Lucy McGuire follows the sun to Costa Navarino, a chic resort on the sparkling Ionian coastline… We’re mesmerised by Messinia!
As the honey-toned buildings emerge from Messinia’s rolling valleys, it feels like you’ve stumbled upon a secret village. Perfectly sandwiched between the mountains of the southwest Pelopennese and the sparkling Ionian coastline, the journey to Costa Navarino alone ticks all the boxes for the perfect honeymoon escape.
Yet at the end of a Cypress tree-lined driveway, a cleverly positioned open-air lobby unveils yet more glorious coastal views across luxurious Costa Navarino. The destination is comprised of two five star hotels, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino. And once you’ve check in, buggies whizz your travel-weary legs down meandering paths to your gorgeous abode. Subtly blending into the landscape and surrounded by foliage and trees, these eco-chic rooms and villas blend in so well, it’s almost as if nature intended.
Guest rooms have that inviting ‘indoor to outdoor’ vibe, complete with gorgeous wood, luxurious cottons and floor-to-ceiling windows. The Infinity Room at The Romanos has its own private infinity pool, just steps away from the bed – honeymoon wow factor guaranteed! Make use of the Butler service or The Luxury Collection Concierge to make your celebrations extra special.
Our room boasted a mini-bar, sofa, wide-screen TV and stunning bathroom, and his’n’hers sinks. The rainforest shower fits two and a screen beside the bath pulls back to unveil those infinity pool views. Thanks to turndown service, there is local honey treats on the pillows every night.
What is there to do?
The facilities are so diverse, they suit both active and serenity-seeking couples. Tee-up on The Dunes Course or The Bay Course or enjoy diving and watersports at Navarino Dunes Beach. At the Westin Resort there’s a racquet academy for tennis and squash, plus climbing facilities and bike hire. Feeling reflective? Join a philosophy walk through the olive groves to discuss ancient Greek philosophers. Or spend an evening under the stars with their Astronomy night. Get your shop on in the shopping village for beachwear, jewellery and luxury cosmetics. Or simply relax in a cabana – cocktail in hand – beside the hotel infinity pool.
What is there to explore?
Enjoy Messinia’s colourful Greek history and drive to nearby Pylos to explore ancient artefacts at Neokastro, the 13th century Ottoman fortress. Learn about The Battle of Navarino in 1827 and drink in panoramic views. Join the locals sipping coffee on the picturesque Three Admirals’ Square in Pylos. Then drop into Gialova for the folklore museum and trendy boutique shopping. For something special, boat trips sail out to the protected Sfaktiria Island, for snorkelling and breathtaking sunsets.
Gastronomes are spoilt for choice with around 20 restaurants to choose from. Feast on fresh fruit and pastries, local honeys (and breakfast fizz) on the decking of Pero restaurant. Try Greek Meze specialties and traditional sweet-spoon desserts at Kafenio, or head to the gorgeous beachfront Barbouni for fresh seafood and to-die-for cocktails. By night, enjoy romantic al fresco dining at Flame where succulent steaks are served from the grill.
Bucket list beach
Visit the world-famous Voidokilia beach. This romantic spot separates the Gialova Lagoon from the Med and was recently named one of the best beaches in the world.
The Anazoe spa is filled with Thalassotherapy pools, herbal steam rooms, ice grotto rooms and saunas. We tried the 50-minute Melisseus, The Spirit of Honey – a signature massage that uses local honey to ease aching muscles. Or you could enjoy a romantic couples’ massage and bliss out in the relaxation rooms.
Can you get married there?
Yes! If you dream of having a stunning Mediterranean backdrop for your wedding, Costa Navarino is just the spot. Say ‘I do’ in the terracotta-coloured St Samson chapel.
What we love about Costa Navarino
We adore the subtle balance of luxury and down-to-earth ethos. While the hotel exudes VIP opportunities (like the use of its fleet of BMWs), it’s very in touch with conservation, keeping an area of protected beach to allow hatching turtles to thrive. Visit Navarino Natura Hall too – a museum dedicated to the region’s wildlife.
Journey Time: 3hr 30 min flight to Athens from Gatwick or Heathrow, plus approx 3.5hr drive to Costa Navarino.
Airline: Aegean Airlines offers daily flights from London Heathrow and London Gatwick to Athens. For more information visit aegeanair.com.
Accommodation: Rates at the two hotels at Navarino Dunes, start from: The Westin Resort Costa Navarino: from €220, and The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort from €390.
Weather: Peak season is June to August when the mercury can reach up to a scorching 40 degrees. For a more comfortable 20-something degrees, visit in the shoulder season in April/May and September/October