Gytheion is Laconia's historical port, built on a beautiful hill where the eastern hillside plunges into the sea. Between the trees many traditional Mani houses are laid out like an amphitheater and give the impression of waiting for the sunrise every morning. Gytheion reached its peak during the Lacedaemonian (Spartan) era. The ruins of the old city and the theater can still be seen today. Places of interest include the historical/ethnological museum of Mani, located inside the tower of Tzanetakis on Kranai, on the small islet near the port. Also worth seeing is the Frank crusader castle of Passavas overlooking a hill, a few kilometers west of Gytheion.
At the crossroads between Sparta, Areopolis and Scala, Gytheion is today one of the preferred tourist hubs of southern Peloponnese. Furthermore, from here you can reach Kythera, the island of Antikythera and the city of Chania (Crete) by sea. In the city of Gytheion and the surrounding areas there are many modern tourist facilities (hotels, restaurants, ouzo bars, and cafés). On the pier you will find many facilities offering the local specialty: fresh fish and mezes with octopus. Right next to Gytheion is Mavrouni, with a very beautiful beach should you want to bathe or practice some sea sports.
Loggerhead Sea Turtles
For many years now the coasts of the Gulf of Laconia are visited by the famous and much loved loggerhead sea turtles. This is where they breed. The environmental NGO "Archelon" (http://www.archelon.gr) ensures their protection here in Gytheion as well as in other areas in Greece visited by this species.