Built on the top of a small promontory in the north of Navarino bay, the old Navarino castle was once a significant observation place. It was built in 13 century by the Franks, on the ruins of an ancient acropolis. After the construction of Pylos
castle in the south side of the bay, Navarino castle lost its significance and use. The locals also call it Paleokastro (the old fortress) in order to distinguish from Neokastro, the fort in Pylos.
As the castle was not in use for a long period of time, it is almost destroyed. Preserved are only the outer walls and a few small bastions. The promontory on which the castle is built has a unique position - it overlooks the Navarino bay and Sfaktiria, the Gialova
lagoon and the famous Voidokillia
beach. Just under the castle there is a cave which is known as the Nestor`s cave from Greek mythology.
There are two ways to reach Navarino castle. The first access is from the end of Divari
beach. After you pass Gialova village, you have to follow the signs for Divari (Golden sands) and the lagoon. When you reach Divari beach there are signs for the castle. The road turns from paved to unpaved but any type of vehicle is suitable. The parking lot is at the very end of Divari beach, at the foot of the castle. To go up to the ruins, you have to walk on a narrow path. We visited the place in May 2015 but there was a sign that the castle is dangerous and should not be visited. Yet there were people going up no matter the warning. What made us turn back was the snake we saw in the beginning of the path (yes, the area is part of Natura 2000 so snakes are not strange to see). They say that the view from the top is spectacular, especially of the entire Voidokillia beach.
The second access is from Voidokillia beach. The route starts at the south end of the beach and goes up to the castle, passing by Nestor`s cave. This route is steeper and harder as half of the way is not solid land but sand dunes - your feet would sink into the sand and make climbing up difficult. If you decide to take this route, you`d better do it in the morning, before the noon and afternoon heat. Long trousers and closed shoes are recommendable.
highlights: old fortress above Voidokillia beach, historic sight in Messinia Region, Peloponnese, Greece