Peloponnese: Ottomans, Byzantines and Venetians at Kinsterna boutique hotel
Hosted in this Byzantine-era lush estate, Kinsterna boutique hotel is arguably one of the best hospitality experiences south of Athens, Greece. If you're up for traditional Greek breakfasts, lazy afternoons by the pool and sunset strolls down the estate's orchard and vineyard, then this is the place for you.
Located around 300km and 4 hours away from Athens International Airport and a stone's throw away from Monemvasia in the Peloponnese, the hotel's main mansion dates back to the 17th century with a pi-shaped cistern in the middle of it which helped to hold water from the nearby natural spring. The property, after falling in despair in the late 1970s, came back to life in 2006 when a team of architects and engineers in cooperation with the authority of Byzantine Antiquities, restored it using traditional methods and local materials.
The Ottoman features of the building, such as small defensive openings, large chimneys, enigmatic inscriptions and large fireplaces are still evident today, fused with Byzantine and Venetian elements such as ceramic designs and marble inlays.
One of the key characteristics of this beautiful estate is the range of activities offered. Ranging from riding bikes and enjoying a hiking tour around the vineyards, to baking bread in the traditional wood fire oven or making wine, you can take your pick. Or you can just sit back and enjoy a nice glass of wine gazing into the sunset views from the terrace.
If you're keen on exploring the area, then visiting Monemvasia should be top of your list. This secluded piece of land away from the main shore and up the hill was home to one of Greece's most known poets, Yiannis Ritsos. No cars are allowed so make sure you get your comfy shoes on. The pebbled streets and alleys are very picturesque and chances are that you will get lost in them. Worry not, the only way is up, to the infamous Ayia Sofia church, or down, to the restaurants and cafes if you're the more laid-back type.