Kastanitsa is a lovely mountain village in Kynouria, built at an altitude of 840 metres in the heart of Mount Parnon. Due to its exceptional beauty, it has been declared as listed and is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful settlements in the Peloponnese.
Kastanitsa stands out for its traditional architecture with its dazzling white stone houses, flowered courtyards and vividly coloured window frames, all of which create a unique ambiance in the village. Many of the houses have two floors, but there are also some tower houses with three floors, which are at least 300 years old. Kastanitsa is surrounded by a beautiful forest of firs and chestnut trees, as well as many marked trails which are ideal for hiking. There are also many trails that connect the village with other beautiful settlements, like Prastos, Sitaina and Platanos. Moreover, from Kastanitsa you can also visit the impressive gorges of the area, like that of Loulougka, Zarbanitsa and Mazia. While you are in the village you should visit one of the traditional cafes or taverns and enjoy your coffee or a delicious meal. You can also visit the lovely churches and the renovated main square and walk in the picturesque cobbled narrow streets, which will lead you to various beautiful spots in the village.
Kastanitsa is a beautiful mountainous village located in Mount Parnon, built on a long and narrow hill between two verdant ravines and surrounded by dense pristine forests of firs, chestnut and walnut trees. In 1967 it was declared a listed traditional settlement, due to its stunning natural and architectural beauty.
Throughout the centuries, Kastanitsa has managed to preserve its traditional, Tsakonian architecture with its tall stone houses, whitewashed cobbled narrow streets and arched gates, leading to flowered courtyards. The prevalent colour is white. In the past, Kastanitsa was famous for its production of lime. There were 40 traditional lime kilns in the village, which were burning the material and then use it for various construction works. Today, only few of them are still open. Up until few decades ago the village used oil lampposts for lighting. Today they are actually using electrical power. However, some traditional lamps are still preserved, creating a nostalgic ambiance.
The village is ideal for relaxation and endless hikes in its picturesque narrow streets and trails, as well as its forest paths that start from the nearby forest and lead to places of unparalleled beauty. Wander around the village and you will certainly experience the unique warm hospitality of the locals. Start from the main square and head northwest, where you will see the abandoned elementary school dating back to 1870, and a little further on the church of the Transfiguration of Christ the Saviour, which is an 18th century building with a lovely intricate templon; a gift from Catherine the Great of Russia to an –apparently– prominent resident. After this you will see the Byzantine tower of Kapsampelis. Wherever you go, you are certain to stumble upon numerous very well preserved chapels. At a relatively short distance from Kastanitsa you will also see the church of Agios Nikolaos Kontolinas, a 15th century catholic monastery that was destroyed in 1826 in one of Ibrahim’s raids. In the churchyard there is a fountain that gushes fresh water directly from the springs of Mount Parnon.
Kastanitsa preserves its traditional character intact; nevertheless, it’s still a village with an excellent infrastructure, ready to welcome its visitors. It has many traditional guest houses, cafes, a Cultural Centre with a big library and an Environmental Information Centre, which is housed in the old elementary school. Today it has about 400 permanent residents who work tirelessly to keep their village alive and a proud representative of its title of “the magnificent jewel of Mount Parnon”.