Kalamata, Greece Travel Guide

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Things To Do In Kalamata Kalamata – Greece Travel Guide

Kalamata is the second most important city in the Peloponnese (right after Patras) and the capital and main port of the Messinia region, a fantastic destination in Greece.

The populous city stands surrounded by the mountains and the sea, right below the shadows of the Taygetos Mountains. Kalamata features excellent weather and a delicious gastronomic scene which most of us immediately identify with its world-famous olives.

This guide will find essential and clear information if you’re planning a visit, as well as the top places to discover and the best things to do in Kalamata, Greece.

Where Is Kalamata Greece?

Kalamta Greece - Pink sunset landscape at Kalamata harbor Peloponnese Greece

Kalamata is an important coastal suburban center and port located in the southern Peloponnese region in Greece, around 240 km southwest of Athens.

The popular summer destination lies on a long stretch of sandy beach at the foot of Mount Kalathi in the Taygetos Mountains. Kalamata is about 3 hours from Athens and the same distance from Patras by car.

What Is Kalamata Famous For

Olive tree field in Kalamata, Greece

Black Kalamata Olives are the most famous product in the region. However, there is much more than olive groves in the region. Kalamata is also known for its unique dance festival, the old town, the traditional public market, and some of the most delicious figs you will ever try!

How To Get To Kalamata Greece

Since Kalamata is a beautiful place to stay to visit other areas of the Peloponnese, this section of the guide can also be helpful if you’re visiting the rest of the Messinia region or the Peloponnese.

The best way to get to Kalamata from Athens is by car; the trip is about three hours. On the way there, it is a good idea to stop and admire the fantastic Corinth Canal or even the ancient sites of Mycenae and Epidaurus with its imposing ancient theater.

Alternatively, you can take a bus. The bus to Kalamata departs from the KTEL Kifissos bus station in Athens. The trip also takes about three hours, but keep in mind that traffic tends to be heavy all year round in Athens and the surrounding areas.

The airport of Kalamata receives flights from several European countries, including the UK, France, Austria, Russia, and Germany. There are no direct flights between Athens and Kalamata, although it is possible to fly into Kalamata from Thessaloniki.

 

Greece Travel Blog_Things To Do In Kalamata Greece

 

When Is The Best Time To Visit Kalamata?

Kalamata has mild, Mediterranean weather all year round. Since it is not exclusively a beach destination, it is possible to visit any time of the year, especially if you are interested in discovering the local city attractions, including the old town, the museums, and some of the important archaeological sites in the surrounding area. 

Instead, if you prefer to enjoy outdoor activities, including hiking or mountain biking, early autumn and spring are the ideal seasons. For beach fans, the summer stretches from the end of May until late September, which happens to be a great time to visit Greece in general.

Visiting during the shoulder season (April-May and September-October) is excellent for budget travelers since prices tend to be lower during those months.

Top Things To Do In Kalamata Greece

Kalamata Greece - Aerial view around the castle hill area and the Metropolitan church of Ypapanti in the old historical town of the seaside Kalamata city, Greece
Old historical town of the seaside Kalamata city, Greece

Kalamata is an authentic Greek destination in the Peloponnese, perfect for those travelers who prefer to stay far from overcrowded destinations such as Mykonos, Crete, or Santorini

The city is also a top departing point to visit the rest of the Peloponnese, it features a kid-friendly sandy beach, and there are a few interesting local attractions to visit. Here are some of the best places to see and the best things to do in Kalamata, Greece.

The Old Town

Just like many other cities in Greece, Kalamata is home to a picturesque old town with cobblestoned pedestrian streets and picturesque houses. The historic area of old Kalamata is located under the city fortress (Kastro) and is dotted with souvenir shops, neoclassical buildings, traditional cafés, and Greek taverns.

This historic quarter is in the northern part of the city and houses imposing churches such as the Byzantine Church of the Apostles, dating back to the twelfth century.

