Greece: Instagram paradise – who hasn’t seen amazing pictures of Santorini, Mikonos or the Acropolis? But this picture-perfect country offers much more than that. Deeply rooted in history and strongly looking at its future, Greece is the example of how both aspects can harmonise together, and how luxury tourism can be paired with sustainability. We spent three days attending a cultural weekend in Costa Navarino and felt it was way too short. A pleasure for the body and for the mind, the Messinia region (in the South West Peloponnese) simply surprised us. We flew there with Aegean Airlines and a new world opened to us.
Luxury and Sustainability
Once upon a time there was a kid who became a captain, Captain Vassilis Konstantakopoulos. He founded a shipping company that grew to become one of the largest private cargo shipping companies in the world. His dream was to give his region of origin, Messinia, a prominent place on the global tourist map. In 2010, he built the first area of Costa Navarino. Captain Vassilis has been a passionate activist and environmentalist since the 1970’s and won, among other, the UNEP’s , (United Nations Environmental Programme) Global 500 Award. Today, Costa Navarino is based on sustainability from the planning to execution and operation. Glamour hasn’t been forgotten: have you seen the private infinity pool of our room? But the most beautiful feature is the focus on nature as a stunning backdrop – ancient olive trees, green landscapes, intense sunsets, the incredible sea, the sandy beaches, the elegant birds, the foxes crossing the street, and much more.
Women Who Make Things Happen
I admit it: I always judge people, more than places. When I go to a new place, I tend to look for the people behind a project and understand who came to a certain idea and how. The team who organised our weekend was made by a group of women who achieved a lot in business and life, therefore very interesting to share time with. One example?
Sophia Kokosalaki, one of my favorite fashion designers, who joined us to watch Under the Spell of Greek Costume , an exhibition in cooperation with the Benaki Museum . She showed us some of her work and told us a bit about her story. Sophia started as a student in St.Martin and became so famous that she was asked to design the uniforms for the Olympic Games. I had seen her on countless magazines like Vogue and Forbes – for me she is pure glamour. But, like all great people, she is very friendly and takes her job very seriously, but not herself. She was witty and lively and chatted with everybody. One could see with which passion she works!
After the museum exhibition we joined an outdoor fashion show: a presentation of traditional Greek costumes from the collection of the Kalamata Museum of Traditional Greek Costumes Three models in underwear (mind you – ancient underwear!) dressed up as brides in front of us. Layers and layers of clothes, elaborated embroidery, real gold threads, heavy silk gowns and even hair extensions (again, the old way!) were worn. The final results were beautiful – heavy, complicated, but visually stunning.
Day 1 was impressive – here are some photos from the experience.