Western Messinia actually is a puzzle. A puzzle of great history, myths, impressive beaches, imposing castles and Mycenaean palaces but it is also one of the most important stations for more than 250 species of birds of which 79 are on the ‘Red List’ of species under threat of extinction.
Historical references & geography
There are reports of Western Messinia in Homer’s Iliad, the oldest work of European literature. Nestor the wise King of Pylos is also mentioned when the famous and ingenious Odysseus was searching his way back home in Odyssey. From the Palaiokastro,the forgotten 13th century Frankish castle, the 360 view will amaze anyone that hikes to the top. The Ionian sea from the west, the wetland, the historical gulf of Navarino, the endless olive groves make this area one of the highlights.
Τhe geographical location of the island of Sfaktiria played an important role in the naval battle of 1827. Monuments in honor still exist at the island and they are dedicated to the English, Russians and French allies who fell in the naval battle of Navarino.
Apart from the Palaiokastro, that means Old Castle, a few kilometers away you can visit the New Castle or Neokastro. Impressive and well preserved.
Nature in all its glory
The wetland of Yalova is a Natura 2000 protected area that hosts thousands of birds, so you need to be prepared with binoculars and a camera. Most of them are rare like flamingos, swans and mallards. Notably important is the presence of the African chameleon. Here is the only place in Europe where it survives and reproduces.
Voidokilia, which actually means the belly of an ox, is maybe the most famous beach in Peloponnese. It has the shape of a horseshoe and turquoise water that looks like an exotic paradise. Kindly recommended to watch your steps at the sand dunes, sea turtles caretta caretta are laying their eggs there.
Activities in nature
Many options for hiking, walking, and wandering in the great Greek outdoors. Waterfalls, lakes, rivers can fill your vacations with a load of outdoor fun that also kids will enjoy. The area is also offered for watersports and especially the beaches of Mati and Lagouvardos if you love surfing. Wrecks are still on the seabed for diving enthusiasts and people who love snorkeling. Sea kayaking is also a highlight.
Home of the olive grove and much more
If a single olive branch has historically been a symbol of abundance, glory, and peace, then a whole region full of olive trees… is nothing less than a treasure. The olive groves are endless in Messinia and the top quality of the extra virgin olive oil is world renowed. It is worth an olive-oil tasting! After an experience like that you will learn about the varieties and you will be able to define the quality of the extra virgin olive oil. You will also find the wine tasting experience very interesting. If you like cheese, ask for local “talagani” and you will remember our suggestion…
Cultural and other experiences
- Where authenticity and nature reign supreme, at small seaside towns that are worth exploring such as Koroni, Methoni, and Pylos you can visit the castles and of course meet Greek princely hospitality and enjoy authentic cultural experiences.
- Keep chasing myths and history by visiting Nestor’s Palace and learn about the tablets written in Linear B texts.
- Every October around the 20th, the municipality of Pylos-Nestor organizes in memory of the battle of Navarino the “Navarinia”. An impressive celebration and representation of the great battle.
Chasing experiences around…
Going Northern but not far away, you are heading to the Iliac region. It is the place where the Olympic Games originated and were held between 776 BC and 394 AD, Ancient Olympia. The most magnificent sanctuary site of Zeus’ stood for more than 800 years and was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. The sculptor Pheidias created a statue of Zeus made of gold and ivory. It was placed on a throne in the temple and it stood 42 feet (13 m) tall!
Good to Know
Here are some basic info and fun facts about Western Messinia!