An area symbolic of the bucolic life, and which until recent centuries, inspired writers, poets and artists.

According to mythology, Pan,the goat-legged son of Hermes and god of fertility, was of Arcadian descent and had his own sanctuary in Lykosoura, where the nymph Erato interpreted the oracles. It was here that he chased Syrinx, the young daughter of the Ladonas River, who became scared and asked Zeus to save her. He did so by turning her into reeds. Pan, full of remorse for breaking the body of the object of his desire with his own hands, joined the reeds together to make a set of pipes, which he kept with him forever, and bear his name to this day, ‘Pan pipes’.


Another myth tells of the famous heroine Atalanta, who grew up in Arcadia, raised by bears and hunters. Beautiful, tough and an unrivalled hunter, it was she who inflicted the death blow to the Calydonian Boar, whose carcass was then kept at the temple of Athena Alea in Arcadian Tegea.

However, the most sacred place in Arcadia, was Mount Lykaio, where Zeus struck Lycaon, the son of Pelasgus, with a bolt of lightning. Lykaio means ‘he who shines’, and it was there that the people built an altar to Zeus to appease him.

In this fresh mountain landscape, Arcadia gave birth to the myths that personified nature and her various expressions.

Passing from myth into ancient history, the visitor has the chance to see many settlements and monuments, such as the archaeological sites of Ancient Gortyna, Ancient Mantineia, and Ancient Tegea, the Archaeological Museum of Lykosoura at the archaeological site dedicated to the goddess Despoina, as well as the palace of Herod Atticus. The most iconic among these is the Temple of Apollo Epicurus, which was the first monument from Greek classical antiquity to be included amongst UNESCO’s World Heritage Monuments.

The Arcadians are mentioned as taking part in the Trojan War with 60 ships, led by the king of Tegea, Agapenor. But Arcadia does not have just ancient monuments. Byzantium and the Frankish occupation  left behind many ruins, of early Christian basilicas and impressive castles (Akova, Karytaina, Mouchlio, Paralio Astros). During the Ottoman occupation, many great Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monasteries and churches were destroyed. Many, however, survived. The Filosofos Monastery in Dimitsana, the Kalteza Monastery on the border with Laconia, the Monastery of Aghios Ioannis Prodromos near Stemnitsa, the old and new Monasteries of Kalami in Atsilochos, the church of Aghios Andreas in Gortyna, the Monastery of Kalami and many more, were spiritual centres that rallied the Greeks and kept the faith alive.

Arcadia’s landscape varies, depending on the altitude and the distance from the sea. With a cold continental climate, harsh winters and frequent snowfall in mountain areas, the weather has benefited the development of winter tourism and attracts the arrival of many visitors to the ski centre in the Mainalo Range, which dominates the centre of the Peloponnese and the Regional Unit of Arcadia. Easily accessible by an excellent road, it is now a popular destination, with 80 000 visitors each year and a reasonably-priced entrance fee.

At warmer times, other activities are organised here, such as mountain biking, paragliding, hiking, etc., with the aim of fully exploiting the natural beauty of the Mainalo Range throughout the year.

Arcadia has four basic urban centres: Tripolis, the seat of the Region of the Peloponnese, Astros, Leonidio and Megalopoli. It also has many picturesque villages: the well-known Vytina, near the Mainalo Ski Centre, with exceptional tourist facilities and amazing local products; Dimitsana, with the Ecclesiastical Museum and the one-of-a-kind Waterpower Museum; Karytaina, Kamenitsa, Levidi, Kastanitsa, Stemnitsa, which has the only school for silver and goldsmiths in Greece, and many more.

Tripolis is the largest city and the capital of Arcadia, with a population of 46 910, and it works as a base for touring the nearer mountain settlements. The city houses the Archaeological Museum in a building by Ernst Ziller, as well as the War Museum of Tripoli, with its relics and reminders of the struggles of the Greeks at various stages of modern history.

Heading towards the shores of Arcadia, the visitor will enjoy Astros, which is located in the southeastern part of the Regional Unit, on a flat area near  the coast of the Argolic Gulf, 44 kilometres southeast of Tripolis, with a population of 10 380 and a significant history. The town is dominated by the Archaeological Museum, with exhibits from the palace of Herod Atticus (2nd Century CE), which is short distance from Paralio Astros, next to the celebrated Monastery of Loukous (1117 CE).

