10th stop: Kalamata
You’ll find the port of Kalamata on the west side of Mount Taygetos. It is the chief town of the prefecture of Messenia and a port for the shipment of the agricultural produce of the region. It occupies the site of Mycenaean Pharai, a town of the kingdom ruled by Menelaos. In 720 B.C., together with the rest of Messenia, it was conquered by the Spartans. From 1204, under its present name, it became the residence, along with Andravida, of the Villehardouins. After periods of Byzantine, Turkish and Venetian rule it was sacked by Ibrahim Pasha in 1825. It still bears marks of the damages caused in 1986 by a severe earthquake.
The city has an international airport and an important harbour. Ferries are available to places such as the Greek islands of Kythira, and Crete.
Things to do
Kalamata itself is one of the most beautiful towns in Greece situated in a way that it looks southwards to the Mediterraenean Sea. It is, though, the surroundings of Kalamata that really captures anyone with their stunning beauty. The best way of exploring the local area is by far to rent a car, since public transport is not really convenient.
Here are some route suggestions:
- The Kalamata loop: Gialova – Pylos – Methoni – Finikounda – Koroni – Petalidi – Kalamata (about 140 km, 1 and a half hours drive all together)
- Ancient Messini (25 km, about half an hour drive)
- Drive along the South – Western coastline of Peloponnese (Nestor’s Palace – Gargaliani – Marathos – Filiatra – Kyparissia – Kaiafas) (90 km, about 1 and a half hours drive each way)
- Driving to the area of Mani (villages: Kardamyli – Stoupa – Agios Nikolaos – Itilo – Limeni – Areopolis – Vathia – Gerolimenas) (about 2 hours drive each way)
- Taygetos Mountain – Mystras – Sparta – Gythio (about 2 hours drive each way)
- Ancient Olympia (110 km, about 1 and a half hours drive each way)
- Monemvasia (about 2 hours drive each way)
Benakeio Archeological Museum: This museum houses artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Roman period. The museum is in a Venetian-style mansion which was damaged in the 1986 earthquake, but was restored between 1988-92. (closed on Mondays)
Benakeio Archeological Museum
6 Papazoglou Street, 24100 Kalamata, Greece
The Kalamata Folk Art Museum has a good number of exhibits, ranging from Stone Age weapons to mirrors and coins from Venetian times. It also houses an impressive collection of mementos and relics from the Greek War of Independence.
Kalamata Railway Museum: Located in the southern end of the Municipal Park of the Railways in Kalamata, are the railway exhibits. Visitors can see the railway station, platform, water-tower, fountains for steam engines, as well as rolling stock.
Castle of the Villehardouins: Above the town of Kalamata is the castle of the Villehardouins. At the foot of the hill stands the convent of Agios Konstantinos, occupied by nuns who make hand-woven silks. In the Kyriakos House is a museum displaying items of local interest, mainly from the Venetian period and the struggle for liberation.
The Frankish castle has been turned into a park with a tourist pavillion, where one can have refreshments and enjoy a superb view of the area.
Not far from the convent of Agios Konstantinos is the church of Agios Charalambos, one of the most note-worthy Byzantine churches in the area.
Kalamata hosts a traditional folk dance festival every July in the amphitheatre of the medieval castle.
Elite City Resort
Navarinou str 2, Kalamata 24100, Greece
The rooms and bathrooms are renovated, modern, impeccably clean and comfortable. Good breakfast and nice area where it is served. The pool is amazing and the beach is right in front of the hotel, both with lots of sunbeds and bar service.
Faron 196, Kalamata 24100, Greece
This quiet and comfortable hotel gives you a homely and friendly atmosphere with a very pleasant and serviceminded staff. It is a minutes walk to the promanade and harbour with restaurants and Tavernas and a real bustling night life.