A gorge, of a rare beauty is located at the heart of mount Taygetus. It is the only gorge in Greece that a car can drive through. The Hellenistic bridge that dates back to 150 B.C. in Xerokampi and the medieval settlement of Koumousta, with its traditional houses and the byzantine churches, are the most significant sights of the ravine. The best way to enjoy the beauty of the gorge is by taking one of its walking routes that cross the forest, as well as the 4×4 trails in the forest roads of mount Taygetus. Three marked paths lead to the monastery of Gola, the mountain shelter of Taygetus, the forest of Pentavla and the sources of Rasina torrent with its running waters forming cascades and lakes big enough to swim. At an elevation of 400 meters above sea level, the region is designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it is has rare species of flora and fauna. Numerous ecotourism companies offer a large variety of organized excursions, hiking to the historic monasteries and the sights of the gorge, mountain biking, horseback riding and mountain climbing to the top of mount Taygetus.
In the heart of Taygetus, a gorge of great beauty, crossed Rasina stream, passes by traditional settlements, archaeological monuments, waterfalls, numerous natural springs, lakes and trickles. Perfectly signposted paths pass through virgin, evergreen forests and lead towards the historical monasteries of Laconia, up to the summit of Prophet Elias. It is the only gorge in Greece that you can cross by car through the asphalt and the trail.
The route by car leads to Xerokampi and the medieval settlement of Koumousta. At Xerokampi the road crosses an ancient Hellenistic single arched bridge that dates to the 1st century B.C. and passes over the Rasina stream. It is considered to be the oldest bridge of Europe in use. It led to Sparti and Kadamyli. Next to the bridge stands the stone amphitheater of the village in a square of plane trees. The square hosts music events from significant artists of the Greek art song music (entechno) scene.
The road continues to Koumousta, a medieval village built approximately 750m above sea level in the Anakolo gorge. It is a settlement of traditional houses that date back to the 16th – 18th century, marble springs and five byzantine churches. As you cross the forest, through a beautiful trekking route of one and a half hours, you arrive at Golas monastery, one of the seven monasteries in Greece depicting ancient philosophers. From Koumousta, a second path leads to Pentavloi, a beautiful forest area 1.200 m above sea level, below the summit of mount Taygetus. The route contains 67 water springs, a natural waterfall and small lakes where you can have a swim. It ends at the sources of Rasina stream. Halfway, the path crosses with another one that leads to the climbing shelter of Taygetus. The shelter can be also approached by Pentavloi through the European path E4 and through an accessible trail. The surrounding area, at an altitude of over 400 meters, is characterized as an Outstanding Natural Beauty and it hosts significant habitats with rare flora species: forest of oriental planes (platanus orientalis), greek firs (abies) and black pines (pinus nigrae) as well as endemic fauna species, such as golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), ornate hawk eagles (spizaetus), and peregrine falcons (falco peregrinus), salamanders (caudate), Mediterranean turtles (testudo hermanni), western Caspian turtles (maurenys caspia rivulata) etc, that live and breed on the slopes of Taygetos.
Over the last years, the region consists of a recreation and vacation site for many local and foreign visitors. Companies offering organized excursions towards Xerokampi, Pentavloi, Golas monastery and the nearby monastery of Zermpitsa can be found in the local villages. They also offer organized ecotourism activities, mountain cycling, horse riding and climbing to the Taygetus pyramid with its magnificent view and the small church of Prophet Elias at the summit. The region is also ideal for 4×4 routes in Taygetus forest roads.