Experience the rugged and beautiful side of Greece during a stay on the southern Peloponnese Peninsula, known for its timeless landscapes. Stoupa is an idyllic, sun-kissed coastal fishing village that has the imposing Taygetos mountain range looming overhead. With tranquil olive groves on one side and stunning aquamarine bays on the other, those looking for a relaxed holiday under the Greek sun in 2017 will certainly find it in Stoupa. Aside from the quaint village of Stoupa, there are a number of other attractive towns to explore up and down the Mani coastline, including the stone cottages of Kardamyli and the more cosmopolitan attractions of Kalamata. Spend your days working on your tan, snorkelling, or sailing. Then, take a wine tasting tour around the beautiful countryside, or visit the legendary ruins of Olympia. Or, simply enjoy the slower pace of life in Stoupa and do nothing at all. Whether you’re interested in culture, art, or good food and wine, you’ll find plenty to enjoy during a holiday in this corner of the world.
It’s easy to spend the better part of your Stoupa holidays at the local beach, known for its turquoise, placid waters. Stroll through the village’s streets or enjoy a fresh beachside meal. Remnants of the area’s ancient past can be seen in its fortified towers, and nearby Kardamyli’s old fort showcases artefacts from the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
The Caves of Diros are just an hour’s drive away from Stoupa, and are one of the region’s most unforgettable attractions. These caverns once housed a Neolithic society, who used the caves for shelter. You can explore its watery passages and admire the intricate stalagmites on a guided tour. Sports fans won’t want to miss a trip to Olympia. This UNESCO World Heritage site is perhaps most famous for being the spot of the original Olympics.
Wine and Dine
Dining in Stoupa will make you want to linger over your meal with good company and breath-taking sea views. Local chefs use fresh, seasonal ingredients including vine-ripened tomatoes and freshly caught seafood. You can also sample handpicked Kalamata olives, cured in red wine vinegar and sold straight from the bucket. Grilled souvlaki and tender lamb with roasted artichokes are typical meals here, while the area’s abundance of wild flowers are used to create first-rate honey.
For dessert, taste the local delicacy of fried dough fritters. These are cooked in locally produced olive oil, before being drizzled with wildflower honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. Rich, emerald-green olive oil is used in abundance here, with a fruity flavour that enhances many dishes. Most of Stoupa’s restaurants are located right on the beach, shaded by palms and run by local families.
Far from the brash glamour of larger resorts, Stoupa provides its own quiet charm that appeals to families. Its central beach is the perfect size for a day out with the little ones, offering warm, shallow, and clean water as well as soft sand, ideal for building sandcastles. All the amenities you need for a day of recreation are located right here, meaning that you won’t have to travel far to seep the kids entertained during your Stoupa holiday. Hire a pedal boat and spend the morning out on the water, before enjoying lunch in a local tavern as you escape the midday heat.
Older children might enjoy visiting nearby destinations like Olympia or Kalamata, to see archaeological ruins and museums. It’s a learning experience that all ages can benefit from. Back in Stoupa, relax in the family villa or take a dip in the swimming pool when the sun gets too hot. Cafes here are very welcoming to families, with plenty of menu options to suit all ages. The village’s resorts offer a range of accommodation, as well as child-friendly activities that are sure to create lasting memories.
Action and Adventure
Holidays in Stoupa are a natural fit for outdoor adventurers. Hiking paths wind their way through the craggy cliffs and boulder-covered mountain valleys, where you’ll spot isolated Byzantine churches and meadows of wildflowers. The Viros Gorge is a popular one-day trek, running from Kardamyli through woodland, rocky trails, and into the depths of the steep gorge. The Caves of Diros are another must-see attraction for those in search of adventure, with its labyrinthine coves giving way to cathedral-like caverns and sparkling underground lakes.
Make sure to go cycling through pine-scented forests, or horseback riding through olive groves during your trip. Then, back in the village and its surrounding beaches you’ll find an array of water-based activities on offer, whether you want to hunt for exotic sea creatures on a diving expedition or navigate the transparent waters by banana boat. You’ll find an intricate network of hidden beaches to stop off at and have a private swim or picnic. With its picturesque setting, Stoupa offers you access to the mountains, sea, and rolling countryside.
Life's a Beach
Stoupa’s coastline is its main draw for many holiday-goers. You’ll find a network of inviting bays dotted around the village’s outskirts, but there’s also a main horseshoe-shaped sandy beach in town. With golden-hued, soft sands and shallow waters, it provides the ideal location for a day of swimming and relaxation. The waters in this region are renowned for their cleanliness, fed by refreshing underwater springs from the Taygetos Mountains.
Travel up and down the coast to find a secluded pebbly cove all to yourself, or go snorkelling just off of Stoupa’s main beach. Dotted with open-air cafes and bars, there are plenty of amenities in the area including canoes and peddle-boats for hire. Another popular beach is Kalogria, located a ten-minute walk to the north of Stoupa. Sheltered by swaying palm trees, the beach offers a PADI-qualified scuba centre as well as a beach volleyball court.
Part of the allure of Stoupa is its tranquillity, so it’s not necessarily known for offering a hedonistic nightlife. However, there’s a fine selection of cafes, bars, and tavernas overlooking the sea, many of which are open quite late into the evening. Gather with friends and family over a meal or after-dinner drinks, as you admire the stunning sunsets while sipping on local wine or ouzo. You’ll be able to mix and mingle with other visitors, or simply enjoy your own company in a cosy bar.
The nightlife in Stoupa draws out visitors of all nationalities, and bars may offer live music, particularly on weekends in the summer. There’s a friendly, inclusive atmosphere here which is part of the village’s charm. Those seeking all-night dance parties and glitzy nightclubs can venture a bit further afield to Kalamata, where a wider selection of options can be found.
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, Stoupa is a charming, traditional whitewashed village tailor-made for romantic holidays. Its seaside views and sumptuous cuisine are sure to inspire feelings of relaxation. Indulge in luscious meze spreads for two and sample the local wine on a sunset-lit terrace. If you’re craving more, venture out into the countryside to go on a wine tasting or olive-oil sampling tour. Nearby Kalamata is home to the Inomessiniaki Winery, which offers full tours and wine tasting sessions.
Life here is dominated by the crystalline sea, so don’t miss the chance to explore its waters together. Take a pleasure cruise past the castles of Methoni and Koroni, or paddle past Stoupa in a canoe to see its rustic charm from a different vantage point. There are also plenty of areas of natural beauty further inland for couples to admire, including the Polylimnio waterfall in Messenia. Trek through this stunning countryside to drink in the views together, and go for a cooling dip in the pristine natural pools afterwards.
The Mani Peninsula is famous for its well-preserved history and culture. You’ll be able to see many of the most famous locations in ancient Greek tradition during your Stoupa holiday. Take a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mystras, a Byzantine village built into the rocky cliffs. It has been occupied by the Turkish, Greeks, and Venetians over the centuries who have left behind an eclectic conglomeration of architecture and monuments. Kalamata’s old town is also well worth a visit for its stately castle and churches, while Olympia features the Temple of Zeus.
From churches to amphitheatres, there’s no shortage of remnants of the past to visit in the region surrounding Stoupa. Test the acoustics at Epidaurus’s ancient theatre with a song, or visit close-by Kardamyli for its fort museum. You can also venture to the Archaeological museum in Messenia, located in Kalamata. Here you’ll learn more about the region’s colourful history in what used to be the town’s municipal market. No holiday spent in Stoupa will leave you wanting more.