Gythio (26 Km from Areopoli and 46 Km from Sparta), Starta’s ancient port, is the gateway to the dramatic Mani peninsula, and one of the south’s most attractive seaside towns. It was destroyed in 455 B.C. by Athenians, but Spartans rebuilt it again. In 195 A.D. occupied by Romans. Opposite the island in the Migonion, an open market with Oriental traders in what was a suburb of the ancient town, there was a sanctuary to Aphrodite Migonitis, founded by the Phoenicians. Ten kilometres south-west of Gythio, the traveller returns to the medieval times. At a strategic position on the top of a hill rises the Frankish fortress of Passavas, built by the Baron de Neuilly in 1254. Gythio itself is an excellent holiday resolt, but also the centre of an impeccably organised tourist area extending on both its sides. There is excellent infrastructure in place for any requirement that a modern tourist might have, and innumerable possibilities for recreation by the sea. For swimming, there are a number of coves within reach of Gythio. The beaches at Mavrovouni and Vathy claim to be the best.
The most popular beach of Gythio is Mavrovouni, placed at approximately 2 km to the south of the town, right below Mavrovouni village. Mavrovouni beach extends for over 6km and is the largest one around Gythio. It is sandy and has small pebbles on the sea floor. It gets livelier in summer but, thanks to its size, it never gets overcrowded. Mavrovouni beach is available for some entertaining activities, such as windsurfing. The perfect time to practice windsurfing is in the afternoon because that is when the wind blows more strongly.