In Greece in the south of the Peloponnese, the spectacular Resort of Costa Navarino which extends along the Ionian coast on two sites, is finalizing the opening of two new golf courses and two new hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental in 2023.

  • Captain Vassilis
    Captain Vassilis - ©David Raynal

In the southwest of the Peloponnese, there is a destination blessed by the Gods. The history of Costa Navarino, as it is called, is as old as Greece itself. It was the wise King Nestor, legendary ruler of nearby ancient Pylos, who first gave meaning to the word "hospitality - Xenia in Greek" 1200 BC when he befriended the legend with complete strangers. Because in ancient Greece, any guest must be treated as if they were a deity descended from Olympus. From this point of view, Costa Navarino is no exception to custom and cultivates friendship and the sweetness of life on all occasions, in the heart of mythical landscapes of insolent beauty. In February 2022, the destination opened two new golf courses, the International Olympic Academy Golf Course and the Hill Course under the leadership of two-time Masters champion and Ryder Cup legend, José María Olazábal who is also a great golf architect. “I was immediately blown away by the beauty of the site. The property is at the top of the hill and the views of the bay and the mountains in the background are just amazing. We are in Europe but the very mild climatic conditions in the region allow us to play in T-shirts until November” explains José María Olazábal.

the International Olympic Academy Golf Course and The Hills Course the two new pearls of Costa Navarino.

  • Bay Course - Costa Navarino
    Olympic Course - ©David Raynal

The two new par 72s are very different from each other, 6m and 366m from the back tees. They extend over 6 hectares overlooking the Bay Course, one of the first two “signature” golf courses in Costa Navarino. "With the development of these four golf courses, we can consider that the Costa Navarino holiday residence has become a real golf destination" pointed out José María Olazábal during the inauguration. Surrounded by olive groves and Mediterranean species, the International Olympic Academy Golf Course is the longer and more ambitious of the two offering sumptuous breathtaking views throughout a very well defended course of exceptional quality. exceptional maintenance. Officially launched for the 5e Messenia Pro-Am which took place from November 24 to 27, 2021, this championship course is capable of hosting the biggest international competitions. For its part, the Hills Course is not to be outdone and also offers an excellent route which is perfectly integrated into the surrounding nature, it seems that this course has always been there, although it is very recent. The greens are very rolling and offer players of all levels a great experience and a real golfing challenge. Its layout in the middle of nature dominates the rural landscape of Messinia with its steep mountains and in the distance its small villages. « The quality of these two courses is very high and I know that golfers but also non-golfers will be immediately seduced by the almost mystical beauty of the place » enthusiastically commented José María Olazábal

World-class experience

  • Navarino Hills
    Navarino Hills - ©TPlassais/Swing-feminin

The new Navarino Hills development now brings the number of 'signature' golf courses in Costa Navarino to 4, all within a 13 km radius and less than 20 minutes by shuttle bus from the hotel. Which makes it one of the few high-end golf destinations in the world that brings together such characteristics. A tour de force all the more remarkable when you know that Greece has only 7 golf courses on its territory. Named “European Golf Resort of the Year 2017” by the world golf tourism association IAGTO, Costa Navarino offers, with its four emblematic 18-hole courses, a unique world-class golf experience.

The Dunes Course

  • Dune Race
    The Dune Course - ©Costa Navarino

But let's go back to the first two courses that made Costa Navarino world famous. The very first golf course in the collection, The Dunes Course, is designed by Bernhard Langer, two-time Masters winner and former Ryder Cup captain, in association with European Golf Design. It takes its name from the high dunes that separate several holes from the pristine beach. This championship course, set in a diverse natural landscape next to The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, offers spectacular sea and river views. Parts of the course venture into olive groves and orchards, while other holes skirt a small river – the Sellas – which meanders through the site. Combined with large undulating greens, wide fairways and steep-sided bunkers, the links element of the course adds to its unique style and playability. The par-71 course measures 6 yards from the back tees. The generously wide fairways and large greens are good targets that are very popular with amateurs. Hole number 581, a par 2 of 4 meters which descends gently to the sea, stands out as Costa Navarino's signature hole. Last but not least, golfers of all skill levels can benefit from the professional tuition offered by the Navarino Golf Academy.

The Bay Course

  • Bay Course - Costa Navarino
    Bay Course - ©TPlassais/Swing-feminin

For its part, The Bay Course, signed Robert Trent Jones JR, offers incredible panoramic views of the sea and the mountains, with two holes playing along the historic bay of Navarino, facing the azure immensity of the Ionian Sea . Open since October 2011, this 18-hole par 71 golf course offers a stimulating challenge to golfers of all levels. The natural beauty of the bay is showcased on hole 4, a challenging, short and strategic par 4, directly overlooking the bay with the town of Pylos visible in the background. On some holes in the Bay Course, golfers play from elevated tees and continue their drives in and through the canyons as the course moves from the sea inland. To perfect this exceptional environment, more than 1 olive trees, some of which are over 000 years old, were saved during the construction of the course and transplanted all along the perimeter.

Homeric Project

At the origin of this Homeric project, there is the fierce will of a great captain of the merchant navy, Vassilis Konstantakopoulos. Having made his fortune, he decided to devote it in the 80s to the reconstruction of his region, which had been devastated and deserted after the Second World War. After long negotiations to buy back their plots of land from the farmers of the region and an overall investment estimated at 1,2 billion euros, he undertook to bring Messinia and the olive-growing region of Kalamata back to life. The titanic construction site, which extends over more than 1000 hectares and ten kilometers in length in an arid sector, notably required the establishment of more than 6 new native trees and some 000 endemic shrubs of different species. . After ten years, the first phase of the project was opened to the public in 1, offering two 000* hotels and two golf courses, along magnificent coastal landscapes.

