The Ultimate Guide to Costa Navarino, Greece

Written By: The Planet D

It’s always a good time to visit Greece and Costa Navarino is at the top of luxury destinations. Most people head for the Greek Islands of Santorini or Crete after exploring Athens but believe it or not, there are other places to visit in this diverse and beautiful country.

Our latest travels took us to Costa Navarino located in a remote corner of Peloponnese. Sitting on the Ionian Sea in the South of Greece, Costa Navarino has everything you could want in a vacation to Greece. With beautiful white sand beaches, thousand-year-old ruins, and a strong local culture, a trip to Peloponnese is something you won’t soon forget.

Costa Navarino – Ancient History & Natural Beauty

costa navarino arial view voidolilia beach
Breathtaking Voidokilia Beach

The culture of Costa Navarino dates back 4500 years to the Bronze Age and Mycenean civilization. Over the ages it changed hands back and forth from Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian rule.

It was in 1827 during the Battle of Navarino that the Greeks regained control of their region defeating Turks and Egyptian fleet with the help of he British, French and Russian fleet.

While the area played a large role in the Greek independence, it ended up falling into decline after the Second World War and many people left the area including a man named Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos. He built his fortune abroad establishing one of the largest shipping businesses in the world. It was his dream to bring new life to his home region of Messenia and the idea of Costa Navarino was born.

He started work on creating a high-end resort focusing on sustainability and promotion of local culture and traditions of Messinia.Today, Costa Navarino is the first luxury eco-friendly destination on the Mediterranean and is now a leading example of sustainable tourism and environmental protection.

About Costa Navarino Westin Resort

westin pool costa navarino
Stunning grounds of Costa Navarino

The resort is hoping more companies around Greece will follow their lead to create jobs for the local community and follow a sustainable tourism model. We stayed at the Westin Costa Navarino Resort and it was pure luxury. With our own private infinity pool directly located on our suite’s patio, we had privacy and luxury all in one.

The resort is located directly on a long sandy stretch of beach overlooking the Ionian Sea. It is connected to the ultra-luxurious Romanos Resort that has seen movie stars, kings and queens, and even Sheiks stay at their private villas. Read more: Is Greece Expensive to Visit?

costa navarino westin private beach
Private Beach of Westin Costa Navarino

Visitors are free to roam the resorts choosing from a large selection of fine dining restaurants or a play round on one of their two award-winning golf courses. You can use the healing waters in the Anazoe Spa and a wide variety of activities to take with Navarino outdoors.

During our stay, we saw as much of the area as we could fit in exploring ancient cities, castles, and villages. Spending five days in Costa Navarino only gave us time to scratch the surface of all there is to do, but we did manage to see and do enough to know that we will one day soon be back.

Introducing Messinia

beach costa navarino

Our introduction to Messinia started at the resort where we met our guide Simon for a cycling trip through the villages to a high cliff overlooking the area. It was a wonderful introduction and perfect way to get our bearings.

The bikes at Navarino outdoors are superb and regardless of your ability, this trip is a must. It starts off meandering through nearby villages and olive groves until we reached one of Greece’s most beautiful beaches, Voidokilia Beach. Shaped like the Greek letter Omega, Voidokilia Beach is the place of legends.

costa navarino beach

It was believed to be used by King Nestor, the ancient king of Pylos and Homer referenced this beach in the Odyssey. Directly beside the beach is the Gialova Lagoon.

This protected area was designated at Natura 2000 protected site due to the migratory birds that frequent this wildlife habitat. If you go at the right time of year, you will see flamingos!

After taking in the beauty of the wildlife preserve and beach, we made our way up to a high lookout. If you aren’t an avid biker, you can easily walk this path, but Dave and I decided to get our workout on and rode up.

Adventure in Costa Navarino Greece

cycling costa navarino

It reminded us of our mountain biking days and it was a tough but fun 500 metre steep climb. We couldn’t have done it without Simon who pulled a cart behind with all our camera equipment so we could capture photos and videos (including drone footage) from this view!

