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Leonidio, Greece

Hi everyone, I am of Greek descent from Canada and I would like recommend traveling to the picturesque village called "Leonidio". Population is around 4000. Leonidio is the epitome of a Greek village.

It's located in Arcadia, Peloponnese and surrounded within iron-rich mountains with of course a beach and port. Every August, the city also hosts the "Tsakonian Eggplant Festival" aka "Melitzazz", as the eggplants grown in Leonidio are sweet. Part of the festival is a competition among chefs for the best eggplant dish. The EU has even designated Leonidio as the Tsakonika Eggplant Capital of Europe for having the best tasting and sweetest eggplants. There are musician that come from all over the world to perform at this festival. Website is below.

http://www.melitzazz.gr/en/

Leonidio can be approached coming from the southwest of the Peloponessos and stopping in Kosmas. Its a gorgeous mountain village with cafeneons in a large tree shaded platia next to the large church of Ag Anargiron with a fountain of lion heads spitting water. There are chestnut trees everywhere, and in the early fall their leaves change bright yellow and in the square and in the small traditional shops there are big baskets of chestnuts for sale. The road from Kosmas to Leonidio is one of the most spectacular in Greece. You start in the mountains and then go down through the Dafnon Gorge and river, which in the summer is a dry riverbed of white stones but in the winter and spring must be fairly full of water if not a raging river of rapids. Along the way is the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos built into the side of a rock cliff and nearby is the Cave of Sintza where legend has it that Ino of Thebes, raised her nephew Dionysos and for this reason the area is known as The Garden of Dionysios, the God of Wine. There are hiking trails in the gorge and a path to the monastery. The monastery is still in use but as a convent.

You have to check out this village. It's a great way to see the real village life of Greece is all about.

Thanks

Posted by
67 posts

Never visited Leonidio, but you definitely made me curious!
I just Googled it and came across some great pics and restaurant suggestions. The monastery of Agiou Nikolaou is incredible! Does the festival go on through the entire month of August?

Posted by
25724 posts

stavro,

is this a report based on a trip you have just completed, or is it a based on your plans for a trip?

Or do you live there?

Posted by
10 posts

Hello,
Yes, the monastery is incredible. My dad is from Leonidio so I have gone there many times. There is so much to do there.

  1. You can take a day trip to Elona which is a monastery on a very high mountain. It is INCREDIBLE. The best time is the day of the Virgin Mary, the namesake of the monastery, which is August 15. Thousands of people do the pilgrimage to the top. I remember when I was a kid, our parents made us do the walk. Took a few hours but the views were unbelievable....or you can just take the taxi. Attached is a link below,

http://www.koinotitakosma.gr/elona_en.html

  1. Easter. Easter is crazy there. They release thousands of mini hot air balloons at night. Link is below or you can youtube it.

http://www.visitgreece.gr/en/culture/easter_saturday_the_night_of_the_balloons

  1. Melitzazz. This is the festival of the eggplant. It's usually 1 week during July or August where thousands of people attend to eat and listen to some good jazz music.

http://www.melitzazz.gr/en/

  1. Rock climbing. Because Leonidio is surrounded by mountains, there is some good rock climbing. Link is below.

http://climbing-leonidio.com/en.html

Hope this helps!