Follow MAMAKITA on “The Journey of an Olive Wreath” from Messenia to Ancient Olympia
If you are looking to combine leisure holidays with learning during your summer family vacation, your destination is the Peloponnese, its sandy beaches and the kid friendly villages, where you will never feel uncomfortable if your children create a mess. Traveling with kids in the western Peloponnese from the Gulf of Navarino and the castles of south Messenia to Ancient Olympia is a journey in a mythical land: Pick the olive branch for the wreath that you may wish to dedicate to the Olympic Athletes when you reach Ancient Olympia at the silver olive groves of Messenia surrounding King Nestor’s Palace. Visit the Palace of this wise ruler mentioned in both of Homer’s epic poems, and his port city of Pylos. Continue north on the west coast of the Peloponnese to explore western Messenia, Elis (or “Ilia,” the birthplace of the Olympic Games) and western Achaea. Visit the Strofilia forest, the largest seaside forest in Greece; the virtually endless Kalogria beach; and the Foloi forest, home to the mythical Centaurs and Dryads, the forest fairies that hosted Hercules while he was searching for the Erymanthian boar.
- Important archaeological sites, such as Ancient Olympia and the Palace of Nestor;
- Family travel experiences in nature, such as river trekking, swimming in waterfalls or next to old castles, hiking in unique ecosystems and forests;
- Slow-pace travel and spending time with the locals in the Messenia olive groves and in authentic Greek villages;
- Island-hopping and/or sailing to Greece’s south-westernmost boundary to hear stories of pirates and shipwrecks;
- Splendid sunsets of the Ionian Sea viewed from golden beaches and silver olive groves, littoral pinewoods next to sandy beaches sprinkled with white sea-lilies.
Best family-friendly beaches in the Peloponnese perfect for babies, toddlers and kids
With a coastline stretching from Patras to the western Messenian Gulf, the region offers some of the best sandy and kid-friendly beaches, ideal for leisure and fun for the whole family. Famous beaches Voidokilia, Methoni, Finikounda, and Koroni are located in this area. Ideal for endless games with kids of all ages, even babies and toddlers, these beaches are clean and wide enough so that they never feel crowded. No driving or carrying baby stuff, as accommodations are available right by the water with no roads to cross to get to the sea. You just enjoy a safe, carefree and comfortable time! In the beginning of the summer, however, the water may be a tad too cool for babies and toddlers; and in August, the northwest wind (the “mistral” in French or “maistros” in Greek) may affect the whole coast of the western Peloponnese. Still, there are areas with accommodations that guarantee protection from almost all types of weather. Contact MAMAKITA family travel advisors for best advice on child friendly accommodations according to your travel style, age of kids, season, interests and priorities. MAMAKITA accommodation proposals in this area include the best family resorts, cozy and small family-run hotels, independent villas, and even glamping tents.
MAMAKITA activities and things to do with kids in the Peloponnese
Olympia: Visit the Museum and the archaeological site of Olympia accompanied by a family-oriented licensed tourist guide and participate in a digging workshop led by an archaeologist experienced with kids. If your kids are older, hike to the Nemouta Waterfalls and the Foloi oik forest! Always with an experienced and certified guide!
Navarino, Gialova & Pylos: Visit Ancient Pylos, the Palace of Nestor and the archaeological museum of Chora, as well as Niokastro in modern Pylos to learn about the decisive battle of Navarino that determined the fate of the modern Greek State. Ηike up to Paleokastro to admire the incomparable view of the Voidokilia beach and the Gialova lagoon or take a sea-kayaking trip to explore the Gulf of Navarino and the island of Sphacteria with its hidden coves. Participate in a pasta-making workshop and olive oil tasting to feel like a local and to become an expert in hylopites!
Ancient Messene (or Messini): Visit the most impressive ancient city in the region with the guidance of a kid-friendly guide and participate in an olive oil seminar to feel like an expert olive oil sommelier!
Proti, the pirate-island, and Marathos: After a full-day sailing or diving trip in Proti Island, snorkeling with kids or diving with the older ones, relish your afternoon in the small fishing village where you can find excellent “psarosoupa” (fish soup) and “astakomakaronada” (pasta with lobster sauce).
Kyparissia: Visit the old watermill and watch the sun that scorches everything in the horizon and paints the endless olive grove in silver until it sets in the deepest blue Mediterranean Sea.
How to get there
The easiest way to reach Western Peloponnese, Messenia (or Messinia) and Olympia is flying to the Kalamata Airport or to the Athens International Airport. You will need another 2.30 hours’ drive Messenia and an extra 30 minutes to arrive at Kyllini.
Trip itinerary and planning
Select from our suggested “Highlights & leisure” 7-day itineraries in the area here or create your custom family trip itinerary and find the best places to stay and the best things to do during your family holiday in Greece with babies and young children here.