Mazaraki Guesthouse

Sparta, Peloponnese, Greece Book from Book from £81 per night

Beautifully furnished self-catering suites plus a cafe and sunny pool, just 2km from Unesco-listed Mystras
Overlooking the vast Laconian Plain, with the peaks of the Taygetus mountains rising into the horizon, Mazaraki Guesthouse lies in the pretty hamlet of Pikoulianika. Built into a hillside, it is surrounded by pine woods, cypresses, olive trees and fresh-water streams. Upon arrival, you head to the cafe, with its mis-matched furniture and a terrace lined with potted basil and geraniums. Welcoming staff and wafts of freshly-baked cakes create a breezy, informal atmosphere. Neighbouring stone buildings are home to 10 spacious suites with kitchens, and 1 double room, each named after the natural world (Flowers, Olive, Sky) and decorated in respective colours. There's also a small pool.

From the guesthouse, it's a 2km-walk down to medieval Mystras, an abandoned fortified town capped by a 13th-century hilltop castle. Flights of stone steps zig-zag between the ruins and half-a-dozen beautifully frescoed Byzantine churches and monasteries. The final resident left in 1952, and today Mystras is a wonderfully atmospheric site, one of our favourite spots in the Peloponnese.

Highs

  • A great option for those who want to explore inland Greece: stunning mountains, medieval ruins, slow food
  • We loved the spacious, rustic-chic accommodation with private terraces (and the prices)
  • Delicious and varied breakfasts included in the rates and delivered to your door
  • Stunning views over verdant plains and up to snowy peaks
  • Friendly staff, who know how to look after their guests

Lows

  • Set in the hills, and approached up a twisty country road, it can be tricky to find; you'll need a car
  • The pool is quite small, and visible from the road
  • No village life as such - just a small shop and a couple of local restaurants
  • The nearest ATM is in Sparta (9km), the nearest beach near Gythio (50km)

Best time to go

Spring or autumn are ideal - the weather is warm and sunny (perfect for hiking and cycling), and flights are generally cheaper. In peak season (Jul-Aug), most people head for the coast; however, due to altitude, surrounding woodland and fresh water springs, Pikoulianika is refreshingly cool on summer nights, making it a welcome escape from both the crowds and the heat. During winter, Mazaraki Guesthouse offers a cosy retreat, complete with log fires.

Our top tips

There's a breathtaking 2-hour hike up the limestone gorge from the pretty village of Parori (tavernas with fresh grilled trout), past the silent and inspiring cave-chapel of Langadiotissa and dramatic orange cliff walls, to the monastery of Faneromeni, where a lone English-speaking monk welcomes you with loukoumi and a tour of the frescoed chapel (generally open 9-2 and 5-7; wear long sleeves).

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 10
  • Breakfast; self catering; cafe/wine bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The rooms are freshly whitewashed, with stone, polished concrete or wood detail. Most have fireplaces or a wood-burning stove, a couple have Jacuzzi baths, and all have a private balcony or veranda. Each sleeps 2-3, except Branches, which sleeps 4-5. Expect a mix of Greek rusticity (sheepskin rugs, chunky olive-wood shelves) with a playful injection of contemporary design (pink sinks, red phones and feature light bulbs).

We stayed in Flowers, which had a cosy living room with sofa and balcony; a compact kitchen with pine cupboards; a polished concrete bathroom with a shower, big white oval washbasin and Korres toiletries; and a bedroom with a big comfy bed, subtle lighting and another balcony. Slightly quirkier is Olive, with its open-plan living space and a larger-than-life rural wall-photo. We also liked Pomegranate, whose fabrics and brickwork provide splashes of namesake orange-red.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Kitchens in the suites
  • Phone
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Daily breakfasts are delivered in a wicker basket, at the hour of your choice. Each evening, you fill in a form to say what you'd like the next morning - freshly squeezed orange juice, local seasonal fruit (we had strawberries in May), yoghurt, homemade cake and more. Later in the day, the cafe is open for coffee, cake, tapas and wine (ideal for lunch but closed in the evenings).

Each suite (but not the double room) has a well-equipped kitchen, with a hob and fridge, stocked with basics including coffee, tea, sugar and olive oil. Branches has an oven, too. There are no grocery shops in the hamlet so you'll need to drive to Sparta to stock up.

