The Donkey House


The Donkey House offers high-quality accommodation for holiday rentals in the Greek village of Pragmatefti (Leonidio)

For bookings and other enquiries: email Ruth and Carl

This web page includes the following (clickable) items:

Photo below: View from the roof-top terrace of The Donkey House with olive groves on the nearby hillsides and the  Myrtoon Sea  in the distance.

INFORMATION:

  • Minimum Stay: 4 nights
  • Email Ruth and Carl directly for prices (from €30 per night in low season) or visit The Donkey House airbnb page
  • For monthly stays (up to 25% discount), please get in touch with us for a long-stay price.
  • £45 (€50) deposit payment is taken to secure your booking, the balance being due 14 days before arrival.
  • Free cancellation for COVID-related issues and your deposit will be refunded.
  • Regrettably, we do not allow pets in The Donkey House.

For more information on The Donkey House, see also our Facebook page

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The village of Pragmatefti: This beautiful traditional Greek village lies close to the east coast of the Peloponnese where the foothills of the Parnon mountain range meet the sea. It is the first village to the north of Leonidio and stands one kilometre steeply uphill above the main Athens to Leonidio coastal road. Standing on a rocky spur 250m above sea level, running down from a craggy hillside to the west, it provides superb views eastwards across the Myrtoon Sea towards the Argolis peninsula and the islands of Hydra and Spetses. Not surprisingly, Pragmatefti is a ‘protected’ village.
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View of the village and The Donkey House from one of the local footpaths.

View of Pragmatefti from the coast road

The Donkey House itself: Renovated in 2019, The Donkey House is suitable for two people (there are two single beds). It is a traditional Greek building with thick stone walls and a part-pitched, part-flat roof. The windows and door are typically small to protect the interior from extremes of temperature. In addition, there is air-con for hotter periods in summer (and a heater for mid-winter).

Photos: The Donkey House terrace

The steps leading down to The Donkey House

Inside, the Donkey House is a two-roomed L-shaped studio. The floor is stone-flagged in the traditional manner. In the main room are two single beds, an armchair, a small table and two chairs plus a modern kitchen fitted with a marble work surface, a microwave, electric hob and built-in oven plus an integrated refrigerator with small freezer. Wifi is connected.

 

 

The other half of the L-shape is taken up by a fully-fitted bathroom and walk-in shower. The washing machine is also to be found in the bathroom. A hot-water boiler heats up in a matter of minutes.

 

The accommodation also benefits from an adjacent terrace which provides stunning views down towards the sea and across to the nearby mountains. Here there is a garden table and two chairs. There is also access to the rooftop terrace.

Photo adjacent: Shower room.

 

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Getting to Pragmatefti: Many international airports offer direct flights to Athens International airport. From there it is a three and a quarter hour drive to Pragmatefti. First, this journey takes the motorway towards Corinth; then starts a scenic corniche-style road down the east coast of the Peloponnese peninsula.

A coach runs from Athens to Leonidio three times a day (only twice on Sundays) and stops by request at the turn-off to Pragmatefti. From there, a small metalled road runs one kilometre steeply uphill to the village. There is only a small basic shop in the village so a car or scooter adds immeasurably to a stopover in the Leonidio area (best prices for rental cars can be found in Athens although scooters can be hired in Leonidio town itself).

Some airports fly to Kalamata, usually late Spring to early Autumn. From Kalamata, a quiet motorway leads to Tripoli, then ‘ordinary’ roads eastwards to Astros, so joining the east coast route. This takes just over two hours.
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Parking in the village: Small cars can be driven up the main street to a small car park (just before the church in the middle of the village). The Donkey House stands on the small street opposite the church. Camper-vans and other large vehicles can be left in the larger and easily-reached car park at the edge of the village; from here, it is a 300m walk uphill to the church.
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Local facilities: In the village of Pragmatefti there is a small shop with some basics. The closest tavernas are at Sampatiki (4 minutes drive) and Livadi (5 minutes drive). The ‘capital’ of this region is Leonidio, a vibrant small town (12 minutes drive) with two supermarkets, several fuel stations, two cash machines/ATMs, a health centre, pharmacies, and a multitude of other shops, tavernas and restaurants.
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Activities in the vicinity: Beaches are of the expected Aegean high standard (i.e very clean, usually with small white pebbles, and with friendly beach bars and/or tavernas) and within 5 to 20 minutes drive are the beaches of Tyros, Livadi, Theopafto, Sampatiki Harbour, Lakkos, Plaka, Plaka Harbour and Poulithra. Water sports equipment is available in high summer at some of the beaches.

