8 days

Hiking on breathtaking trails amid towering mountains and plunging gorges

Ancient fresco-covered monasteries clinging to the cliff faces of the Lousios Gorge

Cross the ancient stone bridge of Zarzi on the tranquil Mylaon River

Discover the hidden hermitage of Sfyrida

Stay in traditional mountain villages in this unspoilt and undiscovered corner of Greece

Hiking the Menalon Trail: Self-guided walking holiday in Arcadia

The well-signposted, 75km Menalon Trail stretches from Stemnitsa to Lagkadia. It passes through the dramatic scenery of the Lousios Gorge, the western slopes of Mt Menalon, the Mylaon River valley and the Gortynian Mountains. On this week-long hiking trip, you will discover the wonders of the beautiful region of Arcadia in the heart of the Peloponnese. Although relatively undiscovered by visitors, this is one of Greece’s richest regions in terms of heritage and stunning landscapes.

The Menalon Trail is a well-maintained hiking route which was created by a group of local volunteers in order to shine a spotlight on the area by creating new paths that illustrate its beauty and historical importance. The spectacular trail was the first in Greece to be certified by the European Ramblers’ Association (ERA) and has also been placed among the Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe.

The trail consists of 6 stages. It begins in the village of Stemnitsa and passes through eight more villages, concluding in Lagkadia. Through the dramatic Lousios gorge, with its impressive monasteries clinging precariously to its cliffs, you reach Dimitsana. Dense forests surround you as you make your way via Zygovisti, across the Bilani mountain pass, to the remote village of Elati. Descending from Elati, you follow the course of the tranquil Mylaon River, passing several old watermills and a picturesque stone bridge. Continuing through tranquil forests, you will pass a large monastic complex, followed by a well-hidden hermitage on your way to Magouliana. Along the river Potamia you reach Valtesiniko, a stunny amphitheatrically built village in the Gortynian Mountains. The last day leads you through open fields with walnut trees, threshing floors and huts towards Lagkadia, where the Trail ends.

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS From €650 per person sharing*

*Prices based on double rooms. A total supplement of €30 pp. will apply for twin rooms.
*Discounts available for groups of 3 or more. Please enquire for prices.

*A single supplement charge will apply to solo walkers.

AVAILABILITY Available all year round, starting any day of the week. Because of the altitude of the trek (between 1000-1500m), the best spring period is late April until the end of May, June, September and October are also very suitable periods for this trip. July & August average temperature is 32 Celsius. It is also a great winter destination.
ACCOMMODATION 7 nights accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis. All accommodations of this trip are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite.
Most of the nights are in traditional guesthouses located in the villages, with taverns and restaurants nearby. In the tiny remote village Elati, you will stay in the private house of the family Anagnostou. The host speaks English and is known for her excellent hospitality. In Lagkadia you will stay in a comfortable hotel in the centre of the village. Below you find the standard accommodations of this trip. If any are fully booked, we will book a similar alternative for you and inform you about the alternative booked.

You can book additional night(s) at any of the accommodations along the way.

7 x overnight accommodation
7 x breakfasts
Luggage transportation along the route
Detailed walking notes &  maps
GPS tracks
Dedicated navigation App
24/7 telephone support
Flights & travel insurance
Lunches & dinners
Taxi transfers or public transport
Local tourist taxes
Admissions & entrance fees of any kind
Anything else not mentioned in the “included” section
Taxi transfers from Athens airport to bus terminal
Transfer from Tripoli bus station to Stemnitsa
Transfer from Lagkadia to Tripoli bus station
Additional nights before, during or after the walk
Single Room Supplement
DIFFICULTY This trip is graded moderate overall. Moderate walks are interspersed with more strenuous excursions, 4-7 hours per day (excluding breaks) on hilly to mountainous terrain using well kept, sometimes stony paths. The trip is suitable for walkers who are in good physical condition.

Day 1: Arrive in Stemnitsa

The beautiful village of Stemnitsa is located on the western slope of the Mainalo mountains, at 1,100 m altitude. It is known for its traditional stone houses and Byzantine churches, as well as the skilled artisans who have been producing wonderful gold and silverwork for many years. There are wonderful views over the village and the Loussios Gorge from the Kastro (castle) hill. There are many restaurants, taverns and cafes and you will also have the chance to visit the Menalon trail office in the central square of the village for a briefing before setting off on your hike.