Leonidos, with its impressive red rock, is a plains town, a traditional settlement in the southeastern part of Arcadia, built on the shores of the Myrtoan Sea, below Mount Parnonas, and lies 93 kilometres from Tripolis.

Megalopolis, with 11 030 residents, is a semi-mountainous town to the west of the Unit, 34 kilometres southwest of Tripolis. It is known for the Public Power Company’s plant located there. In the surrounding area, there are many archaeological sites and Byzantine churches, as well as the ancient theatre of Megalopolis.

A great way of discovering Arcadia and making the transition from civilisation to the wonders of nature, is to take part in activities out in the heart of nature, such as mountain biking around Tripoli and its villages, as well as hiking along easy or not-so-easy footpaths, or rafting, kayaking, hydrospeeding (wearing fins and holding onto just a board), monocrafting (in a one-seater inflatable craft) and abseiling (crossing the gorges with special ropes) on the Alfeios, Lousios and Erymanthos rivers. One of the most important attractions in the area, in Ladonas, is the hydroelectric dam on the river and the manmade lake covering 6 000 stremmata, with the medieval bridge known as the Lady’s Bridge, visible only during the summer months.

Among the most important natural attractions in Arcadia are the protected gorge of the Lousios River, the Parnonas Gorges, covered with Syrian juniper (unique in Europe), the Lepidas Gorge, Lake Taka and the Kapsia Cave, one of the ten most significant caves in the whole of Greece.

The transition from action to pleasure occurs on the Mantineiako Plain, on an expanse of 7 000 stremmata, where an especially popular variety of Moschofilero is grown, one of the most aromatic of Greek wines. Established in 1971 as a Protected Designation of Origin, Mantineia produces wines of a Designation of Origin of Superior Quality in the villages of Steno, Agiorgitika, Partheni, Neochori, Milia, Artemisio, Pikerni, Sanga, Nestani Kapsia and Simiades. Here, the visitor can go from visiting well-known wineries to visiting monuments of archaeological and religious interest, such as the largest pre-historic furnace ever excavated, the Monastery of Aghios Nikolaos Varson from the 11th century, the Monastery of Panagia Gorgoepikoos, with its celebrated icon of the Virgin by Luke the Evangelist.

With famous national festivals honouring the liberation of the country from the Ottomans, such as the liberation of Tripolitsa, the Exit of Papaflessas, celebrated in Dyrrachi, and the Battle of Valtestsi – as well as seasonal festivals honouring local products and traditions (the Chestnut Festival in Kastanitsa, the Tegea Trade Fair, the markets organised by the women of Karytaina, the Panhellenic Folk Singing Competition in Langadia, the Night of the Balloons at Easter, the Tsakonia Festival in Leonidio and the Summer of Culture in the Municipality of Tripoli), Arcadia has a variety of activities to offer the visitor throughout the year.



Cultural heritage of the Municipality of Megalopolis


In the Municipality of Megalopoli there is a multitude of historical and archaeological sites with a special attraction due to the long history of the area in antiquity and Byzantine times.

The main ones are:

– MEGALOPOLI: The seat of the Municipality was established in 4 ° BC, a century from the merging of 40 Arcadian cities. Several monuments of this period have been preserved, such as the Thersilio (the ancient Parliament with the Myrion assembly), the gym, the sanctuary of Zeus and the ancient theater, which is the largest theater in Ancient Greece with a capacity of 20,000 spectators.

– LYKOUSOURA: 15 kilometers from Megalopolis is Lykosoura another ancient city which, according to Pausanias, was the oldest city in the world. In the museum there are sculptures from the sanctuary of Despina (daughter of Poseidon and Demeter) as well as copies of supernatural statues of ancient gods.

– LYKAIO: The sacred mountain of Arcadians, where our ancient ancestors want the birth of Zeus. At its peak there was the mosque of Lycaean Jupiter where it was forbidden to enter the mortals as the matter was losing its shade.

– ISARIS: Following the road from Megalopoli to Kalamata is the village of Isaris. Placed on a slope at an altitude of 850 meters, it is picturesquely overlooked by the Messinian plain. There is a Byzantine church dedicated to Agios Nikolaos as well as a traditional guesthouse.

– AGIA THEODORA-VASTA: At the site of Vasta is the idyllic church of Agia Theodora, built in 9th century AD. century. It is considered a small miracle of nature as huge trees rely on the roof of this small church and abundant water springs from its foundations. The tradition wants the hair of the holy tree, the water her blood and the church her body according to the words of the saint before she testifies.

