Messinia is a region with a long history, natural beauty, many attractions and sights, traditional villages and exotic beaches. To explore this area you have to spend at least one week, as it has many experiences to offer. You can relax in a tranquil beach or revel in Kalamata, the capital of the region that has great nightlife. Having explored Messinian and Laconian Mani, in this video I’m moving west for the first leg of the Peloponnese.
Pylos, a small seaside village of 2,300 inhabitants, is built around the castle constructed by the Ottomans in 1573 AD to control the southern entrance of Navarino bay. It is a place with a long history and is one of the important tourist destinations in Messinia. It is mentioned by Homer as the kingdom of Nestor, and in ancient times was almost always under Spartan rule. One important historical event in the region was the Battle of Navarino, where on October 20th, 1827, the fleets of the British, French and Russian navys with 27 ships, intervened in favor of the Greeks, and destroyed the Turkish fleet consisting of 82 ships. This battle was a milestone in the evolution of the Greek revolution. The fortress of Pylos, which is called Neokastro, is historically very interesting and worth visiting.
Gialova, a small coastal village of 250 inhabitants, where you will find a long beach with shops, restaurants and cafes. West of Gialova is the northern entrance of Navarino bay. The beach on this side is very quiet and without many people.
Methoni is a village of 1,300 inhabitants and has great historical significance. Due to its strategic position, it had always been the apple of discord for potential conquerors who wanted to make it their port. It is very picturesque because of the well-preserved medieval castle and it is a popular tourist destination with many seaside restaurants and cafes. The castle of Methoni was built by the Venetians when they occupied it in 1209 AD. It was built on a rock and covers an area of 93 acres.
Finikounda is one of the famous tourist destinations of Messinia and personally one of my favorite, as I have stayed here 2 of the 4 times I’ve visited the region. It’s an ancient historic site, allegedly founded by the Phoenicians who colonized the coast of the Peloponnese at this point. In recent history, it was a small fishing village founded in 1840 by refugees who arrived here from Crete. Finikounda is surrounded by large sandy beaches and in recent years has developed a tourist-friendly infrastructure, offering apartments, hotels and five campsites. In the village you will find many restaurants, cafes and tourist shops.
Koroni is a beautiful and picturesque seaside village of 1,700 inhabitants, with it’s characteristic trademark being the Venetian castle that overlooks it. What makes this castle different from the others in this area is that it’s remains are still inhabited. It is worth walking through the streets with rustic houses and courtyards, but also to see the beautiful views around the castle. Down in the harbor, you will find cafes and taverns where you can enjoy a meal by the water, but also the small streets just above the port road are rather adorable.
It is just 35km from Kalamata and is a small green paradise, full of small lakes and breathtaking waterfalls. An area that has remained for many years a secret by the locals, but in recent years it’s one of the important tourist attractions in Messinia.
- Castle of Navarino
At the edge of Gialova beach begins the path that leads to Paleokastro, otherwise known as the Castle of Navarino. This fortress guarded the northern entrance of the bay. To view it you have to walk for about twenty minutes.
It is located north of Pylos, at a distance of less than 17 km. Voidokilia is one of the most special beaches in Greece, as it is mainly famous for its unique, perfectly round shape. It is adjacent to the lagoon of Gialova from which it is separated by a strip of dunes. The beach and the surrounding area has been declared a place of great natural beauty and is included in the Network Natura 2000.
The beach of Gialova village, where at the southern part you may find restaurants and cafes with sunbeds and umbrellas and at the northern part you can relax as it is very quiet and without many people.
A settlement that is surrounded by large sandy beaches.
It is on the south side of Koronis castle and it is the closest option for swimming in the village.
It is located opposite and north of Koroni and it is one of my favourites in this area. Here you can relax, drink your coffee by the sea, or your ouzo, the traditional Greek spirit, in the tavern just above.
A large sandy beach with two beach bars that you should visit if you are in this area.
The beach of Velika village, where in its south part you’ll find a beach bar with trees that offers natural shade.