Old Navarino Castle – Messinia, Greece - Atlas Obscura

Old Navarino Castle

Ruins of a 13th-century fortress perched above a breathtaking Mediterranean bay. 


Built in Greece in the 13th century by the Franks, this site was once an important observation place. Its strategic location made it a prime spot for protecting the bay. As such, it endured centuries of attacks and sieges.

The Venetians gained control of the fortress in the 15th century, but it wasn’t long before the Ottomans attempted to stake their claim to the castle. The fortress passed back and forth between Venetian and Ottoman hands before the Ottoman forces eventually proved successful.

However, after the construction of Pylos castle nearby, Navarino lost its significance and gradually began degenerating. It is now commonly referred to by the locals as Paleokastro, meaning “the old fortress.” Today, only fragments of it still stand.

Though the castle is a mere skeleton of its former glory, it’s still worth visiting. From the top of the cliffs it crowns, you will have stunning panoramic views of Voidokilia Beach, the lagoon, coastline, and nearby islands. You’ll also find Nestor’s Cave halfway up the rock formation. Although the cave is not too deep, it is still worth taking a flashlight and exploring.

Know Before You Go

You can access the ruins from the Voidokilia Beach car park. Walk the length of the bay and then find the path leading to the top of the hill. The path is fairly steep, but there are rungs and ropes to help you climb. The ascent takes around 30 minutes.

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