Situated in Laconia, just beyond the snowy slopes of Taigetos, the ancient city of Sparta provides the perfect weekend getaway.
Sparta is a city you can easily wander through on foot, as most of the important sites are within a small radius from each other. In the center of the park, lies the remarkable Archaeological Museum. In its halls, you can find exhibits from archaeological sites throughout Laconia, with a special focus on Sparta. Set aside time to admire the excavated gleanings from the Temple of Artemis, especially the magnificent mosaic floors. While the Archaeological Museum might be the perfect starting point, be sure to make it to the city’s acropolis, as well as its ancient theater. Sparta is 210 kilometers from Athens, a distance that can be covered easily using the modern highway of Corinth-Tripoli.
Trips from Sparta
The regions of Laconic and Messiniac Mani are of the most beautiful in Hellas, but you will need more than a weekend to explore them. Mistras is only 5 kilometers from Sparta, while Kalamata 60- both are easy to get to and definitely worth visiting. For those of you who wish to enjoy the sea, Gythio is only 45 kilometers away and the route is quite easy. The castle town of Monemvasia, a breath-taking city that overlooks the Aegean, is 95 kilometers from Sparta.
Sampling the local cuisine
Laconia calls its portions of roasted pork “buzopoules;” if you come across a taverna serving them, be sure to order some. Another regional specialty is the smoked salted sausages with oranges, a dish that is traditionally served with “kayiana,” or Spartan omelets. It is not easy to find good traditional kayiana, but you will better your chances if you seek the dish out in the villages outside the city, closer to Mani.
The taverna known as “Uncle Vangelis” in Anavriti is one of the region’s best restaurants. The eatery specializes in sumptuously prepared pasta and potatoes, homemade cheese, and pumpkin tops, along with many other delicious dishes. Within the city of Sparta, “Labros” is perhaps the most delightful and delectable of all the tavernas. The delicious stew with legumes is a usual crowd-pleaser.
Most of the hotels in the area provide good service. Though it is difficult to go wrong, I will provide the telephone numbers of my favorites.
Sparta Inn: 27310-21021
Anavriti (in Anavriti): 27310-91288
Vizantion (in Mistra): 27310-88309
Kaiadas (in Tripi): 27310-98222
Police Station of Sparta 27310-26229
Tourist Police 27310-20492
Tourist Office 27310-26772
Hospital of Sparta 27310-28671
Mountain Club of Sparta 27310-22574
Buses of Laconia 27310-26441
Sparta’s Taxis 27310-24100, 26100