If you are looking for a family summer beach vacation itinerary in the Peloponnese for leisure holidays with kids of all ages, this itinerary in West Messenia and the Gulf of Navarino is just for you!
During this Peloponnese family holiday, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the best kid-friendly Messinia beaches sunbathing next to white sea-lilies growing in the sand; attend family-friendly guided tours in the region’s archeological sites, such as Ancient Messini and the Palace of Nestor; live family experiences in nature swimming next to the old castles of Navarino and Methoni, hiking in unique ecosystems, such as the Gialova lagoon; and live the experience as a local in the Messenian olive groves. And in the summer evenings…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.
By Eleni Fotiou, travel journalist, founder & travel specialist at ΜΑΜΑΚΙΤΑ Family Friendly Greece and family travel advisor for Greece and Italy with Travel 12 and KimKim.
Brief Family Beach Vacation Itinerary in West Messenia & Navarino
- Day 1: Ancient Messini, Olive Oil Tasting & Treasure Hunt for Kids
- Day 2: Leisure on Messinia Beaches
- Day 3: Boat Trip to the Pirate island, Proti
- Day 4: Voidokilia & the Old Castle of Navarino
- Day 5: Ancient Olympia Day Trip
- Day 6: Ancient Pylos & the Palace of Nestor
- Day 7: Methoni & Pylos
- Day 8: Hiking & Swimming in Polylimnio Waterfalls
- Day 9: Gialova & Gulf of Navarino
- Day 10: Kyparissia Old Town
Detailed Family Beach Vacation Itinerary in West Messenia & Navarino
Day 1: Ancient Messini, Olive Oil Tasting & Treasure Hunt for Kids
Starting your family beach vacation in West Messenia, shortly before you reach Kalamata, visit Ancient Messini, one of the greatest and best-preserved cities of antiquity in terms of size. You can walk around the ancient city, the Temples and the Agora and admire the Stadium and the Theatre. You should bear in mind that there is no shade apart from some olive trees, and that visiting with kids on a sunny day may turn into a nightmare! Hats, sunscreen and water are “obligatory” accessories. Drinking water can be found close to the Stadium, more than half-an-hour on foot from the entrance. The best way to explore with kids is to book a kid-friendly guided tour in the ancient city.
After your visit to Ancient Messini, you will have the chance to experience an Olive Oil Tasting & Treasure Hunt for Kids, taste the Kalamata olives and olive oil, and walk through the olive groves to marvel the perennial olive trees while kids indulge themselves in a treasure hunt with the guidance of an expert guide. In this family friendly olive oil testing & food pairing seminar, a certified olive oil sommelier will help you discover the richness of the Messenian taste.
Day 2: Leisure on Messinia Beaches
Today is a day for rest on the kid-friendly beaches of “Sandy Pylos”, as Homer calls the ancient kingdom in Odyssey. The Messinia beaches are sandy, exotic, offering ideal sunsets, unspoiled and home to sea turtles “caretta-caretta”. You thus have high chances to see baby sea turtles coming out from their sandy nests for their long journey to the sea. Either Mati, Romanos, or Petrohori, all of them are kid-friendly. You will find sunbeds and umbrellas to rent by some discreet beach bars and restaurants, and you will also be able to enjoy your meal at one of the local taverns by the water. Petrohori (called after the rocks embracing the sandy cove) is ideal for Snorkeling with Kids -you can imagine why!
In the afternoon, you can enjoy a Creative Workshop for Kids & Farm-to-Table Dinner, visit an artistic farm, where kids will create handmade souvenirs from materials collected from the sea with the guidance of an artist and pedagogue, while parents will have the chance to enjoy a massage. Taste handmade snacks and traditional sweets, as well as handmade lemonade, and if you want, enjoy a private dinner prepared by a local chef!
