Zarakas mountain villages – Riechia

Nestled among the rugged slopes of Mt. Parnon, the mountain villages of Zarakas have retained their simplicity and their traditional architecture due to the difficulty of access to the region until almost the end of the past century.

Thousands of sheep and goats graze freely over the the mountain slopes, filling the air with the melody of their bells.

Riechia, the main village, has a folklore museum with exhibits from Zarakas’ history. The village marks the start of the Balogairi gorge, a must for hikers. Within the mountains, is hard to believe that the lovely beach of Vlychada, unknown to the masses, is so close.

Harakas is a small settlement whose buildings are in the traditional architectural style. On the road to Kyparissi is the Stavros gorge, with its unique views and hiking trail that ends at the isolated beach of Piliza. On a small plateau north of Harakas is the church of Aghios Ioannis Theologos.

At Lambokambos, in the settlement of Pistamata are the Doukas organic vineyards and winery, open to visitors.

Molai

The administrative centre for the Municipality of Monemvasia, the town of Molai is built on a south-facing slope of Mt. Kourkoula, overlooking a large fertile plain that has been the basis of the region’s farming economy.

A modern market town that serves as a commercial as well as administrative centre for the broader region, it has an excellent general hospital, a home for the elderly and the chronically ill, a town planning authority, police station, taxation bureau, justice of the peace, forestry authority, citizens’ service bureau, fire department, public library and three banks (Agrotiki, National and Emporiki), as well as a football stadium.

Its busy central square is surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants at all hours of the day. Next to the square is the entrance to the small heaven of the Larnaka Gorge. A walk up through the town to the church of Aghia Paraskevi is worth it for the views over the town and valley below.

Antiquities found in the area dating from the Neolithic period are witness to the long history of human settlement here.

 

Access

The town of Molai is virtually the gateway to the Municipality of Monemvasia. It is 270 km from Athens and 63 km from Sparta.