Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mainland Greece Takes off; New UK Flights to the Peloponnese Peninsula Are Making Home Buying Easier for Londoners, Says Cathy Hawker

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mainland Greece Takes off; New UK Flights to the Peloponnese Peninsula Are Making Home Buying Easier for Londoners, Says Cathy Hawker

Article excerpt

Byline: Cathy Hawker

THINK of a holiday home in Greece and you'll probably imagine a place on a sun-baked island Crete, perhaps, or Santorini, Mykonos or Corfu. But Greeks covet holiday homes on the vast Peloponnese peninsula, south-west of Athens.

The area's tagline is "Mythical Peloponnese", a nod to centuries of ancient culture and history. Homer and Euripides wrote lyrically about it and must-see sites include Olympia, birthplace of the Olympics, the Palace of Nestor and the amphitheatre at Epidaurus.

The Greeks love its landscapes, as diverse at its history. There are mountains, forests, rocky coastlines on both the Aegean and Ionian Seas and acres of silver-grey olive trees. Sixty-five per cent of Greece's olive production is from this region, including the famous, prized Kalamata olives.

WESTERN PELOPONNESE The seaside city of Kalamata is the capital of Messinia in the south-west Peloponnese, and Kalamata International is one of Europe's fastestgrowing airports. Last year British Airways launched summer season flights from Heathrow and take-up was strong enough that this year the season has extended into October. Along with EASYJET's four weekly flights from Gatwick, it means that getting to the western Peloponnese is now an easier option for Londoners.

Much of the reason for this expansion is down to Costa Navarino, a five-star resort 40 minutes from Kalamata airport, with grounds filled with jasmine, lavender and honeysuckle and a strong drive for sustainability. Completed facilities on the 3,000 acre-plus site include two hotels the Westin and the Romanos, with 746 rooms in total 21 restaurants, beach clubs, numerous pools, two golf courses and some of the best sports and children's resort facilities in Europe.

Costa Navarino has spent PS492 million on development so far and claims to be the first high-quality, secure beachfront community of this scale in Greece. Navarino Residences are 50 detached luxury pool villas of 3,230sqft to 10,765sq ft, some among the olive groves, others beachfront and all with wide sea views. Freehold off-plan villas start at PS1. …

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