In your head, your Kalamata holiday spells pure relaxation, even though there are a hundred-and-one top things to do in Kalamata. Kalamata is the capital and also the central port of Messinia and nestles below Taygetos mountain.
Just 3 hours drive from Athens, the small city in the Peloponnese is well known for its olives and for being a popular holiday destination.
The lovely area is popular with locals and foreign tourists alike as there is a lot to see and do and it has superb weather to do it all in.
Kalamata is also a good base from which to explore other parts of the Peloponnese. Finding awesome things to do in Kalamata doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to find joy and sunshine. Just a stroll along the promenade with an ice cream is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Yes, you can make day trips from the city to archaeological sites, but most people simply love to chill on the awesome beaches every other day.
Kalamata has its fair share of beautiful blue flag beaches and the city’s seafront extends for 4km. Along this most lovely of seafronts, you can stroll along or take a swim in the beautiful clear waters and tan to a golden brown.
For things to do in Kalamata, you can safely say that the beaches take top place.
How to get to Kalamata?
Kalamata International Airport is the biggest in Peloponnese. It serves domestic and international flights and also handles charter flights during the busy tourist season.
Flying is a good option for many people. In fact, there are several direct international routes. If you were coming from the UK to Kalamata, their seasonal flights go direct to the city from London Heathrow.
Your flight will last just 4 hours. Other big cities with direct flight connections to Kalamata include among others, Frankfurt, Zurich, Amsterdam, Paris, and Vienna.
When you land, there is plenty of transport to your hotel.
The busy airport has been in operation since 1959. It was upgraded in 1991. Travel from the airport to your destination is done via the local bus system or you can hire a taxi.
Services at the airport include currency exchange, car rental desks, restaurants, duty-free shops and baggage carts.
Kalamata Airport – code KLX is the biggest in Peloponnese. It has been in operation since 1959.
There is a bus stop outside the airport and there are also taxi ranks and car rentals. There are hotels nearby which is useful as the airport doesn’t have rest zones.
The airport’s terminal is fairly small and there aren’t a hang of a lot of facilities. Facilities include a duty-free shop, ATM, some kiosks or snack bars.
You will need to keep a watch on the departure information screens to make sure you know which gate your flight is departing from.
If you have any specific needs such as being in a wheelchair or you have any kind of access requirements, you can alert the airport 48 hours before your flight’s departure to arrange for adequate assistance.
How to get from Athens to Kalamata
That’s what is so cool about holidaying in this area – you get so many options. To get from Athens to Kalamata, you’ve got several options. You can choose between taxis, buses, rental cars, chauffeur services or trains.
The most economical way to travel to Kalamata is by bus. The bus station in Athens is also known as KTEL It’s the Kifissos Bus station that is the biggest bus terminal in Athens. Buses from Athens to Kalamata depart from Kifissos bus station and the trip from Athens to Kalamata will take about 3 hours.
The fastest way will be to Book your Athens Airport Transfer or rental car that will whisk you off on arrival at the airport.
It pays to do research on these taxi services as some are particularly good and make the journey like the start of your holiday – stopping along the way to allow you to stretch your legs and to take in some highlights.
For those who hire a car to drive themselves, something irritating is the toll stations along the way. You will need to have cash or cards ready to pay.
What to do in Kalamata?
Maybe the best place to start getting to know everything that Kalamata offers is in Kalamata’s central square on Aristomenous Street.
Vassileos Georgiou Square
As mentioned, the pedestrian area of Aristomenous Street starts at the Vassileos Georgiou Square and you’ll be attracted by the enticing aromas drawing you towards the coffee shops and patisseries.
It’s well known for all its gorgeous little cafes and there are always plenty of people in the square ready to offer all kinds of interesting information about the area.
Horseriding on the beach
For those who relish horseback riding, check out the Equestrian Club of Kalamata as they always have some exciting horse riding activities to enjoy and always according to your level of experience.
If you’re an experienced rider, you can enjoy a gallop on the beach too. It’s guaranteed to be an exhilarating experience.
