Tyros

Where Arcadia reaches the sea

If you ask the lovers of Peloponnese where are the best beaches, the vast majority will answer you at the west coast, the one that the Ionian Sea wets, and at the south, where Mani is. However, this is not entirely true. This is due to the fact that the east coast, which is the coast line of Arcadia, remained till recently, with few exceptions, unexplored. It is impossible to have seen the beaches of Tyros and still insist that “in the east there are better beaches”.

Between Astros and Leonidio (and a bit closer to the later), Tyros is a beautiful town, half climbed on the green endings of Mt. Parnonas, half spread on the “feet” of the Myrtoo Sea. It has approximately 1.700 residents that still speak one of the most ancient dialects of the Greek language, the Tsakonian dialect.

Already inhabited since prehistory, some say that it took its strange name by the ancient temple of Appolo Tyritis, and some others say that it was baptized by the Phoenicians, who were great merchants and captains in the area that today is Lebanon, with the name of one of their greatest cities. Supporter of this second opinion is also Stephenus of Byzantium, a mysterious Constantinopolitan, about who we don’t know much, only that he wrote in the 6th century A.C. the first geographical dictionary of humanity, entitled “Ethnica”.

Tyros is separated in three districts, the covered in green mountainous Upper Tyros on the slopes of Parnonas, the Lower Tyros a bit lower, and the Beach of Tyros, a doll-like dwelling filled with island red tilled houses that is cooled by the breezing air of the Myrtoo Sea and ends up- as you can guess- to one of the nicest beaches of this side of the Peloponnese.

Right above the picturesque harbor with the fish taverns of Tyros, rises a green hill that the locals call Castle. At its top, the archaeological excavations have brought to light traces of the old citadel, while on parts of the hill there are still some intact parts of the city’s Cyclopean walls. On the castle’s “feet”, at the back side, spreads one of the nicest beaches of Tyros, Lygaria. With a view to the windmills above it and the amazing waters of the Myrtoo Sea in front of it, Lygaria has been awarded as one of best beaches in the Mediterranean.

The central beach of Tyros that the entire picturesque area took its name  from, spreads in two kilometers of coastal walkway and it is ideal for long walks in the somehow island landscape. The only hard part here is where to choose to sit so that you can enjoy the fantastic view: At the tables of the cafés and the taverns? At the big open and full of life central square?  Or at the beach itself? Especially around the sunset, the dilemma grows even harder.

For swimming, apart from Lygaria, there is also the amazing pebbled Tigani Beach, with its blue green waters and its green pine and olive tree frame that reaches the waves. You will easily find it a kilometer from the central square of Tyros and you can reach it on foot. From the left (north) tip of the beach starts a path that after a while brings you to a magical cave, called Fournaka. Swimming inside the cave is a unique experience, as well as the dives from its rocks at the entrance.

Tyros has some very special Easter traditions with thousands of candles lighting up during the night before Easter (the Ressurection night that is on Good Saturday’s night), in honor of all the Tsakonian sailors and fishermen who were lost in the sea. During the Easter feast at the central square you will listen the people reading the Gospel translated in the beautiful Tsakonian dialect.

 Nine kilometers outside Tyros, at the Palaiochora plateau on the feet of Mt. Parnonas, there is the Dersios cave with its underground lakes that might not be open for visit yet, but it is known from the ancient times and gathers the interest of the archaeological community. Very close to it there are few remnants of the byzantine castle of Orionta that once was an entire fortified settlement. The ascend here that starts from the monastery of Karia lasts about half an hour and although it is hard, the view from the top will reward you.

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