I was recently invited on an all-expenses paid trip to Costa Navarino, Greece. I consider myself reasonably well-traveled but had never heard of this destination before and found myself googling it.
About Costa Navarino
It turns out Costa Navarino is located on the Southwestern coast of Greece’s mainland. It’s in a region called Messinia in the Southwest of Peloponnese and sits right on the gorgeous Ionian Sea. The area wasn’t a popular tourism destination until Starwood developed two luxury hotels in the area. After my visit, I can say that it’s really quite amazing because it’s still relatively un-touristy (outside of the hotel) and filled with plenty of rich history, impressive ruins, pristine beaches and cultural activities like olive oil tasting and authentic cooking classes.
The area of Costa Navarino has been shaped by 4,500 years of history and the Costa Navarino philosophy is driven by a desire to promote the culture while protecting and preserving its natural beauty and heritage. Costa Navarino is also a very green destination—Costa Navarino adheres to strict environmental protection guidelines in order to sustain the natural environment.
How to Get to Costa Navarino
You have a couple options to get to Costa Navarino. You can fly to Athens and then take a shuttle through Romanos or Westin (it’s about 50 Euros/pp). The drive is about 3.5-4 hours depending on traffic. You can also fly to Kalamata airport, which then is only about a 1-hour drive (45 km) to Costa Navarino.
We took Emirates’ direct flight from Newark to Athens. The flight was quick and the plane was beautiful. Aegean Airlines also offers flights to Athens from New York with connections and these are a little less expensive. Traveling with an infant, however, we chose to take the path of least resistance without a stopover. One plane for the first time for 9 hours seemed like a large enough obstacle to overcome. Oh, and if you’re traveling from Europe, there are frequent daily ferry connections from Italy to the port of Patras.
What to Do in Costa Navarino
There are tons of really cool activities to do in Costa Navarino.
Methoni Castle is one of the most impressive castles and well-preserved ruins I have ever seen. This fortress was built originally by the Venetians in the 13th century. The ruins are stunning and very impressive. You’ll see stone bridges, bathhouses, a mote, ruins of a medieval town and a small church. You can get some stunning photos of the landscape. It was actually just on the cover of Aegean Airways magazine! Just remember to wear comfortable walking shoes that are good for cobblestones. I stupidly wore platform sandals—if my husband hadn’t been with me to hold onto, I would undoubtedly have a broken ankle.
This is one of the most unique beaches I have ever seen. It is a unique geological formation and has a distinct Omega shape. It is absolutely gorgeous. Clear water, soft sand, light waves and gorgeous views of rugged rock.
It’s rumored to be the place that is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey where Telemachus (son of Odysseus and Penelope) was greeted by King Nestor. Hello 9th grade English class! And speaking of King Nestor, locals and tourists come here on their way to Nestor’s Cave, which is not too far from here and a nice journey indeed.
Nestor’s Cave is only about a 20 minute hike from Voidokilia Beach. You can hike the dunes and follow a path to the cave. Legend tells us that this is the cave where Hermes hid the cattle that he stole from Apollo. If you make it, the views are absolutely stunning. If you continue along the path you’ll find ruins of Paliokastro and the tomb of Thrasymedes. Also right nearby is Gialova Lagoon, which is a birder’s paradise (apparently).
Authentic Messinian Cooking Class
Guests at the Westin Resort Costa Navarino or the Romanos Resort can book an authentic cooking class with local ladies who know their stuff. The class is hosted in a local home in the adorable town of Pylos. We enjoyed a hands-on experience and learned family recipes from the sweetest two women. We cut, chopped, measured and drank wine. And then we ate the fruits of our labor.
It was a great way to enjoy local culture and make new friends. The food was incredible and we left with the best souvenir ever—the skills to cook the best traditional Greek food. I have already whipped up the tzatziki. And they give you copies of the recipes, which is awesome.
Olive Oil Tasting
Guests at Westin Resort Costa Navarino or the Romanos Resort can book an olive oil tasting with an actual judge from olive oil tasting competitions. Learn the complexities in one of the region’s most important products. Learn to appreciate the different flavors as well as how to choose the best olive oil out there. Delicious!
This is of course quite a famous place and is less than an hour away from Costa Navarino. I didn’t have a chance to make it here but I will definitely visit here when I return.
This 40,000 square foot spa is larger than life. The facilities are some of the best I have seen in any spa I have visited in the world. Seriously probably top five. I was quite impressed with the facilities and the level of service. The spa offers an exceptional menu of specialty treatments based on ancient Greek health and beauty practices, utilizing the area’s exclusive natural ingredients and unique products. The award-winning Anazoe Spa also has several signature treatments based on the teachings of Hippocrates, the ‘father’ of western medicine. The therapeutic olive-oil treatments (oleotherapy®) are based on ancient local practices inscribed on clay tablets discovered at the nearby Palace of Nestor.
Further offerings at Anazoe Spa include thalassotherapy, kinisiotherapy and floating pools, indoor and outdoor treatment areas as well as an extensive range of light therapies and heat treatments, including ice-grotto rooms, mist showers and herbal saunas.
Greek life is all about enjoying yourself. I highly recommend staying at the hotel and spending a lot of time just being—perhaps with a cocktail in hand. And speaking of where to stay in Costa Navarino…
Where to Stay in Costa Navarino
There are two five-star hotels in Costa Navarino—the Westin and the Romanos. As a luxe-loving traveler, I of course recommend one of these two options. However, if you are looking for a more affordable option, you can visit the villages of Pylos or Methoni for lower cost. That’s never my preference haha. Check out my review of The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort. One of the most family-friendly places I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing.
For the ultimate experience, my top pick for where to stay in Costa Navarino is The Romanos, A Luxury Collection Resort in Costa Navarino, which is a Luxury Collection property. Stay tuned for my full review on the hotel, which is one of my favorites ever. It was absolutely perfect for luxe-loving families. I truly can’t wait to return.
For more information, check out Costa Navarino online.
*FTC Disclosure* As I stated in the first line of the post, I was sent on an all-expenses-paid trip to Costa Navarino for purposes of this review. I was not compensated in any other way. As always, my opinions in this post are real, honest and true. You can’t buy the love here, just ask my husband.