Mythical place, full with ancient myths and contemporary folklore, fear of the ancient and modern sailors, cape Tainaro is the southernmost part of mainland Greece, the Balkan peninsula, and mainland Europe. Mixed myth and history, its authority is lost in the past but also detected in modern times. According to tradition, Tainaros was a mythological person, who gave his name to the cape and the city founded in the area. There are different opinions about his origin: the son of Zeus, son or grandson of Icarus or maybe son of Poseidon. The area in ancient times was an important place of worship, initially dedicated to the Sun, whose worship was identical to that of Apollo. Tradition even says that Apollo gave Tainaro to Poseidon and in return he received Pytho (Delphi). Tainaro was the religious center of ancient Laconia area, where the worship of Poseidon was taking place. Its cavernous temple was located in a grove, where pilgrims and sailors could find shelter. On the waters of its spring, according to the legend, mirroring pictures of ports and ships that one wanted to see, seeking for relatives, were visible. Even today, charming magic and a mystical aura surrounds the place. It is the area were the dark gates of Hades, guarded by the terrible Cerberus, part of the Neptune Necromanteio, are found. And a reminder: on these very waters that you will sail and swim, Arion, according to mythology, fell victim to pirates and was saved by dolphins who were charmed by his music!
Pavlopetri is the name of the islet and the coast next to Viglafia village. The ancient city of Vies lies a short distance from the island, submerged a few meters below sea surface. The city was discovered in 1904 when geologist Phocion Negris, chairman of the Academy of Athens, reported the existence of an ancient submerged city in the area between Elafonissos and the beach Punta Elafonissou in southern Laconia. Since then, systematic recording initially and, later, excavations and coordinated research by several institutions and scientists of various specialties, Greek and foreign, revealed a rare prehistoric city with residential planning (buildings, roads, squares), which covers an area of approximately eight football stadiums. It was the first sunk city to be mapped fully digitally and recorded in three dimensions (2009) and then recreated with the aid of technology. It has to be stressed that the mapping of the subsurface antiquities and the production of three-dimensional photo-realistic modeling of submerged architectural elements from Pavlopetri has been achieved using innovative methods, whereas the work of the archaeological team has been compiled in a video documentary by BBC 2, "The city beneath the waves: Pavlopetri "which aired on BBC 2 in 2011. Pavlopetri represents the urban lifestyle. It is a port of the Bronze Age, submerged for thousands of years on the southern coast of Laconia.
The ancient city of Assopos coincides with the remains on the small peninsula SE of modern Plytra. The city is attested by inscriptions and excavations to be of the Late Hellenistic era and, according to Pausanias, was originally a member of the League of Laecedemonians and later the League of the Free Laconians. During Roman times it has been one of the most important cities of the peninsula of Malea and an important station of the Roman imperial road network. The prosperity of the city appears to have continued until the early, at least, Byzantine times as indicated by writings of the period and the surviving architectural remains. Today ancient relics are visible on the coast as well as in the sea, in which most of the ancient city has sunk. On the coast funerary monuments, at least two bath buildings, one of which with mosaic floors, and other relics such as buildings, cisterns, etc. are visible. In the marine area SE of the peninsula part of a large building of the Hellenistic era, made of rectangular stone blocks from nearby quarries, , is visible close to the coast. The existence of a submerged ancient pier to the east of the small peninsula is also possible.
The particularly clean seas of Laconia and the wealth of the seabed offer many thrills to diving enthusiasts. The beauty of the seabed and the rich underwater life is revealed in most of the beaches. Whether in the Mani peninsula or in Epidaurus Limera, the eager diver’s reward will be great. Free diving in the Laconian gulf is allowed south of Cape Psifia, from Trinissa to Kokkinia in its northern part, as well as in Elos and Skala. Diving using bottles is free in the bay of Epidaurus Limera, starting from Monemvasia and including the coasts of the Myrtoon Sea. Near Elafonissos lies the submerged prehistoric settlement of Pavlopetri and the ancient city of Assopos (see above), which extends partially into the sea and partly on the shore of this picturesque town. Due to the historic importance of these two archaeological sites, diving is allowed only with a snorkel - no bottles. In Elia and in the Xyli promontory are also large underwater caves. The outcrops of Kavomalias (cape Maleas) are simply shocking and full of life. If you want to make an impressive and easy dive head down to the fossil forest under Aghia Marina, wear your diving equipment and swim about 200m to the southwest. On the clean sand of the bottom you will see an entire intact motorship, the «Kaptan Ismail Hakki» which sank on January 30, 1978, carrying iron ore. The image of the brutal ship on the pristine white sand is fabulous and memorable. In the Mani peninsula, Limeni Bay is a favorite destination for divers. Just a few meters from the beach traces of an ancient shipwreck are visible. They belong to an ancient freighter carrying amphorae, part of which remain on the sea bottom, dated in the early Roman period. Visibility in the area is excellent and the site is very accessible (just 100 meters from the shore, the bow in approximately at 8 meters depth and the stern at 12). Slightly more to the west (approximately 25-30 meters), parts of a sunk bomber airplane, shot down during the Second World War, are visible. Apart from these underwater attractions, the simple swimmer can easily find the beauty of the seabed and its rich life in most of the beaches of Laconia. Please have in mind that underwater activities with diving equipment are allowed from sunrise to sunset and the use of a speargun together with bottles is strictly prohibited.