a blue flag.
Alternatively you could choose, about 13km away, the beautiful Punda beach. It is an unorganized beach next to the port of Punda. This marvelous beach with the turquoise water shouldn’t be missed while you are travelling in the area. From the port of Punda you could make take the ferry boat to Elafonisos Island. About the extraordinary sandy beach of Elafonisos the only thing you should keep in mind is the phrase “just go”! Don’t miss this opportunity.
Near Punda, there is the Magano beach, located near to the ancient sunken city of Pavlopetri. It is a sandy beach with turquoise water ideal for all the family. Another beach close to the area is Neratziona beach. This organized golden beach attracts many families. Also, fish taverns exist in this area.
Aspes beach, about 14 km from Neapoli, is an amazing unorganized beach with wild beauty. The black sand and the wild rocks are the main features of this beach. Very close you will also find Rismari beach.
If you feel like driving a little further, about 15km away you will end up to Velanidia, a beautiful little village which is built amphitheatrically. In Velanidia village you will feel like you are in an island while wandering through the traditional white houses and the colorful flowers. From this village starts one of the most popular hiking trails of the area which reaches the lighthouse of Kavo Malias. In this village you will find a beautiful peaceful unorganized beach. Keep in mind that the road to Velanidia village might not be for everyone due to the continuous revs and the cliffs. Travelers, who decide to visit this place, are astonished by the wild beauty of this place. Near this village you will also find one more beautiful beach called Agios Pavlos.
About 15,7km northwest of Neapoli there are some astonishing beaches like Platanistos beach and Limnes beach. Limnes is a long sandy beach while Platanistos offers plenty of smaller sandy beaches until the small bay near the cape. At the top of the cape you could admire the view of the Kouledianos Tower which was used by the residents to keep an eye on the pirates. You could also visit the tower by car through a dirt track which ends up in a path of 300 meters to reach the tower.
Places to visit
Near Agios Georgios village there is a wetland of great importance called “Lake Strogili”. It is a lagoon and a shelter for seldom migratory birds. Here you will admire this natural beauty combined with ruins from ancient sanctuaries and settlements. You can access this lagoon either from Punda beach or Magano beach.
The beautiful castle of Agia Paraskevi next to the homonym chapel can be seen from the Mesochori village near to Neapoli. The castle was probably built by the Frank conquerors in order to control the ship movement in the area.
The petrified forest of St. Marina / Koraka is a treasure of Europe about 15km southeast of Neapoli. It is a large park with paleoflora fossils. Fossilized tree trunks, all kinds of strange shells attached to the rocks, mollusks and many more creatures can be found scattered around this nature’s miracle. Paleontologists have resulted in the theory that this forest was covered by lava million of years ago and resurfaced.
In the area there are about 13 caves of all kinds. The Kastania Cave (or cave of St. Andreas), which is considered to exist 3 million years, is the most popular. By car it is about 20-30 minutes away from Neapoli.The cave was discovered by a local shepherd in the 19th century when he observed the bees who went through a little hole. He dug the hole and discovered this marvelous cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites. You will see a vast variety of stalactites and stalagmites that will probably will look like an animal, a plant or even a human being depending on your imagination. You can participate in a guided tour of this cave (about 500meters route / 30-40 minutes tour) and discover all the exciting details of this natural treasure. Close to the cave you will find the Panagia beach and a little further the Barko beach, a beautiful beach covered by sand and pebbles.
With Neapoli as a starting point you can visit some picturesque villages of the wider area that look like the Cycladic islands. Lachi village is one of them. The main features of this traditional village are the whitewashed houses, the narrow streets and the beautiful view.
Kavo Malias is the cape of this area and the second southernmost of Peloponnese. It is an important cape regarding its geographical position. The main features of this cape are the lighthouse made of stone and the strong winds of this area which have resulted in many shipwrecks. This cape is hard to reach due to the dangerous route of a dirt track of 20km with rugged cliffs. People who love walking could take advantage of the hiking trails that exist in this area. You might come across several monasteries which were built here and are the reason the place is often called a “Little Mount Athos”.
From Neapoli you could arrange a day trip to Monemvasia. Wander through the streets of this imposing castle city and admire the beautiful view!
In Kavo Malias there is a climbing park and plenty of climbing trails. If climbing excites you contact one of the professional in the area who will assist you with all the necessary equipment and information.
There are about 14 hiking trails in the area. For your assistance there are signs that inform you about the start of the trails and the time you will need to cover the distances. Be prepared with lots of water and avoid the dangerous hours during the summer period.
