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GREECE – MESSINIA/NAVARINO

Messinia is located in the Southwest corner of the Peloponnese. The harbor town of Kalamata is the center of this fruitful and very green area. The region enjoys a particularly mild climate all year Round; In the winter the daily temperature range is from 10°C to 12°C, whereas throughout the year the average temperature reaches the fantastic 25°C.
The summers are pleasantly warm. Pylos/Costa Navarino, the real highlight of this region, is of a rare beauty. Far from ANY mass tourism or heavy infrastructure, this area is characterised by Miles of PRISTINE sandy beaches, olive groves and Small fishing villages along the coves with Their distinctive charm where one can relax and unwind.

The seashell-shaped bay “Voidokoilia” was named among the 10 world’s most beautiful beaches by the New York Times. On the north side of the bay of Navarino is the golden beach where one can enjoy good swimming along with a stunning view over the bay of Navarino, Pylos and the Island Sphaktiria. For those interested in flora and fauna, there is a chance to observe rare bird species in the spring or to take an extensive walk throuhg the lush flowering surrounding.

For all golf enthusiasts, the region has a very particular significance. The area around the old castle of Navarino is the future premier golfing destination with the first two “Signature” golf courses designed by Bernhard Langer and R. Trent Jones JR. The building of the third golf course has already began end of 2013 whereas the other courses are in the planning. A further development of the region as a premium golfing destination has a significant value for the real estate market growth as well. Find out more about the region and the resort following this Link,
Links to the Golf Courses:
the-bay-course
the-dunes-course
The golf courses are in about 5-10 km distance from Pylos.

Arrival:

Flight to Kalamata
New direct flights from March with Aegean Airlines from Dusseldorf, along with the direct flights from Munich starting February and FlyNiki/Air Berlin flights starting in March from Vienna (with feeder flights from Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, Zurich, Dusseldorf) to Kalamata International Airport, will be the perfect means to tee-off in great weather, at Greece’s first 18-hole signature golf courses.
Aegean Airlines’ new route from Paris to Kalamata begins in May, while EasyJet’s twice-weekly route from London Gatwick will start in April.

Car
Shoud you wish to travel from Athens, you can reach the Messinia region via a newly constructed and wide-area highway. The distance from Athens to Kalamata, where the motorway ends, is approximately 270 km (i.e. 2 ½ hour driving distance). The distance from Kalamata to Pylos is about 40 km. A new, direct expressway will be built in the next two years. From Athens airport you can also take a pick-up service or rent a car. Our car auto union partners in Greece offer rental cars and pick-up service at attractive prices, see http://www.autounion.gr/.
Ship
If you have opted for the sea way, the best is to step on a ship in one of the Italian ports (Venice, Ancona, Bari or Brindisi) that go to Patras in Greece. From Patras, the distance is about 200 km with a country road. Kalamata also provides for various shipping lines a berth in the harbor thus offering a good starting point for the discovery of Messinia.

Activities:
A combination of excellent climate with spectacular nature of Messinia offers numerous choices for outdoor activities such as running, cycling, mountain biking, river trekking, but most of all for water sports such as swimming, Jet Ski, Waterskiing, surfing, diving and yachting.
To get more information on outdoor activities visit:
www.visitmessinia.com/
http://www.apollo-hotel.gr/

Beaches:
The beaches of Messenia and Polys surrounding are truly worth of praise. Some of them belong not just to the most beautiful in Greece but have been credited as being among world`s top ranked beaches (Times Magazine).

Such is the case of Voidokilia beach, a true pearl of Messenia with its stunning bay hidden behind the dunes of white sand and its crystal clear turquoise water. The first reference to this bay brings us far back to the Homer` Odyssey where the Voidokilia beach (also known as the Oxen`s Belly bay) has been used as a port by King Nestor. Voidokilia is aprox. 12 km distance from Pylos, and fast reachable from the village of Petrochory. Should you wish to go direction Gialova, around 6 km north from Pylos you will find the beautiful village beach and the 1.5 km long Divari beach also signposted “Golden Beach”, both with white sand and clean waters. Numerous other public beaches are equally worth of visit; discover the Mati-Bouka beach, Petrochori, Finikounda pristine beach, Agios Nikolas, Kolopana beach, Glossa etc. For further info see:
http://www.voidokilia.com/index.html/
http://www.finidivers.com/
For watersports fans there are numerous offers such as:
Motorboat rentals, http://www.pilosmarine.com/
Surf-Kite-Club, www.surfsalad.eu http://www.surfsalad.eu/

