In the southwest tip of mainland Greece, sits one of the country’s most blessed areas: Messinia.
A region that offers spectacular beaches, warm temperatures, and an endless sea of olive groves, Messinia is easily accessible, provides excellent value and strong prospects to real estate buyers.
Its rich history is on show at well-kept archaeological sites, such as Ancient Messini (the best-preserved city of ancient Greece) and the Palace of Nestor, found outside the town of Pylos, in what is one of the most impressive Mycenaean palaces.
But it is the area’s modern lifestyle and improving living standards that are drawing more and more people to the area.
Tavernas, bars, sports and cultural events are all on offer, centering on Kalamata, a city of some 70,000 people.
Messinia is a late arrival to Greece’s tourism scene.
Hospitality makes up a relatively small part of the economy, which is primarily based on agricultural products, such as olive oil, Kalamata olives, figs and black raisins.
Recent improvements to the national A7 highway connecting the area to Athens have made travelling to Messinia faster and cheaper. Kalamata is about is 240 km from Athens in a comfortable drive of roughly 2.5 hours.
Direct flights connect Kalamata International Airport with most European cities, with the number of links growing year by year.
Millions of euros are being invested in further improving the local road network, such as the 250 million euro new road connecting Kalamata with Methoni and Pylos. Another key development in the pipeworks and one that is seen to be of key importance is the introduction of sea planes to Messinian capital.
Authorities have approved the licensing for the construction of a seaplane port in the city. This will provide a wider waterway network linking Kalamata with the Greek islands. Initial plans foresee Kalamata connecting with the Ionian islands, Kythira, Patra, Kyllini and Laconian Mani before then being expanded to include the Cyclades and Dodecanese islands.
The introduction of the nearby Costa Navarino golf resort in 2010 has also added an international dimension to the area.
By providing Michelin-quality food, comfort, wellness and sports events in an area of amazing natural beauty, Costa Navarino has taken luxury to a whole new level with its five-star deluxe hotels and villas.
The resort has also put Greece on the global golfing map, offering four signature 18-hole courses.
Kalamata is a Greek city that has successfully managed to reinvent itself, while holding onto its traditions and history – in fact, it was forced to.
The city was severely damaged in a devastating earthquake that struck in 1986 and since then has been largely redesigned and rebuilt it into a more user-friendly urban centre, adopting more public spaces and bike paths.
An impressively large central square is the vibrant heart of the city where open air concerts and events are held, while just down the road is the Old Town that is located under the city’s imposing 13th century castle.
Down by the beach, palm trees stretch down a pedestrian and biking path that runs for more than 2 kilometres along the water.
The landscape in Messinia is among the most breath-taking in the Mediterranean.
It helped earn Kalamata a place among the top 20 “Best Destinations for Scenic Driving around the World in 2022”, according to DiscoverCars.com, an online platform which asked over 140,000 tourists and visitors to rate their driving experience in different cities around the world.
A short drive away are some of the most impressive beaches you will ever see.
Voidokilia Beach, for example, is located to the west and is considered by many to be among the best beaches in the world. With its fine white sand, and turquoise water, it is shaped similar to the letter ‘omega’ in the Greek alphabet and is the ultimate spot for a dip.
Beautiful as it is, it’s been kept protected from mass tourism as there are no cafés and shops nearby, so you need to take your own food.
Further south is Gialova, a small picturesque village that has become a top European destination. Its lagoon forms one of the country’s most significant wetlands for many rare species of birds and a migration hotspot for, amongst others, the greater flamingo, the white-winged tern, the Kentish plover and the collared flycatcher.
Nearby is Pylos, a beautiful seaside town with houses built amphitheatrically in the bay of Navarino that is popular with locals and visitors.
Another town of interest is Methoni, where the food is excellent and well-priced. The Venetian Castle of Methoni, one of the most important fortifications of Greece built on the most southwestern point of the Peloponnese, is an absolute must for a visit.
The Weather – what to expect
Temperatures in Messinia are among the warmest in Greece, making the area an ideal year-round destination. The climate consists of balmy springs, warm summers and mild winters, with the temperature hitting an average of 31 degrees in August, and dipping to 14 degrees in January, the coldest month of the year.
Up and Coming
Messinia is an up-and-coming area of Greece, as reflected by the data. Figures from Greece’s statistics agency ELSTAT show that GDP per capital levels in Messinia shot up 40 percent since 2000, one of the fastest growth rates seen in the country.
The number of foreign tourists travelling to the airport of Kalamata has jumped more than 500% in the last ten years, led by British, German, French and Dutch visitors. This is a particularly important development for those looking to buy a beach side home in the area and rent it out as short-term accommodation, on platforms such as Airbnb, when they are not using it.
Additionally, various plans are being prepared for the construction of new energy projects in the area, helping create sustainable growth and new jobs.
The improving economic background, coupled with the area’s sheer beauty and excellent position, is creating a strong real estate market buyers are able to take advantage of.