A “taste” from the “The Garden of Eden”

On our quest to show you the untouched treasures of our country through “our eyes” and via our specialized Destination Management Services, we are heading to the South and more specifically to Messinia, a charismatic place that reserves a plethora of surprises, far and away for the bustling large cities and right into the heart of rural Greece. This paradise, tucked away in the southwestern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula, encompasses the pure meaning of “unspoilt nature” and, being characterized as “The Craddle of Greek hospitality”, it gives visitors the chance to come into contact with the agricultural lifestyle and enjoy authentic experiences among the welcoming locals.

Our base will be Kalamata, the capital and chief port of Messinia and a place enriched with century- old history and traditions. The town itself is modern, extending along a beautiful beach and a long boulevard where you can stroll for hours or enjoy a coffee or a snack. From here, the access to the nearby attractions is easy and efficient. Within just a couple of hours, we find ourselves wandering in unique natural and historic treasures.

Touring around Messinia is like a journey through the most important phases of Greek history: cities dating back to Homer's days, Mycenaean tombs and palaces, classical temples, ancient theatres, byzantine churches, medieval castles, are only few of the landmarks in this magical trip. The area has to show countless remarkable settlements of traditional architecture, such as the settlements of Mystraki, in the quaint Municipality of Koroni or Lagada and Thalames, in the Municipality of Leftkro. Ancient Messene, built in 369 B.C. by Epameinondas from Thebes, is a significant ancient city located on an unspoiled inland site. It possesses not only sanctuaries and public buildings, but also imposing fortifications, houses and tombs. There are outstanding places such as Kyparissia, Pylos – where you can see Nestor’s palace – the villages of Mani and the mountainous regions of Messinia with their rich fauna and flora.

Mountain or sea, rocks or sand, gorges or mountain tops, anything you ask for Messinia has it. Its varied landscape consists of endless coastline and large mountains, impressive rivers and extensive valleys, narrow gorges, cool clearings and verdant ravines. The prefecture is a nature lover’s paradise, where visitors have the opportunity to visit the forest of Mali, situated east of Kyparissia - on the slopes of Aegaleo Mountain- or the forest of Vassiliki - on Mount Taygetus-, spot the swans at the aquatic biotope of Gialova in the area of Pylos, trek in the gorge of Neda, the unique river of Greece with feminine name, among oaks, fig trees, dense reeds and tall poplars and swim under impressive waterfalls. The area is suitable for a wide range of activities, including trekking, cycling tours and mountain bike on Mount Taygetus, canoe kayak in the river Neda, archery and horse riding, paragliding from Kalathi Mountain, surfing and diving or sailing under perfect weather conditions and mild winds. Just 32 km from Kalamata, the miracle of Polylimnio appears in front of our eyes, 15 beautiful lakes with peculiar names (Mavri Limna or black lake, Kadi, Kadoula, tou Italou or the Italian’s lake), embraced by lush vegetation.

The land is rich and fertile, making this place a pure Garden Of Eden. Messinia’s products are widely known and exported to the U.S.A., Canada, Australia. The Messinian olive οil is a natural product that is produced by the crushing of olives. The excellent climatic conditions in combination with the irrigation and the harvesting of the olive fruit by hand result to the perfect quality and the distinct flavour of the famous Kalamata olives.The cultivation of vine is known in the region for thousands of years and harvesting is one of the most exciting seasons in the life of the vine-growers, both a feast and a celebration. Grapes, figs, aromatic herbs, honey, vinegar, are some of the exceptional products of this fertile region.

KEY EVENTS has successfully introduced innovative thematic events, that allow teams or individuals to participate at the olive harvest in the Messinia countryside, watch the collection and processing of the olives, visit traditional olive presses where olive oil is produced and work side by side with the locals during all this exciting process. Moreover, groups can experience a demonstration of how home-made soap is made with olive oil, visit a traditional packaging workshop operated by local women and taste and purchase olives, olive oil and other traditional food products (honey, vinegar, honey eyed figs, home made marmalades, herbs). There is even the opportunity to prepare local delicacies, such as the pasteli, the traditional Mediterranean snack consisting of a mixture of sesame and honey. They are all experiences that bring your and our people together and add a unique Greek flair in each tour.

However, Messinia is our preferred destination not only because of its originality and natural beauty. This well kept secret of Greece may be untouched by massive tourism but it doesn’t mean that it lacks tourist development. The infrastructure for hosting major congresses and events is quite advanced, with ample locations and conference centres that can accommodate large gatherings and events. Through major investment plants, the prefecture boasts luxurious resorts, complete with quality accommodation and conferences centres, sea-therapy centres and golf facilities. Nonetheless, the access from Athens is easy. Messinia can be reached by boat, bus or train from Athens. The airport of Kalamata, its marinas and the road network facilitate all means of transportation that lead to this magical corner.

Enclosed to the north by the river Neda and the Arcadian Mountains, east of Mount Taygetus in the south of the Messinian Gulf and west by the Ionian Sea, Messinia is a paradise yet to be discovered, characterised by exotic vegetation on hills where wild animals and birds seek refuge, surrounded by the blue, crystal clear waters and linked to remains of conquests and pirate stories of the past. The beauty of nature in Messinia is waiting to be explored and enjoyed through exciting and interesting routes among the vast rural countryside.