More details of local beaches can be found on a mobile website developed by Erwin Blom and Leonieke Daalder whilst staying at the Donkey House (donkeybeaches.glideapp.io). This app is only accessible on mobile devices.

The beach at Plaka harbour

Hiking amidst the mountains inland near Agios Vasileios

Theopafto, the nearest beach to The Donkey House

The Donkey House is very convenient for sport climbing in the Leonidio area (the nearest ‘sector’, Sabaton, is 5 minutes drive away). Sport climbing is fast developing in this area; Leonidio is now one of Europe’s top areas for sport climbing from Autumn, through Winter, and into Spring. Some sectors, such as Jupiter, Mars, Panorama, Elona, Nifada and Sabaton are ‘usable’ even in the height of summer. In total, around Leonidio and nearby Kyparissi there are around 2000 equipped routes spread around more than 70 different sectors. Guided climbing can be booked with the very experienced, local-based (and multi-lingual) climbing guide, Simon Montmory. Details of climbing in the area are covered by Greece Sport Climbing: the Best of (Aris Theodoropoulos, 2017), Leonidio & Kyparissi Climbing Guidebook (Panjika Cooperative, 2021) and Leonidio and Kyparissi (Aris Theodoropoulos, 2021) . These are available at the Climb3Red shop on the main street in Leonidio, at the Panjika climbers’ cafe and at other outlets in Leonidio.

Bert f7c at Elona (photo by Rhian Cross)

La Chevre de Mr Seguin f8a at La Maison des Chevres

Red Honey f7b at Skiadianiko.

The area also offers good walking. At one end of the spectrum, there is superb mountain scenery with hiking up to almost 2000 metres above sea level on Mount Parnon. Alternatively, interesting ancient paved donkey trails (kalderimi) lead up the valley sides. One of these pleasing kalderimia actually leads up on the escarpment from the upper end of Pragmatefti village itself. At a gentler scale, country lanes wind across the flat farmlands between Leonidio and the sea. A useful map for getting an overview of the area at a good scale is the Parnonas/Mount Parnon 1:50 000 scale map from Anavasi which shows the topography with a 20m contour interval as well as most of the obvious paths. This map is available locally. Guided walks at all difficulties are run by the local company, Greece On Foot. Wendy Copage and her team organise tailor-made shorter easier walks to local beauty spots and other sites of interest. As Wendy is well-known for her knowledge of the ancient trails, she also runs a five-day super tour between the mountains and the sea, staying overnight in remote shepherd’s cottages and monasteries. She also has an extensive knowledge of the wildlife of the Peloponnese.

Twenty five minutes drive north of the village canyon ascents are being developed for the adventurous, with short sections of via ferrata.

On one of the Greece On Foot hikes. Ruth is pointing at Pragmatefti

In the Tserfos canyons

As for wildlife, the area around Pragmatefti reveals some interesting creatures. Locally, there is the expected selection of Greek lizards, geckoes and other smaller creatures whilst, in the woodlands, foxes and the weasel-like beech martens are common. Tortoises are regularly encountered and you may have to encourage them to cross the road a little more quickly! Actually level with, and flying only a few hundred metres from The Donkey House terrace, you will see regularly an elegant short-toed eagle. A pair of ravens are locals too. Possibly the most exciting of the local wildlife are the loggerhead turtle and the very rare and endangered Mediterranean monk seal: we have been lucky enough to see both of these off the rugged coastline south of Leonidio.
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Tortoise on the plateau above Pragmatefti village.

 

Other attractions, both local and further afield:  A short drive inland up the Dafnon Gorge leads to the stunning location of the monastery at Elona. You may hear ethereal ecclesiastical singing in the mornings. Local honey and other specialities can be bought here. In hot weather, the winding road continues to bring you to the shady mountain village of Kosmas where there is running water from fonts and restaurants sheltered by giant plane trees. Elsewhere in the region there is an elusive village where amazing waterfalls gush all year…

The monastery at Elona

On longer days out, it is possible to visit some world-famous archeological sites (such as the Bronze Age acropolis of Mycenea/Mykines and amphitheatre at Epidavros/Epidauros), castles (such as at Argos) and attractive harbours and cafes (such as at Napflion). It is also possible to pass over the wild hills southwards to visit other ‘travelogue’ sites, including the island village of Monemvasia.
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The eponymous donkey/Ο επώνυμος γάιδαρος

Enjoy your stay in this beautiful part of Greece.

For more details, e-mail Ruth and Carl. See also our Facebook page.
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