Population: 176.876 (2001)
Distance from capital: 255 km.
Main areas are: Kalamata, Koroni, Kyparissia, Kardamili, Methoni, Petalidi, Pylos, Stoupa, Finikounta.
Messinia has a great soft climate with beautiful villages upon Mount Taygetos.
The capital of Messinia, Kalamata, has managed to maintain the enchantment of the old city with the historical centre and the beautiful neoclassical houses. The old city is built over the remains of the ancient town of Farai. Kalamata , apart from being the capital is also the harbor of the province. There is also an airport there where many tourists have access. The city has hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes and nightclubs. There are theaters and theatrical groups that perform during the summer season and all sorts of cultural activities. It is one of the most contemporary cities of Greece with wide streets that gather many tourists every year around its beaches.
It's worthwhile visiting the monastery of Kalograies and the churches of Agioi Apostoloi and Ipapanti which was completed in 1879 A.D. The icon of Ipapanti is miraculous and thousands of people visit the church every year on the 2 nd of February. Make a point of taking a look at the castle and the archaeological museum. Be sure to buy samples of famous traditional silk scarves and oil.
The wonderful beaches of Messinia lie in the Ionio and Messiniako bay. You can swim at Elia, Kalo Nero, Kyparissia, Agrilo, Agia Kiriaki, Lagkoubardos, Marathopoli, Xrisi Ammos, Nauarino, Boidokilia, Methoni, Foinikounta, Petalidi, Mpouka, Avia, Kardamili, Stoupa, Agios Nikolaos and Almiros.
Next to the canyon of Biros, is Kardamili, which in ancient times was a Spartian port.Remarkable places to visit are the graves of Dioskouri and the stony towers of “Old Kardamili”.
10 kms from Kardamili, we meet Stoupa, the place where the great writer Kazantzakis was inspired to write the “Bio and Politeia tou Zorba. Stoupa is a seaside village of Messinian Mani, which can be enchanting all year round. In the summertime, the sea and the clean sandy beach are very inviting for the lovers of the water. The attention to quality, the variety of dishes offered at the restaurants, and the "Service with a smile" attitude, are elements that satisfy even the most demanding visitor. When the night comes, the visitors can select a fine restaurant serving traditional delicacies or fresh fish and later a nearby bar for enjoying the nightlife. Stoupa also offers the visitor the possibility to combine both mountain and sea holidays.
With Stoupa as the starting point, one can take a tour of the magnificent Taygetos mountain, enjoy the tranquillity of the natural environment (in the Vassiliki forest), see the lofty towers of Mani and the picturesque churches, visit the unique villages with the marvellous cobblestone-paved alleys and the great mountain gorges of Viros and Ridomou. For the lovers of the liquid element, the area is ideal for many water sports (swimming, snorkelling, water skiing).
There are organized beaches where one can enjoy swimming and beach entertainment in comfort, while for the lovers of tranquillity, there are beautiful secluded beaches.
During its passage to the modern times, Stoupa has retained its traditional architectural style and the ancestral customs.
Not far from the shore of the river Pamisso, is Messini. Messini took its name from the ancient city Messini the ruins of which spread for more than twenty kilometers in a beautiful natural environment that combine the mountainous grandure of Delphi with peacefulness of Olympia. Messini is also called Nisi (island), from the times of Frankish Domination in Peloponnese.
Since 1997 Petros Themelis has been excavating in the area in order to discover the ancient city while many buildings have surfaced. South is Mpouka, a sandy beach with taverns and cafe's.
Ancient Messini is a small village, located at the foot of the holy mountain of Ithomi. Prominent are the remains of the towers, the stadium, the theatre, the Aesculapio temple and the temple of Artemi.
Tucked at the foot of its castle, the town of Kyparissia holds a distinct position in Messinia. It is built at the roots of Egaleo mountain and it extends right down to the waves of the beautiful Ionian sea. The view from Kyparissia to the open sea is enchanting and the climate is ideal, all year round. As a result, the town attracts more and more people to become its permanent residents. The sunset at Kiparissia is also very beautiful.
The phrase of a very important person is characteristic: ‘I met the most beautiful sunset of all my travels'. The picturesque seaside town, "sunk" in the green landscape, is known for its "Upper town" with the traditional houses and the castle built on top of the ancient town. At a small distance from Kiparissia one can visit the monasteries of Ayios Ioannis and Katsimikada. A sandy beach of the bay of Kyparissia is the biotope where the sea turtle careta careta lays its eggs.
Petalidi is a tourist resort 28 km. from Kalamata with a population of 3.500. It is built upon ancient Koroni . Temples of extreme beauty dedicated to Artemis, Asclepius and Dionysus existed in the city as well as the statue of Zeus the savior. The ancient city had two parts, the acropolis where the statue of god Athena used to stand and the lower city where the market used to be.
Graphical and charming stands the nearby Koroni whose taverns with their fresh fish, add an insular flavour to the place.
Methoni is one of the most historical areas of Peloponesse famous for its harbor of great commercial and strategic importance. Tourists can enjoy the natural beauty, the sandy beaches, the archaeological sites and the hospitality of the locals. Its imposing castle, one of the largest in the Mediterranean is built upon ancient walls of the area. The beaches of Methoni have been awarded with the ‘blue flags'. It's worth visiting the Cemetery of Agios Onoufrios, the Byzantine church of Agios Basilios and the church of Agiou Leontiou.
Pylos is a beautiful city near the cove of Nauarino. It has sandy beaches that stretch for kilometres that can satisfy all tastes, for unforgettable moments of relaxing and having fun. Important sights are the Niokastro, Palaiokastro, Boidokoilia and the stony island of Sfagktiria.
Situated at the cove of the bay, Foinikounta is a graphical village with lots of fauna. Its reputation comes from the big sandy beach and the tavernas next to the sea.
The Chora is situated on a hill, near the palace of king Nestoras. Next to it there is Kefalovriso, one of the beauties of the area.
Filiatra is a big trading centre. It's worth to visit the church of Agios Georgios and Evagelistria.
One of Greece's most beautiful mountains is Taygetos. The nature here is very thick and one can find beauties which can be found rarely. Many are the climbers who go up the slopes of the mountain that is situated between the historical cities of Kalamata and Sparta.
How you can get there
By bus: Intercity buses run daily from Athens to Kalamata.
By car: In order to go to Messinia by car
From Athens the distance is 284 km
From Thessaloniki the distance is 715 km
From Patra the distance is 215 km
From Korinthos the distance is 175 km
From Ioannina the distance is 457 km
By air: There are daily flights from Eleutherios Venizelos Airport of Athens to Kalamata.
By train: There are time-tables from Athens to Kalamata.
Coastally: There is ferry boat connection to Piraeus, Kythira and Kissamos of Chania.
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