Messinia, in the Peloponnese, is a rich and beautiful region that many visitors overlook. Only two hours from Athens, it is known for its olive groves, ancient sites, rich cuisine and divine beaches. Sit back and relax, because we’re here to show you what you should do in Messinia, Peloponnese.
Visit the capital
The second city of Peloponnese behind Patras, Kalamata is the main port and capital of the Messinia region. This humble city may look like a small town, but it has all the advantages of a city. With a wealth of museums, cultural events and a low-key yet vibrant nightlife, it should definitely be on your agenda. From the Byzantine churches to the municipal gallery, cool and hip bars and restaurants and waterfront establishments, Kalamata will give you a run for your money while still offering relaxing and quiet corners.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Spoil yourself at Costa Navarino
The luxury resort of Costa Navarino is located by the water and consists of two five-star hotels, villas, golf courses and private beaches. Its highlight is undeniably the plethora of cultural activities available. Don’t despair if you can’t afford to stay here as there are other more budget-friendly options in the region.
Soak up some vitamin D on the Messinian beaches
The coastline of Messinia features several beautiful beaches, including Stoupa, Finikouda, Kalogria, Velika and the omega-shaped Voidokilia, in the Gialova Lagoon, with its diverse fauna and flora. Their natural beauty, low-key vibes and length will certainly entice you to spend the whole day by the water. If you drop by Voidokilia, don’t forget to check out the mythical Nestor’s Cave, where Hermes is said to have hidden the cattle he stole from Apollo.
Dive around Proti Island
Messinia has its own set of islands, including the small but beautiful Proti, a paradise for history buffs right across Marathopoli. Despite its small size, the island features some archeological sites of ancient temples, the ruins of a citadel, an acropolis from pre-classical and Mycenean times and the monastery of Panagia Gorgopigi. Thanks to its good visibility, it is also home to a dozen dive sites where you can spot turtles, coral, sponges rays and damselfish.
Explore its ancient sites
Messinia is filled with ancient sites, including the Palace of Nestor and the ancient city of Messene. The Palace of Nestor is one of the most well-preserved Mycenean structures still visible today. Located 14 kilometers (8.5 miles) from Pylos, the palace was built by King Nestor, son of Neleus, and features in both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Comprising several sections and built on two floors, the palace was destroyed by fire in the late 13th century BCE and was never rebuilt, but many of the artifacts were recovered and are now on display at the Archaeological Museum of Chora and at the Archaeological Museum of Messenia, in Kalamata. Ancient Messene is another fascinating site, with some temples, residential houses and public buildings still standing.
Less than 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Kalamata, the little town of Koroni awaits. Built amphitheatrically on a hill, the small town is dominated by another Venetian feat. Dominating the cape of Akritas, on the Messinian Gulf, the Castle of Koroni was constructed in the 13th century by the Venetians, before undergoing some renovations when the Ottomans took control of the region in the 16th century.
Dedicated to Apollo, the god of healing and prophecy, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius is a UNESCO-listed sanctuary that has been surprisingly well preserved throughout the centuries. Its striking and unique elements make it a one-of-a kind temple that archaeologists and history buffs the world over come to visit and study. High up in the mountains, the temple is protected from the elements by a tent, but outside offers striking views.
Overlooking the sea and the island complex of Oinousses, the castle in the beach town of Methoni was built on a rocky outcrop by the Venetians in the early 13th century. One of the largest Venetian castles in the Mediterranean, it includes a stone bridge of 14 arches connecting the castle to the shore, making it a stunning sight to behold as you arrive. The gate bear the lion of Saint Marc, the symbol of Venice. Walk around the site to discover the ruins of two Turkish bathhouses and admire the inscriptions on the walls.
With its complex of waterfalls and natural pools running through a gorge, Polilimnio is a green haven in Messinia. A day at Polilimnio, though quite strenuous to reach, is one of the best ways to stay cool on a hot summer’s day. Swim in the fresh water, admire the nature and picnic at the nearby Mavrilimna Lake.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.