A Trip to the Messinian Coast

 

IMG_0020

Sunset over Navarino Bay in Pylos

It has been a very long time since I have posted anything to this blog, for a variety of reasons, mostly due to feeling depressed about the state of affairs in my home country of the USA and in the world in general and feeling bored and tired of the same news day after day here in Greece of negotiations with the EU powers over austerity measures.

But when you are feeling down, a quick trip to the lovely Messinian coast, on the far southwestern tip of the Peloponnese, is just the antidote. We had been hearing for a long time that this region was particularly endowed with natural beauty and we were not disappointed.

Navarino Bay and the town of Pylos which sits above it, is one of Greece’s little known gems–one of those places that every Greek will agree is one of the country’s most beautiful spots, but which has little fame among foreign tourists.

IMG_0099

The “New Castle” in Pylos

Despite its rather remote location, the region is easily accessible from Athens, thanks to the relatively new highway that connects the capital city with Kalamata, the gateway to the region. In three hours’ drive or less, you cross the Peloponnnese and arrive at the Messinian coast.

Pylos has more than just the beauty of Navarino Bay, which is surely one of the most “grafiko” or picturesque bays in all of Greece. It also boasts the impressive “New Castle” (built in 1573) which is the central focus of an entire complex, including a wonderful new museum (which had opened only three weeks prior to our arrival) and the lovely and completely restored Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior.

IMG_0022

The Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior, on the site of the New Castle

The church, formerly a mosque in the times of the Ottomans,  benefitted recently from a major influx of funds, the results of which are very impressive indeed.

IMG_0089

Interior of the Church

The castle itself is a joy to meander around, a walk along the parapets offering spectacular views of the surrounding seas and islands. In early spring, the mild climate of the zone produces a plethora of wildflowers on the site, supplemented by some lovely landscape plantings. Add to that a comforting canopy of tall trees lining the entrance to the site and you have a place that is both of great historical and cultural interest as well as a beautiful environment in which to take a springtime stroll.

IMG_0111

I guess graffiti has been a problem for a long time in Greece…

fullsizeoutput_1

Ancient aqueduct in Pylos, 

Astonishingly, the local authorities have not managed to put up a sign on the town’s main road indicating where to turn off for the castle complex, but asking around, you will have no trouble finding it.

IMG_0017

The verdant land around Navarino Bay

Pylos town itself is one of the most picturesque you will find in Greece, with a lovely central square shaded in plane trees and filled with tavernas and cafes. Nearby Gialova lagoon offers nature lovers even more spectacular coastal vistas, as well as some of Greece’s best birdwatching. (We went too late in the morning to see many birds, but we heard hundreds of them, as well as some extremely vocal frogs!) The profusion of wildflowers in a palette of purple, pink, yellow, and white, was a joy to behold. A lovely spot for a spring walk.

FEB5A753-D0A0-475C-A3B4-2038703787AB

Sea view from a walking path at Gialova

All in all, Pylos and the Messinian coast is a region well worth a visit and easily done from Athens for a night or two.

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. Glad to hear from you! The photos all look great, though it bugs me they were from your iPhone instead of your Nikon. I took a good camera to the mountains last weekend, but only used my Samsung Note 5 for pictures.

    Let us know when you are visiting the states again.

    Randall and Jorgelina

    ________________________________

    Like

    1. Yea, Helena brought the Nikon but when I tried to take a pic, nothing happened–she left the memory card in her laptop…so only the Iphone, which was unfortunate. Anyway, we had a great time. Thanks for reading as always. Hope you guys are doing well.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s