Messinia Greece

Generous nature, historic wars and a clash of several cultures during the millennia have given way to a little piece of paradise on Earth. Filled with stone towers, enchanting castles, stunning beaches, diving opportunities, and famous sites such as Olympia and Messene, the prefecture of Messinia is bound to captivate every eco visitor. Its capital is Kalamata, actually built on reclaimed swampland, and now known for its castle, lazy coffee shops by the sea and cultural events. It features a couple of must-see museums and serves as a good starting point for excursions to the rest of Messinia.

Blessed with an outstanding sandy beach Messinia boasts a variety of authentically traditional and picturesque villages to wander through. Happening beach towns such as Methoni with its castle and Kyparissia with cobblestone streets contrast with the agriculture seaside town of Gargaliani and coastal town of Kardamili beside the Virou gorge. Kardamili is also the site of a historic castle and Agios Spiridon – one of the oldest churches in Greece dating from the 6th century. Noteworthy as well is the historical, traditional town of Pylos that feels more like an island and hides its troubled history well. The town of Koroni, built on the site of a prehistoric settlement, is also amazing with its castle, whitewashed houses and narrow streets. Like many others, Koroni's history and culture was shaped by ancient peoples, as well as by the Venetians, Byzantines, Ottomans and modern Greeks.

The village of Agia Theodora features 17 huge trees growing out of its roof, while Leontari boasts three Byzantine churches with stunning frescoes. Then there's the village of Tripi where its nearby gorge was supposedly used by the Spartans to hurl their weak babies to death. On higher elevations the town of Exohori represents the perfect point to discover the Virou gorge. It also has mountain roads that lead up to Taygetos mountain, accessible by 4-wheel drives only. Diverse wildlife and flora are the rewards of those who venture on the magical trails of these mountains.

Visit the Golden beach, the beaches of Voidokoilia, Romanos and Petrohori. Climb to the Palaiokastro (old castle) from where the view is breathtaking. Explore the whole area which consists of many olive trees. Climb the natural paths leading to King Nestor's cave in nearby Pylos. This region hides so much secrets that will truly amaze the visitor.

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