The ancient Greeks believed that one of the gateways to Hades was located in the cave at Tenaros. The fishermen of Mani seem to still cling to that idea as they point out the narrow opening in the rocks and tell you that this is the path to Hell. The cave can be reached by boat from the village of Kotronas; the ride to the cave is truly legendary.
The boat takes you past the entire coast of Prosiliaki (Eastern) Mani, allowing you to enjoy the view from a distance of the imperious bulk of Mount Sagia, the foot of which is adorned with the Maniot towers that rise from a succession of hamlets such as Halikia, Nyfi, Kokala, Aghios Kyprianos, and, higher up the slope, Lagia. You will sail past the safe haven of the Porto Kayio cape and enter Porto Sternes. In antiquity this was where the living would come to talk to the souls of their dearly departed. You will also see a passage hewn out of the rock on the eastern side of the cape, which, according to Pausanias, marked the way to Hades for the souls of the dead. On the coast you may spot a few of the remaining ruins of the Sanctuary of Poseidon of Tenarios (or Gaeaochos). Centuries later, the local Christians used the stones of the temple to build the chapel of Aghion Asomaton beside the former location of the temple.

A•er taking in all of these interesting sites, continue the boat ride to the gateway of Hades. The legendary cave is awe-inspiring. If, however, it is a windy day and the waves are crashing in, you may not find the experience so rewarding and may be unable to proceed any further. If this is the case, head back to Porto Sternes for a snack of syglino and fresh tomato salad at the tiny taverna there, and leave Hades for another day.

2016-03-11T19:13:03+03:00