Messenia is simply spoken the westernmost leg of southern Pelopennese. The Ionian Sea lies to the west, and the Gulf of Messenia to the south. The most important mountain ranges are the Taygetus in the east, the Kyparissia mountains in the northwest and the Lykodimo in the southwest.
Off the south coast of the southwesternmost point of Messenia lie the Messenian Oinousses islands. The largest of these are Sapientza, Schiza and Venetiko. The small island Sphacteria closes off the bay of Pylos. All these islands are virtually uninhabited.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bXllpSXFgI[/youtube]Short video with the “Ammos Beach” (Greek: ammos, “sand”) on Sapientza Island.
Climate may vary, in the lowlands, temperatures are a bit warmer than Athens. Snow is not common during winter months except for the mountains especially the Taygetus. Rain and clouds are common inland.View of Pylos from the East; inner port, bay of Navarino and Sfaktiria
Pylos, named Navarino by the Italians in the Middle Ages, lies central to well preserved historical sites of great interest.
Nearby, you will find the large Mycenean palace by the name “Nestor’s Palace” after the Homeric ruler Nestor, who ruled over “Sandy Pylos” in the Iliad.
The area is as well blessed with quite a few castles like the 13th century Old Castle of Pylos (to the North side of the port entrance and of Latin origin) and the New Castle of Pylos (to the South side and built by the Ottomans) and the castles of the neighbouring towns of Methoni and Koroni.
All castles except for the Koroni Castle look upon the Ionian Sea. The Koroni Castle lies in the southern part of Messenia Bay.
The Palace of Nestor
The Palace of Nestor is the central building of a Middle Helladic era settlement surrounded by a fortified wall. The palace was a two-storey building with store rooms, workshops, baths, light wells, reception rooms and a sewage system. The site is the best-preserved Mycenaean Greek palace discovered.
The palace with its four chief buildings, is a work of the 13th century, and its history falls between 1300 and 1200 B.C.
Methoni village is located 11 km south of Pylos. Its name may be derived from Mothona, a mythical rock. The municipal unit of Methoni includes the Oinnoussai Islands, namely Sapientza, Schiza and Santa Marina and form a natural protection to Methoni harbour. The town is also known by the Italian name Modone, as it was called by the Venetians.
Its economy is dominated by tourism, attracted by its beaches (including Tapia, Kokkinia and Kritika) and its historical castle.
The Gialova wetland is a regional blessing of nature. It is one of 10 major lagoons in Greece and has been classified as one of the important bird areas in Europe. It has also been listed as a 1500-acre archaeological site, lying between Gialova and the bay of Voidokilia. Its alternative name of Vivari is Latin, meaning ‘fishponds’. With a depth, at its deepest point, of no more than four meters, it is the southernmost stopover of birds migrating from the Balkans to Africa, giving shelter to no fewer than two hundred and twenty-five bird species, among them heron, cormorant, the lesser kestrel, Audouin’s, gull, flamingo, osprey,the imperial eagle, and other aquatic species. It is Gialova, too, which plays host to a vary rare species, nearing extinction throughout Europe, the African chameleon. The observation post of the Greek Ornithological Society allows visitors to find out more and to watch the shallow brackish waters of the lake, they can walk the paths that circumscribe Gialova’s different ecosystems.
This photo of Colonides Beach Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor View of Lektron Hotel in Stoupa, Messenia