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Pylos

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Pylos did not start out with the greatest public relations campaign - in ancient times, it was believed to be one of the Gates to Hell. In Homer, it was the home of Nestor where Odysseus's son, Telemachus, sought information. Later, the Myceneans built the Palace of Nestor, which can still be visited - it's one of the most evocative of the Mycenean sites, with a clear floorplan. In more modern times, it watched over the Battle of Navarino which took place in the Bay of Navarino on October 20th, 1827. At the time, Pylos itself was known as Navarino. The current modern town of Pylos, also called Pilos, was actually founded by the French. The long island of Sphacteria (also spelled Sfakteria and other variants) is what creates the bay, protecting Pylos and adjacent sites on the mainland.

This area of the Peloponnese shows a more unusual atmosphere than the usual Roman, Venetian, and Ottoman influences which can be found throughout much of Greece. This area was occupied by Spain in 1361; some believe the name "Navarino" comes from the kings of Navarre. By the way, Pylos means "gate".The word "Peloponnese" is not related to Pylos; it comes from the name Pelops, an early king of the region.

Pylos is mentioned by Homer in Book 17 of the Odyssey as "Sandy Pylos", where Odysseus's son Telemachus came to Nestor's palace to see if he could find information about his long-missing father.

Where to Stay in Pylos

Pylos has a range of hotels and also offers an organized beachside camping area. You can see some of them and compare prices on Hotels in Pylos.

Sightseeing in Pylos

Pylos has a trio of essential sights - the Neo Kastro or "New" Castle, a remnant from the Turkish occupation; the "Old" Castle at Paleokastro (think Paleo-lithic if you're trying to remember which is old and which is new) and the oldest of them all, the Palace of Nestor located a short distance outside of town, on the road to Pyrgos.

Boat trips through the Bay are popular and when conditions are right, some sunken ships can be seen beneath the waters.

Like most coastal towns in Greece, seaside tavernas are abundant and serve local fish - which can be the most expensive items on the menu. You can take a peek at Pylos through this live webcam of the port of Pylos.

What to Buy

You'll find no shortage of olive oil and Kalamata olives throughout this region. For a more distinctive souvenir, the area has long produced its own silk, introduced during Venetian times, though there are suspicions that the Minoans and Myceneans may have had a type of silk thousands of years ago, using a local silkworm. Look for local silk scarves.

Dining in Pylos

Like any wateside town in Greece, Pylos offers seaside tavernas. Octopus is a particular specialty though some of it may not be strictly local.

Travel to Pylos

Pylos is a stop on many cruises to Greece, including Variety Cruises on the Panorama II, Seabourn on the Seabourn Odyssey, and Holland America on the HAL Prinsendam. Shore excursions usually include a visit to Nestor's Palace.

Pylos is usually a stop on a longer trip through the Peloponnese, but there are buses from Athens up to twice a day from Terminal A. It can also be reached by car, and the airport at Kalamata hosts domestic flights year-round and international flights and charter flights in the summer travel season.

Plan Your Own Trip to Greece

Find & Compare Discount Flights to Athens You can drive from Athens to Pylos, and the E65 makes it easier and faster, but unless you get an very early start out of Athens, you may want to stop overnight on the way.

Find & Compare Discount Rental Cars in Athens

Find & Compare Rates on Hotels in Athens and throughout Greece and the Greek Islands

Book your Own Day Trips Around Athens

Book your Own Short Trips Around Greece

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