Undoubtedly Messinia must be one of the few places in Greece that has such a wide variety and choice of beautiful beaches for enjoyable swimming. From the endless beaches of Finikounda and the smaller but equally attractive beach of Methoni, all the way round the coast to the pristine clean beaches of the Mani, the truth is that swimming here is a real treat.
The north is a good place to start as the sandy beach north of Kiparissia and Kalo Nero is probably the longest stretch of golden sand in the whole Peloponnese. For this reason, even in the height of summer it doesnt take too much effort to find yourself isolated. This beach is a favourite nesting-ground of the loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta, so keep an eye open not to disturb their nests.
The beach at Kalo Nero itself is a mix of sandy shale and pebbles. Heading south, Stomio beach is the small, horseshoe shaped beach of Filiatra, where you may well make a stop to look at its renowned eccentricities: a 12m high replica of the Eiffel Tower, a scaled down model of the Unisphere copied from the 1964 New York World Fair and an enormous fairytale castle!
The sandy coastline continues south all the way to Pylos. Just north of Marathopoli, (a village well known for its seafood and facing the island of Proti, which can be visited by boat), the crescent-shaped beach at Lagouvardos is popular with kite-surfers. The pleasant coastal road from Marathopoli to Pylos then passes another sandy beach at Vromoneri before heading inland to Tragana and returning to the coast again at Romanos/Petrohori.
A long stretch of sand here, known as Glifadaki can be reached from either of these two villages- hence it is also known as Romanos beach or Petrohori beach depending on your point of view! Each end of this beautiful beach has somewhere to get a drink and have lunch. Just a stones throw from Petrohori lies the much-photographed beach of Voidokilia. A deserted crescent of fine sand so take your own supplies and umbrella.
Next is Gialova, which has two beaches – the first at the end of the lagoon, Golden Beach runs parallel to the lagoon and nature reserve and has one café about half way along. Gialova beach itself, offers plenty of natural shade along with numerous bars and tavernas.