Greek places: A journey to Messinian land (PHOTOS)
Messinia will take your breath away. This land filled with contrasts and welcoming inhabitants is only two hours drive away from Athens. See its vast olive groves, green valleys, mountains, gorges and coves. Numerous small or long sandy beaches, with calm waters or huge waves that will satisfy families or aspiring surfers. Small mountainous cliff-hanging villages with breathtaking views will blow your mind away. Make a point in tasting the large variety of traditional dishes in the nearby tavernas. Messinia invites you to discover all she has to offer and explore her beauties.
On your way to Kalamata
Kalamata, the capital of Messinian land, is a lively city holding a strong cultural and historic past. Urban reconstruction has improved the city centre, where cultural events take place and are considered of great importance, such as the Kalamata International Dance Festival which is particularly popular. The town is filled with plenty of different entertainment options; mezedopolia (small tavernas serving traditional tid-bits (meze)), cafés and clubs will assure your amusement. Wander through the old town’s narrow alleys, take a stroll to the main square leading to a park, the harbour and the beach.
The revival of the Ancient Theatre
Towards the south part of Messinia visit Ancient Messene and the Ancient Theatre, which has been largely restored. The area is expected to host major events and become a pole of attraction.
While you tour Messinia don’t miss Pylos, Nestor’s Palace, Methoni and Koroni. Choose your base and discover the surrounding region. The main square of Pylos town will make it hard for you to leave your seat as it is filled with cafés under a nice shadow created by the old plane trees. Stone built houses, unique architectural tradition, picturesque little shops and mesmerising castles will fill your travel itinerary with dreamlike stops. Each impressive big castle has its own story to tell. They all used to protect against pirate invasions. Methoni’s castle is built on rocks that extend from land into the sea and is especially nice during sunset.
The wild beauty of Messinian Mani
Encounter a wild charm exuded by the easternmost border of Messinian Mani by Lakoniki Mani, where the foot of Mt. Taygetos drops into the sea. Enjoy the rich nature, the olive groves, the lush vegetation; a perfect scenery to lay back and relax. Visit Byzantine, Frankish and Mani’s Castles, walk through the traditional settlements, on their cobblestone streets in ravines and canyons. Stoupa and Kardamyli are an ideal base for excursions.
Excursions in Nature
Mt. Taygetos, the natural borderline between Lakonia and Messinia, will make your excursions in nature memorable. Hikers and climbers, experienced or not, love the mountain as they are helped out by the signal posts clearly marking the trails. As for nature goes, a stop by Neda River. Neda is the only river in Greece that holds a womans name and is located between Messinia and Ileia. The scenery is so magical you’d believe nymphs still live here. Bring along your appropriate equipment, plan your hiking trip independently or with an association, climb up to the springs where you can enjoy the waterfalls and then head down the river’s flow, go through caves and ravines, dive in its fresh water and get an adrenaline rush!
Savour Messinia’s Dishes
The fertile land of Messinia is home to some gourmet people. Their dishes are delicious, cooked with natural products like the messinian olive oil and their renowned Kalamon table olives. The local flavours of Messinia will remain unforgotten; try pasto (cured pork), sausage with orange zest, kagianas ( a kind of scrambled eggs with tomato, also known as strapatsada), as well as their mouthwatering sweets like tsapeles (dried figs), pasteli (sesame bar) and diples(thin dough rolled into long, thin strips, fried and sprinkled with warm honey, crushed nuts and cinnamon). Do not leave without tasting the savoury pig roast (gournopoula in Greek), prepared with their special Messinian way.