The land of Messenia is of breathtaking beauty – with contrasts and the kindest inhabitants, just two hours drive from Athens. It is literally covered with olive groves, mountains, valleys, deep gorges and hidden coves.
You will find a long string of beaches, small or long sandy beaches, some with calm waters and other with big waves – a diversity range satisfying both families and surfers. The mountainous villages have breathtaking views to the Mediterranean Sea. Take a break from your adventures enjoying some of the great traditional dishes in the village taverns.
The beautiful town of Kyparissia is to be found in Messenia in the southwest part of Peloponnese. It is part of the municipality Trifylia, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. The town has around 6,000 inhabitants and is located halfway between Pyrgos and Methoni, about 65 km south of Pyrgos and 16 km south of the Neda River. The town is built on terraces. In the Middle Ages, it was known as Arkadia.
Ways to reach Kyparissia
By car: The most common way to reach Kyparissia is by car from Athens or the port of Patras. Going from Athens you need to drive through the Greek National Road Corinth – Kalamata E65. After Tripolis, follow the signs for Kyparissia. From this point forward the road becomes narrower. The distance from Athens to Kyparissia is 245 km. Going from Patras you will follow the coastal road E55 through Pyrgos. The distance from Patras to Kyparissia is 158 km.
By bus: There are frequent buses from Athens to Kyparissia. They depart from Kifissos KTEL Bus Station in Athens and stop at the central square of Kyparissia. The travel duration is approx. 4 hours. Kyparissia is connected to nearby towns by intercity routes. During summer you can fly to the airport of Kalamata with charters and low-cost flights from abroad. Athens airport receives international and domestic flights all year.
Things to see in Kyparissia
There is an acropolis and a fortress built during the Frankish period. The fortress is a vivid testimony to the historical eras of the town. The castle dominates the old town and its view to the Ionian Sea is quite unique. From here you may enjoy a spectacular sunset while your thoughts drift in time.
The town center is nearly 200 m from the shoreline of the Ionian Sea, which includes the nearby Gulf of Kyparissia, and west of the nearest mountains. The town has a port to the northwest part of the bay; its barriers are almost shaped like the letter G. The port is mainly used for cargo purposes and has no ferry services.
At Kyparissia, Memi, Kalo Nero, Agrilos-Stomio and Elaia there are sandy beaches and these are considered to be as good as those to be found on Zakynthos.
Kyparissia Beach Guide
In the region of Kyparissia you will find a great many beautiful beaches. From north to south you meet lovely beaches, like Ai-Lagoudis in the town of Kyparissia as well as Kartela, Sani, and Terpsithea just a few kilometres away from the city centre. You will also find some small coves in the region great for swimming. The two most beautiful beaches in Kyparissia Ai Lagoudis beach and Kartela beach.
- Ai Lagoudis beach – Sandy, family friendly, partly organized, located in walking distance from Kyparissia. Here you will find many tourist facilities.
- Kartela beach – Pebbled, secluded, non-organized, located 3 km north of Kyparissia
Shoreline with Loggerhead sea turtles
The shoreline features Loggerhead sea turtles, also know as Caretta caretta. The loggerhead, is an oceanic turtle distributed throughout the world. The average loggerhead measures around 90 centimeters (35 in) long when fully grown, although larger specimens of up to 270 centimeters (110 in) have been discovered. It spends most of its life in saltwater with females briefly coming ashore to lay eggs.Read more
The loggerhead sea turtle has a low reproductive rate. Loggerheads are considered an endangered species and are protected by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Untended fishing gear is responsible for many loggerhead deaths. They may also suffocate if they are trapped in fishing trawls. Loss of suitable nesting beaches and the introduction of exotic predators has also taken a toll on loggerhead populations.
Neda River and Waterfall
The Neda river begins in the mountains of Lykaio to the west through a mixture of barren rock and forests, it flows into the Messinia prefecture and near the village of Neda which owes its name from this river, for the next 40 to 50 km it flows with the boundary of Messinia and Ilia prefectures for the rest of its length and covers the most length. It passes into the forests, marshes and the delta at the small plain area 2 km west of the highway of the GR-9/E55 (Pyrgos – Kyparissia) and into the Ionian Sea with the Gulf of Kyparissia.
History of Kyparissia
Kyparissia is an ancient coastal town of great beauty. There were times in the past where it was a town of some importance, being situated near ancient Olympia and Pylos. It has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. From Homer’s Iliad we know that Kyparissia belonged to the kingdom of Nestor and that it participated in the Trojan War. During the Roman times it was at its peak of development, minting its own coins, but also during the Byzantine period it enjoyed significant economic growth.
Olive growing dominates the local agriculture; the town is almost surrounded by olive groves and trees and mixed farming. You’ll find forests including cypresses and pines to the east side of town.
Things to do in Kyparissia
Hiking in Messenia
Peloponnese often surprises you with its variety of natural beauty. One of these surprises is the Neda waterfalls. The routes combine the unique natural beauty of the gorge with waterfalls, natural tunnels, and the vegetation of the area along with the opulent cultural and monumental profile of Ancient Phigaleia. A huge plane tree in Ancient Krini, situated in the eastern edge of the Phigaleia, is proposed as the starting point. After crossing the area of the stone-built settlement, with direction to the south, after 500 meters you reach the edge of the gorge.Read more
From this point, you follow a path with wooden steps and handrails so that it can be accessible to the public. It leads to the “White Water” waterfall on the conflux of the Lymax affluent and Neda River. From the wooden bridge you will get a spectacular view of the waterfall. The waters, which fall from 60 meters high, break into foam and whiten, while the flora create a charming and fascinating landscape. From the “White Water” waterfall the daring visitors can cross the gorge in the summer following the flow of Neda’s waters. In almost two hours hike you’ll reach the arched stone-built bridge which joins Elia with Messinia. From there, following the river bed or the shaped track at the northern edge of the bed, you’ll arrive at the “Stomio” where the river vanishes roaring in a tunnel of 100 meters. Until that point the river was floatable in antiquity. From there the river bed expands ending smoothly in the Gulf of Kyparrisia. The area of Stomio is the most impressive point of the gorge. The trail requires attention and ability to walk steadily, children at the age of 6 should be able to come along. The sight is definitely worth the trip.
Health travelling to Messinia
The “Thermal Springs of Kaiafas” is a spa in the municipality of Zacharo in Peloponnese. It is located 30 km south-east of Pyrgos and nearly 32 km north of Kyparissia. The Thermal Springs of Kaiafas, is a geological formation that consists of a spring where warm water comes from deep inside the Earth’s crust and flows up to the surface. The spring is located inside a naturally formed cave at the foot of Lapithas mountain.Read more
The water of the spring contains an important concentration of sulfur compounds and is also rich in minerals. It has therapeutic properties, and there is a spa facility exactly outside of the cave’s mouth. The spa has been a major tourist attraction and is visited by people who want to bath in the thermal water of the spring. The springs location is very close to the Kaiafas Lake and the sandy beaches of the Ionian sea coast.
Weather and climate in Kyparissia
Like in most of Greece weather in Kyparissia is mild. Temperatures during summer are hot, often reaching 40-42°C. Fortunately, during the evening a light breeze is cooling down the atmosphere to around 33-35°C. Autumn is a pleasant season to visit the area of Kyparissia. It starts in late October or early November with a few drops of rain falling for a couple of hours. Being close to the sea Kyparissia doesn’t get really cold, temperatures never go below 5-10°C. By the middle of March spring arrives, and by May you can start swimming in the sea.