All eyes are on Greece this week. The financial crisis has made headlines on a daily basis, and the country’s economic future is up in the air. But before the Grexit fears, Greece chalked up thousands of years of mythical history, cultivated amazing heritage, and developed stunning natural beauty. And while in the short term the country is facing difficult economic times, the country remains a great place to travel. Trust me. I was there last weekend.
My trip to Greece revolved around the Peloponnese peninsula. Out in Messinia, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection resort on Costa Navarino, invited me out to experience the beauty of life on the Ionian sea and the luxurious rooms and amenities of The Romanos Ionian Exclusive service.
After an—admittedly long—four-hour drive from Athens, I discovered that the area has everything from wide sandy beaches to historic castles and delicious food. Which is pretty much all I need for a perfect summer trip to Europe.
The Romanos resort was big enough to be its own self-contained village, complete with a range of restaurants, lots of boutiques, two golf courses, a huge swimming pool, and extensive grounds.
It was so big that I often relied on the golf cart service to pick me up and take me from my room to, say, the award-winning spa where I had an excellent “Melisseus, The Spirit of Honey” massage.
In the same way, my luxurious room was self-contained enough that I didn’t really need to leave. With room service for meals and my very own infinity pool, I could have never come out.
But there was more to do and see than just the resort, and The Romanos made sure I experienced the local area while I was in Greece.
One day I visited the nearby town of Pylos, with its 16th century Ottoman Neokastro castle and pretty town square filled with wooden cafe tables.
Another day I went on a boat trip around Navarino Bay. I enjoyed views of rock cliffs with medieval castles and mysterious keyholes, and learned about the famous Battle of Navarino, in which the allied British, French, and Russians defeated the Ottomans and Egyptians in 1827, helping win the Greek War of Independence.
On my final night in Costa Navarino, the resort organized a trip to a cooking class in a traditional house on a hill overlooking the sea.
After attempting to make Greek hylopites noodles (as the world’s worst cook, I generously gave up my space at the counter to watch an amazing sunset), I enjoyed a feast of Greek cuisine and a lively post-dinner dancing lesson.
But despite all there was to do and see in Messinia, I admit that I still enjoyed spending as much time as I could on a sun lounger at the beach at The Romanos. Because after all, that’s what a summer trip is all about. And Greece has some amazing beaches.
At the end of my stay, I headed back to Athens as the Greeks headed to the polls for their referendum. I’m back in London now; their economic fate is still uncertain. But no matter what happens with the Greek financial crisis, the good news is that the beauty and heritage that makes Greece such an amazing place to travel will always remain.