A short walk away, you'll find Chromata, serving creative Mediterranean cuisine on a terrace with amazing views down onto the plain; expect colourful salads, mushroom risotto, local cheeses, and good house wine. Or try nearby Skreka, serving traditional Greek taverna fare, such as tiropitakia (little cheese pies), horiatiki (Greek salad) and homemade burgers with chips.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Café
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Spend at least a day at medieval Mystras (2km), a fortified Byzantine town built into a steep hillside, now abandoned but proclaimed a Unesco World Heritage site
  • Go cycling in the Taygetos mountains, criss-crossed by marked trails (mountain bikes and maps available for guests)
  • There are stunning hikes from your doorstep: one of our favourites is the loop from Mystras to Taygeti and Pergandeika (walk 19 in the Sunflower guide)
  • Visit Sparta (9km) and see the ruins of ancient Sparta, the archaeological museum and the museum of the olive and Greek olive oil
  • Drive south to the handsome harbour town of Gythio (50km) and swim at Vathi (aka Ageranos) sand beach, one of the prettiest in the region
  • Continue to Diros Sea Caves near Areopolis (60km) - you enter the huge cavern by boat and the stalactites and stalagmites are spectacular

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Beaches
  • Caving
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Families are welcome and baby cots/extra beds are available in the suites and apartment. The property is built into a steep hillside and the pool is unfenced, so it's not great for toddlers. Older children will enjoy Mystras.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Branches has 2 rooms - 1 double bedroom and a living room that can be set up as a twim bedroom instead, with space for an extra single bed, too. The Suites and Deluxe Suites can each fit an extra bed or baby cot.

Families Should Know:

The kitchens have hobs but no microwaves or ovens, except Branches, which has an oven.

Kid Friendly: low quality - have asked for orig (MC)

Location

Mazaraki Guesthouse is in the hamlet of Pikoulianika, up on the hillside 2km from Mystras ruins, 4km northwest of Mystras town and 9km west of Sparta in the southern Peloponnese region of Greece. It's about 3 hours' drive southwest from Athens, and 40 minutes from Kalamata.

By Air:
Fly into Kalamata (56km) or Athens (230km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines.

From the Airport
From Kalamata airport you could get a taxi (40 mins), but realistically you will want a hire car to explore the area.
From Athens airport, you'll definitely need to drive. See our car rental recommendations. You can park for free at the guesthouse.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com

More on getting to Greece and getting around

Airports:

  • Kalamata 56.0 km KLX
  • Athens 230.0 km ATH

Other:

  • Beach 50.0 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 10 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
9/10
Food
9/10
Service
10/10
Value
9/10
Overall

A perfect mountain retreat for visiting Mystras. We ate a delicious breakfast sitting on our terrace with incredible views of the castle and the plains of Sparta. We stayed in Patini junior suite which was very nice. The only adverse comments would be that the room was rather stuffy and airless at night as there are no windows to open and we didn’t feel we could leave the patio doors open (lots of friendly cats around!). But it’s a truly great location.

10/10,

We enjoyed the warmth and genuine kindness of our hosts. The delightful daily treats left in our room during our 2 week stay (including roses and cherries) made us feel very welcome. Wonderful experience and so touched by the caring attitude. Just one example was having our laundry taken into Sparta, and returned for a minimal charge. The walks into the mountains surrounding Mystras are exhilarating and don’t miss going up the hill for a superb meal at Chromata.

10/10,

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The swimming pool is (very) small but super nice. The overall decoration and comfort of the rooms are very enjoyable. We had fantastic breakfast in the front lounge area in the morning sun!
Only point of attention: the recommended Chromadas restaurant uphill was very disappointing with in service price and food whereas we had a great experience at the next door Skepta.

10/10,

The room was spacious, probably more than we needed for just one night but for longer stays a real plus. Breakfast was brought to your room in the morning so you could sit on your patio or eat before dressing.
We were a bit disappointed that the hotel was not as private and secluded as we thought from the photos. The road was just below and a a gathering of folks from the next door church made for noise and lack of privacy.
There is an excellent restaurant in walking distance up from the hotel. Be sure to try it and the views are wonderful.

10/10,

A good rural hotel. Nice and quirky rooms. Friendly welcome. Lovely breakfast. A bit of noise from other rooms.

9/10,

Much better than it reads from the website. Superb views from the mountainside over the plain and to the mountain beyond. Self catering doesn't really describe it as it means breakfast (which is very good) in your room. There is an excellent restaurant a short walk up the hill and two others even closer nearby.

10/10,

A fantastic location (very near the Mystras site and with beautiful views across the valley), a stylish comfortable room and a surprising number of great restaurants offering a cut-above the standard Greek fair in such a tiny village. Loved it!

9/10,

The pool was very small and on the road. The Restaurant Chromata, up the hill behind Mazaraki, is very nice for dinner.

7/10,

Really wonderful place!

10/10,

From the moment we arrived we felt so welcome here, and this continued throughout our 2 night stay. Breakfast was delivered in a lovely basket, on the dot of when we'd asked for it, warm breads, yoghurt, cappucino, fruit, jams, cheese 'toasties' all great.
Then much advice for seeing the Mystras ruins, drive to lower city for the morning, retire for lunch (can highly recommend Chromata next door), rest, then see fortress etc at 6pm.
Our room was lovely and spacious, sitting areas, sofas, private terrace, air con, and a small kitchen too.

10/10,

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