Costa Navarino - Luxury Golf Paradise in Greece
Bay Course

Costa Navarino - Luxury Golf Paradise in Greece

The ancient Olympic Games has given Greece a long association with sport, but it has been well behind the curve when it comes to attracting golfing tourists.

Until recently the country was bereft of courses, so there is no surprise it has not featured on the radar of travelling golfers.

Things are changing however, with the emerging destination of Costa Navarino taking Europe by storm and cementing its place as a top golfing hotspot.

Tourist development in this sleepy part of Greece began when shipping magnet Vassilis Constantakopoulos decided he wanted to boost the economy of his birthplace by building a large, luxurious destination on the coastline of Messinia.

Preparations for the realisation of the dream began in 1997 with the acquisition of land overlooking the fabulous Bay of Navarino.

The first hotels, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, and a Westin Resort at the area known as Navarino Dunes opened in 2010, along with the Dunes Golf Course, a spa and luxury homes.

Since then development has continued apace - there are currently four resorts within the umbrella of the huge Costa Navarino destination and a fifth is planned.

Costa Navarino is now a luxurious, albeit expensive destination, home to four five star hotels, villas and apartments, and very good golf courses.

It is divided into four distinct areas, or resorts as they are known - Dunes, Waterfront, Bay, and Hills, each with a character of their own yet unified by the overall high quality of build and levels of service.

Golf has always been part of the masterplan. The original Dunes Course was joined by The Bay Course in 2011 and another two layouts were completed in 2022 in the Hills area, a short drive away by complimentary shuttle. 

Reached by flights to Kalamata Airport, a 40 minute drive away, or by a three and a half hour journey from Athens, Costa Navarino can truly rank itself as a high class, luxury tourist destination to be reckoned with.


The four courses offer variety and differing challenges and complement each other nicely.

All have large, true running bentgrass greens, with contours more noticeable on the original layouts. There are a mix of sand traps, from the less penal to some intimidating pot bunkers on the Dunes.

There are large practice areas and excellent, well appointed clubhouses. 

In common with modern golf course design, all have lots of teeing options to allow for enjoyment for players of all abilities - and the newest tracks can be set up to play long enough for professional competitions.

One nice touch is the provision of complimentary drinking water refill stations every three holes on each layout which is designed to keep everybody hydrated and reduce plastic waste.

The Dunes Course

Bernhard Langer, in association with European Golf Design, put this course together along the shores of the Ionian Sea, and it has already matured into a classic. Its name derives from the sweeping dunes that separate some of the holes by the side of the beach. As it weaves inland by the side of a small river, the region’s typical olive trees and lemon groves are in evidence and the hills in the background add to the fine views. Large contoured greens, wide fairways and deep pot bunkers are the trademark of this course.

There is also a full sized driving range and short game practice area for pre game warm ups.

The Bay Course

Robert Trent Jones Jr was the mastermind behind the second track at Costa Navarino, which is situated a short drive from The Dunes in the Bay area of the destination. 

Probably the most scenic of all, there are some great sea views and its lush fairways are visually inspiring and a joy to play from.

It gets off to a superb start, playing away from the luxurious clubhouse, down a sweeping fairway towards the bay. The par three 2nd hugs the shoreline before the course turns back into the Costa Navarino foothills.

There is an emphasis on strategy at a number of holes, so think twice before habitually reaching for your longer clubs.

The Hills Course

Jose Maria Olazabal was hired to build the Hills and International Olympic Academy layouts and he set about designing a pair that would be fun to play, while remaining a fair test of players’ skills. 

It can get windy up in these hills where strategy and shot making over brute force is the key to success. The Hills Course certainly gives players plenty to think about without being overly penal. There are some very tricky holes, such as the long par five 6th which plays blind off the tee over a hill and down a steep slope. As if the need for length isn’t enough it also features one of the largest and most undulating greens.

As a counter there are a few risk-and-reward par fours thrown in, such as the 13th, where big hitters will fancy their chances of driving the green.

As the name suggests this is the hilliest of the four courses and along with its siblings sits on a plateau in the Navarino hills. The clubhouse is reached by the shuttle bus from the hotels set along the beach along the bay below. 

The International Olympic Academy Course

Adjacent to the Hills Course this offers glorious views over the Bay of Navarino particularly on the back nine which plays along the cliff edge. It’s tougher all round and tighter off the tee than the Hills and long hitters might find themselves running out of fairway if they club themselves incorrectly. Like its sister next door, the new greens are rather firm at present but overall condition is top rate. In keeping with The Hills it features a card wrecking 18th.

Off Course

Costa Navarino is a true destination in its own right and nobody needs to stray off-site to find everything they could need for a holiday, whether golf is included or not. As well as golf there are many year-round holiday activities including tennis, hiking and cycling. 

The Dunes area is home to The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino and Costa Navarino Residences. The Bay will see the opening of a Mandarin Oriental this summer, while the nearby Waterfront is the setting for the new W Costa Navarino, and will welcome the Navarino Agora, an open marketplace, later in 2023.

It is only a short drive to the nearby village and restaurants of Gialova and to the seaside town of Pylos with its many tavernas and an Ottoman castle.


It is not surprising that Costa Navarino has won awards from the Golf Travel industry. Set in a dream location on the coast it oozes class, luxury and its diverse courses can be enjoyed by players of all abilities.

Its distance from Athens - over three hours’ drive - is a drawback. Some international airlines flights serve the small, local airport at Kalamata in the summer months.