Sitting high upon a ridge on the eastern side of the Koskarakas gorge, the small village of Megali Mandinia (sometimes spelt Megali Mantinia) has a population of just 300, making it a perfect destination for those seeking a true slice of rural Greece. Don’t expect any English to be spoken here, but by brushing off your phrase book you will be able to maximize your stay and enjoy a truly authentic Greek village at its finest.
With the village of Megali Mandinia in an elevated position, the views over the Koskarakas gorge and surrounding mountainside are truly stunning. You will find no high-rise developments here – for miles around there is nothing to be seen been unspolit scenery and the blue waters of the sea.
Amenities within the village are unsurprisingly basic. There are three tavernas, which offer authentic local cuisine at a fraction of the price of what you may pay in a more touristic part of the country, as well as a cafe and a couple of small shops. A particularly good option for eating out is Kosteas Anavryti – the oldest tavern in the village, and one that has an extensive menu and a balcony seating area that offers excellent views out over the gorge.
Walking and hiking are particularly enjoyable activities in Megali Mandinia, and you will find that the local area is a mix of olive groves and carefully tended farmland. The centre of the village has a number of old buildings – particularly churches and small chapels, as well as stone lodgings, some of which offer authentic holiday rental options.
More amenities can be found at nearby Kalamata (15km), including some excellent restaurants along the picturesque beachfront area. Kalamata is an altogether busier option than Megali Mandinia, being a bustling port that attracts a fair amount of tourists. Further afield, towns such as Pilos (42km) and Stoupa (28km) make for excellent day trips within the region.
The laid-back Greek lifestyle goes hand in hand with the local weather, with a summer average of over 30C, which can reach over 35C on the hottest of days. Winters are mild, and the cooler weather provides an altogether different experience for visitors to Megali Mandinia.
Despite its rural location, holiday accommodation in Megali Mandinia is easy to access, as the village is situated just 18km from Kalamata (KLX) International Airport. Thomas Cook and Viking Airlines operate direct services from London Gatwick and Manchester. There is a bus service connecting the two locations, but the use of a hire car is strongly recommended for making the most of your holiday in Megali Mandinia.