4.5 to 6 h. tour (Private tour)
(transportation + guided tour of Mystras castletown + short stop in Sparta + optionally stop for lunch or dinner at Mystras modern village)
Departing the beautiful port, you will enjoy a drive of approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes through the lush valley of Evrotas, till you reach modern Sparta, a city that doesn’t look at all as simple and remote as the descriptions about the ancient one let us imagine. Nowadays it is characterized by the beautiful architecture of the many neoclassical buildings in it and the several palm trees along the central avenue, which ends in front of the colossal bronze statue of Leonidas, the General, a legend of the ancient times.
Unfortunately there isn’t much left of the ancient city itself, apart from a few foundations of the ancient city and remainings of the ancient theater. If time allows it, you can get off and walk next to some of these ruins.
Soon after that you will start driving up the mountain to the ruined Byzantine city of Mystras. It is divided in 3 sections, surrounded by the ancient walls and has two gates, either to enter, or exit. There is one on the top level and one on the lowest one. Be prepared for extensive walking on a steep path made of stone and have your guide enter with you the most important of the remaining Byzantine churches, where you will see and hear explanations about the wall paintings and the floor mosaics. You will also see several foundations of houses where the nobles lived and the Palaces which are under restoration.
After the end of this visit, if you choose the extended version of the tour, you can enjoy a lunch break in any of the small villages nearby and then return back to the ship.