It would be almost a crime to arrive at this area and don’t visit the island of Elafonisos! There are ferry boats that depart from Neapoli (from the harbor of Punda) to Elafonisos every day on a regular basis. You won’t visit this island for its nightlife neither for sightseeing. Here the main thing you will do is sunbathe and swim at the extraordinary beaches which attracts every year a great amount of travelers.
Its name means "The island of deers", as there were plenty of them, which the goddess Artemis was hunting. The best place is undoubtedly the famous worldwide "Simos beach". It is located in the southern part of Elafonisos, in the region of Lefki. There are plenty of other beaches of unparalleled beauty in the island, all characterized by the golden sand and the hazel waters.
During the winter, the habitants of the island are only some hundreds, but in the summer the area is really alive. You can find hotels or apartments, cafes, restaurants and mini markets and anything else you might need. The region of exceptional natural beauty of Elafonisos is classified as a Site of Community Importance of the network NATURA 2000 (GR2540002)-according to Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. The major elements of Elafonisos that make it a protected area Natura 2000, are the sand dunes and endemic plant species which occur exclusively on the beaches and in the wider area of Elafonisos.
Every year, on the last ten days of August, the Feast of the Fishermen is taking place in the island and attracts many visitors. Live Greek traditional music, Greek island dances, a lot of wine and of course fresh fish which is offered by the local fishermen, are just some of the events of this great feast. It is considered to be one of the most authentic Greek feasts all around Peloponnese.
Elafonisos is an ideal destination for surf, windsurf or kite surf. The normal winds and the long sandy beaches make the island one of the top spots for this kind of activities. Lots of travellers from all around the world choose the island for their summer activity holidays.
The “Atlantis of Laconia”
Pavlopetri islet is the location of the most ancient sunken city of the world which lays in the underwater area between Elafonisos and the Laconic peninsula. The information had been announced from 1904 by the Athens Academy President geologist Phokion Negris. In 1967 the oceanographer Dr. Nicholas Flemming of the Southampton University spotted the city lying 3-4m under the sea surface and for the next year kept to investigate with a team from the Cambridge University. In 2007, Dr. John Henderson from the Nottingham University along with Dr. Flemming and the Greek Archaeological Services restarted researches for the promotion of the object. A documentary was filmed for account of BBC 2 aiming to the digital representation of Pavlopetri, in order to be recognized the kind of the city and the reason of its disappearance. According to findings and investigations Pavlopetri was first inhabited in 2.800 BC and flourished in about 1600 BC. Dr. Henderson believes that the city was formed in the Ice Age and that it is one of the first cities, where the modern way of life was developed, as it had two floor houses with sea view, customs office and roads dated in the Mycenaean times (1680-1180 BC). There was also development of several professions from merchants, artisans of small crafts and workers. Its sinking seemed to have taken place a short time after 1000 BC because of some strong earthquake, as successive layers of rock at the seashore indicate.
From Neapoli there is a ship which transfers people to Kithira on a regular basis. According to the myth, Kronos cut out the genitals from his cruel father to help his mother. The genitals fell into the water of Kithira and foam was created. This foam was transferred to Cyprus and from this foam Aphrodite was born.
Kithira’s presence throughout the history is conspicuous. This island was inhabited already during the Neolithic Period. Minoans, Mycenae, Spartans, Athenians, the Roman Empire, pirates, Venetians, France, Russian, the Ottoman Epire, the British, Italy and Germany occupied this island at some point. This fact highlights the strategic importance of this island which was the first land which was liberated from the German occupancy during 1944. After the war many young people left the island in the search of a better life either in Athens or abroad. During 1990 the island started to develop rapidly especially due to the tourism.
Of course, the history of this island is a good reason to visit the island however the amazing beaches are an even better one! Kapsali beach is one popular beach, organized and covered by sand and pebbles. The main features of this beach are the swallow water, the water sports, the night life, the taverns and café bars. Chalkos beach is a long pebble organized beach with beautiful turquoise water. The wild beauty of the Kaladi beach will amaze those who like to dive into water from the rocks. It is a long and unorganized pebble beach with deep water. Diakofti beach is near to the port of Kithira and is a sandy beach with swallow water and a variety of restaurants and cafeterias in the area.
Those are only some of the many amazing beaches the visitors of Kithira could visit depending on their mood and taste. There is an islet across Kithira called “Hitra” which can only be approached by boat and is a ideal for those who like diving. In this islet grows the famous flower “sempre viva” which, as you might guess from the name, lives forever. Take this flower and offer it to your loved ones!