I love this prong of the Peloponnese, with its shimmering olive groves, idyllic coves, Venetian castles (don’t miss Methoni) and untrodden antiquities (ancient Messene springs to mind). If you can grab a flight into Kalamata - 40 minutes away - do it; otherwise it’s 3 hours’ spectacular drive from Athens or Patras. The only issue for parents is that they don’t accept children under 14, but we fully intend to turn that to our advantage and drop ours with grandparents, to enjoy a restorative week in one of Greece’s loveliest - yet least discovered - coastal corners.
- We loved the blissful gardens, with terraced lawns and vivid red bottle-brush trees merging seamlessly into silvery olive groves
- The cottages are cleverly designed, with neat kitchenettes, mosquito-netted windows and secluded terraces for dining
- Such a privilege to have a small sandy beach only 3 mins' walk away, and virtually to yourself outside peak season
- If you tire of that, it’s only a short drive to other beaches, including family- and windsurfer-friendly Memi
- This is not an area for nightlife or shopping; it's for those who appreciate the buzz of cicadas and uncrowded beaches
- Don't expect hotel-level service: this is essentially self-catering, with a friendly owner on hand
- Since covid, no food or snacks are provided
- No children under 14 accepted
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Cottages
- 5 cottages for 2-3
- Self-catering; restaurants nearby
- Over 14s only
- Closed: November to April
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car recommended
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
The 5 cottages are nearly identical in layout, with a living area (including sofa bed, fireplace, kafeneion table and small kitchen) separated from the bedroom by a 3/4 height wall so as to maintain a sense of airiness. Off these is a shower room with spoiling towels and gels; outside is a shaded sitting area where, in truth, you’ll spend much more of your time. All have lovely views rolling down to the sea.
The style is more Cycladic than Peloponnesian, by which I mean white walls with a smattering of colour, bamboo-lined ceilings and flat roofs (apart from one lovely pitched-roof cottage overlooking the pool). Expect a clean, functional design: long cream wardrobes, white-tiled floors, mosquito-netted windows in the bedroom, sliding glass doors in the living area. John's partner Maddy plans to add some softer and more homely touches over time. The kingsize bed is very comfy (A/C keeps you cool in midsummer), the shower reliable and strong - as is the WiFi signal. Sofa beds can be set up in the living rooms if you're bringing the teens (must be over 14).
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
Each cottage has a kitchenette with fridge, oven with hob, pots and pans, kettle, toaster, cafetiere and more. It's quite adequate for preparing breakfast or a light lunch, which you can enjoy on your patio, looking out to a blue strip of sea while the breeze rustles the palm and oleander leaves. For supplies, there are shops and supermarkets within 3km.
For a more substantial dinner, the nearest eateries include 2 seafront options by Peroulias beach, and a simple seasonal taverna in Vounaria village (both 10 mins' walk or a short drive away). Further afield, the handsome harbour town of Koroni (10 mins' drive) has a string of fish tavernas on the waterfront: Angelianos served us a tasty seafood soup with chunks of scorpion fish, oregano-crusted toast, crunchy salad and local wine. On our last visit, we enjoyed a delicious supper at O Nikos hidden away in Vassilitsi village: home-cooked Greek staples served indoors or on the patio.
There's also an honesty bar at BanSala, where you can help yourself to drinks, coffees, cappuccinos and cocktails.
- Coffee / tea making
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Restaurants nearby
- Wander down to their secluded sandy cove (5 minutes), with its safe, sun-warmed waters; or further along the coast to Peroulia beach (10-15 minutes), where a few loungers and eateries fringe the endless soft sands
- Explore the pretty town of Koroni (10 minutes' drive), with its close-packed, pastel-painted houses spilling down from a clifftop Venetian castle to a fishing harbour lined with bobbing boats
- Beyond lie the beaches of Memi and Zagas, perfect for wind- and kite-surfing
- Drive to the Homeric town of Pylos, set on the Navarino lagoon beneath another hulking castle; shuttle boats will take you to Golden Beach and the stunning horseshoe bay of Voidokilia, from where you can hike up to Nestor's Cave and a Mycenaean beehive tomb
- Stop at ancient Messene, with its stunningly preserved 2300-year-old city walls, theatre and temples; allow at least an hour
- Escape into the rolling olive and citrus groves on horseback (a lovely German lady has stables at Hrani) or on foot (ask about the walk to the river pools of Polilimnes)
- Rent a 5-metre dinghy with an outboard motor and canopy for some lazy fishing, or a day trip to stunning Sapi cove
- Go sailing from Ayios Andreas: the Greek skipperess and her yacht can even take you across to the Mani (middle peninsula), winds permitting
- Don't miss Methoni, a lovely laid-back town with 2 sandy beaches and the crowning glory of all Venetian castles
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Shopping / markets
All cottages have a sofabed which can sleep a child - normally over 14s only, unless you take over the whole place. If you know of some like-minded families this could be an amazing option for a shared holiday, combining the independence of separate cottages with time together around the pool or beach by day. As there are no full-time staff on the premises, you would need to keep an eye on the children - especially near the unprotected drops by the pool and car park - and have a sensible adult-to-child ratio.
Teens (over 12)
BanSala is in the Messinia region of the southern Peloponnese, about 9km north of Koroni and 40km southwest of Kalamata. It's about 3 hours' drive from Athens, and a little less from Patras.
Kalamata (35km) has some direct flights (mostly charters) from the UK and other European countries, as does Patras (210km). Athens (295km) has a much wider range of scheduled flights. Click on the links below for a list of airlines.
From the Airports
From Kalamata airport you could get a taxi, but realistically you will want a hire car to explore the area and buy supplies etc - see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com
More on getting to Greece and getting around
- Kalamata 35.0 km KLX
- Athens 295.0 km ATH
- Beach 0.2 km
- Shops 0.5 km
- Restaurant 0.5 km