We arrived off Monemvasia after a slow overnight sail from the Island of Milos in the Aegean. As we drew alongside the island the sun was starting to warm the cool air and we were putting away our sails we were greeted by a large loggerhead turtle who seemingly swam about Vega waving us on towards the small fishing harbour on the mainland. What better way to arrive somewhere than being greeted by a turtle, it made the crew of Vega a very happy bunch.
The Castle Town of Monemvasia was constructed in the Medieval Times and became an important trading post and maritime centre. Under Byzantine rule Monemvasia flourished economically and culturally. However, this progress attracted the repeated attacks by pirates until in the early 1400’s the Venetian invaders caused the eventual decline of the Byznatine Empire. Monemvaisa changed hands repeatedly and in the mid 15th century, the Venetians recaptured Monemvasia as it was considered a strategic maritime stronghold. Eventually, Monemvasia was sold to the Ottomans in 1715. Around 1770, when the Russian-Turkish War occurred, Monemvasia started to fall apart economically. Monemvaisa was liberated from the turks in 1821 by greek freedom fighters. Sadly, the town lost its importance as a maritime hub with the opening of the Corinth Canal in 1893 which saw most cargo and freight ships opting to use the canal rather than traverse the Peloponnese giving way to the town today which generates its income through tourism.
Today Monemvasia is a fully restored Byzantine Fortress in a stunning location. You can circumnavigate the island by way of a small track around the foreshore and spend hours exploring the cobbled streets of the town which wind their way up the hillside. Its a fascinating place to explore and as you walk around you are transported back hundreds of years. You can stay in the small boutique hotels in the walled city with views over the deep blue aegean sea. There are stunning bars and restaurants on roof tops where you can soak up the ambiance.
It was another real highlight on our Mediterranean adventure and another ayachtmoretolife must visit destination! To avoid the crowds head there in May or September and if the fishing port is full then it is possible to anchor off both sides of the causeway leading to Monemvasia in calm conditions. But beware of the strong katabatibc winds that the surrounding hills can generate…we had 30 knots for a few hours every night which caused the typical chaos in the port.
We are definitely taking notes on where to go from you guys! Great post thanks.
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hi guys, glad you liked the post, there is more to come 🙂 See you are buying a yacht in the Med too…its an awesome place to sail with a family. We had a wonderful three seasons there and loved every minute of it!! if you need any help/advice just ask. I saw you are looking at 40-50 ft yachts…anything over 45 ft can get expensive to berth in the med, also can be difficult in some of the smaller ports..but its all a trade off! We planned on sailing home too, but with more time in the med than planned,kids starting secondary school and the fact its a long way home we decided to ship our Moody 425 back to sydney and she is now bobbing on pittwater ready to tackle new caledonia!! We know a good number of people cruising the med and a bunch of sailing families so let us know and we could put you in touch. There are a number of great Facebook pages too for sailing families etc in the med. Safe sailing Rich.
Hello fellow family sailors! We are a sailing family of 3 with our son, Cooper, who is 12.
Last year we sailed our 1973 Swan from Mexico to OZ ( Pittwater!) where we sold her in November. Along the way, we bought a catamaran in Spain, which is where we are now….sorry if that is hard to follow….
Anyway, we are getting geared up to cruise the Med this season and have so many questions. We have been cruising in Mexico, seasonally, for 15 years but we are finding it quite a bit different here.
You mentioned you know some people still cruiaing the Med. We would sure like to meet up with others who have some knowledge/ experience with cruising here, and of course we are always on the lookout for other kid boats. Might you know any others near southern Spain/ Gibraltar we could hook up with?
We are heading toward Turkey and Croatia soon. Have you been to either of these places?
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!
It is me again. So I am now up to date on your blogging – and Vega is in Pittwater! That’s where we are heading, to pick up an outboard motor. We plan to stick around for a few weeks and would love you guys to come for a sail or at least a cup of tea. I’m sure I still have Heather’s number, so I’ll take a punt and text you guys sometime soonish.
Hi there !!! so glad you got in touch 🙂 we would love to catch up and hear all about your travels! We are sailing in Pittwater most weekends so should be able to catch up easily! I think your email address is on the email notification i got from this comment, so we can drop you an email and arrange to catch up! safe sailing!!
Hi all, thoroughly enjoyed meandering the Mediterranean.
Gleaned a lot .. check the bung & raise the sails ..