Discover Messinia 

Little Mantinea

“Rustic Hill” is located in the mountain settlement of Mikri Mantineia, on the beginning of the Messinian Mani and it sits at 200 m above sea level, 2 km away from the beach of Santova and 8 km southeast of Kalamata. The village of Mikri Mantineia is built on hills full of olive trees having wonderful view to the Messinian bay, the ridge of Taygetos and Gorge of Rintomo.

Megali Mantinia was firstly mentioned as a settlement in 1463 with the name Ano Mantinea and it was renamed to Megali Mantinea in the late 18th century, when a smaller settlement, called Mikri Mantinea, was created in the area.

Attractions of the mid 18th century are the church of the Assumption, with a remarkable carved temple, the church of Saint Andreas, the Old School, the Monastery of Agioi Saranda, while nearby, other interesting places are also Kouroumpelo of Holy Trinity and Katafygi, an inaccessible cave in gorge of Santova with small opening, in which the inhabitants took refuge in cases of piracy and Turkish invasions.

Ancient Messene

Ancient Messene is possibly the most underrated archeological site in the whole of Greece. This ancient city was, unlike most others, untouched by the later settlements and has thus been preserved outstandingly. The remains of this tremendous ancient city are complete with a grand ancient stadium, an Ancient Agora, an ancient theatre with a capacity of up to ten thousand spectators, and a fountain house. It is so well-maintained that you can easily envision the city in all of its glory. There is also a museum located directly next to the archeological site, which is home to the thousands of findings uncovered by archaeologists. With an extensive catalog of artifacts, you will be able to color in the image of the city you have created in your mind’s eye with artwork and sculptures.

Between Megali Mantinea and Avia, near the small church of Agioi Saranda there are the ruins of an ancient temple, probably of Artemis. There are offered countless hiking trails for mountain and nature lovers in stunning gorge of Rintomos.

Coffee Hour

In the spacious central central Vassileos Georgiou (King George) square, you’ll find a number cafés and coffee shops, where locals love to mingle over their preferred beverage. The pedestrian walkway of Aristomenous Street starts here with many stores, coffee shops, meeting places and strolling venues for residents and visitors.

Follow the walkway from the center to the coastline to enjoy a view of the Messinian Bay and its harbor where traditional caiques, skiffs, sailboats and yachts are moored. The promenade is lined with cafeterias and features a playground.

Cultural heritage

Temple of the Visitation of the Saviour (Ναός Υπαπαντής του Σωτηρος). built in the 19th century in a Byzantine-style, is a grandiose temple dedicated to the city's protector.

Castle of Kalamata. The castle is even higher up, on a pine-covered hill overlooking the sea. Built in 1208 by Gulielme Villearduin, it inspired Aggelos Terzakis's novel about Princess Izampo who had lived in the area. At the foot of the castle there is the semi-cavernous Temple of Saint John that has probably existed since the post-Byzantine years. It is said that the citadel of ancient Pharai was below the castle.

The Tower of Kapetanakis was built by Captain Giorgos Kapetanakis, member of the infamous family of commanders from Mani. Its construction was most probably completed before 1821, which means that it was ready before the Greek Revolution. The commanders from this family participated in many battles for the Greek liberation and the tower’s symbolic value is very important for the people of Mani.

Railway park (Parko OSE). The railway park, at the end of Aristomenous Street, is a pleasant surprise. It is the only open museum of this kind, where train engines and train cars of different time periods are placed in harmony in a green landscape. This place is a recreation ground for children and adults.

Saint Apostles. is a historic little church that was built in 1317 by Emperor Andronicus. Archeological Museum of Messenia, Papazoglou 6. is a beautiful building of the Venetian-type built in 1742, where many interesting archaeological findings are exhibited, including a mosaic from Koroni that represents scenes from the worship of Bacchus.

Municipal Library, Papazoglou 5. houses works of art that were donated after the destructive earthquake of Kalamata in 1986.

Historical and Folkloric Museum of Kalamata, Kyriakou and Ag.Ioannou 20. is housed in a small restored building. Visitors can see objects that date back to the Revolution of 1821, as well as read detailed information about the agricultural and productive life of Messinian inhabitants during the last century.

Municipal Conservatoire. On the steps above the temple and host of music events organised almost every weekend.

Nunnery of Saints Constantine and Helen. built beside the castle in the 18th century, you will also learn about the ongoing Byzantine tradition of weaving pure silk on “lakkoi” (looms).

Pantazopouleio Cultural Centre. in the middle of Aristomenous, always has exhibitions, speeches or shows taking place.