Beaches and water sports galore
Kalamata is surrounded by kilometers of golden beaches and these awesome beaches are easy to reach. Take money with you a there are lots of vibey, upbeat beach cafes, bars, and lively restaurants.
As you cast your eyes across the beach, there are always lots of water sports going on and you can take part in any that grab your attention, whether it be snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing or something else.
Other top things to do in Kalamata –
* Kalamata Dive Center
* Voidokillia Beach
* Kalamata Farmer’s Market
* Cave of Diros
Check out our post on 13 Reasons to Visit Mani
Enjoy the city view from the Castle of Kalamata
The imposing Castle of Kalamata gives one the most impressive views over the historic city of Kalamata. The foundation of this splendid castle dates back to the Byzantine period.
Because of the earthquake in 1986, parts of the castle are considered dangerous but visitors can wander around inside the castle and enjoy a lovely view over the historic center of Kalamata.
It was in the 13th century that the Franks built the castle, one of the many in the Peloponnese. There is a small theater that was built in 1950 at the southern end of the castle, which, during the summer months, hosts performances and various other cultural events. The International Dance Festival takes place on the southern end of the castle.
For a guided tour of Kalamata and surrounding areas and archaological sites, we recommend Ioannis Manoloudis who is a liscenced guide based in Kalamata. Contact details here.
Walk Around the Old Town of Kalamata
The Old town of Kalamata is found to the north of the new city and just below the caste. Kalamata Old Town is a wonderful blend of churches and shops found along the town’s maze of winding cobbled streets.
Ypapantis cathedral dominates the old town and is a favorite site to visit. Some of the other interesting old places you will come across are the Byzantine church of Agioi Apostoloi, the Archaeological Museum of Messinia, the church of Ypapanti on the Square of Ypapanti and others.
From the castle when you look down over the Old Town of Kalamata and the beach you can literally turn into a daydreamer as you wonder what’s next.
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Kalamata
The museum is found in a mid 19th-century edifice and features a collection of models, maps and photographs that will help visitors to the city have an idea of the illustrious history of the area.
The museum also includes the finds of an ancient 1742 building that collapsed during the 1986 earthquake. You’ll also find antiquities from Messenia such as carvings, tombs, jewelry and other objects considered sacred from prehistoric times.
Walk around the Promenade of Kalamata
It’s just not summer without ice cream, especially when walking along the promenade of Kalamata. Who doesn’t love getting some inspiration from new, unfamiliar dishes? For that, you might be headed to Athanasiou bakery or one of the restaurants on the promenade.
In fact, the promenade is full of shops, cafes and restaurants and they’re all open during the hot summer months. Finding a parking-lot can be a bit difficult along the promenade but it’s worth it as there is a long seafront, and many of the cafes have seating outside with views of the sea.
Discover the Railway Park in Kalamata
This open-air museum is admired by all railway enthusiasts around the world. It was founded in September 1986 but only completed years later because of a devastating earthquake in the city.
The exhibits include the railway station ‘Kalamata-Limin’ with a 2-story station house, 4 boarding platforms, 3 locomotive taps, and wheelhouses, and other interesting railway features. There are several steam locomotives and a diesel carriage, refreshment bar, and basketball and volleyball courts for visitors.
The fascinating museum is found just 5 minutes away from the central square of Kalamata.
Visit the Churches of Kalamata
Kalamata is such a marvelous place because there is something for everyone. Most people are happy with days spent on the beach, but on an overcast day you might want to take some time out to explore some of the gorgeous churches in the area.
Church of the Virgin Mary
Such a sweet little church built in the 6th century AD and devoted to the Virgin Mary. The church suffered some damage in the earthquake of 1986 but it was repaired.
To access the church, you enter the castle. The main access to the castle is through a gate-tower. The church holds a feast on most of the important Marian feast days. There is an entry fee and the hours for visiting the church vary.
Agios Nicolaos Flarios
This large neoclassical architecture church founded in 1859 is found in the middle of Kalamata. The church enjoys special protection and has marble in it that was brought from the island of Tinos.
