Gorge of Fonea

The gorge of Fonea or otherwise Gorge of Noupanti is located in Messinia and begins from the Monastery of Vaidenitsa and ends after 8 kilometers in crystal beach of Fonea between Stoupa and Kardamyli.

The inhabitants of the villages built near the Gorge of Fonea (Saidona, Exochori, Proastio) call it “Noupanti” because they say that in olden times there were meetings (“sinapantimata”) when an arranged marriage was in progress. The exit of the gorge to the sea is called Fonea because many people and animals were drowned in their attempt to cross the strong stream before bridges were constructed.

In the past the Gorge of Fonea seems full of life and the path that intersects it, is of diligent technique and we still can see abandoned areas with olive trees surrounded by protective stone walls, corrals and a possible watermill.

The gorge of Fonea is full of caves that many of these are inaccessible. In one of them in the 1970s they have found a vase of Geometric period which now adorns the archaeological museum of Athens. In these caves there are nests of hawks, kestrels, magpies, crows, wild pigeons, etc. that their cries are the only sound that disturbs the silence.

Through the gorge that is full of laurels and all types of trees, there are many species of wild flowers and herbs (such as wild orchids, oregano and mint). There are also turtles, foxes, weasels, squirrels, hedgehogs, badgers, jackals, etc. and in the spring beautiful yellow and orange butterflies.

An impressive human intervention in the ravine is the Stone Bridge with one arch in Proastio, built in the 1930s. The opening of the arch is 15 meters, the height is 22 meters and the total length is 25 meters.

The path of river has a total length of 6,750 meters and you can cross the Gorge of Fonea in five and a half to six and a half hours.

The route is divided into sections:

• The Ananti with length of 2,500 meters, which starts from the monastery of Vaidenitsasand ends at the junction with the path linking Saidona with Exochori.

• The Middle one with length of 1,900 meters by the junction with the Stone Bridge with one arch in Proastio.

• The Katanti with length of 2,350 meters, by the Stone Bridge with one arch in Proastio to the exit.

During the winter months because of the rains there is plenty of water and large fonts making very difficult the descent in Gorge of Fonea. Ideal time to walk is from April to November.

The attractions in Gorge of Fonea:

• The Monastery of Vaidenitsa

Tower of Kitriniaris

• The Monastery Samuel

• The Stone Bridge with one arch

• The beach of Fonea.