Pylos – Beautiful, Laid-back Village with Endless Activities and Attractions

Pylos, historically known as Navarino (Italian), is a beautiful town spread across hill slopes giving you spectacular views towards Pylos Bay. It is a historic port in Messina, Peloponnese with beautiful golden sandy beaches, olive groves, vineyards, and castles. The adventures are just waiting for you…

Voidokilia beach as seen from Navarino Castle. Great sunrise on the Ionian Sea, Pylos town, Messinia Greece
Voidokilia beach as seen from Navarino Castle. Great sunrise above the Ionian Sea and Pylos town

Enjoying you lunch or coffee at the blissful waterfront of Pylos it is difficult imagining that this harbour was once the stage for a bloody battle where thousands of Ottoman sailors were slaughtered in the Greek War of Independence.

What is Pylos Greece like?

Astonishing summer view from the top of Navarino Castle. Pylos, Peloponnese, Greece
Astonishing summer view from the top of Navarino Castle

Today Pylos harbour is peaceful with cobblestone streets, trees, sidewalk cafés and little boutiques, but don’t let it fool you, Pylos is hiding endless exciting activities in its surrounding area. Do not miss the opportunity to visit the Three Admirals’ Square where you will find the monument dedicated to three admirals who took part in the Navarino Battle. At this square you will enjoy the best coffee of the area under the shady plane trees.

What to see in Pylos Greece?

The attractions in Pylos are many, of which many are free to visit. Due to its many attractions and laid-back vibe, it has become a hot spot for celebrities arriving by sea at the port marina. The beaches of the area are among the best in the world.

  • Paleokastro (old Pylos) and Neokastro (new Pylos) – are distinct settlements and castles, several kilometers apart. Old Pylos (Navarino Vecchio) is located on the northwest side of the bay, while New Pylos is located in the southeast. Old Pylos castle is a 13th-century fortress near Pylos, built in 1278 by the Franks. It is one of two castles guarding the strategic bay on which it sits; the other is New Pylos castle. The old Navarino castle is locally simply called Palaiokastro (“old castle”). The castle sits atop an imposing 200-m rock formation on the northern edge of the bay, flanked by sheer cliffs; the naturally defensible site has probably been occupied since classical times. Neokastro is set at the southern entrance of the bay, is also known as New Navarino Castle. This castle was first built in 1573 by the Ottomans to guard the bay sheltering the town.  
Nestor's Palace, Messenia, Greece
Excavations of King Nestor’s Palace
  • King Nestor’s Palace – Pylos is an important archaeological site. Bronze Age Pylos was first excavated in 1952, the site located at modern Ano Englianos some 9 km north-east of the bay. The remains of a large Mycenean palace were excavated there, the so-called “Palace of Nestor”, after the Homeric ruler Nestor, who ruled over “Sandy Pylos” in the Iliad. The site of Pylos was abandoned sometime after the 8th century BCE—it was apparently unknown in the Classical Period. The site is on the hill of Epano Englianos, situated close to the road 4 kilometres south of Chora and 17 kilometres north of Pylos. The Palace is at the top of the hill at 150 metres above sea level and in an area of 170 metres by 90 metres.
Voidokilia Beach and Gialova Lagoon in the Mediterranean Sea seen from the interior of Nestor's Cave. Pylos, Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece
Voidokilia Beach and Gialova Lagoon in the Mediterranean Sea seen from the interior of Nestor’s Cave
  • Cave of King Nestor – the ancient King of Pylos, who according to legend, used this cave as a haven for his cattle. From the Voïdokiliá dunes a path ascends to the cave and then more steeply up to the castle. This is an impressive bat cave with a hole in the roof which is whimsically identified as the grotto where, according to the Odyssey, Nestor and Neleusa kept their cows, and in which Hermes hid Apollo’s cattle. It might also be that all this is Homer’s imagination, since this area is reckoned by archaeologists to have been the harbour of King Nestor in the Mycenean-era.
  • Castle of Methoni – just about 11 km south of Pylos you will find this small walled town overlooking the Ionian Sea. The best highlight of Methoni is its castle at the waterfront built by the Venetians in the early 13th century.
The bridge that leads to the impressive medieval castle of Methoni, Peloponnese Greece