Luckily we brought our appetites with us because in usual Greek fashion, a feast was awaiting our arrival. Part of the tours to this area with Navarino Outdoors include local dishes provided by K Food Stories. We ate a huge spread of Greek food with delicious white wine.

dining in costa navarino tours

Speaking of food, one of the most authentic and enjoyable experiences we’ve ever had during our four visits to Greece took place right here in Messinia.

Cooking Class from Westin Costa Navarino

cooking class costa navarino

Staying true to supporting the local community, Costa Navarino bought a traditional seaside house where they run cooking classes. We met with Loola and Anna, the granddaughters of the man who owned this house for an afternoon of fun and learning about Greek cuisine.

Donning an apron and scarf, I certainly looked the part, but could I cook Greek food? You bet I can! Following the guidance of Loola and Anna, we made fresh homemade pasta, Greek salad, and kolokithopita (it’s like spanakopita only with zucchini).

greek cooking class

It was a wonderful afternoon learning from the ladies communicating through broken English as we kneaded the dough, chopped vegetables and stuffed the pasta. The treat was being able to enjoy the fruits of our labors with a Greek homestyle meal sharing dishes around the table.

A Greek Celebration 

dancing greece

Afterward, the music was turned on and we all danced in a circle celebrating our new friendship. If you visit Costa Navarino, you must be sure to sign up for this unique cooking experience!

History Surrounding Costa Navarino

costa navarino tours messene

Dave and I love visiting ancient ruins. We’ve had the good fortune to explore Roman ruins, the Ancient cities of Bagan and Angkor Wat, Tikal, and even the Forbidden City in Beijing China.

I didn’t know a lot about the ancient city of Messene in Peloponnese when we found out it was only an hour’s drive from Costa Navarino we had to go and see it.

Ancient City of Messene

messene greek ruins
Exploring the Ruins of Messene

Unlike visiting the heavily crowded Acropolis of Athens, we had Messene all to ourselves. Dating back to the 8th and 9th century BC, the region of Messenia is as ancient as it gets. Messene itself was founded in 369 BC and still stands proud at the base of Mt Ithome.

messene ruins tours from costa navarino
Marveling at the Messene Ruinse

While driving in, we noticed pieces of walls still standing and our driver told us that this wall is much older than the Great Wall of China with 9km of wall still intact. The site itself houses ancient baths, several buildings and mosaics plus a theatre and a stadium.

Agora Stadium – Messene

looking over messene

The Agora Stadium is impressive with tiered seating surrounding the grounds and large white pillars lining the walkways. We visited the complex over a course of two and a half hours, but could have easily used another hour to explore further and delve into the scriptures and mosaics.

Be sure to stop for a coffee at the top of the hill on your way up for a bird’s eye view of Messene from the terrace. There is a village surrounding the ancient city where people have inhabited the area for thousands of years.

Methoni Castle – A Day Tour from Costa Navarino

methoni castle greece

A shorter and very scenic drive from Costa Navarino is a visit to Methoni Castle. The coast of Messinia is stunning with picturesque villages lining the shores.


methoni castle day tour from costa navarino

The main town enroute was Pilos, a popular tourist town where I would definitely spend a couple of days enjoying the atmosphere of Southern Greece. But our goal was to see Methoni Castle’s famous octagon tower known as the Bourtzi.

Located in the seaside town of Methoni, Methoni Castle is the star attraction of the area. It was built in the 13th century by the Venetians but the Bourtzi was rebuilt in the 15th century when the Turks overthrew the city.

walking to methoni castle
Deb enters Methoni Castle

It’s another spectacular ruin to explore the remains of a Turkish bath, the house of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt and the Transfiguration of the Saviour church.

The stone walkway out to the Bourtzi is a gorgeous scene and once to get to the tower, you can walk up the circular walkway to a lookout back at the castle. There are many places you can climb up for views and look out over the sea.

