Edited by Paulina Björk Kapsalis
It’s a familiar feeling; at the beginning of each year, as the excitement and stress of holiday celebrations die down and we settle into our everyday routines, a certain longing begins to stir. It’s the urge to make plans for new adventures. Our minds go to things like endless blue horizons, sightseeing, thrilling explorations in nature, and barefoot days on the beach.
Just at the right time, Costa Navarino announced this week its most extensive offering to date. This year happens to mark the destination’s first full season for the new Mandarin Oriental resort and the vibrant marketplace Navarino Agora and will also boast a rich program of events and a number of new venues and curated experiences.
Here are eight things to know about Costa Navarino and plan your 2024 trip around:
Did you know that Costa Navarino offers 4 distinct resorts: Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino; The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort; The Westin Resort Costa Navarino; and W Costa Navarino?
Imagine this: going to bed to the soothing chirping of cicadas and waking up to the gentle sound of waves rolling onto the shore. Or picture an alternative scene: lively chatter and energetic beats of a talented DJ at a party by the beach, or the laughter of your family members going down a waterslide.
The first step in planning your vacation at Costa Navarino is choosing your resort. While guests are welcome to enjoy the facilities of the entire destination, each of the four resorts offer distinct characteristics, thus catering to a diverse array of guests. Those looking for the elegance and refinement associated with the Mandarin Oriental brand will find it at the destination’s newest resort, Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino (opening April 1), where earth-sheltered villas offer breathtaking views of the bay of Navarino. New, personalized experiences can be found at The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort (opening April 25), an ideal romantic resort for couples situated just above the pristine The Dunes Beach. Families love The Westin Resort Costa Navarino (opening February 18), offering a multitude of venues and activities designed especially for young guests. Meanwhile, at W Costa Navarino (opening May 3), friends enjoy a vibrant atmosphere and an exciting program of events, spanning across music, watersports, wellness, and gastronomy.
Did you know that everybody has access to Navarino Agora, the new meeting point of Costa Navarino?
Idyllically located in Navarino Bay, just a short walk from W Costa Navarino and Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino, the Navarino Agora (opening April 1) is Messinia’s new meeting point that everyone is talking about. Inspired by the “agora,” or marketplace, of ancient Greece, it was designed with the specific intention of bringing people together, which is why this is one of the best places for you to experience the rich and vibrant culture of this picturesque region. Guests of Costa Navarino blend with locals to discover a microcosm of experiences, shopping, dining, open-air cinema and take part in a diverse program of events. This year, it will encompass music and dance performances, film festivals, fashion events, and much more.
Did you know that Costa Navarino is considered to be the “World’s Best Golf Venue,” as recognized at the 2023 World Golf Awards?
Standing on the green of the world’s first International Olympic Academy Golf Course, you’re surrounded by olive trees and native bushes. A cliff to your left opens the landscape up to a panoramic view of the Ionian Sea below. A gentle but persistent offshore wind from the right makes it hard to keep the ball off the penalty area, but you enjoy the challenge…
World famous golfers and amateurs alike frequently return to Costa Navarino and its four signature 18-hole courses: The Dunes Course, The Bay Course, The Hills Course, and International Olympic Academy Golf Course (all opening February 19). The destination recently won two accolades at the World Golf Awards: “Europe’s Best Eco-Friendly Golf Facility,” and the coveted “World’s Best Golf Venue” accolade while being featured in the Top 10 of the acclaimed Golf World’s “Top 100 World Resorts”.
Be sure to note in your agendas the esteemed Aegean Messinia ProAm golf tournament, scheduled for the 18th to the 24th of November. This prestigious event promises to be a highlight in the golfing calendar.
Did you know about the wide variety of sports activities, including outdoor- and water sports you can experience at Costa Navarino?
Catching a wave on a surfboard, that same wind that challenged you on the golf courses pushes you forward toward the beach. Later, during a tennis session at the renowned Mouratoglou Tennis Center, you look out over the sea again, and plan your next activity.