Day 3: Boat Trip to the Pirate island, Proti
Grab the opportunity to visit one of Greece’s top hidden gems and take a Boat trip to Proti island! Opposite the coastal town of Marathopoli (or Marathos as it is called by locals), lies the island of Proti, a top Diving destination, as it is full of shipwrecks and pirate stories! Its name derives from the sea god Proteus, son of Poseidon. That is why, according to mythology, Proti Island resembles a crocodile: when Proteus would become angry, in his wrath, he would be transformed into a beast and take the form of an island.
In the afternoon, enjoy the sunset from Marathos, where the olive groves meet the deep blue sea. Marathos is a serene coastal fishing village, ideal for summer walks and vacations with kids. There are many playgrounds, basketball courts open all day, a safe square where kids can safely play, local markets for fresh fruit and vegetables, and an amazing seaside promenade filled with taverns offering quality food (try the excellent fish soup or spaghetti with lobster!) and amazing views.
Day 4: Voidokilia & the Old Castle of Navarino
Swim at one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, Voidokilia and explore the Gialova lagoon and its unique ecosystem. Depending on the season, you are strongly recommended to book a Family Hiking in the Paths of King Nestor up to Paleokastro from Divari beach. The path ascends to the top of the Old Castle in about 30 minutes and then descends to the Cave of Nestor, the dunes and the beach of Voidokilia, which, alternatively, you can reach by car.
Voidokilia is imprinted on travel magazine covers as one of the best places to visit in Greece. Its name signifies the belly of the ox, the same as “Voufrada”, as referred to by Homer in his epic poems, Iliad and Odyssey. It is sandy and shallow; however, it is not recommended during August. The area is a Natura 2000 protected zone, so no facilities are allowed. You should carry water, umbrellas, sunscreen and sunhats, for the whole family. There is no shade, it is usually crowded, parking is difficult to find and the possibility to find the water clear and transparent is very low. However, in spring it is the ideal beach for your first swim!
Conclude your day with a private picnic with local handmade food, up the hill with an unprecedented view. This will be the highlight of your family vacation in West Messenia.
Day 5: Ancient Olympia Day Trip
Enjoy a full-day trip to Ancient Olympia, become an Archaeologist for a Day taking part in a kid-friendly excavation simulation and a guided Family visit to Olympia and Archimedes Museum.
Ancient Olympia is a must-visit location, not only for history and archaeology buffs, mythology and sports’ lovers, but for every real traveler sharing international values. And there is nothing more precious across time than friendship, respect and excellence, the values of the Olympic Games. In Olympia, you will be able to see where the Olympic torch is lit to this day, to run the Olympic track, to stand on the grounds of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the statue of Zeus.
Before your visit to Olympia, you are recommended to prepare your kids with relevant material. However, for the whole family to enjoy the visit to Ancient Olympia, you are strongly advised to book a private family-oriented guided tour. Bear in mind that tour guides specialized in kids know how to keep up their interest according to their age and their knowledge.
You can also combine your Olympia site visit with an educational activity that familiarizes both kids and adults with archeology. Dig with the guidance of an archaeologist and learn more about the work of archeologists and the procedures during excavations.
You also have the opportunity to visit the Archimedes’ Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, located in the center of Ancient Olympia. The Museum is dedicated to the great mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer and inventor of ancient Greece and the ancient Greek technology of his time. Find out how the massive stones were lifted with the life-size cranes to create the temples and the ancient Greek technological marvel that created the analog computer of Antikythera, humanity’s first.
Conclude your day with a private farm-to-table dinner at an organic honey farm!
Day 6: Ancient Pylos & the Palace of Nestor
Relish your day at one of the kid-friendliest Messinia beaches and in the afternoon visit Nestor’s Palace, one of the most kid-friendly archeological sites in Greece. The recent renovation and protection works have borne significant results. The new roof creates a shaded area and the suspensible corridors offer a realistic sense of the Palace’s floor plan. Next to the Palace, you will find one of the many Mycenean Tombs, found and excavated in the olive groves around the Palace and Hora. In Hora, you can visit the Archeological Museum, exhibiting findings from the excavations in the Palace led by Carl Blegen, as well as in the Tombs led by Spiros Marinatos.