– PARADISIA: At the beginning of the road Paradisia – Helinitsa a dirt road leads to the Veligosti headwaters. It is a location with plane trees between the ancient Kromous and the medieval town of Veligosti.

– GORTINOS: Live Monument, it could be characterized as the Municipality of Gortynos, with its enormous history and countless cultural elements, impeccably “planted”, in the magical beauty of their Arcadian Nature.

The spatial distribution of the Municipal Districts is designed in such a way that it “obliges” the visitor to follow this Physical Route, from one side of the Municipality to the other, without overtaking one of his corners.

Sixteen are the villages of the Municipality: the legendary Karytaina headquarters and the settlements of Karvounari and Kalyvakia, Kotylio with the colonies of Stroggylo and Palatou, Mavria, Kyparissia Katsimbali, Kourouniou Zoni, Atsicholos, Vlachorraftis and Sarakini with the settlements of Palaiokastro and Kryoneri.

Each village, uniquely picturesque. This is not a coincidence, because the diversity of settlements follows the Harmony of their Nature and, combined with tradition, offers a permanent “trekking emotional euphoria” that overwhelms and fascinates you because it brings you in direct contact with your innate root , waiting to guide you through the richness of the MORIA CENTER, but also to excite you with the uninterrupted hospitality – human real communication – of the permanent residents of all the Municipal Districts.

Printed on our national banknote of 5,000 drachmas, Karytaina and “Geros of Moria” carry the message: “Greece is here” all over the planet.

Its legendary rivers are tilted. An infinite expanse of civilization and history, Karytaina dominates to the west of Megalopolis, built on the neck of two mountain ranges, with its top star Frangico Castro, built by Godefridos de Bruyere in the middle of the 13th century.

One of the twelve Baronesses of the Peloponnese, Karytaina was named “THE TOLEDO OF GREECE”.

Her famous castle passed through the history of the Byzantine domination in both periods of Venetian domination and Ottoman domination. Its damage was repaired by Th. Kolokotronis in 1826 and the Castle was used as a shelter, but also a base against Ibrahim.

It is triangular shaped, stone built on a huge rooftop and offers unlimited view. The Byzantine Temple of Panagia, known as the “Kolokotroni Church”, cross-shaped and decorated with an exceptional aesthetic sculptural decoration, is found out of the way. On the eastern side of the Castle stands the “Leventenas Tower”.

Built in the middle of the 15th century and decorated with ornate ceramics, it is today one of the few surviving examples of Byzantine residence.

In the village, architectural monuments of contemplation and devotion, coexist and adorn the magnificent stone-built two-storey houses (most built in the 19th century), the many stone-paved alleys and the colorful, varied nature that “sings” their story through their singing “Rocky”, small birds living in Karytaina, which are fairly listed as a traditional settlement.

The Temple of Zoodohos Pigi is another impressive monument. Composite, cross-shaped with a narthex, was built in the 14th century and, together with the famous three-storied stone tower-shaped tower and a distinctive aesthetic masonry, attracts all visitors offering moments of cultural awe.

In the North-West. the church of Agios Nikolaos, the Arcadian Panorama, built in the 17th century, three-aisled Vassiliki, with very interesting internal frescoes. At the entrance of the village and a little out, under the road, stone-made vaults, they douse every soul that approaches them.

The picturesque cafes, the traditional taverns and the rented rooms are adequate and offer quality to the most demanding visitor.

Every year, on the first Sunday of August, the famous “Women’s Bazaar” takes place, gathering thousands of visitors from all over Greece, arriving in Karytena, to buy handmade weavings, embroidery and homemade traditional products.

In the settlement of Karytaina, Karvounari, there is a beautiful natural landscape with running waters and perennial plantains, with the small church of Karvounareiki Panagias, celebrating with a big feast on 23 August. Karytaina dominates in South Gortynia, built in “Center of Moria”, 17 kilometers from Megalopolis and 20 kilometers from Dimitsana.

– FALESIA: Ancient walls, Byzantine churches and monasteries, Byzantine and Frankish castles and places that made important battles during the Greek Revolution are just some of the attraction points for the visitor, which will reach to the special mountainous corner of the Falesia. Monuments, which in turn will “unfold” our history and their secrets and allow us to reconstruct the rich and interesting course of the region in time.

phone receiver +306932708012
maps and flags Ano Karyes, Arcadia 22200 Greece