Lost somewhere in the midst of olive groves of Laconia in the Peloponnese, Eumelia is a really special place to stay. Multilingual Frangiskos Karelas gave up his international career to come back to Greece and run his family estate (with over 1,000 olive trees!) which he developed into an amazing eco-friendly rural retreat. There are now hundreds of fruit trees, vineyards, farm animals, vegetable gardens and herb plots, as well as five gorgeous little self-catering houses for guests. It is agro luxury and style: floors, kitchen and bathroom surfaces are made from tsimentokonia (soft, polished concrete); walls are stuccoed in deep colours, fitted furniture is pale wood; and heavenly mattresses are placed on sleeping platforms. The quiet of the place makes it perfect for relaxing holidays – a good book and a pair of walking shoes are all you need – but you can also participate in farming activities. Your children will love it (and you too!). You can also come for alternative holidays and participate in yoga, meditation, tai chi, photography, wine making, cooking or olive harvesting during a long-weekend seminars or workshops. I came for a one-night stay only, to be embraced by the friendly and inspiring atmosphere of this exceptional place. I loved it.
The aesthetics of the houses, the absolute tranquility, the environmental friendliness, the general philosophy... Eumelia is simply an amazing place for a total escape.
Eumelia is really in the middle of nowhere (or, more correctly put, in the middle of endless olive groves). Great if you look for peace and quiet, but not good if you are looking for beach holidays, shopping and nightlife.
En-suite bathroom (shower)
Television with DVD/CD player
Floor heating and cooling (geothermal)
One house has wheelchair access and is fully equipped for people with special needs
Large open-space living room with a fireplace and WiFi
Seminars and workshops (yoga, meditation, self-esteem, tai chi, photography, olive harvesting and pressing, wine making and cooking)
Breakfast is served in the large living room between 9 and 10.30 am. You can help yourself to bread (from the village bakery or home-baked), eggs (from the Eumelia happy chickens), jams (from home-grown fruits), orange juice (freshly squeezed), milk (organic) and local cheese, salami, yoghurt and honey. And olives of course.
Lunch and dinner? Stock up on a few groceries and harvest some fresh veggies from the garden, and you will have all you need to prepare your own meals. The staff can also cook meals for you, but you have to ask a day in advance. If you want to eat out, the nearest place is in the village, a few km away.
I think Eumelia is paradise for children, and the houses all have two or three (very comfortable) sofa beds in the living room. Cots/cribs are available on request and babysitting can be arranged.
Your kids (and you too) can participate in the organic farming activities and get a great introduction to environmentally sustainable practices. There are animals to get to know, play with or care for; there are bicycles guests are free to use, and in the large common room there are plenty of board games. So plenty of opportunities for real quality family time!
Frangiskos takes all his guests on a welcome tour of the farm. He will show you the vegetable and herb gardens, walk with you through the orchards and olive groves and introduce you to the small and happy bunch of farm animals. If you are interested, he will tell you about the organic and sustainable farming methods he so successfully applies. During your stay, you are free to harvest seasonal produce, have your kids get familiar with the animals, and participate in farming activities.
Walking and hiking
Go for a stroll on the farm, walk through the olive groves or go hiking in the mountains. Ask Frangiskos to suggest walks in the Parnonas or the Taygetos mountain ranges. Group walks with picnics can also be organised.
Biking (and more)
There are mountain bikes guests are free to use, a great way to explore the olive groves and nearby villages. For something a little more adventurous, sign up for a day tour that includes ‘Jeeping’, mountain biking, sea kayaking and swimming. Horseback riding can also be arranged.
Come in November or December and join in on the olive harvest and learn how the olives are pressed for the production of (organic and extra virgin) olive oil, and how to cure olives. Visit the local olive press and taste the different local olive oils.
During the month of September you can participate in the grape harvest. Tour the vineyards of Eumelia and learn about the various local grape varieties, homeodynamic agriculture and organic wine production. And enjoy the wine tasting at the end of the day.
Seminars and workshops
Sign up for the Eumelia newsletter to be the first to know about the workshops and seminars organised at Eumelia. There are cooking seminars with local chefs, tai chi, yoga and meditation workshops and photography workouts.
Eumelia is situated in the midst of a large plain covered with olive groves, with hills and mountains not far away. The sea is about half an hour by car. It’s as quiet as can be. The estate is also a perfect starting point for one-day excursions: Monemvasia, Mystras, Mani and the seaside village of Pounta, from where you can make the 10-minute crossing to the island of Elafonissos famous for its amazing beach, are all around one hour by car.
From Sparta follow signs for Gythio, and after about 16 km turn left towards Neapoli, Skala and Monemvasia. After about 28 km you reach Vlachiotis. After you leave this village, bear left at the sign for Gouves. As you enter Gouves, you will see a church on your left. Turn left immediately after this church and follow the 3 km dirt track to Eumelia. (There are signs.)