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Monemvasia - Laconia - Greece
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ABOVE: The Alkyonis of Pegasus Cruises, which runs excursions to Monemvasia from Tolo near Napflio.


Monemvasia lies near the southeastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula, about five hours from Athens by car. If you drive to Monemvasia, you'll probably be doing so as part of a motor tour through the Peloponnese. Read my articles on driving in Europe and European rental-car insurance before planning your trip. A short-term Renault or Peugeot lease may save you money if you reside outside the EU and are driving in Europe for 17 days or longer; see our car rental vs. leasing article for a comparison of the two methods.

If you're intimidated by the idea of driving in Greece, where the roadsides are littered with shrines to traffic-accident victims, you can reach Monemvasia by bus (either directly or via Sparta, a.k.a. Sparti, where you can stop over while visiting the Byzantine ruins of Mistras).

Another option is to drive or take the bus from Athens to Napflio (a.k.a. Nauplion) and transfer to the nearby resort of Tolo, where Pegagus Cruises runs day excursions to Monemvasia aboard the Alkyonis (see photo above.

Unfortunately, the Hellas Flying Dolphins hydrofoil service from Piraeus to Monemvasia has been suspended indefinitely. The closest ferry port that I'm aware of Githio, which you can reach via the car-passenger ferry that runs from Piraeus to Kythira (the isle of Eros) in the Ionian Islands. See Anen Lines for timetables.

A few cruise lines call at Monemvasia, albeit rarely. We visited the town during a Silversea Mediterranean Cruise aboard the M/V Silver Whisper, and the approach from the sea was one of the most dramatic port arrivals we've experienced in a lifetime of ocean travel.

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