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Located in the southwest corner of the Peloponnese just two hours from Athens, few tourists visit Messinia, but those who do often find themselves falling in love. The landscape will take your breath away, with everything from verdant valleys, olive groves, mountains and sandy beaches with calm waters for swimming to picturesque fishing villages and majestic Venetian fortresses. This is a place to discover a more laid-back way of life, where beaches are not filled with row after row of sunbathers and visitors come to appreciate its unspoiled beauty and authenticity.
Messinia At A Glance
Average Flight Time from the UK to Messinia 3 hours to Kalamata
Population of Messinia 237,000
What to See in Messinia Archaelogical Museum, Palace of Nestor, Temple of Apollo Epicurius. Go diving off the island of Proti
Towns or islands to visit near Messinia Athens, the Peloponnese including Kalamata, Stoupa, Pilos, Sparti – Nafpio, Corinth
Things to do in Messinia
Archaeological Museum of Messenia
Housed in the old market in the center of Kalamata, this museum will take you back in time through exhibits that display artifacts from prehistoric times through the Byzantine era. Some of the highlights include gold jewelry and figurines from a chamber tomb in the Ellinika region, and a funerary stele from the Sanctuary of Pamisos in the village of Agios Floros. The findings were uncovered through excavations, surveys and occasionally even accidental discoveries by ordinary citizens.
Palace of Nestor
One of the most well-preserved Mycenaean structures, the Palace of Nestor, can still be seen today. Built by King Nestor, it was featured in both Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. The two-story building was destroyed in the late 13th century BC by fire and was never rebuilt, but many of the artifacts were recovered and can be seen at the Archaeological Museum of Messenia and the Archaeological Museum of Chora.
Temple of Apollo Epicurius
This UNESCO-protected sanctuary located high in the mountains has been beautifully preserved with unique elements that make it rather unique. It draws history enthusiasts and archaeologists from across the globe to view and study it, while also offering awe-inspiring views.
The small uninhabited island of Proti is about two nautical miles off the coast from the town of Marathopolis and is one of the area’s most popular places to dive. Once a base for pirates, there are remans of ancient fortifications and ancient inscriptions on the rocks. The island is also home to a number of ruins including ancient temples, a citadel, acropolis and monastery. A dozen dive sites are hosted here, offering the chance to dive among damselfish, sea turtles, rays and other marine creatures, as well as view colorful sponges and coral.
There are many beautiful beaches along the coast that make for an ideal destination to spend the day by the sea. About six miles east of Kalamata is Mikri Mantinia, a Blue Flag white pebble beach that has a lifeguard, as well as seaside bars, cafes and tavernas. Perhaps the most stunning beach is Voidokilia, a sheltered bay hidden behind sand dunes known for its diverse array of flora and fauna, as well as being near the mythical Nestor’s Cave where the ancient King of Pylos was said to have used as a haven for his cattle.
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