Overnight: Stemnitsa


Day 2: Hike through the Lousios gorge to Dimitsana

Distance: 13 km | Ascent: 780 m | Descent: 910 m | Walking time: 5 hrs approx.

Departing from Stemnitsa the picturesque path zigzags down into the valley. You follow an old mule track to the impressive Prodomos Monastery, hanging on the high cliffs. After visiting the monastery, you continue along the path that traverses the gorge. You can ascend to the Old Philosophou Monastery (dating back to 963) before continuing to the ‘New’ Philosophou Monastery (1691). You then follow the course of the Lousios River through lush vegetation towards Dimitsana. You cross the river via the Tzani bridge and come to the interesting Open-Air Waterpower Museum. Nearby you will find the watermills and gun powder mills that established the fame and wealth of Dimitsana, a town built on the ruins of ancient Theftis.

Overnight: Dimitsana


Day 3: Walk from Dimitsana to Elati

Distance: 19.5 km | Ascent: 1215 m | Descent: 995 m | Walking time: 7 hrs approx.

Today’s route is a long but extremely rewarding hike. The section Dimitsana-Zigovisti begins with a gentle ascent from the Lousios valley to the outskirts of the pine forest. From the church of St. Paraskevi you will enjoy splendid views over the Lousios river, with the settlements of Dimitsana, Paliochori and Zatouna standing out against the wooded landscape. You continue via footpaths and dirt roads to the mountain village of Zygovisti. The village played an important role in the Greek Independence War of 1821, which is commemorated with a large marble book in the village square.

After a break at the local café, the route continues across the Western Menalon massif. You will first hike through a beautiful ravine to the church and spring of Agios Georgios, then uphill through dense forests to the Bilali Pass. From here you have the option of ascending to the Pliovouni summit, the highest peak of this route at 1643 m.

After this demanding section, you descend via small roads and paths, passing fountains and chapels, to the tiny mountain settlement of Elati.

Overnight: Elati


Day 4: Walk from Elati to Vytina

Distance: 9 km | Ascent: 350 m | Descent: 500 m | Walking time: 3 hrs approx.

A shorter day today, which will give you a chance to recover from the exertion of yesterday. You may choose to visit the woodcraft workshop before descending from Elati to the riverbed of the Milaon River. You will pass the Pirgaki Springs – which supply the village of Vytina with water – followed by the stone fountain of Makrinou, which is a nice place for a break.

Further along the river the vegetation becomes even more lush, and you find yourself surrounded by tall plane trees. You walk past abandoned watermills and cross a nice wooden bridge. You leave the valley and zigzag uphill via a rocky path to the Artotsi Fountain. Nearby is the Agia Paraskevi church, from which you have great views over the valley and mountain. Finally, you reach the picturesque village of Vytina. Serving as the main village of the region, it offers many facilities and excellent local food.

Overnight: Vytina


Day 5: Walk from Vytina to Nymfasia via the Zarzi bridge

Distance: 12 km | Ascent: 630 m | Descent: 830 m | Walking time: 4 hrs approx.

From Vytina you make your way back to the Artotsi Fountain. You then descend via a zigzagging path into Mylaon River valley, before following the river in a northerly direction, passing the beautiful single arched Zarzi bridge. Gradually you ascend to Old Vytina. Here you are back on the Menalon Trail, which leads you to Mavra Litharia. This massive limestone boulder in the riverbed of the Mylaon River has created an impressive gorge. You come to a second stone bridge that once secured the connection between Vytina and the western Gortynian villages. The trail then descends into another gorge before ascending gently through rocks and shrubs. Finally, you descend through oak and spruce forests to the small village of Nymfasia. You will find your accommodation just before Kernitsas Monastery.

Overnight: Nymfasia


Day 6: Walk from Nymfasia to Valtesiniko via Magouliana

Distance: 16 km | Ascent: 1200 m | Descent: 930 m | Walking time: 5½ hrs approx.

You first walk through a pleasant oak forest to the Kernitsa Bridge. From there you ascend via a steep path to the Holy Monastery of Kernitsas, a large monastic complex surrounded by well-maintained terraced fields. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Greece. You next cross a dense pine forest and arrive at the Sfyrida Hermitage. You traverse the foot of the long steep slope of Kastro, passing the Gavros Spring, before reaching the small settlement of Magouliana. At 1,250m this is the highest inhabited village in the Peloponnese. Here you can take a well-earned break at a local tavern or café.
Leaving Magouliana behind, you soon come to a splendid viewing point. You then descend past an old sanatorium, before following a good path along a riverbed to the village of Valtesiniko. In the center of this village, well-known for its woodcarvers, there are many nice taverns to choose from for your evening meal.

