Getty Images/iStockphoto

Messinia

The southwestern corner of the Peloponnese has many attractions, from the peninsula's loveliest beaches to old Venetian towns, impressive castles and even underwater parks for divers.

Messinia’s boundaries were established in 371 BC following the defeat of Sparta by the Thebans at the Battle of Leuctra. The defeat ended almost 350 years of Spartan domination of the Peloponnese – during which time Messinian exiles founded the city of Messina in Sicily – and meant the Messinians were left free to develop their kingdom in the region stretching west from the Taÿgetos Mountains. Their capital was Ancient Messini, about 25km northwest of Kalamata on the slopes of Mt Ithomi.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Messinia.