One of the most beautiful places in Peloponnese you can explore and be amazed by its beauty is Voies (or Vatika). It is located in the southern tip of Cape Maleas and offers the visitors gorgeous views through landscapes of natural beauty. The first village you’ll come across when visiting Vatika is the well renowned Elika, amphitheatrically built on the foot of a mountain overlooking the Laconian Gulf.
On its left there is Elafonisos and a bit farther the historical Kythira. It is within 15 to 20 minutes distance from Monemvasia, Neapoli and Molaoi.
According to one of them Elika owes its name to the gorgeous nymph of Eliki. Another one refers to one of the first settlers in the region who was a farmer from Mani’s Alika village. The rest of the farmers used to gather every night in his hut saying “Let’s go to Alikioti’s hut”, so as the time passed the phrase turned into “Let’s go to Elikioti’s hut”. Lastly, another version has to do with the mountainous complex of Saint George Aetofolia- Heroma- Psilo Vouno which resemble to a helix (helix in Greek is Elika) from above. In addition in the ‘Chrysobull’ (a decree issued by the Byzantine emperors) of Manuel Palaiologos this mountainous complex of the village is referred as Elikovouno (Helix Mountain) too.
As we mentioned before, this is a village rich in natural beauty, a significant agricultural life, and with wonderful hidden corners waiting to be discovered by the visitor. It has a long history though, as the area is inhabited for a very long time, since the Mycenaean era, and many researchers believe that here was the ancient city of “Afrodisia” which was built by Aineas or by the residents of Kythira. Before 1770 it is known that the village was located in the area which today is called Skopeles. During the Ottoman Rule the settlement was completely destroyed and for many years remained uninhabited. Gradually from 1830 the first dwellers of Elika started coming in the area and who by using the land had as professions livestock farming and agriculture.
Years went by and the settlement grew bigger and bigger, using the natural beauty that it is blessed with. Until 1923 Elika was part of the municipality of Monemvasia. After 1923 it becomes an autonomous community. Today Elika is the perfect destination to satisfy even the most demanding visitor thanks to the “treasures” of the area.
To begin with, Marathias village every year is the meeting point for plenty of sunbathers from around the country and from abroad. Among those which stand out are the beautiful beaches of Panariti with the thick golden sand and the crystal clear blue waters, with which you fall in love from the first dive.
There is a small port with fishing boats, which supply the taverns of the settlement with fresh fish. There are rooms for rent and a hotel for your stay.
The beaches of Limnes and of Platanistos are attractive choices as well for all the visitors of the area who wish to enjoy the sea and the vast sand calmly, away from the crowds. All beaches are suitable for sea sports and popular beach games, while at Marathias the visitor can find a lot of restaurants and café-bars which can satisfy even the most demanding customer.
In the wide area of Elika, apart from the beaches, you will find the impressive towers of “Fonias” and “Koulentianos” which were part of a system using bonfires to alert people of conquerors and pirates’ raids from the sea. The agricultural village of Agios Mamas is also part of Elika, with its traditional stone houses that stand out thanks to their architecture.
Of great interest is also the magnificent new church of Agios Charalambos which construction started in 1912 and it was completed in 1958 with the contribution of the Greek American Foundation “Agios Charalambos” and since then has become a worship point for the residents of the area and for people from other places. Its Primary School is also a beautiful stone building of 1925 and it adorns the village with its characteristic well attracting all the attention.
Elika is a gorgeous destination worth visiting and strolling around it. During every stop it is certain that you’ll enjoy the breathtaking view to the Laconian Gulf, and your eyes will be filled with images of the village’s lush vegetation spreading everywhere and with the blue color of the crystal clear waters that cover the seaside part of Elika.