Trekking - Hiking 

Crossing Kalamata towards the North and heading to Sparta, you will enter the magnificent world of Taygetos. You will go through the wonderful villages Artemissia and Trypi. Taygetos is the biggest challenge for lovers of mountain, trekking and climbing. Imposing and full of contradictions, with slopes, canyons, caves, sources, rivers and rich vegetation alternated with steep rocks, it magnetises the bold ones who will dare to explore it.

A half day hike near Kalamata at the foothills of mount Taygetos.

Just a breath from Kalamata, lies mount Kalathi rising up to 1316 meters. Visible from any side of the city, you can see it sometimes lost in the clouds. It is very rare for a mountain of such height to be sited so close to the sea and the city. On its slopes, picturesque villages smothered in green and even higher on its summit, forests of fir and pine trees with stunning views to the Messinian Bay and the city of Kalamata A half day downhill hike in Biliovo Trail. Biliovo is considered as one of the most well-preserved traditional cobblestone paths of Greece, unique in its kind, it is classified as a folk architectural monument. It was created by local artisans in the early 20th century in an effort lasted 25 years! It has been a vital boost for the local social and economic growth since it linked the higher with the lower villages of western Mani.

Half day descent on the Biliovo trail

Biliovo is considered one of the most well-preserved traditional cobbled paths in Greece, unique in its kind, it is designated as a popular architectural monument. It was created by local craftsmen in the early 20th century in an effort that took 25 years! It was a breath of life for the local social and economic development since it connected the higher and lower villages of western Mani.

A half day hike at the longest gorge of mount Taygetos.

Just 10km away from Kalamata, yet so close to the core of Taygetos massif lies Ridomo gorge. A geological phenomenon with interesting limestone formations, created by the effect of water rushing down from the mountains. The gorge starts from the peaks of mount Taygetos all the way down to the beach of Santova just outside of Kalamata. At a certain point it becomes two meters narrow and 60 meters high.

Kayak and hike in Mani, a rugged and remote peninsula in the Peloponnese

A region with mountains tumbling down to gorgeous coastal views. The coastal village of Kardamyli, the Messinian Gulf and the Taÿgetos Mountains as a backdrop, is among the most unspoiled destinations in Greece One day warm water sea kayaking exploring beautiful coves and mysterious caves, all hidden in the rocky coastline of a unique Mediterranean landscape. One day hiking on a network of old earth and cobbled paths connecting villages around Kardamyli.

An easy hike into one of the secret gems of the Peloponnese.

The gorge of Polylimnio waterfalls is a paradise on earth and one of the hidden gems of the Peloponnese. Polylimnio means many lakes and this is exactly what you discover. There are numerous fresh water lakes in many levels with aqua blue waters created by spectacular waterfalls. Water flows from one lake to another and the hiker can cross the gorge through a clear path with metal aiding handles and small bridges.

An 8 Day Trekking Adventure at the footprints of Spartans in Taygetos Mountain of the Peloponnese

No other part of Greece combines scenic trails in stupendous mountain scenery overlooking the sea with an incredible wealth of cultural heritage as the Peloponnese. Here is the homeland of the ancient Spartans. The majestic mountain range of Taygetos in southern Peloponnese, touches the sky on its highest peak at 2407 meters, creating a natural boundary between the Mani peninsula and the rest of the Peloponnese. Philoxenia (hospitality) is very strong here, the food, olive oil, and wine are Greece's best. Locals claim to have the best of everything to give and that’s no myth. Trekking the highest peak at 2407m was an important achievement for the ancient Spartans and still is today

Daily Trips

Neda river & Apollo temple

Neda is a river of the western Peloponnese. Stems from mount Lykaion, flows westward and empties into the Ionian Sea. The river was named after the nymph Neda who was a goddess of the waters. Near the banks of the river is the ancient town of Phiigalia and the temple of Epicureus Apollo. The river over a large part of it crosses a ravine with very rich vegetation. Along its course, numerous waterfalls are created. The largest is near Figalleia and has a height of about 25 meters. Neda is a well-kept secret river of Greece, still a hidden gem! A perfect choice for river trekking. The temple of Epicureus Apollo was built at the height of the Greek civilization in the second half of the 5th century BC (420-400 BC). It was dedicated to Apollo Epicurius by the Phigaleians, who believed the god of sun and healing had protected them from plague and invasion. The temple and the surrounding landscape, preserved almost intact through the course of centuries, impress the visitor of today, who comes in contact with the first expressions of trends that determined the evolution, both of art and architecture.

