Luxury holidays in Mystras

Once the second-most important town in the Byzantine Empire, Mystras is steeped in history and surrounded by a fabled landscape. Part of the Peloponnese peninsula, this crumbling fortified town clings to a steep hillside swathed in fragrant pines, which is just over the mountain from Spartan lands. A thriving and tactically important settlement in its mediaeval heyday, the town was eventually abandoned in the 1830s, but some of the palaces and monasteries have been kept in remarkably good condition, providing a fascinating link with old-world Greece. These days, locals live in a more modern village at the foot of the castle, a placid place of stone houses and narrow roads. Many visitors also take a day to explore the island town of Monemvasia to the south, which has a castle that’s inhabited to this day.

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When to go

Mystras is a year-round destination, but March to October is the most popular time to visit. Spring and autumn bring warm but not hot days and pleasantly cool nights, particularly on the hillside. The summer brings consistently hot temperatures, but the elevation means the town enjoys a cooler microclimate.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Kalamata is the closest airport, around an hour’s drive from the town. During the summer season, there are direct flights from London Heathrow and Gatwick; in the off season, you’re better off touching down in Athens, then taking a car the rest of the way.
  • Automobiles

    You won’t need a car if you’re planning on sticking to the local area, but it’s worth having one for day trips to the coast or nearby towns.