Guesthouse Knakion Filoxenia is special. It is a one-century old, restored farmhouse, with almost as many sitting rooms (3) as bedrooms (4). The setting, a pocket of quiet and greenery in the foothills of Mount Taygetos, only a few kilometers from the remains of the Byzantine city of Mystras, is a dream. Forested slopes descend to the banks of a small river that flows below the guesthouse. (I fell asleep to the sound of sound of the water flowing.) Views are over endless shades of green with mountains in the background. (And I was woken up by birdsong!) The house is furnished and decorated in an unpretentious, homey style and everything looks warm and inviting. Comfortable bedrooms have good beds, windows opening to wooden balconies, and elegant modern (but smallish) bathrooms. Host Nikolas, who is a professional chef, will treat you to copious breakfast spreads, something different every day, and home-cooked meals on request. In the summer, you can dip into the pool-sized water cistern (sourced with fresh mountain water) and you can also cool off in a little pool in the river, not far from the house. Knakion Filoxenia is hidden gem!
The location of Knakion Filoxenia, lost of a heaven of peace, quiet and greenery is exceptional, as is the homely atmosphere - so warm and inviting - of the guesthouse. Get organised with a group of friends and book the entire places for a few days (or longer!).
The village tavernas are closed during the winter season, so if you want to go out for a meal you have to drive a few kilometers.
Prices for two persons from 80 Euro per night, breakfast and taxes included. For a full overview of room rates, please contact Nikolas.
Sitting rooms (one with a fireplace)
Books, board games and DVDs
Garden and terraces
Plunge pool (summer only)
Nikolas trained and worked as a chef before taking over Knakion Filoxenia, and you will eat well at the guesthouse. Breakfast is served any time in the morning, either in the dining room or in the garden. It is a generous spread including hearty pies, omelette, homemade jams, fruitcakes, yoghurt and fresh juice, different extras every day. While strictly speaking Knakion Filoxinia is a bed and breakfast, Nikolas loves cooking and prepares meals for his guests on request. I was spoiled with a copious dinner (carrot soup, meat pie, farm chicken, saffron risotto and salads, all delicious!) and ended up eating way too much.
During the summer season, there are two tavernas (one open for lunch, the other for dinner) in the village (1 km away) but you should also definitely try the restaurant Chromata in Pikoulianika (at 3 km) which serves fantastic traditional dishes ‘with a twist’.
Knakion Filoxenia is a great guesthouse to go to with children. The location in nature is the best for children: you can take them for walks in the forests and mountains, they can play by the little river (wild streaming in spring, calm and with some rock pools in summer), and for hot summer days there is the plunge pool your kids can fool around in. Of course the Byzantine city of Mystras, a few km away, is a place that will speak to the imagination of any child (and grown-up!). For cooler days and evenings you will find board games and DVDs in the house.
If you travel with a baby, you can ask for a cot/crib.
Explore the Byzantine city of Mystras. There’s an upper and a lower town; go see both. Take your time to visit the chapels, churches (some with well-preserved frescos), ruined homes, ‘palaces’ and fortifications, and enjoy the views as well. Wear good shoes: there are lots of narrow paths and steps to negotiate, some climbing, and some bits can be a little slippery. For summer visits, it is best to go early in the day. And if you have the time, split your visit to Mystras over two days.
Walking and Hiking
Walk straight out of the guesthouse into the mountains. It is a short walk to the waterfalls and rock pools of the river Knakion (chilly water, but in the summer great for dips!). For more serious hiking there are plenty of possibilities too. Mount Taygetos has well marked walking routes, and if you are a fit and experienced hiker, you can even hike to the Prophitis Ilias summit at 2400 m. Starting from the Magganiari springs (980 m) near the village of Toriza, it takes about five hours to reach the summit.
If you’re into mountaineering, bring your gear: the Langada climbing park is only a few km from Knakion Filoxenia. With about one hundred climbing routes of varying difficulty, the park has an excellent reputation. Best season: April/May to October/November.
Visit the Archeological Museum of Sparta as well as the Acropolis and the Ancient Theatre, a ten-minute walk from the town. The archaeological site is relatively modest – there are no signs to explain what you are looking at and maintenance is minimal – but that is part of its charm. Also worth visiting are the Koumantareios Art Gallery of Sparta, a subsidiary of the National Art Gallery in Athens, and the Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil.
Guesthouse Knakion Filoxenia is situated in an amazing spot in the forested foothills of Mount Taygetos, one kilometer from the village of Trypi and 4 km from the remains of the Byzantine city of Mystras. It is a paradise for walkers; the area is stunningly beautiful. A small river passes below the guesthouse; at 5 minutes’ walk you will find a small pool where you can wet your toes, or, take a dip, if you are brave: the water comes straight from the mountains and it is cold!
From Sparta, follow signs for Kalamata. After about 10 km, you will reach the village of Trypi. Look out, on your right, for a taverna called Vozola (spelled ΒΟΖΟΛΑ in Greek – the sign has a picture of a rooster). Right there, take the tiny road going down on your right. Look carefully; it is easy to miss. You will find the guesthouse after 1 km on your right.