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The Kardamyli Festival 2024


Join us in the beautiful coastal town of Kardamyli for an intimate festival dedicated to literature, history, politics and the arts, spending mornings listening to scintillating talks and afternoons walking or cycling in this most extraordinary corner of mainland Greece.

6 nights
Festival Talks, Electric Biking & Walking
From £3,375 per person
Group size
Maximum 14
Good To Know

Attendees at the festival will number 350. In your party there will be a maximum of 14 and The Slow Cyclist will also be welcoming another 18 guests from Canada.

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  • An extraordinary setting, the most engaged and eclectic audience, delicious food, sunshine - everything an ancient Greek or indeed a modern anyone could want - my favourite festival.
    Rory Stewart
  • One of the most inspiring and thought-provoking events I’ve been lucky enough to attend.
    Steve Rosenberg
  • A magical festival in a glorious setting – like stepping into another world, filled with colours, ideas and joy.
    Peter Frankopan

Welcome to the Kardamyli Festival

I very much hope you'll consider joining us for this wonderful festival which has, it's fair to say, been my cultural highlight for each of the past few years; a chance to sit beside the sea and listen to some of the world's greatest minds talk on their chosen subject. Then, after the brain has been stimulated each morning, to head into the hills behind Kardamyli and enjoy cycling and walking in this verdant paradise. In this brochure you will, I hope, find lots of information that will help you decide if it's something for you and I hope, if you do join us, that you have a fantastic time.

Photo of Oli Broom
Oli Broom's signature Oli Broom
Founder, The Slow Cyclist


Join Us

We invite you to spend six nights in the Southern Peloponnese, on Greece's mainland, for an intimate literary festival like no other. The beautiful small town of Kardamyli was home for much of his life to the esteemed travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor and his wife Joan. The Kardamyli Festival, opening with a cocktail party in their former home (see the cloisters pictured above) is a celebration of literature, history, politics and the arts in one of the most glorious settings imaginable.

The Festival

Since its inaugural edition in 2021, the Kardamyli Festival has grown to welcome 350 guests each year and now attracts the sharpest minds, with past speakers including journalist Anne Applebaum, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radek Sikorski, former MP Rory Stewart, historian Tom Holland and author Ben MacIntyre among many others. Although the line-up of speakers this year is yet to be announced, it is certain to be stellar. With talks taking place each morning and during some early evenings, afternoons are free to swim and relax as well as go on guided walks and electric bike rides in and around the beautiful hills above Kardamyli.

The 2024 Line-Up

We will be able to provide details of this year's speakers in March, when the festival schedule is announced.

On the Move


We will take you on at least one walk along ancient shepherds' paths, across pastoral landscapes, through mountain villages and along dramatic coastal tracks. The terrain can be lumpy so you should be able to walk on uneven tracks up and downhill.


We use Trek Allant +7 electric bikes with a mix of regular and step-through frames. The cycling is generally on quiet tarmac roads. They are a cyclist's dream, with very few cars, although steep and dramatic on occasion. You should have experience cycling up and downhill and be confident of maintaining complete control on two wheels.


The chance to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Messinian Gulf is one of the great joys of spending time in the Mani. You can be in a tiny, remote mountain village one minute and then at one of any number of beautiful swimming spots the next. Your villa has a private pool and is directly behind a pebble beach and crystal clear waters that stretch into the centre of Kardamyli.


We take a less-is-more approach to the itineraries we provide. We do this because we think travel is at its best when plans remain flexible and when, as travellers, our guests don't always know what's coming next. So, please treat this itinerary as a guide to how your time with us is likely to unfold. You will have experiences, meet people and see places that we have not listed here. There may also be occasions when, for good reason, we cannot fulfil every detail here.

Day 1 - Wednesday 2 October - Arrival in Kardamyli

There are direct flights into Kalamata and Athens today. When you arrive in Kardamyli we will be there to greet you and ensure you're settled at your accommodation, Villa Salvia. We will take you for dinner in Kardamyli this evening.

Day 2 - Thursday 3 October - Kampos Crater

Morning Cycle 25 kms - Afternoon Cycle 25 kms

Your time in the Mani begins today with a wonderful bike ride taking in some of the region's most incredible landscapes. We climb towards the Ridomo Gorge, arriving for lunch in a meadow with our friend and local restaurateur Thomas. In the afternoon we will pedal through olive groves and tiny villages amid the foothills that rise to become the Taygetos peaks. We'll pause at a monastery with stunning views over the deep-cut gorge before turning for home with a long descent to Kardamyli. This evening the festival opens with drinks at the former home of Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor on a cliff above the sea. We have not included dinner this evening but will happily book you a table at any of Kardamyli's best restaurants.

