Messinia is a very beautiful area for those who want to spend holidays in Greece away from the masses. It has some fantastic beaches, a lovely countryside (the olive groves of Kalamata are famous), several archaeological sites, a few luxury holiday resort hotels on the western side, and, in the eastern side, the Outer Mani (i.e. the northern half of the Mani region – the southern half, the Inner Mani, lies in Lakonia).
The Outer Mani and Kardamyli
In contrast to the untamed wild beauty of the Inner Mani, the Outer Mani is much more friendly and lush in appearance. Set against the backdrop of the Taigetos mountain range, the area is one of the most scenic parts of Greece. The landscape is marked by hills covered with olive groves and punctuated by cypresses, lovely tower house villages, wild oleanders lining the winding road south, tiny Byzantine churches, and a beautiful coastline with emerald green waters. It has remained blissfully unspoiled and is still relatively undiscovered – the tourism that makes it to this out-of-the-way corner of Greece is generally of the ‘good kind’: people looking for natural beauty, tranquillity and a few sights rather than beach entertainment and nightlife. The opportunities for walking and hiking are numerous, and routes are clearly indicated by different coloured marks. They vary from easy half- to one-hour walks in the foothills of the Taigetos Mountains, to more serious hikes, notably the six-hour trek through the Viros Gorge. Kardamyli is the obvious base from where to explore the area: it is a pretty and peaceful village by the sea, with a long pebble beach.
Small hotels and other special places to stay in Messinia