Karyes is a traditional village, nested on the foothill of mountain Parnon and surrounded by chestnuts and walnuts. It is situated in the northern-east side of Laconia prefecture, neighboring Arcadia prefecture, and in 950m of altitude. Today the village is one of the most vivid mountainous villages of Peloponnese and it offers to its residents and its visitors various services (hotels, refreshments, grocery, dining, bakery, carpentry, forge etc). Karyes are an ideal base for activities and excursions on Parnon mountain. The lovers of nature, hiking and tracking, are able to walk through the areas' paths and to enjoy the numerous beauties and colors of the nature, besides the fact that from Karyes passes through the european path Ε4, which starts from Pyrenees mountain in Spain, enters the northern of Greece at Florina and ends at Zakro of Crete.
The location is inhabited and well known since the ancient times, with references to its residents and the sanctuary of Caryatid Artemis. The village is also related to the Caryatids, the young girls of Karyes, which are illustrated in the famous monument in the Erechtheion of Acropolis, as well as in an effigy in a high site of the settlement. In Byzantium the place has been renamed as Arahova, which also means place of walnuts, and kept that name since the 20th century. Its inhabitants were well known for their independent spirit and they were sacrificed for the Hellenic nation's struggles. They participated at the Hellenic Nation's Revolution in 1821, they were burned down by Ibrahim and fought against the Germans in WW II, who destroyed the village during the "Burn down of Arahova".
Today its inhabitans deal with farming, beekeeping, cheese products and agriculture (cultivating mainly chestnuts and walnuts), with constructions, as well as with commercial, craft and tourism activities. There is also an active agricultural association, cooperative livestock and a producer group processing and packaging chestnuts. In Karyes anyone can find a large variety of local traditional products like: chestnuts, walnuts, organic olive oil and olives, local wine, tea, oregano, honey, meat and traditional cheese, bread, pastries and pasta. There are also cafes, taverns, grocery stores, hotels and guesthouses, that are open all year time.
The surface of the Karyes community of Sparta municipality is the biggest in Lakonia prefecture and it is situated in the north forming a triangle. Today, most of the land is used for livestock purposes (ships, goats etc.), but there is also a big forest situated at the north-east part of the community (Karyes Forest). On a small part of land near the village and on the “Karyes Plateau” they cultivate potatoes, wheat, oats, vegetables etc., and there are also some fields with walnuts and chestnut trees.
The village has two main parts: “Upper Karyes” and “Low Karyes” (or “ Rachi”).
The location of “Upper Karyes” has four settlements: “St. Andreas”, “St. Ioannis”, “Vergatsoula” and “Pinigoura”.
The location of “Low Karyes” has two settlements: “Rachi” (means ridge) and “Koutsomachalas”.
There is also another settlement outside the village called “Kalivia” (means huts) at the 6th km. of the Karyes-Sparta Road.
The forest full of colors being so near the traditional settlement, the picturesque village's square with its perennial plane tree, the hospitality of its residents and the stories told by the elderly, make the staying unforgettable and challenge the visitor to discover Karyes' hidden beauties.