Overnight: Valtesiniko


Day 7: Walk from Valtesiniko to Lagkadia

Distance: 14 km | Ascent: 810 m | Descent: 980 m | Walking time: 5 hrs approx.

From the road above Valtesiniko Village, you will enjoy splendid views over the northern plains. A ridgetop footpath leads you to the Byzantine Fortress of Valtesiniko, perched high in the mountains. You then descend through open landscape with stunning views to the small church of Agia Triada. The route now traverses an extensive pine forest and you gain some altitude before descending again to the Krya Vrysi fountain. The path climbs from here to the saddle from where you will already see Lagkadia ahead. Continuing through fields and past a small spring you finally come to the Rapi Watermills on the outskirts of Lagkadia.

The Menalon Trail ends in the center of Lagkadia, the village of the stone builders.

Overnight: Lagkadia


Day 8: Departure

You hiking trip on the Menalon Trail comes to an end after breakfast this morning, unless you have booked any additional services with us. We would be happy to arrange a taxi transfer to Tripoli, from where you can catch a direct bus to Athens.

Getting to Stemnitsa

  The nearest airport to the Menalon Trail is Athens Airport.
From Athens Airport it takes around 3 hours by public bus to get to Stemnitsa (via the city of Tripoli). You first take the direct express bus from the airport to KTEL bus station Kifissou. There is a direct bus to Tripoli approximately once per hour. From Tripoli bus station you can either take a taxi on the spot or we would also be happy to pre-book this for you.
  We can also arrange a private transfer from Athens airport to Stemnitsa. Please enquire for prices.

Departure from Lagkadia

You first take a taxi from Lagkadia to Tripoli (we would be happy to pre-book this for you). From Tripoli bus station there are direct busses to Athens every hour. The journey time is just over 3 hrs.
  We can also arrange a private transfer from Lakgadia to Athens airport. Please enquire for prices.
The Menalon Trail
View over Stemnitsa
Gorge view on the Menalon Trail
The Lousios Gorge
Church in the Lousios Gorge
Prodromos Monastery, built on a cliff face in the Lousios Gorge
Mountain landscape on the Menalon Trail
The Old Philosophou Monastery (C) Roman Kementschitz / Wikimedia Commons
The New Filosophou Monastery
Checking the map during a walking break
Hiking the Menalon Trail
Shaded walking path
Crossing a typical wooden bridge on the Menalon Trail
The picturesque mountain village of Dimitsana
Backpacks and walking poles outside a typical doorway
Admiring the view over beautiful Arcadia
Cliffside monastery on the Menalon Trail

Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 4 reviews

Our Menalon Hiking in April was more than perfect. All way long so beautiful, nice hotels with great Breakfast and very kind hosts.
Good organisation. All in all, one of our best hikes!


Friendly people, stunning scenery and flawless, discrete organisation. The hotels and homestay were perfect and the route provides a great mix of villages, monasteries, forest, river valleys, hills and meadows.
No chance of getting lost – the navigational Ap is excellent.
We went early June and the wildflowers were awesome.


The Menalon Trail is a moderate to occasionally strenuous seven day self-guided hike through the mountains of the central Peloponnese. My wife and I hiked it in late April, and though we had some rain the flowering cherry trees and wild flowers were lovely and the mountain views expansive. The nightly accommodations were a good mix from quite smart to a home stay. Overall, the hike offered a great opportunity to escape from the major tourist routes and see rural Greece close up.


The Menalon Trail was simply awesome, we enjoyed visiting the monastaries and wildlife, having lunch by the river on day 1 was wonderful and the views across the mountains were breathtaking. The organisation was very good and the team were really helpful. Each accommodation that we stayed in was unique and the hosts were all very friendly. Breakfasts were different every day. One of the accommodation had to be changed but the Elati Hotel was a lovely place to stay and the owner even arranged our evening meal to be delivered. The hosts at Nimfasia also gave us a lift to the village restaurant and we were given a lift back by the restaurant owner. Overall we had an amazing time. Thoroughly recommend it!

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