A truly magical place set in a beautiful valley north of Kalamata. It’s rarely busy as it is off the beaten track. I love it here. However there are a couple of things to see before [or after] actually entering the site proper.
If you continue past the main entrance to Ancient Messene there are superb views of Ancient Messene to your left and further on you will shortly come across the imposing Arcadian Gate which you can actually drive through if you want.
Continue past the Arcadian Gate [not through it] and you will see some rather impressive stone walls and towers which are worth exploring. It’s an ideal picnic spot too.
The actual site of Ancient Messene is large with very little shade so try to get there as early as possible and take water and snacks and just spend the next few hours mooching and exploring what the site has to offer. The theatre, fountain and stadium [with ancient toilets!] are all well preserved considering that they are over 2000 years old.
The excellent, air conditioned, museum is small but is a good place to end your visit before heading for the [slightly overpriced but it’s worth it for the view] taverna in Mavromarti. Another option is to stop off at Zoodochos Pigi to the south of Ancient Messene where there are a couple of pleasant taverna’s and a lovely church to see.