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Cruises to Gythion

Gythion (Photo:Styve Reineck/Shutterstock)
Gythion (Photo:Styve Reineck/Shutterstock)

About Gythion

Two life-size statues on the quayside -- one of a jaunty-tailed mermaid and one of a sailor in baggy trousers shading his eyes and gazing out to sea -- are the first things you'll spot as your tender noses its way into the harbor at Gythion. And their jolliness seems to encapsulate the spirit of the place.

Stroll around Gythion, and this joie de vivre is evident everywhere -- in the higgledy-pigglediness of the pastel-tinted houses, which jumble their way up the foothills of Mount Koumaros, and the crooked whitewashed staircases that snake their way between them; in the purple bougainvillea climbing past shutters and tumbling over wrought-iron balconies brightly painted in nautical shades of deep blue and green; in the gaily checked tablecloths of the restaurants that line the waterfront; and in the vividly painted little fishing boats, each marked on the prow with an eye to avert evil, that bob about on the sparkling, inky-blue waters of the marina.

If, like me, you hanker for the unspoiled Greece of 30 or 40 years ago, you'll find it there. Gythion looks like a quintessential Greek island of the 1970's -- except that it isn't.

It's actually a small seaside town on the Mani Peninsula, which lies in the Southern Peloponnese and is the gateway to Sparta, the ancient Byzantine city of Mystras and the region of Laconia. In ancient times, the brusque and bellicose locals gave the world the word laconic.

The residents are a lot more relaxed nowadays -- even though Gythion is a working town and is run-down in parts. The pretty seafront and excellent fish restaurants there make the town an enjoyable and memorable port of call, particularly if you just want a relaxed day ashore that won't take you far from your ship.

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DAY 1: Athens

14 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Athens
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Santorini, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Athens

21 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Athens
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Santorini, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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111 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Los Angeles
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Honolulu, Kona ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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DAY 1: Athens

8 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Monemvasia, Greece, Gythion ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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20 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Venice
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Split, Dubrovnik ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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111 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
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Cartagena, Panama Canal ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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24 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Istanbul
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Nessebur, Constanta ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Rome
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Naples, Taormina ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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55 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Dubai
Visiting:
Muscat, Aqaba ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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87 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Cartagena, Panama Canal ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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97 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Los Angeles
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Honolulu, Kona ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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41 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Dubai
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Muscat, Aqaba ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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8 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Rome
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Ponza, Sorrento ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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66 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Singapore
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Langkawi, Phuket ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Monemvasia, Greece, Gythion ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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17 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Nafplion, Mykonos ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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18 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Lisbon
Visiting:
Seville, Gibraltar ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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19 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Naples, Taormina ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Monemvasia, Greece, Gythion ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Minorca ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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24 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Monemvasia, Greece, Gythion ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Mykonos, Santorini ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Minorca ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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28 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Lisbon
Visiting:
Seville, Gibraltar ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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20 Night
Cruise to Gythion

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Minorca ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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Why go to Gythion?

Pros:

Dine on fresh seafood and Greek specialties (with a heavenly view) at a cafe on the harbor

Cons:

Local taxes can add a hefty chunk of change to your restaurant bill

Bottom Line:

Unspoiled and quiet, this sleepy seaside town offers beaches, pleasant waterfront cafes and historical sites

Gythion Cruise Port Facilities?

If you just want a sunny stroll ashore and a quick coffee -- or glass of wine and plate of calamari -- there are plenty of pretty little restaurants-with-a-view around the harbor. The main street is only a few minutes' walk from the tender drop-off.

Good to Know?

Hefty local taxes on restaurant meals can make an affordable lunch look a lot less so when the bill arrives. Checking one menu, I noted that VAT is 9 percent on soft drinks and 19 percent on alcoholic drinks; a 13 percent service charge and a 5 percent local tax are added on top of all that. So, if money's tight, look before you eat.

Look out, too, for heavy traffic along the coast road. Narrow pavements and lines of parked cars mean you often have to walk into the road to get along, so watch your back.

Getting Around?

Head right from the harbor front, and you'll find taxis lined up between the small park and the Bank of Piraeus. Taxis are metered, but rates with waiting time are obviously subject to negotiation. I was quoted 80 to 100 euros for a roundtrip to Sparta and 100 to 120 euros to Mystras (each with about an hour's waiting time).

The going metered rate is approximately 1.20 euros per kilometer, so the Caves of Diros (38 km away) should cost about 50 euros each way and Areopolis (26 km away on the west coast of Mani) about 32 euros each way.

The taxi drivers were friendly and did their best to be helpful, so my advice would be to talk it through with them and agree on a fee in advance for the roundtrip plus waiting time.

Most attractions in Gythion are within reasonable walking distance.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the euro. See XE.com for the latest conversion rates.

You'll find an ATM machine almost opposite the tender drop-off. Just head left around the small marina, and follow it around to the main shopping street; look across the road, and there's an ALPHA Bank ATM point right in front of you. Alternatively, if you head right along the main promenade, you'll find two more outside the Bank of Piraeus and the National Bank, which are on the corner next to the small shady park on the right, about a five-minute walk away.

Language?

Greek is the official language, and as this is not a mainstream tourist haunt, don't assume you'll find English-speakers easily. Take along a phrasebook if you really want to connect with the locals.

You won't find English street names, either, so I've used landmarks for directions. Further confusion may be caused by the fact that various places around Gythion -- and the port itself -- have different names.

Gythion is also known as Gythio and can be spelled with a Y or an I; Mystras is also called Mistras or Mistra, and the little island linked to Gythion by a causeway (see Don't Miss) is variously known as Cranae, Kranai and Marathonisi.

Where You're Docked?

You tender into Gythion along a narrow sea wall, which is embellished with statues. Go left from the drop-off point, and walk right around the little harbor, and you'll find the main square with its cafes and restaurants off to the left. The main street, which runs parallel to the harbor, will be straight ahead of you


Gythion Cruise Reviews

lomimu
Sail Date: Nov 2018
We went to the Diros Caves, which was rather disappointing since the time in the boats was very very short, plus they don't take care of the cave formations in the same way we've seen in other locations (e.g. they... Read More
Seabourn Odyssey
tigersrus
Sail Date: Jul 2018
Nydri and Gythion - Before we stopped in Gythion we stopped in Nydri where we had a unique experience! We rented bikes from a bike shop near the pier and followed the hand written signs to the waterfall. What a... Read More
Seven Seas Voyager
Bcarstens
Sail Date: Oct 2018
Lots of walking but good... Read More
Fairgo
Sail Date: Sep 2016
Went ashore independently, walked through pleasant unspoilt town and local seafront areas.... Read More
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