Pylos is a small picturesque seaside town, located in the southwestern part of Messinia. It is 52 km from the city of Kalamata and has about 2,500 inhabitants. The town is amphitheatrically built at the southern opening of the bay of Navarino, where the historic naval battle took place. It is the largest natural port of the Peloponnese and at the same time one of the most interesting tourist destinations of Messinia, thanks to the glorious history and the rich natural beauties of the region. The famous naval battle of Navarino, which took place on October 20 1827, was a historic victory that decisively contributed to the liberation of Greece from the Turks.
According to Homer, Pylos was the kingdom of Nestor. However, its current position does not coincide with that of Homeric times. The present-day historic town of Pylos was built in 1828 by General Maison’s expeditionary force.
The town of Pylos has an island character due to the special architecture and the color of its houses. It attracts many tourists every summer, who visit it to admire its historical monuments and the beauty of the landscape.
In Pylos there are many historical and natural sights. Among them, Paleokastro, Niokastro, the cave of Nestora, the lagoon of Gialova, the area of Voidokilia etc. In addition, the impressive age-old plane trees that dominate the square of the Three Admirals, in the city center, combined with the wonderful view of the island of Sfaktiria create a special idyllic atmosphere.
Pylos is a beautiful city that is suitable for quiet summer holidays, as in addition to interesting sights it also has wonderful beaches. In Pylos, you can enjoy the sun and the sea, choosing between sandy or pebble beaches, secluded or busy, and indulge in water sports in the clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea.
Among other things, it has a remarkable tourist infrastructure. A wide variety of hotels and rooms for rent for every taste is at your disposal, offering you a pleasant and comfortable stay. There are also many restaurants and taverns, where you can enjoy among other things, fresh fish and the delicacies of traditional Messinian cuisine.
Pylos with its brilliant past, genuine beauty, and the warm hospitality of its inhabitants, is waiting for you to get to know it up close, and promises to give you unforgettable experiences.
Where to go and what to see while visiting Pylos
Three Admirals Square
Starting with the Three Admirals Square, which is located in the centre of Pylos. The square is dominated by the monument of the same name, in honour of the Admirals Codrigton, Derigny and Heyden, who led the historic naval battle of Navarino. The monument was created by the Messinian artist Thomopoulos, and its unveiling took place in 1930. The monument is located between two brass cannons, one Venetian and one Turkish, which were transferred from the fortress of Niokastro. In the Three Admirals Square you can enjoy your coffee under the shade of the large century-old plane trees, while marvelling at the view of the island of Sfaktiria.
Next you can visit Paleokastro, located north of Pylos, in the stunning bay of Voidokilia. Paleokastro or Paleonavarino was built in 1287. It sits atop an imposing rock formation above the cave of Nestor, guarding the beach of Voidokilia and the Sykia Pass which separates Palaiokastro from the isle of Sfaktiria. The high spot where the old castle was constructed, offers a unique view of Pylos, but also of the entire beach of Gialova and Navarino Bay. The altitude and position of Palaiocastro gave it great strategic importance. Paleokastro played an important role in all the battles of Pylos, until the building of Niokastro, on the south side of the harbour.
Niocastro is located at the southern entrance of the harbour. The name “Niokastro”, which means “New Castle” is named in contrast to the earlier fortress “Paleokastro”, meaning “Old Castle”. The building of the fortress was started in 1573 by the Turks, who wanted to control the southern entrance of the Navarino bay. After the liberation of Greece during World War II, it was used as a prison for a long time before being returned to the Archaeological Service. Inside the castle, you can see, among other things, the Acropolis, the Church of the Transfiguration, and admire the rich collection of the French philhellene Rene Puaux.
A must see on your list is Nestor’s Palace. It is located 15 km from Pylos, on the hill of Eglianos. It is the best preserved Mycenaean palace and differs from the others in that it is not surrounded by cyclopean walls. You can explore the beautifully decorated round fireplace, the throne room, and a bathroom with a bathtub, as well as seeing numerous shelves with inscriptions. As you walk through the building you will come across abundant storage spaces, private apartments, stairwells, and skylights. The palace had two floors and was decorated with colourful frescoes. It was destroyed by fire at the end of the 13th century BC.
