Vytina is a small town on the slopes of the Menalo mountain range around 40 kilometers from Tripoli. At the altitude of around 1000 meters, it is one of the highest placed villages in Greece. It’s slightly shabby stone houses, the mountain view and a good food make Vytina interesting enough on its own but for me, the best comes outside of the village. Vytina lies on the 84 kilometers long Menalon trail across the mountains of Arcadia and therefore has multiple choices of very well-marked hiking trails.
To get a taste of the Menalon trail we choose to walk down to the Mylaontas river and towards Elati village. The river got its name from the many mills scattered on its banks and their remains can still be seen along the path. There is a beautiful stone bridge down the valley and a few wooden bridges further up, all great places for photography stops. The path is easy to follow and comfortable and walking in the shade of the plane trees followed by the gurgle of the stream is very relaxing.
In Greece, many rivers are a seasonal thing with a strong current in the winter and almost no water in the summer. This one is probably not an exception but in the middle of February, the water was rushing over the boulders creating rapids and small waterfalls. The pools of clear turquoise water were luring us in for a swim at least until we dipped our feet into the freezing water.
Spring is definitely the best period for a visit when the river current is strong and there is an abundance of flowers on the banks. My favorites of the day were these beautiful purple Iris popping up from the grass everywhere and the orchards of almond trees covered in white blossoms.
In the afternoon the sky suddenly darkened and it started raining so we were forced to leave the river and take shelter in the cozy Klimataria tavern and taste their delicious mezedes and local wine.