Day 3 - Friday 4 October - Festival & Relax, Walk or Boat

Afternoon Walk 2.5 hours

After this morning's festival talks, and lunch in Kardamyli, you have a few options. The first is to walk with us up through the ruins of Old Kardamyli before climbing up on an ancient Spartan track, past tiny chapels, the majestic Taygetos mountains unfolding ahead of us. We will loop back around to Kardamyli, enjoying spectacular coastal views. Alternatively you may wish to relax and explore Kardamyli, or make use of a speed boat and captain who can show you some of the best secluded swim spots in the area. Whatever you choose to do, we will make sure you are ready for dinner in Kardamyli because Hellenophile, musician and translator Joshua Barley will entertain the festival's Slow Cyclists at a Literary Dinner this evening.

Day 4 - Saturday 5 October - Festival & Kastania

Afternoon Cycle 21 kms

After this morning's festival talks we will drive you to the tiny hill-top village of Kastania - home to 11 Byzantine churches - for lunch in a family-run taverna. From there, it’s an easy and incredibly beautiful ride down to the sea in Kardamyli. We have not included dinner this evening but will happily book you a table at any of Kardamyli's best restaurants.

Day 5 - Sunday 6 October - Festival & Relax

After this morning's festival talks and a light lunch we will leave you to relax or explore as you choose. We will be on hand to provide shuttles to nearby beaches, although the town's pebble beaches are superb too. This evening is the festival's Gala Dinner, hosted in previous years on a jetty in the centre of town, during which a stellar cast of festival speakers will entertain us into the night.

Day 6 - Monday 7 October - Festival & Malta

Afternoon Walk 2.5 hours

After this morning's festival talks you will be transferred to the hamlet of Malta for lunch in the home and olive oil press of sisters Artemis and Corinna. From there it’s a gorgeous 2.5 hour walk, close to the coast and back to Kardamyli, picking up ancient tracks and with extraordinary views over the Messinian Gulf. Dinner will be in Kardamyli to celebrate your last evening in the Mani.

Day 7 - Tuesday 8 October - Heading Home

It's the end of your time with us in Kardamyli. Again, we have not included an airport transfer but we will be happy to assist with any travel arrangements.

Practical Information


Guiding & Support

Our attention to detail sets us apart. You will be accompanied by a member of The Slow Cyclist team from the UK who will act as your host and will be able to help with any questions or issues you may have. In addition, of course, you will be guided by our local team on walks and bike rides in the hills behind Kardamyli. They are all fluent in English and knowledgeable and passionate about this special place. A support vehicle will be on hand (although never too close) in case you need a lift at any time.

Food Mani


We have chosen for you to stay all six nights at Villa Salvia, a private villa set amid olive groves a few metres from a lovely pebble beach on the edge of Kardamyli. With magnificent views of the Taygetos mountain range and the deep blue of the Messinian Gulf, the comfortable accommodation is arranged in three buildings with its own private swimming pool. There are seven rooms, all en-suite. If you would like to arrive a day early, on 1st October, you may stay at Villa Salvia for an extra £150 / £200 pp.


Bikes & Safety

We take your safety seriously. Although there is no requirement to cycle with us at the festival, if you do you must wear a helmet. We cannot accept bookings from anyone unwilling to do so. The bikes you'll be riding with us are electric bikes. You will be given a brief lesson in how to use them effectively before we start cycling. If you have any technical issues during your time with us, from squeaky brakes to punctures, please let us know and we’ll fix it. And finally, please don’t worry if you feel you are too slow or too fast for others in the group; we have a guide at the front and one at the back precisely for that reason.


Packing & Reading

Well in advance of your travels we will send you an online Information Pack including various details you need to know in advance. This will include a suggested packing list but also a reading list, should you wish to soak up the island's literary history before you arrive.

