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. 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.
Today the village is one of the most vivid mountainous villages of Peloponnesus and it offers to its residents and its visitors various touristic services.
Karyes is 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.
Furthermore from Karyes passes through the european path E4, which starts from Pyrenees mountain in Spain, enters the northern of Greece at Florina and ends at Zakro of Crete.
Browse into the website of Karyes, get to know the sights of the place, the historical and folkloric elements, as well as the events and activities that take place every year in Karyes by the active local Associations, which provides a traditional and pleasant staying to the residents and visitors of this place.
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 Megali (Great) Arachova, a name that was kept since the 20th century. The origin of the name Arachova is due to either the Slavic language (=place of wallnuts) or Vlach (= mountain ridge). 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, 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. Most of the land is used for livestock purposes, 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 consists of two main locations:
- The location of "Upper Karyes" that has four settlements: St. Andreas, St. Ioannis, Vergatsoula and Pinigoura.
- The location of "Lower Karyes" has two settlements: Rachi (Ridge) and Koutsomachalas.
- The settlement Kalivia (Huts) at the 6th km. of the Karyes-Sparta Road.
Its inhabitans deal with farming, beekeeping, cheese products and agriculture, with constructions, as well as with commercial, craft and tourism activities.
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, restaurants and taverns, grocery stores, hotels and guesthouses, that are open all year time.