Monemvasia – Peloponnese, Greece
Barely Tethered to Reality
Monemvasia’s nickname, the Greek Mont-Saint-Michel, conveys some of the charm of this small medieval town that clings to the side of an islandlike rock jutting out of the southern Peloponnesian coast.
Like Gibraltar, Monemvasia once controlled the sea lines between medieval Western Europe and the Levant. Within this walled city, the houses and distinctly Byzantine churches are still occupied and connected by a long, narrow causeway to the mainland town of Gefira.
Well-to-do Greeks have renovated once-crumbling ruins into vacation homes, but off-season, Monemvasia is nearly deserted, and the network of narrow side streets—sometimes just wide enough for two to pass—are yours alone.
Three centuries-old buildings have been converted into the Hotel Malvasia, “the rock’s” most atmospheric hotel, under government-controlled restoration. Each room is individually decorated with antiques: some have fireplaces, some have sea views.