Messinia, the westernmost area of the Peloponnese, is green, luxuriant and fringed by a proliferation of glorious golden beaches, including the horseshoe shaped Voidhokilia.
Surrounded by the Ionian Sea, the Messinian Gulf is ideally suited for lovers of nature and archaeology rich as it is in ancient sites and well preserved castles such as Pylos, Methoni and Korini.
Gialova, is a delightful little village from which to explore the local sights. Koryphasion Hill, to the west, is a wonderful view point. Nearby is Nestor's Cave where, according to mythology, Hermes hid the cattle he stole from Apollo. The cave is now adorned by impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Gialova Lagoon is a magnet for ornithologists and has recently benefited from having some interesting nature trails (great fun for children) laid out along its shores.
Picturesque Pylos is a beautiful little harbour town on the south west coast. At the Bay of Navarino it is well worth exploring the hilltop castle of Neokastro and admiring the stunning views from the ramparts.
The rugged Mani, with its imposing mountain ranges and wild, untamed landscape is little known and, as such, remarkably unspoilt. It is one of the few Greek regions never to have been occupied by either the Turks or the Venetians and thus boasts a unique cultural identity.
The enchanting seaside village of Kardamyli at the foot of the majestic Taygetos Mountains is a particularly delightful place to spend an afternoon wandering through sleepy, flower-filled lanes or venturing into the hills immediately behind the village to discover a maze of criss-crossed walking trails.
The magical and spectacular caves of Diros can be found south of the charming village of Areopoli. Crammed with stalactites, the natural reflections on view are truly remarkable. In the Alepotrypa Cave recent excavations have unearthed evidence of prehistoric occupation and as a result the caves have become one of the most important natural sites in Greece, with great archaeological significance.
The traditional Greek taverna is where you can eat anything from freshly caught fish and grilled meats to home cooked casseroles. Harbour front settings offer freshly prepared produce and excellent locally produced wines, accompanied by that world famous Peloponnese export, the succulent Kalamata olive.
'Name' days are considered much more important than a person's actual birthday. In most cases, it is a tradition now in Greece, that when a person has a 'name day, he or she gives a party where refreshments such as locally produced liquors and cake are offered to family and friends. During a name day, it's important to call your friends to wish them 'chronia polla' (have a good year), as a sign of acknowledgement and respect.
The Peloponnese enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate. Early summer and autumn months are comfortably warm during the day and cooler at night. July and August are hotter with temperatures approaching 40°C, offset by refreshing breezes.