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Situated on the southwest coast of the Peloponnese in the history-steeped Messinia region, Costa Navarino is an area of sandy beaches lined with luxe resorts and golf courses. Despite their size, the resorts here have a heavy focus on sustainable tourism, taking advantage of the area’s natural beauty. Beyond this development, though, you’ll find centuries-old towns and villages looking out across the Ionian Sea where you can dine on fresh seafood while watching the sunset.

When you’re not relaxing on the sand, you can visit some of the ancient Greek sites that are within easy reach of Costa Navarino. You could tour the ruins of the Palace of Nestor, dating to the 13th century BC, and see what remains of Ancient Messini, a former city founded in the 4th century BC. Olympia, and the Byzantine site of Mystras are all within two hours of this stretch of coast.

Things to see and do in Costa Navarino

Costa Navarino beaches and seaside towns

While the resorts have their own stretch of sand, there are plenty of other beaches to choose from in the area. We particularly like Voidokilia Beach, shaped like the Greek letter omega. Its crescent of honeyed sand is lapped by crystalline-blue water, with shrub-dotted dunes behind it.

The beach is just north of the tiny town of Gialova, which is also worth a stroll. It has its own small beach as well as a seafront promenade lined with restaurants with prime sunset views over the Bay of Navarino.

On the other side of the bay is Pylos, once a thriving Mycenean port, and where the Athenians once trounced the Spartans in the Peloponnesian wars. You can visit its two fortresses — the Neokastro (new fortress) in the heart of town, and the Paleokastro (old fortress) sitting just up the coast. You might also like to visit the Pylos Archaeological Museum, which helps paint a picture of what life was like here centuries ago.

The town’s Three Admirals Square bustles with shops and restaurants overlooking the marina, but you’ll also find preserved Ottoman and Venetian cannons and a monument dedicated to the Battle of Navarino in 1827.

Further south of the Messinia peninsula, you can visit Methoni’s 13th-century Venetian castle before relaxing on its sandy beach.

Ancient Messini

Around 45 minutes from Costa Navarino, the well-preserved ruins of this ancient Greek city lie close to the town of Kalamata. It’s less visited than other nearby archaeological sites like Olympia and Mycenae, yet just as impressive. You can visit with a private guide to delve deeper into its past.

The city was founded in the 4th century BC after the Theban general Epaminondas defeated Sparta, freeing the Messinians from centuries of Spartan rule and inviting those living in exile to return and rebuild their homes.

What resulted was a thriving city, evident in the structures that remain today. They include temples, a stadium, and even a theater that has been restored to host modern-day productions and concerts. Your guide will bring what you’re seeing to life, sharing tales of those who lived here and drawing out the details you might otherwise miss.

The Byzantine castle of Mystras

Originally built in 1249 by the Byzantines and later occupied by the Turks and Venetians, Mystras was a seat of power throughout the Middle Ages and remains a prime example of Byzantine architecture. Tour the castle with a private guide who can tell you more about its past and the people who once ruled here.

The castle consists of the central area of Mystras and the walls that surround it, all set high on a hill with expansive views over the surrounding countryside.

After being abandoned in the 19th century, today the UNESCO-protected site exists as preserved ruins set over two levels. With your guide, you’ll visit some of the town’s most notable churches, many of which display impressive frescoes inside. Among them is the church of Agios Demetrios, where Konstantinos Paleologos, the last Byzantine Emperor, was crowned. Your guide will point out architectural features and art on display, as well as giving you a good background in the history of Byzantine Greece.

The Palace of Nestor

Mentioned in both The Iliad and The Odyssey, The Palace of Nestor dates to the 13th century BC, when it was occupied by the Mycenean King Nestor. A short drive from Costa Navarino, today it’s one of the best-preserved Mycenean palaces in Greece. Visiting gives you a tangible feel for the region’s past.

You can view the site from raised walkways. The remains, which are under cover for protection, consist of four buildings — a main building believed to be the king’s residence, another residential building to the southwest, a workshop, and a wine magazine.

Best time to visit Costa Navarino

Spring (April to June) and autumn (September and October) are the best seasons for visiting Costa Navarino and the wider Messinia area. You’ll enjoy warm, sunny days, but see fewer fellow visitors at the main historical sights, around the towns, and on the beaches, compared to the hot summer months.

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Map of Costa Navarino

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    Places near Costa Navarino

    Accommodation choices for Costa Navarino

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Costa Navarino. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.