Koroni and Methoni castles are a must-see if you visit the Peloponnese in Greece. These Venetian castles could almost be straight out of Game of Thrones! Here's all the information you need about visiting Koroni and Methonia castles.
Koroni and Methoni Castles
The south east Peloponnese peninsula in Greece is a dream destination for holidaymakers. If you want quiet stretches of beautiful sandy beaches, you've got it. If you want to see archaeological sites, then Ancient Messene is nearby. And if you want to see castles, then look no further than Koroni and Methoni, otherwise known as The Eyes of Venice in Greece.
Koroni and Methoni have always been coveted by the various powers which have controlled the coastal area around the Peloponnese throughout the ages. They occupy key strategic positions, and have also been very important centres for trade and maritime traffic. Built by the Venetians in the 13th century, the castles have stood through siege, war and natural disaster. Today, the castles of Koroni and Methoni are open to the public, and are major tourist attractions for anyone exploring the south Peloponnese coast.
The Castle of Koroni
Koroni Castle is an excellent example of Venetian castle architecture, and was built in the 13th century. The castle we see today has of course been altered throughout the years, with the Ottomans being the last to leave their mark. Today, Koroni Castle is free to enter and explore.
Once inside, you get the curious feeling that the castle is in some way being ‘squatted'. Some of the houses are still inhabited, as indeed is a monastery. It must be a very strange place to live! This is a castle to wander around, enjoy, and wonder at just how many man hours must have gone into its construction.
I would suggest allowing between one and two hours to explore the castle. Longer, if you want to go down to some of the hidden coves and take a swim in the sea. My pro travel tip for visiting this castle, is to make your way to the still inhabited monastery. Here, there is a tower which is the highest accessible point within Koroni Castle, and there are spectacular views all around.
The Castle of Methoni
Of the Eyes of Venice in Greece, Methoni was my favourite castle. If you only have time to visit one during your time in the Peloponnese, then I would suggest that this should be it. Again, at least a couple of hours should be put aside to do the site justice.
You approach the castle over a stone bridge which connects the castle to the shore, and goes over a sea moat. The walls are incredibly impressive once inside.
There are also massive walls protecting the castle from attack by the sea.
The site is very large, and its most outstanding part is the smaller fortified islet at the south, known as the ‘Bourtzi'.
I couldn't help but think of game of Thrones when seeing it! Used as a lookout, last line of defense, and even a prison, it is connected to the rest of the castle via a small paved pathway. Make sure your camera has plenty of battery life, because you will take a lot of photos here!
Even the view back to the castle from here is amazing.
How to get to Koroni and Methoni
The nearest city of importance is Kalamata. From there, Methoni is a 21km drive, and Koroni is a further 31kms beyond that. Organised tours may be available from Kalamata, although most people would choose to either drive, or take local transport. It might also be quite a pleasant bike ride between Koroni and Methoni. Working out cycle routes between major tourist attractions in Greece is a side project I am working on which may take some time though! By the way, if you are interested in cycling in Greece, you might like to read about my most recent cycling adventure. This was a 75 day bicycle tour from Greece to England.