Sitting on a mountainside overlooking the plain of Sparta, a few minutes’ walk from one of the entrances to the site of the Byzantine city of Mystras, a little café begs anyone driving by to stop for a coffee on the terrace. Those who do, and step inside the impossibly charming sitting room, will want to stay. Guesthouse (or B&B) Mazaraki seduces. It is a small place: a handful of stone houses are set amidst olive trees and greenery, housing eleven themed rooms and suites. The accommodation is done in a contemporary country style, an inspiring match of tradition and creativity, crispness and cosiness, and aesthetics and functionality. Earthy colours, natural fabrics, charming details, comfy beds, light and space – it’s all so well done. I stayed for the night to check it out, fell in love, and two months later I was back with husband and kids to stay during the Christmas holidays. We spent some very laid-back days walking, exploring, visiting Mystras and cocooning in our suite. I’d go back any time, in the summer too, especially now that there is a small swimming pool to complete the bliss!
It is the entire package that sets Guesthouse Mazaraki apart: the aesthetics and comfort of the accommodation, the gardens and the swimming pool, the warm welcome, the views, and of course having the remains of the Byzantine city of Mystras practically at your doorstep.
For winter visits, keep in mind that the common sitting room is small and not really suitable to hang out with a larger group, should you come together with friends. Otherwise, the only imperfection I can see is that swimming pool is visible from the road (but not much traffic passes).
1 double room
9 suites for up to 3 or 4 persons
1 residence for up to 4 or 5 persons with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room with open kitchen (two sofas in the living room can be used as single beds; one of the bedrooms is a single room )
The double room can be booked together with one of the junior suites to accommodate a family.
En-suite bathroom (shower, bath or Jacuzzi)
Television with DVD/CD player
Fireplace (except in the double room)
Kitchen or kitchenette (except in the double room)
Small sitting room
Small library (mainly Greek books)
Swimming pool (summer only)
You will find a breakfast form in your room. Sounds like the way they do it in the big hotels? Not quite. Marilena just likes to have an idea of what you are in the mood for in the morning. You give her the form the night before, and she will appear on your doorstep the next morning, with a big basket filled with goodies (and you will wonder if you really did order that much). Picking through the basket’s contents will make you feel like a small child on Christmas day, special and spoiled, wonderful.
All rooms and suites (except one) have a fully equipped kitchen or kitchenette, so if you feel like it, you can cook your own meals. Not to worry if you are not in the mood to take out the pots and pans. Throughout the day and evening you can order local wine and small bites to eat at the coffee & wine bar of Mazaraki, and you can also walk, or drive, up to the nearby taverna Chromata. It is a really cute little restaurant which serves seasonally varied dishes. The menu looks traditional Greek, but the food is more refined and creative than what you get in your average Greek taverna. You can opt for simple dishes like keftedes (little meatballs) with fries, or go for something more ‘special’ like rabbit in sweet mustard sauce or linguini with wild mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.
In Mystras, a few km away, there are plenty of Greek restaurants as well, but they are more traditional and cater to the crowds who come to visit the site. I don’t think you will find anything as good (and nice) as Chromata.
Come with the children? Well yes!!! We stayed at Guesthouse Mazaraki with our two sons, and we all had a great time. The suites are large and comfortable for families and especially if you travel with very young children, the kitchens may come in very handy. Cots/cribs are available on request.
A great advantage of staying at Mazaraki with kids is that the Byzantine city of Mystras is so close. Rather than doing what most people do, a tiring day-long visit to the site, you can take your children several times, and pick the early morning (or late afternoon) hours when it is quiet and not too hot.
The wider area is great for active family holidays as well. The Taygetos Mountain range is so beautiful. Take the kids for bicycle rides, hikes, discover gorges and waterfalls, treat them to a pick nick by the river, they will enjoy it so much!
