METHÓNI is geared more conspicuously to tourism than Koróni and gets very crowded in season. The huge Venetian fortress here is as imposing as they come – massively bastioned, washed on three sides by the sea, and cut off from the land by a great moat. The modern town, stretching inland for 1km northward, is full of charming back alleys and it meets the sea at a small, pleasant beach just on the east side of the gargantuan citadel.

The fortress

Once used to garrison knights on their way to the Crusades, Methóni’s vast fortress is entered across the moat along a stone bridge. Inside are very extensive remains: a Venetian cathedral (the Venetians’ Lion of St Mark emblem is ubiquitous), a Turkish bath, the foundations of dozens of houses, a strange pyramid-roofed stone structure, and some awesome, but mostly cordoned-off, underground passages. Walk around the walls, and a sea gate at the southern end leads out across a causeway to explore the Boúrtzi, a small fortified island that served as a prison and place of execution. The octagonal tower was built by the Turks in the sixteenth century to replace an earlier Venetian fortification.

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