Ask the Locals: Methana

Ilias Rizos reveals a secret spot in Methana that is known solely to locals

22 March 2024
Ask the Locals: Methana

Ilias Rizos is not originally from Methana, "nor did I have any other connection until the age of 16 when I came here for the first time on my bicycle to see the famous volcano." he tells us.

"Since then I came many more times as a visitor until I came across the house in which I live permanently for the last 5 years, by chance. The house was a rare ruin of a Methanite hut (the only house of its kind that is still inhabited) and it also happens to be the house where the great rebbetiko singer Giorgos Batis spent his childhood years at the beginning of the 20th century. I bought the house in 2012 and repaired it, to make it livable. When my professional obligations allowed it, I moved to Methana, the small village of lower Mouska (or Palaia Loutra) which now has 7 permanent residents. Life is very pleasant and creative here, I hope to live here for the rest of my life. In conclusion, my relationship with Methana is that I have been living here permanently for the last 5 years."

What is the ideal time to visit Methana?
All seasons are ideal for Methana, depending on the interests and preferences of each traveler. There is no prohibition period here. Summers are quite hot but the place comes alive and services are fully available. Spring and autumn are very pleasant seasons as the weather is fantastic and nature is flourishing, either blooming or offering its fruits. These seasons are the most suitable for hikers who like the trails that Methana is famous for. Winter is ideal for travelers who want peace and connection with the environment without the interference of seasonal tourism. For those who wish to see the simple and full everyday life of the locals. The thermal springs are available all year round. The natural monuments and attractions are free all year round all around us in Methana.

How many days should be spent in Methana ideally? 
Saturation days are different for each person. For me the five years I have lived here are not enough to get to know this place well and fulfill my curiosity and my desire to walk these mountains. If we change the question to 'how many days are required to visit the major attractions', I would say that a week is completely filled with explorations of all the geological, archeological, architectural and folkloric attractions but they are by no means exhausted. Finally, if someone is excited about hiking, here we have 50 kilometers of old cobblestones that take several days to walk.

Where do you suggest we eat?
In all the coastal settlements there are notable restaurants. In Loutropoli, Vathi, Agios Georgios and Agios Nikolaos there are many options.

Where do you suggest we drink?
For entertainment we will go to Loutropolis and Vathi, the shops are few but worthwhile.

Which is your favorite beach and why?
In Methana we don't have many beaches, for better or for worse. The entire peninsula was created by the lavas of at least 32 volcanic eruptions that violently erupted into the sea. The coasts are wild and steep. Methana has a few small wild scattered beaches with difficult access. But near the spa town there are two wonderful large volcanic beaches within walking distance where you may enjoy the sea and the sun.

Is there a secret spot on the peninsula that the locals know about and can you tell us about it?
The little chapel of Krasopanagia is an isolated chapel on a steep promontory with deep waters and violent sea currents. Access is only by boat from the sea. This is a hidden gem that only a few can afford to visit. has been made for those who want to explore the area and respect it exactly as it deserves.

What can one do in Methana besides eating and swimming in the sea in the summer?
Methana is a place that has still preserved its authenticity. The attraction they exert on the visitor is due to the virgin nature, the countryside of Methana and the character of the small settlements of the Peninsula, the livelihood paths, the thermal springs and the volcanoes. These are appreciated and enjoyed by those who come here. We would like this to be the main reason for visiting Methana so that we can preserve this character as much as we can.

What kind of music should we listen to on the journey there? What do you think suits Methana?
If it was evening I would say that a rebetiko by Giorgos Batis, who is from Methana, would be suitable. But wandering in the mountains here, evokes that euphoria that brings everyone their favorite song. So everyone would be apt to listen to the song that gives them the sense of freedom of wandering in such a special place.

Finally, how would you describe Methane?
This is a personal question but there will be many who identify with my own image based on my conversations with visitors. Methana is a very special place. There have never been Parthenons here, but a constant struggle of man with the elements for survival. For anyone who looks back in time, he sees wonderful monuments of everyday life left by people who lived here centuries ago, resulting in the realization of the ephemerality of our lives. Inevitably, this realization places us squarely on the right scale of space-time and frees us from all the small, trivial and unnecessary things of everyday life, and makes us focus relentlessly on the critical and probably futile issues of our existence. So in a way Methana for me is the stimulation of the senses, the enjoyment of finite priceless moments and the feeling of freedom. But probably what I'm describing is not something that tourists can experience, only travelers.

In 2017, Ilias Rizos, together with several local volunteers, managed to identify and open approximately 50 kilometers of hiking paths which, combined with the thermal baths, are a pole of attraction for Methana, culminating in the mountain running race 'GIDI of Methana' which takes place every November in the region. "We have succeeded in creating a kind of sustainable development and gentle economic activity that can sustain life and quality of life on the Peninsula without degrading the natural and man-made environment." he tells us himself.

"Our anxiety is to manage to protect this place from the uncontrolled construction that threatens the pristine nature and the character of the settlements. To protect it from fish farms, from wind turbines and from all anthropogenic threats so that it remains a place suitable for someone to live well. There are not a few examples from other places in Greece that were permanently and irreversibly altered by all those who built them out of love.

Find out about the daily routes to Methana from Saronic Ferries.