Historical sights:
The Messinian culture has a long historical span from the Neolithic through Mycenaean and Classical period, up to Byzantine and medieval times. Pylos as a center of Mycenaean civilization is the most important archeological spot of Messenia.
Its rich history is evidenced in numerous remnants of past kingdoms, settlements, towers and churches from all these epochs.
The Battle of Costa Navarino was a naval battle fought on 20 October 1827, during the Greek War of Independence (1821–32), in Costa Navarino Bay (modern Pylos), on the west coast of the Peloponnese peninsula, in the Ionian Sea. Allied forces from Britain, France, and Russia decisively defeated Ottoman and Egyptian forces trying to suppress the Greeks, thereby making much more likely the independence of Greece. One should not miss to visit the Palace of Nestor that back in the Trojan time around 1300 BC was an important complex for King Nestor and the local nobles as we know from Homer.
Also important is the Apollo Epicurius Temple, belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Temple was built 420-400 BC and has remained preserved to be nowadays one of the most beautiful statements of the Classical ancient architecture.

Ancient Olympia is as well the UNESCO World Heritage site; a testimonial of ancient Greek ideals of noble competition and the place of birth of the Olympic Games.
The site is direction northwest from Pylos and a bit further than the other historical sites nonetheless, definitively worth of effort. The Paleokasto tower in Pylos was built in the 13th century on the place of the old Acropolis of Pylos and it is a testimony of Frankish rule of this territory.
Also important is the symbol of the Ottoman rule in Pylos, the fortress Neocastro with somewhat similar name to the former. Furthermore, the Castles of Methony in the vicinity of the village Methony, the Castle of Kalamata and Castle of Kyparissia all from different historical periods along with various museums and Churches build an incredible historical mosaic of Messinian culture.

Culinary:
The region of Messenia is characterized by its own culinary delights whose flavors are inspired by regional domestic olives, particular spices and fresh local seafood. All these delights are to be found in typical Greek tavernas, whose characteristics are famous Greek hospitality along with its traditional dishes. Some of them have beautiful sceneries being directly on the sandy beaches thus providing for a complete visual and culinary pleasure of the guest with the Greek folkloric music in the background. Should you wish to explore good restaurants or numerous tavernas in Pylos and those scattered in the surrounding villages, the choice is vast. One should not miss for instance La Cucina Italiana or La Rolla in Kalamata, the traditional Panorama or Maistrali in charming village of Marathopoli. Yet should you wish to dine in Pylos you can make no mistake in choosing tavernas such as Gregorius, Taverna o Koukos, Magevmata and Taverna tis Rinas, or finally Poseidona with its scenic view of the sunset.

For those longing for a deeper insight into the Messenian traditional cuisine, special culinary courses are being held by experienced local ladies so as to preserve the regional tradition and culture. For further information about these courses see:
http:// afar.com/highlights/authentic-messenian-cooking /

Climate:
The region of Messenia is in the southwestern part of Peloponnese and its climate is typically Mediterranean with dry and warm summers and mild winters.
Pylos/Navarino, as its main harbor and important archeological city, is located on the south-coast of Messenia, and its particular climate is characterized by pleasant sea breeze and northerly winds that provide enjoyable summers without typical summer heat. The average temperature is around 25°C / 77°F. The warmest months during the summer season are end of July and August with temperature reaching an average of +30°C/ 86°F.

Climatograph
During the winter period, the coldest months are January and February, with the average temperature ranging between +10°-15°C / 50°- 59°F. The long rain intervals as well as the consecutive rainy days are uncommon for Greece meaning that the wetter in Pylos/Messenia remains relatively stable during the winters as well as during the summer period with a clear and blue sky. For instance, in January the weather is affected by foggy conditions on less than 1 day whereas the average monthly amount of precipitation has been recorded at around 0 mm, i.e. 0 inches. The daily humidity level in January reaches around 64%.

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