Sfaktiria, Fanari and Chelonaki islets
Sfaktiria, Fanari and Chelonaki is a set of small islands located in front of the port of Pylos. On the islet of Sfaktiria there is a monument to the Greeks who died in the battle of Sfaktiria, which includes the names of Tsamadou, Sahini and Anagnostaras. There is also the monument to the French officer Malet, the tomb of the Philhellene Paul Bonaparte, Napoleon’s nephew, the monument to the Philhellene Count Santarosa, who died in the battle of Sfaktiria, the monument to the Russian soldiers who died in the battle of Navarino, the chapel of the Ascension (Panagoula) and the Russian-style chapel of Agios Nikolaos. On the island of Chelonaki (little turtle), located in the harbour of Pylos, is the monument to the English soldiers who died in the naval battle of Navarino. On the south side of Sphaktiria is the islet of Tshihli-Baba or Fanari (Lighthouse), where the monument to the French soldiers who died in the battle of Navarino is located.
The Lagoon of Yalova
The geographical location of Pylos makes the lagoon of Yalova, or Divari, a place of unique natural beauty and importance, and has been classified as a Natura 2000 site. The lagoon has a great wealth of flora and fauna, and is a migration station for numerous birds. Yalova is the only place in Europe where the African Chameleon, an endangered species, finds refuge. Visitors can take a guided tour of the lagoon by volunteers from the Hellenic Ornithological Society, observe the birds with telescopes and learn about the ecological value of the area. In the 1960s, the director of the local archaeological service excavated a Hellenistic necropolis. The excavations revealed several unspoiled shaft graves. Apart from the skeletal material, the graves were full of grave goods, mainly pottery, as well as coins, objects made of various metals and jewellery. These finds are kept in the Archaeological Museum of Pylos.
Antonopouleio Archaeological Museum
The next site to visit is the Antonopouleio Archaeological Museum, which hosts findings from excavations in the wider area of Pylos, dating back to the Mycenaean, Achaic, Hellenistic and Roman eras. The collection of relics collected by the French philhellene Rene Puaux is also exhibited at the museum. You will also find offerings from the tomb of Voidokoilia and Koukounara. Pottery, jewelry, arrowheads, gold objects, reliefs of animals etc.
On the route from Pylos to Messini, in the Haravgi community of the municipality of Voufrados, is the Polylimnio, a wonderful cluster of many small lakes, which create beautiful waterfalls due to the uneven terrain. Polylimnio waterfalls are a paradise on earth and one of the hidden gems of the Peloponnese. Polylimnio means many lakes and this is exactly what you discover. Water flows from one lake to another and you can cross the gorge through a clear path, small bridges, as well as metal aiding handles. A characteristic feature is the waterfall of Kadis, which falls from a height of 25 metres, creating an impressive natural setting.
House of Kostis Tsiklitiras
Last but not least is the House of Kostis Tsiklitiras. Pylos is the birthplace of the Olympic champion and hero of the Balkan wars, Kostis Tsiklitiras. Kostis Tsiklitiras won the gold medal in the long jump at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. During the Balkan Wars he requested to be on the front line of battle, even though as an Olympic champion he could have been in the rear. There, he contracted meningitis and passed away six months after the great distinction in Stockholm.
When visiting Pylos it is worth visiting the majestic church of Panagia Myrtidiotissa which is located near the center of Pylos and is visible from almost everywhere in the city. The chapel of Agios Nikolaos is another church you should not miss. Just above the chapel of Ag. Nikolaos you can see the bay of Navarino, Pylos, the castle and Sfaktiria island. Another important church to see in the region north of Pylos is Agia Sotiras Byzantine cathedral (The Church of the Transfiguration). The large Byzantine church was restored after an earthquake in 1886, and is surrounded by the remains of a series of related buildings.
As you can see Pylos has so much to offer! From history to stunning views, beaches and excellent cuisine. We will help you discover all the hidden gems.