Ipapanti Cathedral is another place to visit in the old town, featuring famous icons, including an icon of  Baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary from 672 AD, that originally belonged to another church and that suffered severe damage during the Ottoman occupation.

Municipal Market Of Kalamata

The central public market of Kalamata is a key place of interest, especially if you like to taste new flavors and discover unique ingredients. The marketplace features about 400 different vendors (most producers) that are happy to let you taste the unique Kalamata olives, nuts, local cheeses, honey, figs, apples, and lalagia, a typical Kalamata fritter that’s truly delicious. 

The market opens to the public twice a week; however, the best day to go shopping or simply visit the market is on Saturday, when most stalls are open.

Folklore And History Museum Of Kalamata

The Folklore Museum of Kalamata features objects and curious items related to modern times, such as folk objects of domestic use, objects related to the Greek War of Independence (1821) and a super interesting collection of objects related to typography. In fact, Kalamata was the first place in Greece to have a publishing and printing house.

The Castle Of Kalamata

Commonly known as Kastro, the ancient Castle of Kalamata stands on top of a verdant hill dominating the landscape. The building dates back to the thirteenth century and well withstood the several quakes that have affected the city over the centuries.

If you are looking for a good, solitary place with unique views to enjoy the sunset in Kalamata, this is the best area you will find!

Archaeological Museum

Known as the Archaeological Museum of Messenia, this museum exhibits a small collection of objects found in the Peloponnese region. It is simple but well organized and can be visited in less than an hour.

Karelias Collection

Maybe more interesting for families with kids, the Karelias Collection or Museum of Traditional Greek Costumes is a delightful place to visit in town. 

The collection includes national costumes and dresses from the last centuries on display in self-moving mannequins that will undoubtedly capture the attention of adults and children alike.

Dance Festival

One of the most important annual celebrations in Kalamata is the renowned Kalamata International Dance Festival which takes place in summer, usually in July. Since the celebration is very popular all over Greece, it is essential to book accommodation in advance when visiting during the festival.

The official site offers details in advance: Kalamata Dance Festival 

Check Out The Local City Beach: Paralia Kalamatas

One of the best things to do in Kalamata is to enjoy a seaside walk along the famous seafront promenade, Navarino Avenue. You can stop for a cold coffee or a round of appetizers in one of the many bars and taverns along the road.

Instead, head to the beach if you prefer to relax, sunbathe, or swim. The long Kalamata Beach (Paralia Kalamatas) offers organized areas with comfortable facilities, including umbrellas, showers, bars, and more.

You will also find beaches out of the city center which you can reach by car or by bus. Santova and Kalamitsi are the most popular ones. 

Places To Visit Near Kalamata 

When exploring Kalamata, you can embark on a day trip to discover some of the most gorgeous corners of the Peloponnese.

Sparta

Ancient Sparta ruins, Peloponnese, Greece

Some places to explore include Sparta, with its fascinating museums, such as the Museum of Olive Oil and Greek Olive Oil, where you can learn about ancient olive presses, interact with scale models, and learn about all the uses of olive oil.

Gythio

Peloponnese Beaches -The Dimitrios shipwreck on Valtaki beach in Greece

Another wonderful nearby place to visit in the nearby area is Gythio. A small but significant town on the eastern coast of the Mani Peninsula, Gythio was the Ancient Seaport of Sparta. It is a traditional port town with dozens of delicious fish taverns and authentic cafés. 

Messinia Beaches & Mystras

Mainland Greece Beach Spots - Voidokilia Beach, Messinia
Voidokilia Beach, Messinia

It is also possible to discover the beaches in Messinia or explore the ancient city of Mystras. A UNESCO-protected site, home to one of the most impressive ruins dating back to Medieval times, where you can admire the ruins of abandoned monasteries, palaces, and the imposing Castle of Mystras. To further explore the surrounding region, check our guide to Lakonia. 

