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Messinia

Amid Kyparissia mountains along with Lykodimo mountain (960m) to its extension, mount Taygetos and, in the center of the prefecture, the verdant plain of Messinia, are harbored charming villages and ruins of prehistoric settlements, archaeological sites, medieval castles, picturesque monuments. With prolonged cool summers, sweet springs, gentle autumns and mild winters, this “land of fair fruitage and watered by innumerable streams” as Euripides called it, provides various opportunities of experiencing the local cuisine, the coastal environment and underwater life, scenic landscapes, unique to each season.

Whether you are interested in exploring rocky shores or the underwater world and shipwrecks, rock climbing at Proti island, sailing Sfaktiria in Navarino bay, bird watching in Gialova or simply laying and strolling along the sandy beaches, or relaxing in a village square, Messinia is a diverse destination.

Beaches: The west coast of the region has vast sandy beaches with crystal clear waters; some are long strips of sand, others like natural harbors and secluded bays. Within 20km, you can reach beautiful Voidokilia -the “sandy Pylos” as presumed that Homer was referred to it-, Golden Coast (Mati), Lagouvardos, Vromoneri, Barlas, Golden Sand (Divari), Petrochori, Romanos (Glyfadaki).

Lagouvardos is a large sandy beach surrounded by pine trees and mountainous background. Surf lessons are possible here, as well as canoeing out of the bay to sail the beautiful waters for snorkeling, fishing or for relaxing. While it is a summer paradise, for surfer lovers is a favorite place to visit also during wintertime.

Barlas is a picturesque sandy and rocky beach surrounded by cliffs, caves and small coves. It is great for snorkeling and fishing.

Vromoneri is sheltered little bay with thermal springs gushing out from the rocks. It is nice for snorkeling around the cliffs and fishing.

Golden Coast is the longest beach of the area with nice golden sand. Locals call it also Mati. Here you will always find a remote spot to swim. It is also a nest place for the loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta).

Romanos, also called Glyfadaki, is located near the homonym village. It is a long beach with fine sand while close to the next village is located Petrochori beach surrounded by many small bays one next to another.

Voidokilia is a large semi-circular bay with blue-green shallow waters and fine golden sand. It is surrounded by sand dunes and is sheltered by steep cliffs at the edges. A wonderful way to escape the sun can be a short hike up the hill to Nestor’s cave and the old castle of Pylos, Palaiokastro. At the other side of Voidokilia over the hill, lies the ruins of a vaulted tomb attributed to Thrasymedes, son of Nestor.

Divari sandy beach stretches along for 2km into Navarino bay separating its sea waters from the lagoon. It has shallow calm waters with fine golden sand. From there you can climb up to Palaiokastro or take an evening stroll to the Gialova lagoon.

Islands: Opposite to Marathopoli at a short distance lies Islet Proti, like its natural harbor, which has deep-blue clear waters and sea caves. The landscape is greenery with vertical limestone, covered by evergreen bushes, wild peer trees and wild olive trees. The island’s sheltered bays were once a refuge for sailors, and pirates legends say, and there are remains of a circular wall of ancient fortification dating back to the Mycenaean or Prehistoric Era. The unique sandy beach of Vourlia is in a quiet cove with crystal turquoise waters. From the little port of Marathopoli you can take the boat to the beach or for a tour around the island. It is also great for snorkeling, climbing and diving.

In the Navarino bay lies the small island of Sfaktiria, associated with major historical events from 425 B.C., and the islets of Fanari and Marathonisi, while off the southwest coast you can sail the Messinian Oinouses island complex. They are uninhabited with mostly low vegetation, a protected strawberry tree (arbutus) forest that reach 12m height and is more than 10.000 years old, kri-kri goats, subspecies of mouflon sheeps and many bird species.
An underwater gorge (5.267m), the deepest point of the Mediterranean is situated southwest of the islands.

Nature: Generous and pristine nature, unspoiled valleys that cut through the evergreen hills surrounded by ancient sanctuaries and cities, hide wonderful waterfalls, such as Neda, the marvelous 15 waterfalls and lakes of Polilimnio and the little paradise of Valta.

Neda has its springs close to the village of Neda in mountain Lykaion, the birthplace of Zeus and homeland of Pan. It is a narrow long gorge with different levels of trekking. The best time to visit it shall be the summer months, with most favorable period between end of August and beginning of September since the water can be warmer. In Polilimnio, after a short hike wherever you end up it is amazing.

Divari lagoon of Gialova is a natural wetland characterized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and part of the Natura 2000 area -protected for its rich and various fauna, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and for the flora. Thousands of birds (egrets and herons, flamingos, cormorants, eagles, etc.) flying to Africa in autumn and returning in spring to stopover, while many species overwinter at the lagoon. It is a small area where you can spot most of the birds.
The best period for observation is from September till May, especially from the beginning of September for the king of the lagoon, the osprey. Spring migration starts from the end of February. Many species stop by mostly till mid April, while the Glossy Ibises pass the whole spring. Ornithologiki has created an interesting booklet and nature trails with birdwatching hides.
Along the narrow stretch between the lagoon and the sea is also home of the only African chameleon found in Europe.