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Pricing & Booking


From £3,375 per person


Single Occupancy Supplement, 6 nights £875
Upgrade to Superior Room £415 per person (twin or double share), £830 per person (single occupancy)
7th night (Standard), 1st October £150 per person (twin or double share), £300 per person (single occupancy)
7th night (Superior), 1st October £200 per person (twin or double share), £400 per person (single occupancy)
  • TSC host & English-speaking expert local cycling and walking guides
  • Festival ticket
  • Fully-supported and guided walks and electric bike rides
  • Electric bike and helmet hire
  • All 6 nights accommodation
  • All breakfasts and 4 lunches
  • 4 evening meals including Festival Gala Dinner and Literary Dinner
  • Wine and beer at meal times **
  • 100% financial security
  • Donation to a cause that is aligned with our Values

** excellent Greek wine is chosen and provided by us at each meal although you are welcome to “upgrade” and buy your own

  • Flights & Transfers
  • Personal costs
  • Dinner on two nights in Kardamyli
  • Tips (optional, of course)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if required)

For private groups a 30% deposit is required from the group leader and, thereafter, from each member of the party. A minimum of 50% of the party are required to book and pay their deposit within one month of the group leader. The balance is due 8 weeks before the departure date.

If you are travelling on one of our Scheduled Journeys, we require a 30% deposit on the core trip price (i.e. not on any extras) at the time of booking. The balance is due 8 weeks before the departure date.

Please make sure you are familiar with our Standard Terms & Conditions before booking.

You will receive two emails shortly after booking. First, a payment receipt, then a second email explaining next steps. Within two working days you will then be contacted by a member of our Guest Services team who will look after and advise you in the lead up to your travels.

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Getting there


You are responsible for booking your own flights. They are not included in the cost of the trip. On 2nd October there are flight options from London to Kalamata and Athens. On 8th September there are options from both Kalamata and Athens too.


In previous years we have found that our festival guests fly into/from an array of Greek airports over a number of days. So we have not included airport transfers. However, as the festival approaches we can help arrange road transport to/from Kardamyli and if there are other festival-goers happy to share the costs we can make this happen.

Protecting the Planet

We are thrilled that increasing numbers of our guests are choosing to travel by train and boat, often for environmental reasons. We understand that this may not be practical, but urge you to consider doing so if you can make it work. is a good place to begin your research on trains. Greece has a fantastic ferry service to the islands and far-flung corners of the mainland. Alternatively Liz Rees will organise your journey for you.

History of The Kardamyli Festival

Kardamyli is the perfect setting for a festival celebrating history, literature, politics and the arts, with its place in ancient history cemented by Homer as one of the seven cities that Agamemnon promised to grant Achilles in order to placate him after the extortion of Briseis during the Trojan War. But quite apart from this, Kardamyli's position beneath the imposing, snowcapped Taygetos Mountains and beside the Messinian Gulf make it, quite simply, an incredible location in which to spend a few days. In 2018 The Slow Cyclist began welcoming guests to the Mani, on 6-day journeys taking in the hills around Kardamyli and the moonscapes and hidden bays in the arid south. In doing so we worked with historian and author James Heneage and his wife James Heneage, who hosted our guests at their home in the hills. When James asked if we would like to be involved in a festival he was planning, we jumped at the opportunity. So in 2021 the festival welcomed 70 guests, 25 of whom were Slow Cyclists. Since moving to a new site directly beside the sea, the festival has grown so that it now welcomes 350 guests each year and attracts an array of fantastic speakers.

Our Ethos

Slow travel is about savouring the journey, the people, the sights, smells and sounds along the way. It encourages deeper connections, friendship and lifelong memories. It is local, thoughtful and sensitive to its impact. It is an antidote to mindless mass tourism. A bicycle journey – indeed, a journey with The Slow Cyclist – is a wonderful way to travel slowly. With an open mind, an open heart and a little juice in the legs, it can provide the ultimate slow exploration of new lands, their food, history, landscapes and people. But although it's our focus, we don't just want to run great trips. In fact, we spend much of our time thinking about how we can run great trips, while benefiting people and planet. Our values guide us to this end.

Exceptional Quality

Our passion for creating exceptional shared experiences in places we love is reflected in the journeys we design. We don't rest on our laurels, seeking continued improvement and innovation so that you, our guests, are enriched around every bend in the road.


Community Driven

The Slow Cyclist was born as an antidote to mass tourism. All stakeholders, from our guests and team in the UK to our local guides, from food producers we work with to the communities whose lives we touch, must feel our influence and impact is positive.

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Future Focused

We travel with a light footprint but that’s not enough. We can always do more. We are part of a generation that must act responsibly in business and in tourism; one that begins to restore our planet's biodiversity and delicate ecosystems.

Have more questions? +44 1865 410 356