Opposite the southern coast of Methoni, there is the Sapienza, the most important and the most beautiful island of the cluster of the Messenian Inousses. It covers a total area of 8,500 acres, with 6.5 km length and approximately 250 meters width, from the location Lemos up to 2 km in the northern part.
The slopes of Sapienza are green and the crystal blue waters have a unique exotic color. The coast is rocky and there is a beautiful beach on the island, located on the north side of the, opposite Methoni, named Ammos (meaning “sand” in Greek). It has a rudimentary wooden pier and a pavilion where one can rest.
Sapientza was the favorite anchorage of every fleet that was making deals and transactions with the states of Methoni and Koroni, these important cities in the Mediterranean throughout the Middle Ages.
On the eastern side of the island, there is a rocky cove named Magazakia, where there is a good pier. From here, the path that leads to the heart of Sapienza and to a miracle of nature, as it is called, the only Mediterranean Strawberry Tree Forest of Sapienza, starts. The forest consists of trees, not bushes that are over 10 to 12 m tall. The trees grow so much due to the isolation and the climatic conditions of the past 10,000 years. The forest and the surrounding area have been declared as a natural monument.
Before this forest, another natural phenomenon characterizes Sapienza: in the center of the island, instead of vegetation there is an orange – yellow plateau. This is a peculiar rock formed by huge amounts of pollen! This valley is called Spartolakka and for scientists it constitutes the best source of information concerning the age of the forest.
Today, over 120 species of animals live free on the island, including significant population of wild goats, known as kri – kri. Pheasants, partridges, quails, doves, woodcocks, thrushes, are some of the bird species that are found there.
As we move further to the south, after the narrowest point of the island (Lemos), we find a large enclosed bay, Porto Logos, which was the safe harbor both for seamen and fleets. As we enter the bay we pass by the rocky islet Bomba. At this point, the path which leads to the southern part of the island, where the lighthouse of Sapienza is built, starts. It is an impressive octagonal stone made building, 8 m tall that was built by the English in 1885. At the base, there are the rooms where the lighthouse keepers used to be hosted. As you go up the 75 stone made stairs, you can reach the top of the lighthouse. The view is amazing. The distance that was brighten up by the light of the lighthouse could cover 40 miles, during the first years of its operation, while today this distance is only limited to 27 miles.
In the steep western coasts of Sapienza, we find the protected cove of Manetas that was named after a famous pirate, who used this particular location as his base.
The location of “Karavia” follows, which took its name from the German ships that sank due to the attacks of the legendary submarine “Papanikolis” during the war.
Sapientza offers unique experiences for fans of diving. The ancientaround the island are so numerous and important that there are some thoughts to create an underwater archaeological park that could definitely give prominence to the region.
From there Methoni there is a route by boat that offers the opportunity to tour around and be informed as far as Sapienza is concerned.