At the southernmost tip of Cape Maleas is the region known as Vies, or more commonly, Vatika. The landscape presents striking contrasts; the central mountain range of Krithina (800m) ends abruptly at the tip of the cape, dipping down on each side into coves and beaches that were once the haunt of pirates.

A recently restored stone lighthouse stands sentinel at the cape to guide seafarers through what has been known since antiquity as a fearsome passage in bad weather.

Around the cape to the west is the calm bay of Neapoli, providing shelter from heavy seas. Backed by the fertile plain of Kambos, it is next to the long sandy beaches of Neratzionas and Maganos.

Most of the villages in this region were built on the steep mountainside, some of them invisible from the sea, as protection from pirate raids. Their white houses and narrow streets, particularly in Velanidia, are reminiscent of the Aegean islands, with which the local population has always had frequent contact as fishermen and seamen.

Vatika has also some of the most interesting natural sights in the region, particularly the cave of Aghios Andreas at Kastania. Also worth visiting is the Petrified Forest at Aghia Marina and the wetland at the Strongyli lagoon, surrounded by the sand dunes covered with rare cedar trees, next to the settlement of Viglafia just after Aghios Georgios.

One of the most important archaeological projects in recent years has been at at Pavlopetri, the oldest known submerged town the world whose ruins lie in shallow water just off the beach at Pouda, visible to swimmers.

Just a 15 minute ferry ride from Pouda are the magical sandy beaches of Elafonisos, perfect for a day’s excursion.


One of the prettiest villages in the Municipality of Monemvasia, Velanidia lies in the mountain range surronding Neapoli. Its white, traditional tiled-roof houses form an amphitheatre on the slopes of Mt. Krithina, with a superb view of the Myrtoon Sea.

Velanidia was founded around 1770 by Spetsiots fleeing the island after the Orlov Revolt. Skilled seamen, these settlers soon established a relatively large fleet of ocean-going ships and fishing vessels.

Now the village is a peaceful retreat, an ideal base for hiking. The most popular route is the path to the recently renovated Cape Maleas lighthouse, built in 1860. Hikers can also explore historic chapels, the most well-known being Aghios Myron.
Less energetic visitors can relax on the long pebble beach right next to the little port.



Velanidia is 17 km from Neapoli, reached by taking the road over the mountain past the village of Lahi. There is limited parking space in the square at the top of the village as well as down in the small port.