The magic of the place

Now managed by Achilles, the eldest son of the captain who died 11 years ago, Costa Navarino has propelled itself, in collaboration with the TEMES group, one of the main developers and operators of high-end tourism and real estate in Greece, in the top 10 of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Europe. On 130 hectares of gently rolling hills, Navarino Dunes, the first site is breathtakingly beautiful. Nature is generous there and the waters of the Ionian Sea, clear and temperate, run aground on a beach of golden sand, more than a kilometer long. Navarino Dunes welcomes in its sanctuary, the hotels The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino. Inspired by the architecture of traditional mansions and rural houses in the region, the infrastructures are low-rise and built with local materials and traditional decorative details to blend harmoniously into the surrounding landscape. In the heart of the olive groves, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort is a 5-star hotel which has 320 rooms and suites from 43m² to 192m². The majority of rooms on the ground floor benefit from infinity pools. The superb Royal Villa Koroni occupies a record surface of 660m².

Essential oils of aromatic herbs

Anazoe Spa

Anazoe Spa – ©Costa Navarino

With 445 rooms and suites, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino also benefits from a privileged location by the sea on a green hill between golf course, sea and swimming pool. This luxury family resort offers rooms and suites ranging from 40 m² to 80 m² as well as 131 private infinity pools. For the well-being of its customers, the Anazoe Spa offers over 4000 m² a whole range of treatments inspired by ancient Greek techniques, as well as floating pools, cold treatment rooms, hammams and saunas diffusing essential oils of aromatic herbs. In addition to gentle therapies, thalassotherapy and physiotherapy, the spa offers oleotherapy® treatments whose origin of treatments was discovered in the ancient palace of Nestor, located just 8 kilometers away.

Traditional style architecture

The Westin Resort

The Westin Resort – ©Costa Navarino

Halfway between the Westin Resort and The Romanos, the Agora reproduces in its architecture the typical style of the traditional Greek villages of Messenia. Strolling through the alleys, walkers will find beautiful addresses for shopping, an open-air cinema and a Greek amphitheater. Guests also enjoy a large selection of cafes, restaurants and bars. The Kafenio, which revives the typical atmosphere of an authentic Greek café, or the Souvlakerie, the traditional Hellenic skewer grill. Added to the decor are the Italian restaurant Da Luigi, the Kooc Taverna Secrets and its traditional Messinian dishes, the Greek artisanal ice cream shop Kayak, or the cocktail bar or local beers 1827, in memory of the date of the victory in Pylos of the Greeks against the Ottomans.

AEGEAN Messinia Pro-Am 2022

In terms of golfing news, Costa Navarino is not to be outdone. AEGEAN Airlines and Costa Navarino are preparing to host the most important tournament in the destination. Bringing together two major golf events, the first Aegean Messinia Pro-Am 2022 will be held from September 14 to 17, within this newest golfing destination in Europe. Combining the Aegean Pro-Am and the Messinia Pro-Am, the inaugural 54-hole tournament will be played at three of Costa Navarino's four signature 18-hole golf courses – The Dunes Course, the International Olympic Academy Golf Course and The Hills Course in Navarino Hills, the two new courses that were inaugurated last February.

New Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Mandarin Oriental – ©Costa Navarino

With four exclusive golf courses, over 20 restaurants, a wide range of outdoor sporting and cultural activities, and a range of 5-star services, Costa Navarino could rightfully rest on its laurels. But the legend does not end there. Navarino Bay will host the new Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino hotel in 2023, while on the neighboring site of Navarino Waterfront the opening of the W Costa Navarino is expected this summer. The resolutely upscale and trendy establishment will offer 246 elegant rooms, villas and suites with private infinity pools, a Beach Club, a water sports center and a wide range of restaurants. One more reason to venture into Messinia in the middle of centuries-old olive trees, in order to discover this new Garden of Eden as soon as possible.

David Raynal

For more information :

Register for the AEGEAN Messinia Pro-Am

From September 14 to 17, a four-day tournament offers the opportunity to compete for numerous individual and team prizes. It also comes with an exciting program with several themed events. Already open, team registration for the Aegean Messinia Pro-Am 2022 is on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that AEGEAN Airlines offers plane tickets at preferential rates to tournament participants.

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Getting there with AEGEAN Airlines

To get there, the easiest way is to use the Greek company AEGEAN, which has direct flights from the main European capitals to Kalamata, in season from the end of April. From there, an hour's drive with your rental vehicle or your transfer organized by your hotel. Otherwise, landing in Athens (all year round), count 3 hours drive via two highways.

About AEGEAN Airlines

AEGEAN is a member of STAR ALLIANCE, the world's largest airline alliance. The company has been recognized, for the 10th consecutive year and the 11th time in the past 12 years, with the Skytrax World Airline 2021 award, as the best regional airline in Europe. AEGEAN, recently received a 4-Star award from Skytrax (4-Star COVID 19 Arline Safety Rating). It has in fact been certified that since the beginning of the pandemic and with the same commitment until today, it has implemented the highest standards and best practices proposed by the World Health Organization, l ICAO and IATA for the protection of passengers and crew.

To read our last article on the same subject :

Aegean Airlines and Costa Navarino launch the first-ever Aegean Messinia Pro-Am