We spent a night in the modern little town of Sparta to recover from climbing ancient Mystras. In the evening, we had our favorite gyros, then we found a lovely pastry shop with excellent ice cream and after that, we washed it all down with a beer in a trendy bar. The next morning we took an atmospheric stroll around the hillside of ancient Sparta, though few buildings are standing that date back to the height of Sparta’s greatness, where the acropolis and agora made up the religious and administrative center (8th century BC until the Roman period). There’s an ancient theatre, Sanctuary of Athena Halkioitou, and remains of later Byzantine churches. On the way out from Sparta, we stopped at the statue of King Leonidas which stands belligerently in front of a football stadium. When the Persians attacked Thermopylae and told the Spartans and their allies to lay down their weapons, Leonidas’ response, immortalized beneath his feet, was “Molon Labe” (‘Come and get them’).
Parking location – Sparti: 37.079478N 22.425719E