Pylos and Methoni


  • Museum (House of) Kostis Tsiklitiras – is a rather new museum (2012). The athlete and Olympic champion Kostis Tsiklitiras was born in Pylos in 1888, where his father was the mayor. Due to his performance at the Olympic Games 1908, winning 4 Olympic medals, he was considered a hero in Pylos. He also fought bravely in the Balkan Wars and died early at the age of 24 having contracted meningitis. His family home is today a fascinating museum in Pylos (next to the City Hall) fully refurbished with interesting collections on display.
  • Kalamaris Waterfall – to many visitors Kalamaris Waterfall is the most beautiful of all falls in Messinia. It is just outside the seaside village of Giolova. It is just 10 meters tall, but the water below is a great spot for swimming under cascading water.
  • Polilimnia Waterfalls – visiting Pylos you shouldn’t miss a trip to Polilimnio Waterfalls. You will find the 30 m falls beautifully set in the gorge of Polylimnio. After your hike to the falls, you can enjoy a cool swim in the cold water below the falls. Try joining at tour guide who will take you to the best trails, going beyond the lakes and provide you with interesting information.
Gialova Lagoon and Voidokilia Beach in Messenia
Voidokilia beach, one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean Sea, the lagoon of Voidokilia from a high point of view, Messinia, Greece
  • Voidokilia beach – is famous worldwide for its incredible shape, perfect like the Greek capital letter Ω (omega). It is certainly the most beautiful beach in Messenia, located just 10 km from Pylos. It is quite romantic with its white sand and turquoise water and perfect, still natural shape. The beach is part of a protected area and therefore totally non-organized.
Famous sunny beach of Voidokilia near Pylos in Greece with beautiful golden sand
Famous sunny beach of Voidokilia near Pylos in Greece with beautiful golden sand
  • Gialova lagoon – the wetlands around Gialova are of great ecological importance due to their role as stopover for many migrating birds. Bring along your binoculars, and watch the flamingos, herons, terns, and curlew that visit the wetlands of Gialova.

What to do in Pylos Greece?

The town of Pylos, southern Greece, captured at dusk. Pylos is located in Messinia perfecture, Greece
The town of Pylos, captured at dusk
  • Boat trips to Sfaktiria and Navarino Bay – Boat trips are offered in the harbour of Pylos. The boattrips bring you to the lighthouse at the entrance of the bay of Navarino or Sfaktiria.
  • Sea kayaking to the island of Sfaktiria – during your trip to Pylos you should try the experience of sea kayaking to the island of Sfaktiria just across the bay. It will give you rich opportunity for snorkeling and swimming before relaxing in the sun.
  • Hiking the Stenosia Trail – is one of the most astonishing natural environments of Messinia covered in lush green. If you want to experience a gorgeous hike, Stenosia Gorge is like a fairytale. On your way you will be crossing bridges with views of Navarino Bay before reaching Kalamaris Waterfall. From here another 4 km trail continue along the river.

Where is Pylos Greece?

Aerial view of Pylos city and castle. It is one of the best preserved castles in Greece. New Navarino or Niokastro, located near the entrance of the port of Pylos. Messenia, Greece
View of Pylos ctown and castle, one of the best preserved castles in Greece. New Navarino or Niokastro, located near the entrance of the port of Pylos

Modern Pylos is situated at the foothills of Mt Agios Nikolaos and has a fortress above the town. It is in the southwestern part of Peloponnese, at the Ionian Sea. It is the safest anchor spot on the Ionian coast due to island of Sfaktiria serving as a natural breakwater for Navarino Bay and the port of Pylos.

Where is Pylos Greece on a map?

Map of southwestern Peloponnese and Pylos – Click to enlarge map

How to get to Pylos Greece?  

View of Pylos Port, Peleponnese
View of Pylos port

Excellent roads are connecting Pylos with other cities in Peloponnese and Athens. Through the Greek National Road 82 Pylos is connected directly with Kalamata, you can reach it in less than an hour, and Athens in two hours. Kalamata International Airport (KLX, Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos Airport) offers scheduled flights to several major cities in Greece, and during the summer season also charter flights from many cities in Europe.

The Bay of Pylos

The bay of Pylos is formed by a deep indenture in the Morea, shut in by a long island, anciently called Sphacteria, famous for the defeat and capture of the Spartans, in the Battle of Pylos during the Peloponnesian War, and still showing the ruins of walls which perhaps formed their last refuge. This island has been divided into three or four separate sections by the violence of the waves, and boats could pass from the open sea into the port, in calm weather, using the channels so formed.

Divari – Golden Beach

Ntivari (Golden Sand), Golden beach Gialova, Navarino Bay, Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece
Divari or Golden Sand beach in Navarino Bay, Messenia

A 1,5 km long sandy beach, signposted “Golden Beach” but known as Divari (meaning “hatchery”) to local people, starts at Gialova and continues west to Old Navarino castle (Palaiokastro). The beach is actually a narrow bar separating the sea waters of the Bay from the brackish waters of Gialova Lagoon, a Natura 2000 site of major importance. It is the only location in Europe where the African chameleon is found. Immediately to the north of Old Navarino castle is the beach of Voidokilia.

Birdwatching at Gialova wetland

Aerial view of a shipwreck at Gialova beach near Pylos. Natural scenery of an abandoned sunken ship in Navarino bay near Voidokilia, Messinia, Greece
Aerial view of a shipwreck at Gialova beach near Pylos

The Gialova wetland is a regional wonder 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. 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.

Pylos – Weather and climate

Day15 ° 15 ° 17 ° 20 ° 23 ° 27 ° 29 ° 30 ° 28 ° 24 ° 20 ° 17 °
Night7 ° 7 ° 9 ° 11 ° 15 ° 19 ° 21 ° 22 ° 19 ° 15 ° 12 ° 9 °
Average monthly day and night temperatures in °C and average monthly rainfall in mm in Pylos (Methoni Weather Station)

History of Pylos Bay

The bay of Pylos was the site of two naval battles: The Battle of Pylos, in 425 B.C. during the Peloponnesian War and the Battle of Navarino, in 1827 during the Greek War of Independence.

Ancient Pylos, Peleponnese
Walls of ancient Pylos