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IMAGES: CORFU GOLF CLUB; THE WESTIN RESORT COSTA NAVARINO


Greece Costa Navarino


Tourism philosophy on the Peloponnese peninsula centres on protecting and preserving the ancient natural beauty, local culture and heritage of the region. Several large five-star hotels have been built to nestle comfortably into the verdant landscape. All offer incredible views over sands and the sparkling sea. An emphasis on sports means lots of trails and guided tours to bike, hike and climb among the peaks. As part of Peloponnese region’s push to


share its heritage, visitors are also welcome to experience a number of authentic local traditions and customs. These include cooking lessons in local homes; wine-making and tasting tours in organic Navarino wineries; traditional olive- harvesting of the finest quality Kalamata olive oil; and learning local dances. Located some 125 miles southwest of Athens,


this get-away-from-it all resort region claims to be the Mediterranean’s first high-end, sustainable, eco-friendly destination. Two coastal 18-hole signature courses characterise the Costa Navarino golf scene, atracting the lion’s share of golfing tourists to the scenic Peloponnese peninsula. Both the golf courses have been skilfully carved


out of the coastline with considerable care. Dunes, the newest, a breezy 18-hole designed by German golfing legend Bernhard Langer, meanders along the shoreline. The region’s second world-class course, the


18-hole Bay Course, is a typically inventive Robert Trent Jones creation. Both courses are primarily played by tourists and offer a range of tees to suit all golfing abilities — all set against mesmerising views of the surrounding mountain peaks and gin-clear, sun-dappled sea. costanavarinogolf.


With its thousands of olive trees carpeting the terrain, Corfu is undoubtedly one of the greenest of the Greek islands. Away from the more touristy hotspots, the rural enclaves have a slow-paced, sleepy feel, while the old quarter of the east-coast capital, Corfu Town, is a charming UNESCO Heritage Site. An idyllic place for afternoon strolls, this beautiful red-roofed, white-washed settlement offers plenty of handsome buildings, shady courtyards and narrow cobbled streets to explore. Keen to absorb more history? Then pop into


Corfu


the Museum of Asian Art, the Byzantine Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Corfu for a peek at artifacts dating back to 35,000 BC. Corfu — or Kerkyra as it is known in Greek


— is renowned for seducing first-time visitors with its colourful history rich in legends, such as that of Nausicaa, the daughter of King Alcinous, the man who saved Odysseus when he was shipwrecked in the Country of Phaeacians; Sisi, the sad Empress of Austria and the Achilleion, the palace she built. The Venetians, English, French, Russians and


Clockwise from left: Anazoe Spa, Costa Navarino; Corfu Golf Club; Bay Course


indeed Greeks have all lived and flourished on the island, and leſt their traces in numerous sights and atractions, many of which have been incorporated into its golf courses. The 18-hole Corfu Golf Course, snuggled deep in the gorgeous Ropa Valley, is a must-visit. The magnificent golfing fairways are nourished by the fertile waters of the Nausicaa River where exotic wildlife, from herons and kingfishers to oters, gather — just like they did in ancient times. corfugolfclub.com


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