September found us exploring Southern Peloponnese with our twin babies who have just turned 1. We visited Pylos and Mani. I wrote about Pylos last week (see article here).
We had been to Mani twice before, before the twins. The first time was for our honeymoon and I wrote about our lovely experience here. The second time was for our anniversary.
This time, was completely different, as traveling with twin babies had us stay at one place longer than we used to. So, this article focuses on Mani as a destination for families with babies.
We stayed at the same hotel every time we visit Mani, Vassileios Apartments in Limeni village. We loved it as a couple, we loved its seclusion and its proximity to the village. We also loved the village, as it offers everything despite being traditional and tiny: there are 2 taverns, 1 restaurant, 1 bar, 1 cafe and 1 tiny beach. And that’s all a couple needs. A family of 4 though…
We were sad to realize that there are steps everywhere. We had to carry the buggies down to the taverns, had to bring our own baby seats even in the breakfast area of the hotel, had to swim in turns as it was a hassle to take the twins in the sea when there is no beach to leave them sit even for a second and there is no market.
I would therefore recommend you stay either at Pyrgos Mavromihali hotel, which is central and has its own piece of rocky access to the sea and use your baby carriers or slings to wherever you go. Or Limeni Village Hotel, which has a swimming pool, but it’s too remote so you’ll need to drive even if you want to just go to Limeni.
It is just 10 minutes drive from Limeni, so it is ideal for a stroll, to buy groceries, to enjoy traditional foods (totally recommend the local pizza with syglino) and to buy traditional products.
Make sure you bring your own baby seats, because it is not exactly baby friendly, even though its car-free center is perfect for children and strolling around.
New Oitylo is located by the sea and its sandy beach hosts some lovely taverns as well as plenty of accommodation options. The original Oitylo is an authentic Mani village, with its byzantine churches and its remote charm. There is just one old kafeneio here – don’t expect souvenir shops and taverns.
We stayed at this amazing hotel just 15 minutes walk from the village, Petra & Fos Boutique Hotel & Spa. Its infinity pool offers great views, the restaurant serves delicious local food and the spa is awesome. We enjoyed 3 relaxed days there, the kind that twin parents or baby parents can really appreciate. Read about our stay here.
Stoupa & Kardamyli
Ideal for family vacay are those two small coastal villages. They are not the “authentic Mani” in terms of architecture and culture. But they are both charming and easy to get around with kids. Kardamyli is so cute, that Before Sunset was filmed here!
We visited it on our second trip in Mani. It’s magical! There is an underground stream and the tour is actually a boat ride with a special guide. It is dangerous if your kids are little and if you have babies, I bet they’ll cry in the dark. But if you only have one kid and she is relatively calm and older, she’ll love it!
We hiked the trail toward the Lighthouse on our second visit and it is absolutely breathtaking. Even though it also is the southernmost tip of continental Europe, I wouldn’t recommend it for families with kids, not even if you wear them – because it is rocky, sunny and very windy.
We had loved our day trip here then, as we stopped and snorkelled wherever we found – but the rocky beaches are not baby friendly, so we skipped it this time.
One of my favorite spots in Greece. Gerolimenas is quiet and remote. It is a quaint tiny village on a tiny rocky bay, completely in harmony with the natural surroundings. It is why I love Mani. One of the best and most historical boutique hotels of the country is situated here, Kyrimai Hotel. I haven’t been, but since it has a pool and (as they say) a lovely restaurant, it is ok for families.
Porto Kayo is a picturesque remote little bay, whose sea is decorated with fish boats and its coast with quaint taverns that serve the freshest fish. There are some accommodation options here, as well as a friendly beach. However, I couldn’t recommend it for families with babies, as it is too far away from some kind of civilization.
I love Mani and we are definitely coming back. We love it and we know it and we know we should adjust our itinerary to it. Because every trip with babies and toddlers is possible, as long as you come prepared – and we are ready for everything!