You might find it strange with summer just around the corner, that we have chosen to tell you about a northern Peloponnesian village. There are two reasons for this: the first is to counter the wide spread belief, yet mis-conception, that Greece has only islands to offer. The second, is that it’s spring time and in places where nature abounds, life is budding and out to greet you! Stemnitsa is a place full of both tradition and nature, with the potential to offer you a peek into Greek culture and natural adventure.
It seems that time in Stemnitsa stopped a long time ago. It is about two and a half hours away from Athens and 45 km from Tripoli, built on the western slopes of Mainalon mountain at 1100 meters. Before you even reach the village you can see St. George’s church bell tower, made of white stone and built in 1877. When entering Stemnitsa you slowly realize that it is a preserved settlement of special charm and beauty; the stone built mansions, the stone paved roads, the churches, all create a unique feeling.
The central square is the meeting point both for tourists and visitors. The traditional coffee houses that encircle it are full of smiling, old faces, always happy to tell you a story about their beautiful village (and don’t fear, communicate!). If you look around you will be amazed by the wild, natural beauty of the slopes of Mainalon. The old plane trees point you towards the path of the Loussios river that crosses the village. A few steps ahead you will find the Museum of Popular Art, housed in the Hatzis Mansion and operating since 1985.
Stemnitsa is the birthplace of many of the country’s best goldsmiths and silversmiths, while some of the village’s young people still work in this field. With such a big portion of the locals working hard, good food is crucial. All restaurants in the area have a fireplace, not only for aesthetic reasons, but also to fight the heavy cold during the winter. All dishes are homemade, an unusual phenomenon for popular destinations. The most famous specialty in Stemnitsa is rooster cooked in wine with local handmade pasta, a major gastronomic pleasure. The locals are also proud of their pies; cheese-pies and meat-pies are appetizers, available in all restaurants. After your meal, ask for fried honey balls, a really satisfying finale!
Despite it’s size, Stemnitsa has a very developed infrastructure. There are hotels and rooms to let for all tastes, from the simplest to the most exquisite, complete with jacuzzi and sauna.
Take the risk, go off to the Greek mountains and we guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.