Top Places To Stay In Kalamata – Best Kalamata Accommodation

There is a good range of accommodation for your stay in Kalamata. You can choose from various properties with different price options, from small hotels and residences, flats, family-run guest houses, elegant hotels, and resorts. These are my top picks for places to stay in Kalamata.

Budget Places To Stay In Kalamata  

Greece Travel Blog_Kalamata Guide_Sunny City Studio
Photo Credit: Sunny City Studio

Hotel Fotini is a 3-star hotel located a short walk from the beach of Kalamata with gorgeous views of the Taygetos Mountains and the Bay of Messinia. 

The hotel features bright and ample rooms and suites with private balconies, an equipped kitchen, and a dining area. Everything is only meters from Verga Beach. The property has a seasonal swimming pool, a sun terrace, and a snack bar serving daily breakfast. The hotel also offers free parking facilities.

 

Sunny City Studio is a picturesque apartment for two guests located about two kilometers from the city beach. 

The flat is in a modern apartment building. It features one bedroom, a bathroom, a flat-screen TV, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a balcony with city views. The apartment is eleven kilometers from the Kalamata Airport.

 

Have you ever stayed in a tree house? Tiny Treehouse east of Kalamata is an original place to stay for two guests offering accommodation with free WiFi, a garden, and free private parking. The treehouse has a bedroom; this holiday home has a patio and a small living room. 

 

Mid-Range Places To Stay In Kalamata

Greece Travel Blog_Kalamata Guide_Kalamata Art Hotel
Photo Credit: Kalamata Art Hotel

Comfy Boutique Hotel is a contemporary property located a 2-minute walk from the main beach of Kalamata. The 3-star hotel offers minimal accommodation and top-rated friendly service. On the premises, there is also a fantastic rooftop pool with views over Taygetos Mountain.

The boutique hotel has 17 uniquely styled guest rooms with modern en suite bathrooms. Every morning, the hotel offers a rich Greek buffet breakfast, including fresh orange juice, bread, homemade jams and cakes, various juices, and traditional pies. The hotel is in a quiet spot, close to the harbor, with many elegant restaurants, shops, open-air cafes, and bars. This is a family-friendly hotel with comfortable air-conditioned rooms with balconies overlooking the Aegean Sea or the garden.

 

Kalamata Art Hotel is situated in the central square of Kalamata, featuring accommodation with kitchenettes and a gorgeous terrace with city views or balconies.

Guests can enjoy the comfortable bicycle rental service to discover the coastal road and the different areas in town. The hotel is pet friendly. 

 

Luxury Places To Stay In Kalamata 

Greece Travel Blog_Kalamata Guide_Elite City Resort
Photo Credit: Elite City Resort

Guest House Smaro is a fantastic, traditional stone house with a beautiful garden and air conditioning.

The property is perfect for a big family as it features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with garden views.

 

Elite City Resort is a 4-star beachfront hotel in a strategic position, only a minute from the beach. The resort is situated at the heart of Messinia Bay at the foot of Mountain Taygetos. The property has a large swimming pool, a restaurant, and a decked terrace.

The on-site restaurant Ef Zin serves Greek and international dishes prepared with fresh, local ingredients.

 

Best Places To Eat In Kalamata

Greece Travel Blog_Kalamata Guide_Kardamo
Focaccia. Photo Credit: Kardamo

These are some of the most popular places to eat in Kalamata

Platea

Platea is a favorite among locals and visitors alike; this unique spot is in the main square of Kalamata. The wine bar and cafeteria also serve a varied menu, including seafood, pizza, pasta, and salads.

Kardamo

Kardamo is one of the best-known places in Kalamata for excellent local dishes. It features a unique menu of comfort cuisine with delicious dishes and traditional Greek appetizers. You can check their website to ​​discover the enticing menu.

Ta Rolla

Ta Rolla is a historic Kalamata food place founded in 1924 by a local returning from the US, where he worked as an immigrant. The family-run restaurant is in the city’s center near the central food market. It is known for serving traditional dishes made with fresh ingredients. 

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