Messinia or Messene Greece, is the westernmost prefecture of the Peloponnese, covering these four areas Kalamata, Messini, Oichalia, Pylos, Trifylia and parts of Mani. Messene Greece is a mostly verdant part of the Peloponesse, including the more rich landscapes of Mani. The capital town of the Messene Greece prefecture is Kalamata. Messene Greece is known for its world renowned Kalamata olives, the exceptional extra virgin olive oil and for its juicy oranges. It’s natural beauty, the serenity that the region exudes and the expansive visuals make it a fast developing destination, with a seaside golf course as a highlight has spurred the sustainable construction of many new luxury hotels. The wonderful thing about Messene Greece is that it remains unspoilt although it is easily accessible and able to offer both luxury or more modest accommodation options to its visitors, depending on preferences.
Things to do in Kalamata Greece in the port town and capital of Messenia include walking around the city, exploring the attractions or checking out its picturesque old center. Kalamata is the largest settlement in the prefecture and has played a significant role in forming the cultural and agricultural characteristics of the area. Kalamatianos folk dance originates from Kalamata as do the famous Kalamata olives. Things to do in Kalamata Greece include visiting a handful of byzantine churches, a cathedral, the 14th century Frankish Villehardouin castle as well as the Benakeio Archaeological Museum and the Folklore and History Museum. The younger crowds may find the Railways Park interesting and fun activity while its main beach has been awarded a blue flag, ensuring the quality of the waters for a carefree and relaxing day under the sun.
A quaint, seaside town, Kardamyli is known for its crystalline waters, its seafront tavernas, the fresh fish and seafood although meat dishes are done really well too. Actually, an ancient settlement, Kardamyli has been mentioned in the texts of Homer, in the Iliad volumes, and still retains its archaic name. It has various great spots that command an incredible view of Mount Taygetus called Prophet Elias while nearby is the Viros gorge. The beaches along its coast are pebbly and inviting, two of which are Foneas and Ritsa beaches. Kardamyli is quite a beautiful place, with a colourful square of quaint little shops while the neighbouring old hamlet of Proastio is one of the oldest settlements in the greater region, with over 40 religious buildings, including monasteries, chapels and churches to explore.
Pylos is a fascinating town on the far western coast Messenia. During the Venetian times Pylos was referred to as Navarino, which is where the Old Navarino Castle gets its name from. However, the namesake castle is not all there is to admire in Pylos. Attractions in Pylos also include the new fortress called Neokastro and the ruins of Nestor’s Palace. One of the most beautiful beaches in the entire region is found near Pylos, that of Voidokilia beach, which is possibly the most impressive beach in the entire prefecture. The overall charm of Pylos town is responsible for its touristic development in recent years, with many newly built, top tier luxury hotels promising guests a premium stay experience.
Mani Greece is unique for a variety of reasons. It is the only place that is split into three areas and across two prefectures. A place that is divided not only geographically but also in natural beauty and local mentality. Mani Greece is compartmentalised into Exo Mani (Outer Mani), Kato Mani (Lower Mani) and Mesa Mani (Inner or Deep Mani), the latter two of which technically belong to the Laconian prefecture. Notoriously, Laconian Mani is more barren and more rugged than Messenian Mani, with harsher, windswept landscapes and laconic architecture that blends into the scenery. Messinian Mani is much more verdant and positioned with direct access to the Ionian sea, which accounts for its wonderful beaches. The capital towns of Mani Greece are the stone-built Areopolis and the coastal town of Gytheio. Each region of Mani Greece has its individual charm and a road trip along the coast is a highly recommended way to discover it all.