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Wild Flowers of the Peloponnese
The southern most region of mainland Greece, the stunning region of the Peloponnese comprises high mountains to an altitude of 2500m and lowlands that include some of the hottest and driest parts of Europe as well as important wetlands. Joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus until the building of the Corinth Canal, this historic connection allowed plant migration from all over Greece. However, its relative isolation along with natural mountain barriers, which have also acted as plant refuges, has enabled it to evolve a unique and rich flora that has resulted in more than 2300 species, of which 350 are found nowhere else.
The region offers a timeless rich culture and an inherent natural beauty that is at its very best in spring when the landscape is reborn with a dazzlingly display of new plant life. Ancient and fascinating, this area offers a spectacular natural landscape of towering mountains, verdant rolling hills and rugged coastlines that settle around a dramatic ancient history.
Our tour is focused on the remote western coast and, in particular, the Mani region, an area steeped in myths and legends that have developed from a long and turbulent past. As you travel the region you will chance upon timeless villages hidden amidst colourful hills and perched high above the coastline, where the views are breathtaking.
The isolated location of this beautiful area, combined with the independent nature of its inhabitants meant that some traditions developed separately from the rest of Greece so that a distinct society made its mark on the landscape. To this day the architecture of the area is famed for the tower houses and fortified family dwellings from the period of the Ottoman occupation of Greece.
Our base is the pretty seaside resort of Stoupa. From here we explore a variety of habitats to find the interesting flora in each area. Our visits include the ancient sites of Mystras and Messini, the beautiful rural region of Milia, the attractive town of Kardamyli and the inland region of Proastio, all of which have a magnificent seeting beneath the towering peaks of Mount Taygetos. Our visits will also include a stop at the Diros Caves, possibly one of the most important natural sites in Greece.
During our stay we expect to find a huge variety of flora including cyclamen, stachys, campanula, asphodels, phlomis, anemones, cotinus, ferula, euphorbia, limonium, muscari as well as a diversity of orchids – tongue, bee, giant, provence and naked man.
- Return flights from London Heathrow to Athens, (Manchester flights maybe available - supplement applicable, please enquire) including all payable taxes
- 7 nights' accommodation in standard room on bed and brakfast basis at the Lefktron Hotel, Stoupa
- Welcome dinner and farewell lunch
- Entrance fees
- Transfers and excursions as detailed
- Tour manager and guide throughout
- Single room supplement
- Holiday Insurance
- Regional flight supplement (available on request)
- Meals other than those stated
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
- Porterage and gratuities
Well established as our guide for our Crete flower tours Graham Kendall, through his knowledge of the Peloponnese and his understanding of Greek flora, was the natural choice as the leader for this tour. Involved with plants and gardens from an early age and with a diverse experience, he studied at the Savill Gardens, Windsor and the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. In 1979 he spent a year in Greece growing and studying its rich flora in the innovative garden of Jaqueline Tyrwhitt near Athens. It was here, now home of the Mediterranean Garden Society, of which Graham is a life member, that his love of native plants was kindled. On his walks he combines botany with a gardener's practical eye that is informed by an understanding of history, mythology and plant use, so that a wide range of topics link plants to their landscape in a rich and satisfying way.
Day 1: Fly from London Heathrow to Athens. Transfer to Lefktron Hotel in Stoupa, (approximately three hours), for 7 night stay on bed and breakfast basis. Welcome dinner (included).
Day 2: Half day introductory walk in local area. After a break for lunch an optional second botanical walk will be offered late afternoon or you can relax at the hotel.
Day 3: Full day botanising around Kardamyli and Proastio. Staying in the local area, we head a little north to the lovely village of Kardamyli with its colourful red-tiled roofs from where we head inland to botanise around the hill village of Proastio, with a planned walk taking us along a track known as 'orchid alley', named for the number of orchids usually found here. Our lunch stop will be enjoyed in Kardamyli, after which there will be time for a short walk in the village.
Day 4: We journey east today heading across some spectacular countryside to reach the foothills of Mount Taygetos and the abandoned Byzantine city of Mystras with its fortress, palaces, mansions monasteries and churches. Fantastic views from the top include Taygetos to the west and the plains of Lakonia to the east. This wonderful site offers plenty of opportunity for botanising.
Day 5: Full day to relax and explore Stoupa at your leisure. A charming seaside village, Stoupa is located in the wild and beautiful Mani region. Its seaside location is backed by olive clad rolling hills. It is an easy place to wile away a few hours on the beach, exploring its pretty village or sipping a drink on the waterfront.
Day 6: Full day botanising around local villages of the area. As we are based in a particularly spectacular area, it is only right to explore it farther, so today we will follow the quiet roads inland from Stoupa to one or two of the nearby pretty villages, in particular, Milia, a particularly lovely village with a wonderful old church in it central square.
Day 7: Full day botanising in the southern Mani. As we head south, there will be the opportunity to see more of the traditional old Byzantine churches. The Mani flora clothes the landscape with orchids, anemones, cyclamen, irises and many more. A farewell lunch by the sea at the village of Oitylo is included today as well as a visit to the spectacular Diros Caves, which we will tour aboard small boats.
Day 8: Transfer back to Athens for return flight home.
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager’s discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 20 passengers.
The Lefktron Hotel is situated in the heart of Stoupa just 80 metres from the beach. Stoupa is an attractive small resort, where everything is close by and easily accessed on foot. Including an attractive sandy beach Stoupa offers, cafes, small shops and a wide choice of tavernas, many of which are picturesquely situated overlooking the sea. The hotel has just 32 rooms and offers a pool snack bar, a lounge bar and a swimming pool. Breakfast is served daily in the garden. The twin/double rooms all have private bathrooms, balcony or patio, air-conditioning, telephone, TV, room-safes and refrigerator. Free wifi is also available.
This holiday is booked by phone. Click 'book now' to make a reservation request to our travel partner who will call you back to confirm your booking details and take payment. To speak to a representative now please call 0330 333 6761.
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip. It was well led and well facilitated. It would have been of assistance to us to have known before we booked an airport hotel that outward flight times had changed since it might have been possible to fly from Belfast on the morning of departure. The change was due to the scheduled airline operation not to Travel Editions. However, we enjoyed the trip so much we are considering a future booking.