Methoni Castle

Methoni is a small village about a half hour drive south of Pylos. Back in the day, the beach and fishing cove was protected by a castle with a an outlying tower on the rocky point. The castle probably housed most of the people; the size of the place surprised us, considering the current local population.

Whatever you do, don’t go on a Monday, the only day of the week the castle is closed. Any other day, wander in and either pay the 1 euro admission, or not if there is no-one in the booth.

The Castle

There’s a big dry moat to wander around outside which is open to the sea at both ends. If you get right down in it, you’ll see tunnels and openings along the town side wall.

The entrance leads you down between the inner and outer walls into the big open field on the sea side of the castle.

The view towards the tower.

From there you can stroll down to the sea to climb the wall and walk out on the causeway to the tower. If you’re lucky enough (or plan it) to be there when the tide is in, the waves come right up to the edge of the causeway.

The tower is a pretty basic affair, but the location and view are fantastic.

There’s also a church under renovation at the moment with some classic Greek orthodox artwork but no roof.

Inside the inner wall it’s mostly grass, but if you explore enough, there are some tunnels and neat little corners to monkey around in. You can also get up onto the walls to enjoy a view towards the village and beach.

There’s almost nothing in terms of historical interpretation or restoration. That’s not a big deal for us, as we prioritize open spaces to run around in, and lack of crowds.

If you’re more into the history of the region, check out Pylos castle 20 minutes north of Methoni. There’s a museum and much of the castle has been restored.

Pylos castle.

The village of Methoni is small, quiet, picturesque. There’s a beach and a fishing port and a small playground for the kids.

There’s also a few tavernas in the village if you’re not feeling picnic-y. We ended up liking Methoni so much that we went a few times, including once on a Monday!

Pylos, Greece and Housesitting

After Athens, we took off by bus to Pylos (with a small detour to Tyros) to scout a potential house-sit.

We arrived in Kalamata (of the famed olives) in the late afternoon by bus. Our wonderful host Stéphane picked us up at the bus station. We loaded into his dusty Prius and drove to the beautiful rural olive groves of Gialova, Greece. (not far up the coast from Pylos).

Fairway Residence in Pylos

We arrived at the Fairway Residence villas after dark, and even at night the view is spectacular. The lower terrace looks out over Pylos and the Aegean Sea. At night the foreground is just a dark expanse of olive groves.

Pylos view
The same view in the daytime… not bad!

We moved into our temporary home, a deluxe two bedroom villa with full kitchen, big screen TV, and 6 person hot tub. Unbelievable! The pool is only a few steps away, and there is a large, open kitchen and dining table just above.

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Stéphane explained to us that another family will be renting “our” villa for 3 months. We will be house- and cat-sitting at their home, a few kilometers away. There are two cute, nameless cats that need occasional feeding and hugs while Stéphane and his wife Laure-Anne are back in Belgium visiting family.

Our Contribution

We’ll be contributing to the running of the villas, just so you don’t think we’re a bunch of freeloaders. We’ll be managing check-ins and check-outs, maintaining the grounds a bit (there’s a gardener and a pool guy) and doing some painting. It’s not clear how busy we’ll be, since the owners have never kept the place open through the “winter” months so they don’t know how many bookings there’ll be.

Both the villas and the house are surrounded by olive groves. The olives are harvested in late November and early December to make olive oil. During the olive harvest they strip the olives from the branches with long rakes and then prune back the branches. Apparently, only a new branch will produce olives. We will certainly have some olive leaves to sweep as well when the harvest is finished.

The House

Sorry, no pictures of or from the house yet. We did go and have lunch at the house with our lovely hosts. We met the cats, we toured the property and house, and relaxed on the terrace.

The house itself is airy and comfortable. There are two bedrooms, vaulted ceilings, and a wood stove for heat. The terrace has an even better view than at the villas. The view is west-facing, so every night is a spectacular sunset. There is almost no light pollution, the closest village is quite small. I’m pretty excited to see the Milky Way, I haven’t seen it since I lived in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

We’ll be staying in Pylos from early December until mid February, but we won’t be entirely stationary. The house-sit comes with a rental car, and the cats are semi-autonomous. That means we’ll be road-tripping around the Peloponnese Peninsula on one or two day jaunts from time to time.

Good times, and a great place to spend the Christmas holidays!