Kalamata, the capital and central port of Messinia, is placed amid great natural beauty with indented shores, sandy beaches, green mountains and fertile valleys. It is situated at the site of ancient Farai and near other significant archaeological monuments. It has developed into a wealthy urban center thanks to its port and the exploitation of the fertile Messinian lands (olive oil, raisin and fig production).
Top 10 Things to do in Kalamata
- Explore the castle of Kalamata on foot
- Taste the world-famous local olives and olive oil
- Go on a daytrip to the famous Voidokoilia Beach and the nearby Gialova Lagoon
- Take a romantic stroll in the Old City known as Palia Poli
- Don’t miss the International Dance Festival which takes place every summer
- Visit the Archaeological Museum of Messinia
- Enjoy a cool drink and the panoramic view from Palaiokastro, the old Pylos Castle
- Visit the Modern Greek Art Gallery
- Discover King Nestor´s Palace and the archaeological sites of ancient Messini
- Go for an evening stroll along the seaside road at the shoreline of Kalamata
The history of 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. Read more about the history of Kalamata
How to get to Kalamata?
The city of Kalamata has an international airport and an important harbor. Ferries are available to places such as the Greek islands of Kythira and Crete. Kalamata is situated 238 km southwest of Athens.
Travel routes by rented car
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)
Sights in Kalamata
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.