Some days, you might want to start your day with a hike or a swim, just to warm up, because there’s so much to do later. From indoor climbing, bowling, and pool to thrilling outdoor sports like cycling (including off-road on nearby mountain bike trails and guided cycling tours), rock climbing, and rappelling, there’s something for everyone. The sea is your playground, whether you prefer the rush of wing foil, and water-skiing; taking a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) out to discover nearby beaches; indulging in the elegance of yachting or sailing around secluded islets; or exploring the hidden depths while scuba diving.
For kids with a passion for basketball, the NBA Basketball School returns this year to introduce young players to the NBA unique approach, while soccer fans can benefit from the FC Bayern Football Camps.
Did you know that there are over 40 dining venues at Costa Navarino?
Fragrant honey, traditional Greek yogurt, freshly baked breads and pastries, homemade jams, cheese and charcuterie from local producers, Kalamata olives, fresh eggs cooked to order… Starting your day exploring the wealth of options at one of the destination’s breakfast buffets is the perfect introduction to Messinian cuisine, and a hint at what’s to come. With over 40 dining venues serving various cuisines, you have abundant alternatives for every meal.
It’s worth noting that most of the ingredients used here come from local producers, and much of the chef’s inspiration comes from Messinian traditional fare, cooked using recipes passed down through generations.
If food is your passion, this year, don’t miss the chance to visit W Costa Navarino for the “Chefs on Fire” festival, hosting well-known Greek chefs showcasing the best of local cuisine, or enroll in an exclusive five-day program organized in association with the Culinary Institute of America at The Westin Resort Costa Navarino from 6th to 10th of March.
Did you know about the wide variety of experiences you can join at Costa Navarino to make you feel like a local?
Every autumn, the ripe olives on the trees in Messinia’s vast groves are carefully knocked free with wooden sticks, picked through by hand, and then taken to the presses. Following up with an olive oil tasting completes the experience.
Costa Navarino’s Messinian Authenticity experiences have been created in appreciation of the region’s meaningful cultural history, which goes back thousands of years. You can learn about the stars and how they guided seafarers to Messinian ports in antiquity during a special astronomy night or go on a philosophy walk led by a university professor, discussing the same existential questions that troubled the ancient philosophers. You can learn the art of cheesemaking; take a village cooking class with the locals; or join the ladies of the Glyfada Cultural Association as they prepare homemade pasta and sing a cappella, wearing the traditional costumes of the region.
Did you know that you can own a home at Costa Navarino?
It’s another familiar feeling: you’re on vacation, and you never want to leave. For those wanting to create a lasting connection to the region, and even call it home, Costa Navarino offers a range of real estate opportunities, from fully furnished, income-generating resort apartments to 3-7-bedroom villas. And the best part? Homeowners enjoy full access to all the resort facilities and services, so it really feels like a permanent vacation.
2024 will see the residential community of Costa Navarino Residences grow even more, as it welcomes new owners in the Rolling Greens neighborhood at Navarino Dunes. For those seeking to live the Costa Navarino Residences experience, a range of villas will soon become available to rent, whilst enjoying access to resort services.
Did you know that Costa Navarino is easily accessible with direct flights to Kalamata International Airport?
Just a 45 minute-drive from Kalamata International Airport, Costa Navarino boasts convenient accessibility with many international and domestic flights. Starting June 1, Aegean–Olympic Air introduces a bi-weekly service linking Heraklion with Kalamata, while from April 4, you can catch one of the four weekly flights from Athens, opening doors to numerous international destinations via Star Alliance and Aegean Airlines. Year-round flights from Thessaloniki are also available. And there’s more: starting February 24, SAS will connect Stockholm to Kalamata weekly, Air France will begin weekly flights from Paris on July 6, and from April, Volotea offers direct connections from both Lille and Lyon, making it an easily reachable destination.