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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.