It takes a couple of hours to explore properly, (especially if you are photo and video buffs like us) and just like Messene, the crowds are light and you feel as if you nearly have the place to yourself.

Luxury of Westin Costa Navarino

westin costa navarino resort lobby

If you remember near the beginning of this post, we mentioned that Costa Navarino is the first luxury eco-friendly destination on the Mediterranean and it lived up to expectations.

Besides the beautiful suites typical of the high-end Westin Resorts complete with our infinity pool and private terrace, it houses several scenic luxury pools, waterfalls, and gardens.

But a day at the spa is a must.

sunset at consta navarino westin resort

If you book a massage, try for the traditional Greek massage – Melisseus ‘The spirit of honey’ I love trying the local traditional massages wherever I go, and this massage was a mixture of deep tissue mixed with the softening and scrubbing agents of local honey.

Be sure to arrive at least a half-hour early to enjoy the amazing pools ranging from a floating salt pool that has the same sodium content as the Dead Sea. You can then move on to the other two pools for a pounding water massage and relaxing jets of the waterbeds.

jet pools westin costa navarino
Salt pool same density of the Dead Sea

And if you are like us, you’ll love going into the herbal steam baths and saunas. Oh there is nothing like an afternoon at the spa.

Fine Dining at Westin Costa Navarino

costa navarino dining

During our five days in Costa Navarino, we gained weight, there is no doubt about it. Even though we were active, we managed to indulge in the food of the Gods.

Costa Navarino’s Flame Restaurant has just been nominated for the World Luxury Restaurant Awards, and the array of Greek food we tasted at Armyra was to die for.

westin golf resort costa navarino

Each morning was an overwhelming choice of healthy and delectable choices for breakfast and our traditional lunch at Kafeneio with Songs around the table was another moment we will never forget.

We were told that Costa Navarino hired local women to sing and preserve the tradition of making pasta while singing songs around the table. As patrons dine outside they are entertained by the customs and the culture of the local people.

Peloponnese Greece

cocktails at costa navarino

And while there are a lot of customs and traditions, there is also a chic and modern side to the entire resort. Everything is elegant and well-appointed. While we may have had traditional moments, we had very cool settings to enjoy signature cocktails in elegant bars in a stylish setting.

What more could you ask for?

Our stay at Costa Navarino was an ideal mix of luxury and relaxation with adventure and cultural experiences. We learned of the history of the Peloponnese region and of the traditions of the people who inhabit the area. Even the hotel itself is sure to maintain and promote the culture of the area showcasing traditional costumes and artwork depicting the history of Messenia.

We learned a lot about this remote corner of Greece and we cannot wait to return one day soon.

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Read Next: 25 Best Things to do in Santorini, Greece

For more on Greece Travel

  • Iconic Santorini – A Cave Hotel Experience
  • Meteora Magic – Ancient Monasteries in Photos
  • An Insiders Guide to Zante
  • 21 Best Greek Islands to Visit
  • 18 of the Best Places to Visit in Greece
  • The Complete Guide to Greek Food

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

15 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Costa Navarino, Greece”

  1. Are u Sitting on the Ionian Sea in the South of Greece, Costa Navarino? I also enjoyed my vacation…
    Thanks for the blog posting.

  2. Our Greece is really beautiful but the places located on the Ionian sea are most fabulous !!! I’m ery pleased that you enjoyed a good time in Greece. I see that you liked greek food and drinks and your hotel looks like luxury and comfortable .

  3. Costa Novarino is exemplary; the destination is really beyond imagination. Basically I am a history buff; the information takes to past and present times in an organized way. I really enjoyed reading the post. Thanks for such detailed post on destination.

  4. I am just waiting to visiting the paradise of Europe, Greek, since long. This article is really tempting to get into the outstanding shades and feel surely to have wonderful time in Greece. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience of tour and food.

  5. Greece is truly a European paradise. The crystal clear sea reminds me of the stunning shades of blue that I saw in the Maldives – but definitely a bit more budget friendly! Looks like you guys had a wonderful time.