Mystras Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do, places to visit, and local culture in Mystras, a historical city in Greece. Plan your trip with our comprehensive travel guide.

Introduction to Mystras

Located in the Laconia region of Peloponnese, Mystras is a historical fortified town that dates back to the late 13th century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea and served as an important center of art, culture, and politics in Greece. Today, Mystras is a popular destination for tourists looking to discover Greece’s fascinating history. In this travel guide, we will explore the best places to visit, things to do, and local culture in Mystras.

List of Places to Visit in Mystras

Mystras offers visitors a wealth of historical and cultural attractions as well as natural beauty. Below are some of the must-see places to visit in the city.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Mystras Archaeological Site: This ancient fortified town is home to a number of medieval ruins, including the Palace of the Despots and the Church of Saint Demetrios.

  • Mystras Castle: Built in the 13th century, this castle offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscape.

  • Mystras Archaeological Museum: This museum houses a collection of Byzantine and medieval artifacts, including pottery, coins, and sculptures.

Natural Attractions of Mystras: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Mt. Taygetos: This mountain range offers visitors hiking trails with breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

  • Evrotas River: This river offers visitors the chance to go kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.

  • Almyros Beach: This beautiful beach is just a short drive from Mystras and offers a peaceful escape from the city.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Mystras

Mystras offers visitors a number of hiking and biking trails that take them through scenic mountain landscapes and ancient ruins. Some of the most popular trails include:

  • Mystras to Taygetos: This 10-mile hiking trail leads visitors from Mystras to the summit of Mt. Taygetos, offering panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

  • Zirelia Bridge to Mystras: This 7.5-mile biking trail takes visitors through lush forests and ancient ruins before reaching Mystras.

Best Things to Do in Mystras: Activities and Tours

Mystras offers visitors a range of activities and tours that allow them to explore the city’s history and culture. Some of the best things to do in Mystras include:

  • Byzantine Tour of Mystras: This tour takes visitors through the ancient ruins of the city, including the Palace of the Despots and the Church of Saint Demetrios.

  • Greek Cooking Class: This class offers visitors the chance to learn traditional Greek cooking techniques and recipes.

  • Wine Tasting Tour: This tour takes visitors through local wineries to taste some of Greece’s best wines.

Week-Long Itinerary for Mystras

If you’re planning a week-long trip to Mystras, we recommend the following itinerary:

Day Activity
1 Arrive in Mystras and check into your hotel. Take a leisurely stroll through the city.
2 Visit Mystras Archaeological Site and Mystras Castle.
3 Hike Mt. Taygetos and enjoy panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscapes.
4 Take a Greek cooking class and enjoy a traditional meal.
5 Visit the Mystras Archaeological Museum and go wine tasting.
6 Spend the day relaxing at Almyros Beach.
7 Depart Mystras.

Food and Drink Scene of Mystras

Greek cuisine is known for its fresh, locally sourced ingredients and robust flavors, and Mystras is no exception. Some of the must-try dishes in Mystras include:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Moussaka: A savory casserole made with eggplant, ground beef, and a creamy béchamel sauce.

  • Spanakopita: A savory pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese, and herbs.

  • Souvlaki: Grilled skewers of marinated meat, typically served with pita bread and tzatziki sauce.

Local Beverages

  • Ouzo: A clear, anise-flavored liquor that is often enjoyed as an aperitif.

  • Retsina: A white wine that is flavored with pine resin, giving it a unique taste.

  • Frappé: A frothy iced coffee that is a popular summer drink in Greece.

Where to Stay in Mystras: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Mystras offers visitors a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses. Some of the best places to stay in Mystras include:

  • Mystras Inn: This modern hotel offers comfortable rooms and suites in the heart of Mystras.

  • Stathopoulos Mansion: This charming guesthouse features traditional architecture and elegant rooms with period furnishings.

  • Castle View Rooms: These budget-friendly rooms offer stunning views of Mystras Castle and the surrounding countryside.