Kardamili and Stoupa

Designated as a village of special beauty, Kardamili is in the upper (outer) part of the central Mani peninsula. It is an upmarket little place of great appeal to writers, artists, walkers and nature-lovers. With the peaks of the Taygetos range behind, Kardamili occupies a privileged spot on this spectacular stretch of coastline. Either side of the road through the village Kardamili has some good restaurants, several bars/cafés, and a number of small shops. It has its share of tower houses, now deserted – just walk for 5 minutes up the dry riverbed to Old Kardamili behind. To the north there is a long pebble beach called Ritsa. Otherwise you can swim from the rocks or from purpose-built quays in a very clean sea. There are plenty of walks, the best being through the Viros Gorge; a spectacular 4-5 hour nature trail with a couple of monasteries en route. Kardamili was home for 50 years to the famous British travel writer and war hero Patrick Leigh Fermor - his 1958 book Mani: Travel in the Southern Peloponnese is still an essential read today - and visits to his wonderful house by the sea can be arranged via the Benaki Museum. The village also hosts a jazz festival in early May.

The delightful village of Stoupa is the closest thing the Mani has to a small resort, thanks to its two beautiful, sandy beaches, Kalogria and Stoupa. The setting is complemented with a backdrop of olive covered hills and the magnificent Taygetos mountains, making for a truly stunning location with all the facilities for a relaxed holiday. You should not be surprised to read that Stoupa holds particular appeal for couples of all ages and younger families. Despite Stoupa's popularity (the beaches do get busy in season) it remains low key, evening entertainment here still centred around a wide variety of good quality tavernas. Facilities include several mini-markets and two ATMs. A range of interesting excursions last year included Olympia, Mystras and the spectacular Dirou Caves, and small bicycles and motorboats can be hired. There is a lovely footpath above the sea which leads you to neighbouring Aghios Nikolaos in about an hour. Aghios Nikolaos is the archetypal sleepy Greek fishing village, and the cafés and restaurants above the exquisite small harbour here are the perfect place from which to watch the boats come and go. Pantazi beach is a 15 minute walk to the south, its wide stretch of sand/shingle shaded by trees

The Castle of Methoni

The castle of Methoni is one of the most important fortress complexes in Greece, and today is a beautiful archaeological site that covers 9.3 hectares and ends at the Bourtzi, an octagonal tower surrounded by the sea on all sides. The fact is that there are many beautiful spots to explore, such as Iliodysio behind the castle with its gorgeous sunset, and the Catacombs of Saint Onoufrios which are located 20 km away and can only be reached by foot or 4×4. Built around the castle and its port, Koroni has maintained its traditional color both figuratively and literally. The town has many well-maintained stone-built mansions; while some are unpainted, many others have been given bright colors and feature the fine metal corbels characteristic of southern Peloponnesian architecture.


Pylos Greece is an unusually positioned town, spreading across the slopes of the hill, offering wonderful views out over the bay beautiful golden sandy beaches with clear blue waters, olive groves, vineyards, and castles with a rich history. Take a break and enjoy your coffee under the plane trees on the main square of Pylos, the Three Admirals’ Square with its monument dedicated to 3 admirals who took part in the Battle of Navarino. The square always attracts shoppers and foodies and is one of the town’s most loved hang-outs.

The coffee shops offer some seriously good coffee – it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and the bustle of the town. The Three Admirals’ Square is well worth a visit. Not only is it a bit of a cultural place where one gets to see monuments as a reminder of past battles – when the English, French and Russians were killed in the battle of Navarino – it offers you the rare luxury of having a quiet time off under the plane trees.

With its unspoiled coastline, cast your eyes to the headland on the south-west coast of the Peloponnese, because as you look over the bay of Navarino, there are 2 castles guarding the bay of Pylos. On the southern entrance of the bay is Neokastro, also known as New Navarino Castle. This castle was first built in 1573 by the Ottomans to guard the bay sheltering the town. The Old Pylos Castle – Palaiokastro, is at the north end of the bay. Neokastro has had a number of different occupations, being captured by Venetians in 1686 and then later in 1715 by the Turks. These different occupations have left their mark on the castle’s architecture and even in World War II it was interestingly used as a prison.

Voidokilia Beach

Voidokilia Beach is very popular, particularly with its most amazing shape, like the Greek letter omega (Ω). It is quite likely the most famous and most beautiful beach in Messinia and is about 10 kilometers from Pylos. Its white sand and calm turquoise waters give the entire natural bay an exotic, romantic look. You can understand why its beauty inspires so many people to spend time there even though it is undeveloped. Many travelers to Pylos Greece like to watch flamingos.

The wetlands of Gialova are of particular ecological interest, forming a stopover point for many migratory birds. You’ll find many rare species of birds in these wetlands and flamingos will be part of the herons, curlew and terns that come to the wetlands. You see these flamingos in their groups feeding on blue-green algae. Then, with little provocation, they all march off through the water in one direction and then come-back. It is all part of what makes the protected Gialova Lagoon such a wonderful place to visit. This weird, wonderful nature is what makes Pylos, Greece so special, and of course, a very rare chameleon also lives in the lagoon area.