What could be more off the beaten track than a genuine ghost town? Gythion itself is a traditional Greek fishing port, packed with shops, tavernas and authentic old buildings. But its main draw for visitors lies an hour – and several hundred years – away, in the abandoned city of Mystras. Known as the ‘Byzantine Pompeii’ and best discovered on the Mystical Mystras shore excursion, the mountainside settlement rises beyond the ruins of ancient Sparta (where a stop on the tour is also made). It is an eerily well-preserved network of medieval homes, palaces and churches, with rare 14th-century frescos to be found inside some of the grandest.
Wide green vistas surround the citadel, and the best views across the site have an unforgettable fairy-tale flavour. At Pantanessa you'll find sumptuous frescoes watched over by the nuns of Perivleptos.