Known as the Church of the Apostles, this is a Byzantine church, built in 1317 by Emperor Andronikos. It is found in the middle of Kalamata. The church is maintained by the Holy Metropolis of Messenia and considered to be one of the most historically important buildings in the country.
The Metropolitan Church of Ypapanti
The stunning Byzantine-style Metropolitan Church of Ypapanti was built in 1839. The church was named in honor of the Holy icon of the Virgin Mary which dates from 672 AD.
In fact, after the liberation of Greece, the church which was small was demolished to make way for the new church of Ypapanti and named the Metropolitan Church of Kalamata. An interesting aspect of this church is that at the southeast part of the temple in the courtyard is a fenced-in stone cross – the location of the First Temple destroyed in 1770 by the Turkalbans.
Kalograion Monastery Silk Weaving
A great outfit can be made even greater with a beautiful silk scarf. At the Kalograion Monastery or Monastery of the Nuns, founded in 1796, the nuns are known for the famous award-winning Kalamata silk scarves they produce and which are thought to be the finest in the world.
When you visit the monastery you can visit the room and see the nuns at work cultivating silk. There is also a weaving room where they make various textiles that are sold.
The monastery was built on the ruins of a 13th-century church, and some of the remains can still be seen. Orange trees grow in a central courtyard. The monastery celebrates certain festivals during the year such as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14, and St. Helen’s individual feast day on August 1, among others.
Kalamata Dance Festival
The Kalamata Dance Festival usually takes place in July/August and this year it will be between 16-25 July 2021. Those who love dance in all its different forms will be amazed at the different genres on display.
It will be 10 days of creativity in action where Greek and foreign productions ensure that this cultural activity remains Kalamata’s top event. The festival was organized way back in 1995 to promote the art of dance.
Everybody waits for this highly anticipated event and it’s not surprising that it has a special place on the festival map of the Mediterranean South.
Where to Eat in Kalamata?
It can be so exciting trying out different places to eat in Kalamats because some of the recipes have an exotic twist while always being taste-bud friendly.
Souvlakia o Tzimis
When you visit the quaint Souvlakia o Tzimis, you don’t only get awesome food, you will be treating yourself to a visual feast in terms of eating in a place with such an unusual design. It’s where you can take relaxing seriously.
The gorgeous tavern is in the square of Agios Apostolos and it’s considered a landmark of the city. Everything about the restaurant is colorful and it’s the perfect setting to enjoy a meal.
The menu is a skewer with pork and chicken or there is delicious pie to enjoy with salads, wine and beer. They really have created an idyllic setting for a peaceful meal.
Few things beat the smell of delicious food, and for visitors to the lively Bistroteca bar in the middle of Kalamata, their culinary must-haves will lure you in. They have an excellent selection of food choices and there is always a special, whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
With its varied Mediterranean-European and American style menu, you can definitely be satisfying your tastebuds at this restaurant which is today one of Kalamata’s top dining establishments.
If you’re particularly looking to sample Greek cuisine with good wine or beer before you leave Kalamata, why not reserve a table at this delightful bar?
Where to Stay in Kalamata
Kalamata is a great place for a holiday. You’ll find good food, good cheer and good value at most of the accommodation types in the city or countryside.
Grecotel Filoxenia Kalamata
Who wouldn’t want to stay at an exclusive, luxurious, spacious hotel nestling at the foot of the Taygetos Mountains? The magnificent Grecotel Filoxenia resort is beautifully positioned on the Messinian gulf with a huge piece of beach and sea water glinting in the sunlight.
Beautiful palm trees give it a tropical feel and apart from the beach there is also a shimmering swimming pool, bars, rejuvenating spa treatments, gourmet cuisine, tennis court, free wifi, working desks, marble bathrooms, and much more.
Stylish, comfortable bedrooms and suites with sea views ensure that the need of the discerning tourist or business person are met. The luxurious hotel boasts elegant guest rooms with beautiful views, gourmet cuisine, 3 bars, including one on the beach, 3 pools, and a floodlit tennis court. For availability and rates click here.