Time for a refreshing drink! After your visit to the Museum, you can rest in the square of Hora for a coffee, or more traditionally, for ouzo or tsipouro followed by a meze. When back to your hotel, appreciate some free time with each other, while kids enjoy a dance class with a pedagogue and dance teacher!
Day 7: Methoni & Pylos
Methoni’ s uniqueness is summarized in the way its Venetian Castle enters the sea creating an inimitable cape. You can visit the Castle, which is about one km from the edge of the cape. There is no shade on your way, so be prepared with sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and water. Or just relax and sunbath on Methoni beach, which is ideal for families with babies and toddlers, because of its shallow and warm waters.
During the summer months, you can arrange a 10-minute excursion to the beach at the deserted island of Sapienza, lying across Methoni. “Ammos” is the single beach in the “Messenian Oinousses”, an island complex that includes two more uninhabited islands, Shiza and Agia Marina. The beach is exotic with turquoise waters, and the chance to meet wild goats called “kri kri” is high. They are used to human presence, so they may expect you to feed them. Necessary equipment includes goggles and masks to dive for huge sea shells. You can ask the captain to take you to the island’s south to admire the lighthouse built in 1885. From there you will be able to see the small island in the shape of a heart decorating many covers of travel magazines. However, do not expect to see its shape without a drone!
In the afternoon, visit Pylos & Niokastro (the New Castle), also known with its Venetian name Navarino. Inside the very well-preserved Castle, you can visit the new archeological Museum of Pylos hosted in the building of “General Nicolas Joseph Maison” and the Museum of Underwater Antiquities in the building of “Pasha”. You can also visit the Church of the “Transfiguration of Jesus”, that used to serve as the main mosque in Ottoman times. On this day, you can trigger teens’ interest with a Photo tour in the castles of South Messenia.
Day 8: Hiking & Swimming in Polylimnio Waterfalls
Enjoy a half-day hiking & archery tour at Polylimnio Waterfalls together with an experienced guide. Polilimnio is located near the village Kazarma (32km from Kalamata) and it is a hidden paradise of 15 small lakes and waterfalls. Surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, a 5-minute path through dense vegetation and picturesque wooden bridges leads you to the first pond. The hike is of medium difficulty, 3 km long and ends with a refreshing plunge in the – named after its heart-like shape- green lake Kardoula. Guided hiking to the waterfall of Kadi, swimming in the natural ponds and testing your archery skills ends with a picnic with local products.
Day 9: Gialova & Gulf of Navarino
Enjoy a family boat or Sea Kayak with Kids in the Gulf of Navarino, famous for the most decisive naval battle during the Greek Revolution, the Battle of Navarino (1827), and the last major naval battle in history fought entirely with sailing ships.
Visit the Monuments of the British, the French and the Russian Fleet and conclude your day in the beautiful coastal town of Gialova. You can visit the Folklore Museum of Konstantinos Balafoutis Collection to see the interior of a traditional house, take part in a Traditional Pasta-Making Class and enjoy your meal at one of the seaside restaurants and coffee shops open all day, while kids play in the sand.
Day 10: Kyparissia Old Town
On your last day of this beach vacation itinerary in West Messenia, visit Kyparissia, the second biggest city in Messinia and undoubtedly the most beautiful town in western Peloponnese. It has everything: a nice beach, a lower modern town with a spacious square, as well as an old upper town with a Castle.
Go up the Castle and visit an operating old watermill, where you will have the opportunity to see how flour is being produced and to enjoy local delicacies. Then head to the Old Town, explore the cobbled streets and dine with great sunset views of the city and the Ionian Sea.
Need some help in trip planning by the best family travel agents in Greece? MAMAKITA family travel specialists can customize this family beach vacation itinerary in West Messinia & Navarino according to your preferences, age of kids, travel pace and budget. Enjoy your family holidays in Greece without worrying about family friendly accommodation or kid-friendly tours and activities by making your request here.
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