Greece’s best golf destination: Costa Navarino

Costa Navarino is the prime sustainable luxury golf destination in the Mediterranean, set in an unspoiled seaside landscape in the Greek Peloponnese. 

Boasting 5-star hotels, luxury residences and incredible facilities, it’s home to the country’s four best golf courses designed by Jose Maria Olazabal, Robert Trent Jones Jnr, and Bernhard Langer.

Getting there

Costa Navarino is located in the region of Messinia in the Peloponnese area of southwest Greece with Kalamata airport only 45 minutes’ drive away. Athens airport is just over three hours from the destination, along a fantastic new highway financed by the European Union.

Destination overview

The opulent, eco-friendly collection of resorts at Costa Navarino are blessed with panoramic sea and mountain views and surrounded by unspoiled greek countryside. The philosophy behind this fantastic location is to promote and preserve the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Messinia which dates back 4,500 years.

There’s three distinct sites featuring five-star deluxe hotels, luxury private residences, spa and thalassotherapy centres, a huge selection of excellent dining options, a wide range of year-round activities for adults and children – and four signature golf courses designed by legendary names of the golfing world.

Costa Navarino’s four signature golf courses within a maximum distance of 13km from each other further enhances its status as one of Europe’s best golf destinations. Its two original golf courses, The Dunes and The Bay, considered the two top layouts in Greece, have now been joined by two brand new courses designed by legendary Spanish golfer and two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal.

Three distinct sites

Navarino Dunes, the first area of Costa Navarino, is home to two 5-star properties, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, together offering a state-of-the-art 5000m2 House of Events conference centre, the 4000m2 Anazoe Spa & Thalassotherapy, The Dunes Course, the first signature golf course in Greece, and specially designed children’s hubs.

Guests can also enjoy numerous culinary venues along with a wide variety of sports, outdoor activities and cultural experiences. The area additionally features Navarino Residences, a collection of luxury villas for private ownership, as well as The Residences at The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, fully furnished resort apartments for sale.

Navarino Bay, the second area, is home to The Bay Course and the earth-sheltered Bay Clubhouse, and is set to welcome the Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino in 2023. At the nearby site Navarino Waterfront, the upscale W Costa Navarino is expected to open in summer 2022.

At Navarino Hills, the third area, set high above the coastline with panoramic Ionian Sea views, now has two brand new 18-hole signature golf courses.

World-class golf courses

The Dunes Course: The first course to be built at the resort was The Dunes, situated next to the main resort hub. It opened in 2010 and was designed by two-time US Masters champion Bernhard Langer in association with European Golf Design. Set in diverse natural scenery with spectacular sea views, it takes its name from the tall dunes that separate several holes from the nearby beach. Undulating large greens, wide fairways and strategically placed pot bunkers provide a links feel set in a typical Greek landscape of olive trees and citrus groves. The par-71 course, measuring 6,581 yards from the back tees, also features a clubhouse which hosts Flame restaurant, specializing in expertly cooked steak dishes.

The Bay Course: About 15 minutes from the main resort hub, The Bay Course opened a year later and was designed by legendary architect Robert Trent Jones Jnr. More hilly than The Dunes, this 6,000-yard, par-70 layout places emphasis on straight hitting and course management and offers spectacular views over the historic Bay of Navarino. Two holes run right alongside the nearby beach before the course heads up and down through beautiful canyons, hills and groves. Both courses are enjoyable for players of all levels with plenty of risk-reward holes. They are also challenging, especially from the back tees, with the wind coming in off the ocean.

The spectacular earth-sheltered Clubhouse at The Bay Course offers a fully equipped Pro Shop offering the latest in golf equipment and apparel. There is a free shuttle to the golf courses and back for the guests as well.

Two brand new golf courses

At Navarino Hills, two new 18-hole golf courses designed by Ryder Cup legend Jose Maria Olazabal are set above the coastline and offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, the Bay of Navarino and the Ionian Sea. Both playing to par 72, the first is the International Olympic Academy Golf Course measuring 6,960 yards in length, while the second course, The Hills, measures 6,870 yards. Both are now open.

Navarino Golf Academy

Extensive practice facilities are available including a well-appointed full-size driving range, putting green and short-game practice area. Instruction is available in various formats, tailored to the specific needs of individuals, couples, families or small groups. There is also a special program of Junior Sessions and Junior Camps. Expert tuition is supported by the latest technology, including video analysis and golf simulator.

Luxury accommodation

Costa Navarino, resting on a breathtaking stretch of sandy beach along the coast of the Ionian Sea, currently has two five-star accommodation options.

The Westin Resort Costa Navarino has more than 400 rooms and suites in the form of low-rise villa clusters inspired by old Messinian mansions, which have been constructed tastefully with local natural stone. 123 of them come with private infinity pools, while the others have access to an extensive common pool area. Living areas are sumptuously furnished and spacious, and are equipped with all modern amenities.

The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, adjacent to The Westin, has 321 modern, elegant rooms, suites and villas, all with private terraces with views of the sea or gardens. Rooms vary from deluxe rooms, to infinity rooms with individual pools, to grand suites. 

Both hotels open out into the Agora, an authentically recreated village centre with a variety of bars, shops and restaurants. Incorporated into the hotel is The Romanos Ionian Exclusive, featuring an elite bouquet of beautifully appointed suites and villas, complemented by exclusive services and privileges.

Both hotels combined offer over 20 restaurants and bars, outdoor and indoor pools, aqua park, the award-winning luxurious Anazoe Spa, fitness centre, the Mouratoglou Tennis Center Costa Navarino with 16 floodlit courts and top-level coaching, kids’ clubs, a new Youth Hub for teens with gaming and bowling, and a 1.5 km-long sandy beach with beach club.

Facilities, activities & food

Visitors can enjoy the luxurious thalassotherapy spa, tennis courts, water park and outdoor cinema. There are also plenty of choices for excellent food. Highlights include the Barbouni restaurant for seafood on the beach, the Flame restaurant at The Dunes clubhouse, which overlooks the 18th green, and traditional Greek at Kooc. Private dining is also available at selected beautiful locations.

There’s several cocktail and pool bars. There’s also botanical tours, wine and olive oil tasting, kayaking, biking, rock climbing, snorkelling and scuba diving, yachting and boating, water skiing and various other water sports.

Historical sites

With a fascinating history that goes back 4,500 years, Messinia’s cultural past reveals a rich tapestry of kings and queens, honour and tradition, war and friendship. Costa Navarino provides the ideal base from which to explore this dramatic past, and historic walks are available with guides. Classical temples, Byzantine churches, medieval castles and three UNESCO World Heritage sites are all within easy reach.

An eco-friendly future

The facilities were built with a vision to become a model eco-friendly sustainable destination for the 21st century. The main Dunes beach at the resort is a nesting area for loggerhead turtles and the resort management company maintains a monitoring and protection program to ensure that eggs and hatchlings are protected. The clubhouse at The Bay also has the local environment in mind. An innovative structure, it’s built into the hillside with an earth-covered roof.

Costa Navarino has put Greece on the international golfing map. Make it the first stop on your next golfing odyssey.

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