Garden City Resort
Situated right on Kalamata Beach, the air-conditioned, wheelchair-accessible Garden City Resort features the kind of accommodation that guarantees comfort and luxury.
Spacious, serviced rooms ensure an enjoyable stay. The restaurant, flat-screen TV, private bathrooms, swimming pool, sun terrace, continental breakfast and bar all contribute towards you being able to spoil yourself in a wonderful place. There is also free wifi throughout the property and fitness center, massage garden and sauna to ensure your wellbeing. For availability and rates click here.
Elysian Luxury hotel and Spa
When you step into the new luxury 5-star Elysian Hotel & Spa you know that the hospitality is going to be out of this world.
The hotel offers a comfortable and tranquil visit and its unique combination of ambiance and interior design makes this luxurious place ideal for business and leisure travelers.
Not only is it along the most sought-after, breathtakingly beautiful district of Cordias, it guarantees the perfect relaxation. It’s hard to imagine a place of such luxury with its 22 private pools.
The exquisite restaurant invites you to enjoy unique Mediterranean flavors with a glass of wine while you take in views of the sea. For availability and rates click here.
Day Trips from Kalamata
There are lots of thrilling trips that you can do in a day from Kalamata. Isn’t the sound of an enthralling sailing experience on your wish list of the top things to do in Kalamata? You will have thrills galore by sailing in the Messinian Gulf-Koroni and Mani area.
You’ll love all the little fishing villages you see along the way and the Koroni medieval castle. You’ll be kept mesmerized by the fascinating bits of information about the sights along the way.
There’ll be time to splash around with the turtles and dolphins and a time to snorkel and to enjoy lunch on board with soft drinks.
Foodie and wine tasting day trips
There are many people who love eating food and they love knowing how it is prepared. From Kalamata you’ve got every chance for an amazing gastronomic experience where you can get insight into traditional Greek food.
You’ll be in your 7th heaven sampling olives, buying virgin olive oil and learning how to prepare pork and pies according to Greek knowledge and culture.
On these awesome tours there is plenty of opportunity to speak to food experts, take home some fabulous foods and try out new dishes at home. There’s time for lunch and snacks to add to the sheer enjoyment of these day trips.
There are other wonderful day trips too such as sightseeing at Pylos. When you reach the hill in front of Pylos, you see the bay of Navarino, the castle and lost of islands while also exploring the picturesque town of Pylos with its cobblestone streets.
Methoni is an attractive seaside town known for its 15th-century Venetian fortress which is a splendid archaeological site. When you visit the Kalamata area, Methoni is listed as one of the top things to do and experience in the area.
The town is about 12km south of Pylos and it receives many visitors who just love the sunny days, the beautiful setting, the opportunity for hikes and the taverns and bars that welcome you to catch up with family and friends.
It is found just 30 km away from Kalamata and quite close to the village Mavrommati, and is another important archaeological site in Greece. It’s a site that has revealed a lot of important information about this area’s rich history.
There is always something close by of interest and the Archaeological Museum of Messenia is found just close by. The archaeological site has public buildings, sanctuaries, house and tombs. The remains of this ancient city even have an ancient stadium, an ancient theater and a fountain house.
The site is well preserved and was built in 369 BC. The city got in name from the mythical Doric queen of the country, the daughter of king Triopas of Argos.
The layout of Ancient Messini is according to the Hippodameian system. Philosopher and town-planner Hippodamos systematized the layout of the city to ensure the organization of civilian life. Most of the findings of the excavations are kept in the museum of Ancient Messini.
Kalamata isn’t known as the pearl of the Peloponnese Peninsula for nothing. It’s a choice place to explore Greece’s rich history and culture.
In every city there exists a lexicon of words unique to it and Kalamata has words such as magnificent, extraordinary and beautiful describing it.
Even amongst vastly different people, there are wonderful things to do in Kalamata and you’ll find that it’s a city that everyone is thrilled with.