Monemvasia - Photography Tips

In Monemvasia Photogrpahy tips I will do my best to give you the top usefull tips for timing your visit, locating the good spots and taking in consideration the characteristics of the place, which could affect your photographic endeavor.

Monemvasia is an amazing place from a historical and photographic point of view. The first settlement was formed in 583 and since then changed many owners – Byzantines, Latins, Ottoman Turks, Venetians and lastly modern Greeks.

When you approach the town of Gefira, the mainland counterpart of Monemvasia, there is a nice spot with a small parking lot, from where you can take excellent shots of the island and the Monemvasia bridge.

 

The Lower town is located on the east part of the island, in the base of the rocks near the sea, so if you aim for the sunset slot, be aware that the Lower town will be in the shadow of the massive rock.

The best time to take shots of the Lower Town is at sunrise, but in order to do that you need to sleep in Monemvasia or Gefira. In the high season the prices are high and the availability – low. The Upper Town however is beautifully lit by the setting sun, so the safe bet is to arrive in the early afternoon and take the best from both cities, well… almost. 

My advice is to park your vehicle right after crossing the bridge as the parking here is not so in high demand as are the spots along the narrow road, which leads to the Lower city.

The distance can be easily taken on foot and this will save you valuable shooting time. While walking to the entrance of the Lower city and then back don’t miss the opportunity to shoot the cliffs hanging above you, as well as the bay, enclosed between the island and the mainland.

 

Upon entering the Lower city you will have numerous photo opportunities, but be aware that near dinner time there are a lot of people searching for a table in the not so numerous restaurants, so maybe your shooting options will be limited.

Forget about tripods as there are too many tourists in the narrow streets. Provide some time for navigating to the Upper Town as there aren’t many signs and you will need some luck and natural instincts of a pathfinder in order to reach the Upper Gate.

On your way up stop and look down as you have quite a few stops with excellent vistas to the Lower Town, the sea, the surrounding cliffs, overgrown with succulents and dry thorny flowers and cacti.

Near the Upper Gate you have a good opportunity to shoot a panorama of the whole Lower City and the sea. Still you will need to swar a bit in the postprocessing afterwards as the light is not consistent throughout the whole panorama, especially near sunset.

The Upper Town is a real photo bonanza – ruins, vistas, thorny succulents over the rocks, outlooking the sea. Carefully choose your steps and shooting spots – one misstep and you will fall from a very high point.

Also be aware that outside the paths there may be ancient underground cisterns, hidden in the overgrown vegetation, which can easily crumble beneath your feet and lead to serious injuries, if not the worse.

The remains of the St.Sofia Church are an excellent opportunity at sunset, as are the surrounding ruins. When you start to climb down towards the Lower City check out the porches and ruins on your left near the terraces, overlooking the sea. They offer quite good shots.

VIDEO tips. If you have the time, have brought along a tripod and there are clouds and wind, the opportunities for Time Lapses are quite good in the Upper Town. I haowever didn;t have the time or the necessary conditions to shoot such.

DRONE tips. Monemvasia is one of the few historical places in Greece where it is still allowed to fly a drone (at least at this time of writing). I recommend choosing a spot at the east part of the plateau in order to have easier access and shooting point from the sea to the land (east to west) in order to get the whole island from the sea.

I made the mistake to ascend the drone from approximately the center of the plateau in order to have a strong signal for the west part of the rock, but this limited my options for a good overall shot from the sea (due to battery limitations, strong winds and fear of sea birds’ revenge). 

I hope the Monemvasia photography tips has served you well as a photographic guide to shooting in this beautiful historic location. You can check all my photos from the place in the gallery below.

The best photo spots are marked on the map.

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