Monemvasia is a magical and romantic Byzantine castle town in the southeast Peloponnese that dates back to the sixth century AD, and the longest continuously-inhabited castle town in Europe. It takes about 4 hours to drive to Monemvasia from Athens, with most of the route along well-maintained highway. There are multiple daily bus routes between Monemvasia and Athens or Sparti.
A causeway connects Monemvasia’s Old Town (Kastro) to the mainland and the modern village of Gefyra. It’s a 20-minute walk between the Gefyra and the Kastro. There are no cars in Kastro, though cars can drive all the way up to the castle entrance to drop off passengers. A limited amount of parking is available along the causeway and the road leading to the castle gate, and a large (free) parking lot is located off to the right of as you approach the causeway. A shuttle bus runs between the start of the causeway and the Kastro gate from 8am to 11pm every 30 minutes in the summer (until mid-afternoon in the winter) and costs €1.10. A taxi between Gefyra and Monemvasia Kastro is about €4.
Exceptional fine dining in Kastro. Renowned Chef Giorgos Tsimpidis’ menu of traditional but sophisticated Monemvasian, Greek, and international cuisine is perfect special occasion fare – and paired with an excellent wine list and great views. The intimate dining room and balcony make reservations a must. Located in Moni Emvasis Luxury Suites, and open to non-guests from April to October. +30 2732 062022
Named for the steep and switchbacked footpath to Monemvasia’s Upper Town, Voltes serves up the traditional cuisine of the south Peloponnese for modern palettes – with punchy flavors, hyper-local products, and sophisticated plating. The atmosphere is cozy, vibrant, and welcoming. Dishes are small and meant to be shared – ask your waiter for recommendations, and you won’t be disappointed. Located near the main gate. +30 2732 061919
The sweetest spot in Kastro for drinks with a view, this quiet and rustic stone terrace is located at the east end of the main road in Malvasia Hotel. The menu is not extensive; just good coffee, wine, cocktails, and small bites – and an excellent atmosphere overlooking the sea. +30 2732 063007
This is the best of the many restaurants offering rooftop view seating along Kastro’s main drag. Located next to the central square, To Kanoni serves local and traditional cuisine, expertly prepared. Standouts include sausage with orange and smoked sage, stuffed squid, and saiti, a local dish of grilled thin spinach-filled dough. Finish it all off with a slice of orange cake, topped with ice cream. +30 2732 061387
Excellent bakery offering traditional baked pies and pastries, breakfasts, pizzas, and sandwiches. Their “packages” (basket-like offerings of this and that) are perfect for a picnic, and their bougatsa (traditional cream-filled pastry) is the best in town. Mostly take-away. +30 2732 062022
A Monemvasia institution since 1970, this wonderful traditional taverna is easily found along Kastro’s main street near the central square, with cheerful tables spilling out into the walkway. Chef/owner Magda is friendly and welcoming, and serves up a mouth-watering menu of home-cooked local favorites that’ll make you wish you were Greek. Great quality for the price. +30 2732 061371
The friendly staff at this charmingly-decorated stone arch storefront are almost as sweet as their wares, selling delicious dessert crepes, waffles, and ice cream late into the night. Sweet-tooths and local cats agree, this place is not to be missed. +30 2732 062018
Follow the hand-painted “wine tasting” signs through the stone alley maze below Kastro’s central square to find this cozy corner nook offering unique local wines, small plates, and desserts. A variety of tastings are available with or without complementary tapas. Generally open from 6pm on, or earlier by appointment – reservations are personally accepted by the friendly and knowledgeable owner. +30 697 437 0964
Great breakfasts, coffee, snacks, crepes, and ice cream in this small café on the main drag. Omelettes and crepes are cooked to order with fresh ingredients, and the ice cream selection is great. Their peaceful covered ocean-view terrace out back makes the perfect spot for a light meal or snack. +30 2732 066205
Amazing, innovative cocktails and an expansive rooftop view terrace. Master bartender Panagiotis Govatsos’ “Skyfall II” features hibiscus liqueur and was the gold medal winner at the 39th World Cocktail Competition of the International Association of Bartenders. Good sandwiches, salads, and brunch menu as well. Easy to find midway along the main street’s stretch of shops and restaurants. +30 2732 061352
Authentic Italian in a relaxed atmosphere on the Gefyra waterfront, with a great view to the rock. Super fresh seafood and incredible pasta dishes are brought to life by a Neapolitan-born chef. Especially recommended are the octopus carpaccio, pasta Neapolitano, and a terrific tiramisu. Located a few minutes’ walk from the causeway. Closed in winter. +30 2732 061486
Great seafood taverna right next to the causeway. While they specialize in seafood appetizers, their traditional Greek offerings are also great. Their wide dining terrace offers great views to Monemvasia; the beer and ouzo menus are expansive, too. +30 2732 061356