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An artisan cooking vacation in Crete
December 30, 2014
Join the olive harvest in Crete
March 25, 2015
olive harvest_2
olive harvest_2

Come to the Mani during the olive harvest for a holiday that gets under the skin of the Greek way of life. Enjoy visits to artisan food producers, cook with the locals and walk the magnificent footpaths of the mount Taygetus nature reserve.

The village of Kardamyli will be your home for the week – a place to relax, tune in to the pace of country life, eat wonderful local produce and enjoy walking into the hills.

Highlights include:

  • Exploring this remote area of southern Greece
  • Walking the famous yet little trodden footpaths that Patrick Leigh Fermor includes in his writings
  • Participating in the olive harvest
  • A journey through rough, arid terrain to the end of the peninsula will include a visit to the caves of Diros, one of the most beautiful cave lakes in the world.

Gateway to the Mani

Kardamyli is a majestic gate to the Deep Mani and only a 40 min drive away from Kalamata, the nearest city. The old section of Kardamyli, northwest of the modern town, is on a pine-scented hillside dotted with small clusters of tower houses, some of which are being restored.

Simple, but so good

The area is surrounded by olive groves and is famous for its kalamata olives and olive oil.

On the dinner menu you will  find fried fresh dough, local goats cheese stored in olive oil, olives, shortbread made with olive oil and wood ashes (!), sausages with bread and smoked pork, pulses and legumes and of course wild edible greens.

The economy is largely based on olive oil and in recent years tourism. Tradition demands every household to hang an olive branch (preferably full of large fruits) on the outside door of the house, to ensure a successful harvest on the New Year.

Accomodation and Meals

Accommodation will be in the village of Kardamyli. Visit our guest house, Kripia, to take a closer look.
All your meals have been specially selected and organized by us so that you can experience the real flavors of Greece with award wining produce.
Here, every evening meal is a social event – it is a time to meet old friends and make new ones – and its all about the pleasure in sharing good food, wonderful wine and good company.

Your Holiday day by day

Day 1| Arrival

We will meet up at the city centre or the airport of Kalamata depending on your travelling arrangements. We offer a shuttle at 12, midday. We will escort you to your accommodation in Kardamyli, introduce you to your host for the week and let you settle in and relax. (If you arrive at the airport in Athens or at times that do not coincide with the schedule we can always arrange a private driver, a car rental and/or extra days of accommodation for you, at an extra charge).

Early afternoon reception at Kripia (our wonderful guest house) to get to know each other and sample some local appetizers (meze), nibbles and drinks. We will brief you on the schedule – and discuss what to expect during the week.

Stroll around the village of Kardamyli at your own pace and time or visit the beach.

The first traditional dinner of the week in a quiet little taverna in the village.

Meals: Snack | Dinner

Day 2 | Following the footpaths of Patrick Leigh Fermor

Discovering the trails that the famous travel writer walked all around Kardamyli. Scenic footpaths that are bursting with the local wild flora, with aromas of thyme and sage rose.

A visit to Exohori village and Lunch

Cooking workshop and dinner in Kardamyli

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner| Difficulty: easy

Day 3 | Join the olive harvest

This is a day that combines a cooking workshop and the olive harvest at a old traditional olive mill with a long family history. We will head to the nearby village of Kampos and spent a couple of hours harvesting the olive trees before we visit the olive oil mill so that we can press our olives.

We will have a short seminar on olive oil focusing on quality and flavors and a cooking workshop and lunch right there, using the old wood stove in the facilities of the mill.

Christina took over the mill from her father and has been running the facilities for years. She will be our host for the day.

Evening “Slow” dinner in a traditional taverna in Kardamyli.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner| Difficulty: easy

Day 4 | Visiting the Deep Mani and Deros Caves

We will drive along the coast and spend the day visiting the villages at The Mani Peninsula and get a guided tour at Diros Caves, a complex system of underground waterways where many Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts have been discovered. We will also visit the beach and get a chance to swim the crystal clear waters.

We will have lunch at the local kafenio and dinner at a famous seafood taverna in Limeni before we head back to Kardamyli.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner| Difficulty: easy

Day 5 | Honey Bees and Mount Taygetos

Visit to Gaitses – a complex of tiny villages and establishments at the foothills of Mount Taygetos. Guided walk at Ridomo gorge before we head back to the village for a honey cooking workshop and lunch at the local kafenio. Please let us know if you would like a guided hike to the summit of Mount Taygetos, instead.

We will then visit a local apiary: Learn about the local flora combinations and the types of honey produced in the area. We will sample honey and buy our supply of the famous Maniot thyme honey.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner| Bike tour or walk : 40 min | Difficulty: moderate depending on the trail you will choose to hike.

Day 6| Biodynamic olive trees

Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming. Christos, one of the most dedicated organic farmers in Greece will welcome us in his farm and guide us through his method of producing olive oil. We will join the harvest share his love for natural farming and experience a wonderful few hours with him at the foothills of Mount Taygetos. A picnic lunch under the olive trees with majestic views of the Messinian Bay will reward us for all the hard work.

Cooking workshop and dinner in Kardamyli.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner Difficulty: easy

Day 7 | Farewell dinner with a traditional BBQ

Today you can visit the local market in Kardamyli. By now you will know enough about the local cuisine and you will be ready to buy your supplies to take back home. We will buy supplies for tonight’s fest but you are free to spend the day in Kardamyli as you like.

Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

Day 8 | Departure

We will have breakfast together at the central square in the village, say our goodbyes and drive you to the airport or the city center of Kalamata depending on your travel arrangements.

Meals: Breakfast

Join the olive harvest in the Mani peninsula.

  • Region: South Peloponesse, The Mani
  • Destination: Kardamyli
  • Duration: 8 days / 7 nights, or as per request
  • Activities: cooking, walking and cycling, making natural olive oil soap, visiting local food producers
  • Difficulty: easy, difficulty level on hiking trails can be adjusted
  • Price per person: Get in touch and we will give you a quote depending on your preferences and exact requirements. Children receive up to a 30% discount.
  • Optional single supplement: from £300

Suggested dates

  • 2017|03 Dec – 10 Dec (OM1)
  • 2017 – 18|28 Dec – 04 Jan (OM2)

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Accommodation Photos

  • Accommodation in traditional guest houses
  • Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner except day 6 and 7 which are Breakfast and Dinner
  • Carefully selected top quality traditional meals
  • All transfers to and from excursions
  • All workshops and and activities fees
  • Cheese, wine and honey tasting sessions
  • Visits to artisan producers and any entrance fees
  • Bicycles and equipment
On Request
  • Single rooms
  • Meals adopted to specific allergies
  • Car rental although we encourage biking
  • Private driver
  • Specific dietary needs at your accommodation
  • Extension of visit in the Mani and arrangements thereafter
Itinerary Disclaimer

From time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. Please ensure you have read the latest Trip Notes before booking or travelling on your tour. Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.

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