You can stay in a guesthouse or refuge every night; or you can camp if you prefer. If camping, please observe the usual rules about private property, litter and (especially) fire hazards; every year there are terrible forest fires in Greece – don’t be the cause of one. If staying in guesthouses, make sure to book your accommodation in advance, especially as some guesthouses are liable to close (see day 9, below).
Day 1 – Zahlorou
You can stay in one of the small hotels near the railway line in Kato Zahlorou, including the Romántzo (+30 26920 22758); the Kato Zahlorou (+30 26920 22789 / mob+30 69831 25616); or the swankier Olympion Zeus (+30 26920 22595).
Or, to get a useful head start on the next day’s long hike, follow the path up to Méga Spílio monastery and sleep in its guesthouse or the nearby ‘Grand Chalet’ roadside motel. The former is more atmospheric, but you’ll need to nip down to the Grand Chalet for dinner and back by sunset; the latter is easy but soulless; both are bookable on +30 26920 23357 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Day 2 – Ano Lousi
Hotel O Sperhos (+30 26920 83348, mob +30 69445 42413, Andréas & Toúla Pavlópoulos, little or no English spoken) – simple but friendly, and the only option in the village.
Day 3 – Kato Kleitoria (near Tourlada)
The only reliable accommodation near the route is in Kato Klitoria (also called Mazeïka), a friendly little market town 5km off the walking route, with an excellent hotel (Mont Helmos, +30 26920-31221, www.monthelmos.gr), several tavernas and an English-speaking taxi driver (Andréas Kazánis, mob+30 69738-19130) who can collect you from Tourládha
Day 4 – Dhára
Arhontiko Kordopati guesthouse is the only option – www.arhontiko-kordopati.gr/en, telephone: +30 2710-234879, +30 27960-41275; mobile: +30 6978-194348 (Antonia), +30 6978-134574 (Whatsapp-Antonia), +30 6976-646094 (Aggeliki)
Day 5 – Vytina
There are several options, including the E4-sponsored Hotel Sinói (tel 27950-22354, mob 694-5632241, www.sinoi.gr)
Day 6 – Kardaras or Kapsia
Kardaras is a tiny hamlet, almost deserted except on winter weekends in the ski season, although the luxurious Neféles Mountain Resort (tel 27960-22771, tel 27960-22871, www.nefelesmainalon.gr) can normally open for you by prior arrangement. Otherwise you’ll have to continue 6km – you may get a lift if you’re lucky – to the larger village of Kapsia, which has a conference-oriented but welcoming hotel, Arhontikó Kalteziotis (tel 2710-235822-3, www.kalteziotis.gr).
Day 7 – Tripoli
A large town with several hotels, including the E4-sponsored Hotel Anaktoriko (Ethnikis Antistaseos 48, tel: 2710- 226545 or 225545, www.anaktorikon.gr)
Day 8 – Agios Petros
Now that the big Hotel Parnon has closed, your best bet is the Pension “O Malevos” (Mougios family, tel: 27920- 31155 or 31375, mobile 694-5377328, www.hotels-in-greece.com/arkadia/malevos/index.en.php)
Day 9 – Vamvakou
The informal village hostel may or may not be operating – so call well in advance (Kostas Verdekis, tel 27310-27492, tel 27310-21116, mob 694-4786798, email@example.com ).
Failing that, you could book the mountain refuge Arnómousga (‘George Pierce’) via EOS Spártis (tel 27310-22574 evenings, tel 27310-26343 daytime, mob 697-4454079); but note that there’s a fixed fee of about €120 for the warden. Or you could book the taxi driver from Agios Petros, Pávlos Katsís (mob 694-4858287), to collect you at the refuge or at Vamvakoú and take you back to Áyios Pétros, returning next morning to continue the route.
Day 10 – Mystras
There are several options, including the E4-sponsored Hotel Mystras Inn (Thanasis Bourlokas, tel: 27310- 82666, mobile 6977-718068, www.mystrasinn.gr). Or you can stay in the larger town of Sparta (Sparti).
Day 11 – Anavriti
Hotel To Archontiko, owned by multilingual María Kanellópoulos and her energetic, bouzouki-playing husband Yiórgos (tel 27310-82671 or 27310-22938, mob 698-7101555 or 697-9118855, https://kaneltrekking.gr), who can also help with route queries and reservations at the Taygetos mountain refuge (see below), and bag transfers if you want to hike light for a couple of days.
If that is full, there are 2 small village houses (sleeping 2-5 each) which you can book for a night or more by contacting the generous, young, English-speaking owner Apostolia Katsichti (firstname.lastname@example.org); or via the ubiquitous Booking.com
Day 12 – Taygetos mountain refuge
You need to plan this well ahead as it only opens on demand, and there is normally a fixed fee of about €120 for the warden to come and open it, and stay overnight with you. If you’re staying at To Archontiko on Day 11, ask Yiórgos Kanellópoulos to book the refuge for you; for an extra fee, he can drive your bags there along with home-cooked supper which you just need to heat up. Otherwise contact the Hellenic Alpine Club of Sparta (“EOS Spartis”), tel 27310-22574 evenings, tel 27310-26343 or mob 697-4454079 daytime, email@example.com.
The refuge itself is a simple dormitory (26 single mattresses with blankets but no sheets) with a dining table and woodburner, plus a small kitchen (gas cooker, water tank), toilet, 2 washbasins, but no showers.
Failing that you could sleep in the open-sided bothy at Pendavli, humorously signed as the DHMARXEIO (‘town hall’). There is a water supply here. You can’t prebook it – just turn up. Yiórgos Kanellópoulos also has the keys to another simple mountain cottage nearby, which sleeps 2-5 in one large room, with kitchen, dining area and BBQ.
Day 13 – Arna
There is only one option: Pension Volianíti (tel 27330-24666, mob 697-7923539, mob 697-2772845, firstname.lastname@example.org, not much English spoken).
Day 14 – Agios Nikolaos (‘Selinitsa’) or Agios Dimitrios
These 2 villages are both about 15 mins walk (or a short taxi ride) from the trail end at Pantazi beach, following the coast road north / south respectively. Both have several guesthouses. Or you could take a taxi (www.taxistoupa.com) further north to Stoupa or Kadramyli, both of which are charming seafront villages; the former is livelier and has sandy beaches, the latter is more tranquil and has a shingle beach. Both have some lovely places to stay – try Elies Hotel (www.i-escape.com/elies-hotel).