7 h. tour (Private tour)
(transportation + guided tour of Mystras + visit at Diros Caves + optional stop for coffee or lunch at a picturesque seaside village)
As you disembark your ship, you board your private vehicle and enjoy an approximately 1 hour drive through the lush valley of Evrotas, until you reach modern Sparta, a city that doesn’t look at all as simple and remote as the descriptions about the ancient one let us imagine. Nowadays it is characterized by the beautiful architecture of the many neoclassical buildings in it and the several palm trees along the central avenue, at the end of which you will see the colossal bronze statue of Leonidas, the General, a legend of the ancient times. You can get off the vehicle there for a photo stop. There isn't much left to see of the ancient city, but if time allows it you can get off and walk next to some of the ruins.
Afterwards you will start driving up the mountain to the ruined Byzantine city of Mystras. It is divided in 3 sections, surrounded by the ancient walls and has two gates, either to enter, or exit. There is one on the top level and one on the lowest one. Be prepared for extensive walking on a steep path made of stone and have your guide enter with you the most important of the remaining Byzantine churches, where you will see and hear explanations about the wall paintings and the floor mosaics. You will also see several foundations of houses where the nobles lived and the Palaces which are under restoration.
Then you will board your vehicle again and start driving to Diros Cave, passing by the rock mountains of Mani. Your driver along the way will point out some areas of interest and you will have the chance to make a few photo stops.
Once you arrive at the entrance of the cave, you will embark small boats and start the ride through the unique lake and the breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites. At the end of the boat ride you will walk back up to the parking area. If you are interested, you can also visit the small museum there is, which has in display human skeletons, pottery and tools from the prehistoric times.
Then you will board your vehicle to return back to the ship. You may want to have a short coffee or lunch break in one of the small picturesque villages you will drive through, like Limeni or Areopolis.