Search no more, this is the place. As stated before by many others, if you go to Monemvasia you have to stay in the castle. Many people come for only a couple of days, and that may be ok if you have many things to see around Lakonia, but we stayed there for 9 days and didn't get bored once.
Izambo Guesthouse is on top of the castle which means you'll have to do a little bit of climbing, but really, you get to relax so much that a 5 minute climb will not be a problem. Monemvasia is a lot about going up and down anyway. We stayed in the Margarita apartment which has a small balcony (panoramic sea view) from which you can see dolphins jumping when the sea is rough. Excuse the abundance of adjectives, the interior is completely new, chic, cozy, homey, comfortable and very tasteful. The whole place literally looks brand new and we felt like we were there first, 9 days was not enough. Clearly, a lot of time, money and energy has been put into it and it just puts a smile on your face with every step in. We wouldn't even dream of staying elsewhere on future returns. We didn't have a car (we don't drive) which was a bit of a pain if you do want to get out of the castle. Elafonisos and Plitra are a must see. 3 minutes from the guesthouse you have a really nice platform next to the castle wall from where you can jump directly into the sea, outside the castle there are 2 beaches with wi-fi. We almost always chose the platform rather then the beach. We went early September and there weren't that many buses to take you around, and maybe because of that the place feels like a hippie paradise that remained undiscovered. It was hot enough in September, and I wouldn't think of going earlier.
Mary, the owner of Izambo is a very nice lady. She actually found the time to drive us around in her personal car because she was worried we might not get to see enough of Lakonia. We've traveled extensively and never found such a nice guesthouse owner. Upon asking she gave us some olive oil from her personal garden, and a home cooked meal from her mums which was a great ending for our trip.
If, like me, you are worried that you need constant Internet access to check your mails, you have wi-fi access 5 minutes from Izambo. The closest and best place to improvise your office is right next to the Kamara wine-bar, but there is Internet in many places. Just ask, remember the passwords and you are good to go. At the time being, you couldn't connect to Internet in Izambo because of it's high location between the castle walls.
Regarding food, we tried most places and the food was nice everywhere which was a surprise, but we found ourselves eating almost daily at one point in Matoula. We tried almost everything on their menu and it was always perfect, you'll get to love the waiters as well. The walnut cake with ice cream was the recurrent desert of our stay. Outside the castle we liked Tetra for it's proximity to the beach and for a non pretentious lunch (they might have the most garlicked tzatziki which we loved) and definitely Skorpios for seafood and a nice dinner. Also, in the castle, there is a nice wine bar right next to Arthotel behind the forgotten church.
Monemvasia is an amazing place, expect it in a cinema near you. Kids will feel like Dumbledore's around.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set right under the rock of Monemvasia and just a 2-minute walk from the historic center, Izambo is a boutique guesthouse offering traditional studios with a furnished balcony and spectacular views over the sea.Following the local architectural style, studios at Izambo Guesthouse feature wooden beamed ceilings and arched walls. They all come with a well-equipped kitchenette with dining area, as well as a flat-screen satellite TV. The private bathrooms include a walk-in shower and free toiletries. ... more less
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