One of the most beautiful parts of this region of the Peloponnese is the plain of Laconia which extends from Sparta to the port of Gytheion. The many neo-classical houses of this harbor town are built on the slopes of Mount Kourmaros. Aside from its remaining ancient theater and cultural museum, visitors can enjoy local beaches and a variety of dining opportunities.
The inhabitants of Gytheion claim Hercules and Apollo as its founders. According to mythology, Paris and Helen of Troy were reputed to have spent their first night together on nearby ancient Kranae, now called Marathonissi. Enlarging the natural harbor, it was used by the Spartans as their naval base and the main port of trade.
Today Gytheion is visited mostly for its scenic beauty and access to numerous historical sites. These include the cliffside city of Mistra, one of the finest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture in Greece, and ancient Sparta.
While in Gytheion, the ship will be at anchor. Guests will be taken ashore via ship’s tender. It is a short walk to the center of town from the pier.
If antiques are your thing, check out Paliatzoures Antique Shop located along the waterfront next to the Hotel Pantheon. If you plan to explore the Mani architecture, you may want to purchase the book 'Deep into Mani' by Edward Eliopoulos (Faber) or others available at the Ladopulou Bookshop in Gytheion.
Try the best of Gytheion’s seafood at the Sea Tide Restaurant, open from noon until midnight. For more casual fare, try the Touristico Cafeteria. On Tuesdays and Fridays, there is an excellent fruit and produce market located between Herakles and Archaia Theatrou Streets.
Explore the town’s well-preserved ancient Roman Theater. Its acoustics rate among the finest in all of Greece.
Ruins from a small Byzantine church that was built into the side walls of the theater can also be seen.
Another monument you can view is the Town Hall, constructed by the German architect, Tsiller.
The city’s Ethnological Museum displays cultural items discovered in the area.
Notice that the tiny island of Marathonisi is now permanently connected to the mainland by a concrete causeway. It was on this island that King Paris and Queen Helen once consummated their love.
The best beaches in the area are Mavrovouni and Selinitsa. Kranai Island also offers an excellent beach plus an interesting Ethnological Museum.
PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS For those guests who are interested in touring at your leisure, we are pleased to offer Silver Shore Privato - both half-day and full-day private arrangements by private car. You may book this in advance at Silversea.com or it may be purchased on board, subject to availability. Other private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be arranged by emailing Concierge@silversea.com.
Port Photo: Don Pugh/Flickr