What to Buy in Mystras: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

If you’re looking for souvenirs or gifts to bring home from Mystras, we recommend the following:

  • Olive Oil: Greece is known for its high-quality olive oil, and you can find a range of varieties in local markets.

  • Handmade Ceramics: Mystras is home to a number of workshops that produce beautiful ceramic pottery.

  • Komboloi: This traditional Greek worry-bead is a popular souvenir and can be found in many shops throughout Mystras.

Local Culture and Customs of Mystras

Greek culture is steeped in history and tradition, and Mystras offers visitors a glimpse into this fascinating heritage. Some of the local customs and traditions include:

  • Greek Orthodox Religion: Greece is a predominantly Greek Orthodox country, and many of the traditions and customs are rooted in the religion.

  • Hospitality: Greeks are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature, and visitors to Mystras can expect to receive a warm welcome.

  • Family Values: Family is an important part of Greek culture, and many traditions and customs are centered around family gatherings and celebrations.

Best Time to Visit Mystras

The best time to visit Mystras is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to November), when the weather is mild and prices are lower. July and August are the peak tourist months and can be crowded and hot.

Do’s and Don’ts of Mystras

When visiting Mystras, it’s important to be respectful of the local culture and customs. Some things to keep in mind include:


  • Do dress modestly: When visiting churches or other religious sites, it is important to dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees.

  • Do try the local cuisine: Greek food is delicious and offers a range of flavors and dishes to explore.

  • Do be respectful: Greeks place a high value on respect, so it’s important to be courteous and polite when interacting with locals.


  • Don’t litter: It’s important to respect the natural beauty of Mystras and to dispose of trash properly.

  • Don’t touch religious artifacts: When visiting churches or other religious sites, it is important not to touch any religious artifacts or artwork.

  • Don’t be late: Greeks value punctuality, so it’s important to be on time for appointments or meetings.

Safety and Health

When visiting Mystras, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety and health.

Safety in Mystras

  • Theft: Mystras is generally a safe destination, but it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to keep valuables secured.

  • Hiking Safety: If you plan to hike in Mt. Taygetos, be sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothing, and to bring plenty of water and snacks.

Health in Mystras

  • Sunburn: Greece has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers, so it’s important to wear sunscreen and protective clothing to avoid sunburn.

  • Water Safety: It’s important to drink bottled water while in Mystras to avoid the risk of illness from contaminated water.

Getting to Mystras: Transportation Options and Logistics

Mystras is located in the Laconia region of Peloponnese and is easily accessed by car or public transportation.

Airports Near Mystras

  • Kalamata International Airport: This airport is located approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes by car from Mystras.

  • Athens International Airport: This airport is located approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes by car from Mystras.

Bus Stations Near Mystras

  • Sparta Bus Station: This bus station is located approximately 15 minutes by car from Mystras.

  • Athens Bus Station: Buses also run regularly from Athens to Sparta, where visitors can take a connecting bus to Mystras.

Other Options

  • Car Rental: Many visitors to Mystras choose to rent a car to explore the surrounding area at their own pace.

  • Private Transfer: Private transfers can be arranged from the airport or bus station, making for a hassle-free arrival in Mystras.

How to Get Around in Mystras

Getting around in Mystras is relatively easy, with most attractions within walking distance of each other. Taxis are also available for longer distances, and rental cars are an option.

Where to Go Next from Mystras: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Mystras is located in the heart of the Peloponnese region, making it an ideal starting point for exploring other nearby destinations. Some popular excursions from Mystras include:

  • Mistras to Monemvasia Day Trip: Visit this scenic medieval town on the southeast coast of the Peloponnese.

  • Sparta Day Trip: Explore the ancient city of Sparta and learn about Greece’s military history.

  • Taygetos Mountain Range Hike: Take a guided hike through the rugged mountains to discover Greece’s stunning natural beauty.


Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or outdoor adventure, Mystras offers something for everyone. We hope this travel guide has helped you plan your next trip to this fascinating city in Greece.