In short distance from the lagoon, passing through dense vegetation you can rejuvenate yourselves to the cool waters of Schinolaka (or Kalamari); a little lake with a waterfall surrounded by rocks, plane trees which in spring guests many orchid species and wild flowers.

Archeological sites: From the Mycenaean vaulted tombs dotted about, an indication that around 3500 years ago an important site of the Mycenaean civilization was located here, to Ancient Messini which was at its peak in the 4th century B.C., the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae (86 km), and the castle of Methoni along with its castled sister-city of Koroni (66 km), you can walk side by side with history.

For those who love archaeological sites, apart from the Mycenaean Palace of Nestor on the hill of Ano Eglianos, you can visit the beehive tombs of Chora, Tragana as well as the ones in Peristeria hill (8 km NA of Kyparissia).
On your way to Kyparissia, at the charming old town lies its castle with elements of Mycenaean architecture in the walls, a turret and restorations during Byzantine times.

Pylos hosts two noteworthy castles, the old castle (Palaiokastro), a mix of Frankish and Venetian architectures set on an ancient acropolis, and the new castle (Niokastro). It is a rectangular, two-stored stone building built in 1573 and it houses the museum and the centre for underwater archaeology.

Ancient Messene (Ithome) is one of the most significant cities of the antiquity in terms of its form, size and level of preservation, set in an intact and fertile environment at the foothills of the limestone mass of ithomi. It is a remarkable example of a typical ancient city, having not been destroyed or covered by later settlements.

The site of ancient Olympia, located in short distance (83 km), would be also well-worth taking the time to explore for a lengthy visit.
List of museums

  • Archaeological museum of Chora
  • Antonopouleion archaeological museum of Pylos
  • Museum of Ancient Messene in Mavromati
  • Archaeological museum of Messinia
  • Benaki archaeological museum of Kalamata
  • Historical and focklore museum of Kalamata
  • Railway museum of Kalamata

Voidokilia, one of the most photographed beaches of Greece; you could spend a whole day here until the sun sets at the middle of the bay. A spectacular almost-round bay of thin white sand surrounds the crystal-waters of Voidokilia that often lend a blue-green color.

The beach is surrounded by archeological sites and natural parks so no constructions were allowed here; you will find no bar on the beach but there is a space where to park your car because this famous beach always attracts many visitors. However, it is so long that if you walk to its end, you will certainly find yourself alone.

Over its left hill dominated the Old Castle of Navarone that you can visit on foot before the sun sets and on the right hill, you can see a Mycenean tomb and discover a hidden mini-beach with hot springs.

things to do in Messinia

Luminous cruise

Sail and explore luminous waters, coastline and hidden forest on a pirates' island and beyond

We have named this cruise "luminous" as it is characterized by beautiful colors and clarity of the waters ...

Sunset dinner cruise

Experience summer sunset at sea

This cruise celebrates the spellbinding moment of the sun's setting with the background of open sea and the Proti island. During the cruise you will have an opportunity to take ...

Surfing and SUP lessons

Surf or sup on one of the best surfing beaches in Greece

Our qualified surf instructors will help you improve your surfing skills covering wave-reading and catching ability while improving your balance, steadiness and board control. There is nothing like catching your ...

Living with olive trees

Take part in a millennia old culture which has formed around the cultivation of the olive tree

One week of an ultimate olive tree experience:

During your stay you will take part in olive tree harvesting, witness olive oil production process, have many opportunities ...

places to stay in Messinia

Thanos Village

Gialova, MessiniaLocated on a hillside and featuring stunning views over the sandy beaches of Gialova, Thanos Village is a small family run property offering 2 swimming pools and a poolside bar. ...
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Tina's House

Pylos, Messinia

Neoclassical hotel with comfortable modern rooms decorated with vintage touches. Great for romantic getaway for its dreamy views on the glorious Navarino bay and the picturesque town and harbor.

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Mesogeios Hotel

Marathopolis, Messinia

Hotel "Mesogeios" is a family business that has been designed in conjunction with the pleasant and friendly environment, contributes to experience a peaceful and relaxing holiday, enjoying a genuine natural ...

Aelia Home Suites

Marathopolis, Messinia

Aelia Home Suites, a newly-constructed complex just five kilometers from the picturesque fishing village of Marathopolis in southwestern Messinia, can motivate visitors to explore the wider area of western ...

Esperides

Marathopolis, Messinia

Comfortable and cheerful apartments in a spectacular seaside location surrounded by a large estate, with great facilities for kids and adults alike, with an access to a ...