The entrance to the upper town of the Byzantine city of Mystras is practically at your doorstep. Lucky you! Be the first one on the site in the morning, and explore the churches (some with well-preserved frescos), chapels, ruined homes, ‘palaces’ and fortifications before the crowds arrive and the sun starts to burn. Slightly sturdy shoes will come in handy: on site there are narrow paths and steps to negotiate, some climbing, and some bits can be somewhat slippery.
Walking and Hiking
This is hiking country. You are in the foothills of Mount Taygetos, which has well marked walking routes, and there also are possibilities for guided walks. If you are fit and an experienced hiker, you can hike to the Prophitis Ilias summit at 2400 m. Starting from the Magganiari springs (980 m) near the village of Toriza (25 km from Mazaraki), it takes roughly five hours to reach the summit. But closer to the guesthouse there are easy walks too. From the village of Tripi, go down to the river Knakion to find waterfalls and rock pools (the water is chilly, but in the summer you can take a dip!).
The guesthouse has mountain bikes guests are free to use. Go for a relaxed ride on quiet country lanes, or go off road for some more serious mountain biking.
If you are a mountaineer, bring your equipment: the Langada climbing park is only a short drive away from Mazaraki. With roughly one hundred climbing routes of varying difficulty, it is supposed to be amazing. Best season: April/May to October/November.
Sparta is not the most handsome of cities, but it has a few things going for it. The Koumantareios Art Gallery of Sparta is the hidden gem of the town. Housed in a beautiful neoclassical mansion, it is a subsidiary of the National Art Gallery in Athens. It features a small permanent collection of oil paintings and as well as temporary exhibitions. The Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil is worth a visit too, and then there is the Archeological Museum of Sparta as well as the Acropolis and the Ancient Theatre of Sparta, a ten-minute walk from the town. Compared to many other archaeological sites in Greece, it relatively modest. There are no signs to explain what you are looking at and not much is done in terms of maintenance, but that, in fact, is part of the charm.
Guesthouse Mazaraki in Pikoulianika, a small village built on a mountain slope overlooking the plain of Sparta, very close to the Byzantine city of Mystras. It is the perfect location if you want to visit the site, as one of the entrances is one kilometer away, a pleasant stroll really. The great thing about the location of Mazaraki is that despite the proximity of Mystras, it is really quiet. Most people who come to visit the site, come from Sparta and the new village of Mystras, and don’t venture any further.
From Sparta, follow signs for Mystras and then continue towards Pikoulianika (just a few km). The village doesn’t have much of a centre, but as you pass it, you will see the guesthouse on your left. It’d be hard to miss.
The trip was great and having stayed in three recommended hotels (Ilion, Kyrimai and Mazaraki) I can vouch to the high quality of your choices. Mazaraki was wonderful and the people running it (I only met with the local employees) were extremely hospitable and kind. I loved the location and appreciated the quiet and simple elegance of the place. I would recommend the place without any hesitation.
Simply amazing; wee bit of trouble getting there road signage was quite difficult to understand. Lovely Guesthouse, views & the breakfast basket – i will certainly remember that for a long time.
Auckland, New Zealand
We thought Mazaraki was our favorite of the three hotels from your site we stayed at (Mazaraki, Kazakou and llion). Hospitality of the manager (Mina) was superb. Kazakou and lion were also very nice. Thanks for your great selection of hotels.
We had a magical stay at Mazaraki. The view over the valley to the mountains is breathtaking, the stone houses are stunningly beautiful with attention to every detail, including a delicious breakfast. Staying here was an incredibly aesthetic experience and the welcome was warm. The open fire on an inclement day was simply gorgeous. To be so close to the extraordinary Byzantine town of the Mystras was simply wonderful. The Mystras was a highlight of our travels and staying at Mazaraki is an experience not to be missed!
Joan H. and Peter T.
Eaglemont, Victoria, Australia, Australia
Thank you for your fantastic website and recommendations. We have stayed 2 nights at Mazaraki, everything about this guesthouse is perfect, we will recommend Mazaraki very highly to our Athens friends. We have very much appreciated the attention to detail that sets Mazaraki apart from other places we have stayed.