Touring in Peloponnese: Kalavryta

Mount Chelmos, Kalavryta, Greece

 

20th stop: Kalavryta

Kalavryta is a town and a municipality in the eastcentral part of the regional unit of Achaea in Greece. It is located about 40 km south of Aigio, 38 km south of GR-8/E65.

   

Coordinates: 38°2′N 22°7′E   (1) Patras (2) Aigialeia (3) West Achaea
(4) Erymanthos (5) Kalavryta

The Diakofto–Kalavryta Railway is a historic 750 mm (2 ft 5 12 in) gauge rack railway in Greece. Located on the northern Peloponnese, it runs 22 km from Diakofto through the Vouraikos Gorge and the old Mega Spilaion Monastery and up to Kalavryta, stopping en route at Zachlorou.

Diakofto - Kalavryta railway, GreeceKalavryta railway, GreeceDiakofto Kalavrita railway, Greece

Vouraikos Gorge, PeloponneseThe Vouraikos is a river in the prefecture of Achaea, Greece. In ancient times it was called Erasinos. Its source is in the Aroania mountains, near the village of Priolithos and it flows past the town of Diakopto. Its length is 40 km. The name is derived from Boura, a mythological daughter of Ion and Helice who was beloved by Hercules, who according to legend opened the gorge in order to get close to her. This is the Bouraikos gorge, which has a length of about 20 km. In the gorge the river passes through dense vegetation and tunnels with many caves, passes and crags.

The Massacre of Kalavryta
On 13 December 1943, in what is commemorated as the Holocaust or Massacre of Kalavryta, allegedly in retribution for the killing of 81 German soldiers captured by partisans during the Nazi occupation in World War II, German troops ordered all male residents of Kalavryta, aged 14 years and up, to gather in a field just outside the village.

Kalavryta, as seen from the memorial siteHoly Cathedral of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, Kalavrita, GreeceThe memorial site in Kalavryta, Greece

There, they machine-gunned down 696 of them. Only 13 survived. After that they burnt down the town before they left and the next day they burnt down the Monastery of Agia Lavra, birth place of the Greek War of Independence.

The monastery of Agia Lavra at Mt ChelmosAgia Lavra is a monastery near Kalavryta. It was built in 961 AD, on Helmos Mountain, at an altitude of 961 meters, and can be described as the symbolic birth-place of modern Greece. It stands as one of the oldest monasteries in the Peloponnese.

It was built in 10th century but was burnt to the ground in 1585 by the Turks. It was rebuilt in 1600 while the frescoes by Anthimos were completed in 1645. It was burnt again in 1715 and in 1826 by the armies of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt. In 1850 after the rebirth of modern Greece, the building was completely rebuilt. The monastery was burned down by German forces in 1943.

Things to do

Municipal Museum of the Holocaust of Kalavryta
Achaia, Kalavrita 250 01, Grækenland
Tel: +30 26920 23646

Vouraikos Canyon – Cog Railway
Kalavryta Railway Station, Kalavrita, Greece
Beautiful scenery in this one hour trip by train through Vouraikos Gorge.
Website

hikingTrekking: There are several paths for climbing or walking around Kalavryta and Mount Chelmos. Caution, though, many of the routes are suitable for people with mountaineering experience and knowledge of orientation in mountainous area. One of these paths is a trekking path near Ano Vlasia. Unfortunately there are no signs, so it’s best to seek directions for a short gravel road south of the village, which leads to a water source. Behind the water source is a mysterious and dark cave. Those who have partly explored it tell of the existence of underground lakes and extraordinary landscapes. Suitable equipment and caution is advised, as the surface is wet and mouldy. Going downhill to the edge of the river you will find the waterfall of Saint Taxiarchis. The scene is magnificent; water sources come from various directions on rush falls into a dark lake, in order to join Selinountas river.

skiingSkiing: The ski resort of Kalavrita is complete with the essential skiing gears and equipment. The atmosphere and terrain is ideal for skiing. The ski resort of Kalavrita is situated 15 km off the town of Kalavrita, at NW of Mountain Chelmos and at an altitude of 1700 meters (Xerokampos), to 2340 meters (Neraidorachi). It offers modern facilities, 8 lifts and 13 slaloms of all categories.
Kalavryta – Chelmos Ski Resort

Accommodation

Finday Boutique Hotel
Finday hill, Kalavrita 25001, Greece
Hotel website

Kynaitha Hotel
Ethnikis Antistaseos 11, Kalavrita 25001, Greece
Hotel website

Anesis Hotel
Central Square, Kalavrita 25001, Greece
Hotel website

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