A trip from Tripoli to the spring of Alpheos is an exploration of the unique Arcadian nature. Beautiful and hospitable settlements and landscapes of immense beauty alternate with important archaeological monuments and places of worship.
The first stop on this tour is the amazing Valtetsi. A historic site, known for its contribution to the revolution. But it is also a wonderful, lively resort, and a popular destination for travellers. The village stands unchanged and beautiful in the ravine of southern Mainalo at 1050 metres altitude. Many commemorative events and festivals bring together locals and visitors alike all year round.
Asea used to be where the headquarters of the Municipality of Valtetsi were located. It is the birthplace of the great poet Nikos Gatsos. Divided into the upper and lower villages it is a beloved holiday destination. The village perseveres to keep its traditional style, it is beautiful and very hospitable. Travellers arrive here to enjoy the boundless nature and to marvel at the significant archaeological site. The ruins of the temple are attributed to Poseidon, and it appears that perhaps Athena was also worshipped in the same place. The existing findings are primarily from the Hellenistic period, but evidently the area has been inhabited sinceantiquity. There are findings concerning a prehistoric settlement here. Paliokastro overlooks the whole of Mantinia and wonderful paths unravel all around Asea. At the peak of the “all-seeing” Prophet Elias are the foundations of an ancient temple.
Through the beauty of the landscape, on a peaceful hilltop lies the Spetseropoulio Grove, a marvellous place for a walk. Here festivities are held that celebrate the unique wines of Mantinia and the whole area is flooded with visitors. A short distance from Lower Asea, Pausanias found the source of the river Alpheos. There was even a fountain which caught the water, known as Fragkovryso. The fountain has not survived, but the waters form a charming little stream, which was a meeting place of the Nymphs. This water source and two other springs to the south east are the sources of the rivers Upper Rous of Alpheos and Evrotas.
In this magical setting nestles the Grove of Metamorphosis, a dream-like place. This is where the great festival of the Transfiguration of Christ (Metamorphosis), and other festivities to celebrate the exceptional wines are held, these are surviving customs of ancient Mantinia. From the grove emerges the road to Arachamites, a traditional village of magnificent natural hues. The route is surrounded with chestnut trees. In front of the lush green village is the gorge of Elissona, now known as Barmpousana. Nature here is totally unspoiled, the ravine channels through and cools the forest, the visitor loses track of time. This place exists in order to vindicate enthusiasts of Arcadia who insist that it is indeed an earthly paradise.