Kalamata is a very interesting city with so many things to do and places to visit.
Take your time to enjoy the sights but also to sample what we believe is among the best food in Greece. One of our friends here in Kalamata expressed it correctly: Kalamata is the culinary capital of Greece! And we could not agree more. During our active time here in the city we have eaten in many many restaurants although we do have our favourites!!!
When a quick souvlaki is needed we always go to Ladolemono in the old historical part. When our friends and family are visiting we take them to Thiasos which caters from a simple ouzo with meze to traditional dishes. Of course, there are so many restaurants and taverns that are worth mentioning, that we loose count! You can find more information on the bottom of this blog.
So, have you ever wondered how a regular Kalamatian person spends their days during the hot summer? When on vacation, the daily routine is almost the same: wake up, eat a small breakfast, go to the beach, eat lunch with the family – almost always homecooked meals – sleep for a couple of hours, afternoon coffee with friends or an afternoon swim, and the obligatory evening exodus. I think that this is similar to almost any part of Greece.
We do have our favourite coffee spots as well. Check below for our suggestions!
Working and staying in such a beautiful place has its ups and downs, its pros and cons. One advantage is that all your friends from abroad or from other cities in Greece want to visit you. This means that places to stay have to be identified by us and recommended to them. When we first started to visit Kalamata the suggested places to stay were kalamatamediterraneanvillas as well as the Art Rooms Kalamata. However, who can say no to the tree house of the Art Farm Marinis!? Smells from herbs, smells from the earth and the cooking surround the place and the memories you are left with are unforgettable!
However, no matter how beautiful your accommodation is, you will want to go out and visit the sights!
Below you’ll find some tips on what you can do while you are in Kalamata. Historical sites to visit, cultural events not to be missed, activities to try, inside or near the city. Whether the perfect holidays for you are active or relaxing, you will find dozens of options to make the most out of your trip!
WHERE TO EAT
Under the plane tree, enjoy a large variety of authentic tastes and of course roast pork, the emblematic dish of Messinia!
Ta Rolla: http://www.ta-rolla.gr/
Traditional dishes, just like Greek mums make them! Right next to the Market of Kalamata
Taste typical Greek «meze’s» along with tsipouro, in the heart of the old town.
Named after the ancient Greek philosopher, this is the perfect place to meditate over a glass of wine and traditional dishes
To limeni: https://bit.ly/2nBWuye
Enjoy quality dishes and fresh fish at the Marina of Kalamata.
Kreopoleio 29: www.facebook.com/kreopwleion29/
Near the port, this meat shop offers homemade dishes for meat lovers !
Υamas gastro bar – Elite hotel www.elite.com.gr/en/facility/elite-yiamas-gastro-bar
Located in one of the city’s best hotels, this restaurant offers gourmet dishes based on traditional recipes, by an awarded chef.
Kardamo: a highly recommended restaurant where the chef is experimenting with Greek traditional food. https://kardamo.gr
WHERE TO LAY BACK – coffee & bars
Even if you don’t see it, you will definitely smell it! Every local’s stop for a morning snack or a late-night bite. Open all day long, this small bakery hides many surprises!
Bread bakery & deli: www.facebook.com/BreadBakeryDeli
You can’t miss it… Right on the central square of the city, with fresh pastries, ice cream and coffee!
Makers coffee & sandwich: www.facebook.com/makers.sandwich.shop
Coffee on the go, homemade pies and snacks before a shopping round!
Luna lounge: http://www.lunalounge.gr
This cosy café/ bar in the heart of the city centre offers a large variety of wines, dishes and excellent coffee.
Blossom owl: www.facebook.com/blossomowlcoffeeshop
Different coffee varieties and a dessert menu to die for!
A different beach bar serving great coffee, homemade lemonade, original dishes and fantastic cocktails.
Kastraki – Meteoro: http://www.kastraki-meteoro.gr
Offering a breath-taking view of the city, the “little castle” of Kalamata is the most popular summer destination for a night drink, a coffee or meal.
WHERE TO SLEEP
Kalamata Mediterranean villas – Kalamata : www.kalamatamediterraneanvillas.gr
Luxurious single-family houses with gardens, in one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in the city. The Villas are located both near the centre and the beach of Kalamata.
Kalamata art rooms – Kalamata : www.facebook.com/KalamataArtRooms
On the central square of the Kalamata, within walking distance of every interesting site. All the rooms have balconies with view to the city. Bicycles are also available for guests.
Art farm Marinis – Megali Mantineia : www.artfarm.gr/index.php
An original farm 15 min. from the city, which valorises the rural and cultural heritage of the region and aims at informing, training and entertaining visitors, who can sleep in treehouses and taste homemade dishes baked in a traditional oven.
HOW TO BURN THOSE CALORIES
Cycling: Kalamata has a wide network of bicycle lanes and unique paths to discover. You can also participate in bicycle tours organised by local groups.
Mountain climbing: The Hellenic Mountaineering Association of Kalamata organizes hiking, climbing and bicycle tours as well as environmental actions on Taygetus Mountain and elsewhere.
Sea sports: The Nautical Club of Kalamata, near the port, organises different sea sport activities and classes: swimming, sailing, polo, volleyball but also chess!
Sailing: The South Greece Sailing Club at the Marina of Kalamata offers lessons for adults and children and organises sailing races. After training, you can enjoy your coffee at the Club’s beautiful café!
Horseback riding: The Horse Riding Club of Kalamata on the West Beach of Kalamata is waiting for you to ride horses under the supervision of experts, and enjoy unique moments near nature and animals. You can also watch the trainings or races and participate in various activities.
Paragliding “parapente”: The piste is on the Kalathi peak, at an altitude of 940 meters. Adrenaline rush and amazing city views!
Golf: On the southwest side of Messenia, near Pylos, in the facilities of Costa Navarino, you can find one of the biggest Golf Courses in Europe. It has been designed by golf champions and attracts visitors from all over the world.
WHERE TO SWIM
East Side of Kalamata
Verga: In 10 minutes’ drive you will find the village of Verga and its lively pebbled beaches, with many bars and taverns that attract mainly young people.
Mantinia: Only 10 minutes from the beaches of Kalamata, this small village has beautiful beaches with pebbles. After swimming, you can enjoy delicious dishes from a variety of traditional taverns.
Akrogiali, Avia: This small village lies at the foot of Taygetus mountain and offers beautiful beaches, both organised and non-organised.
Santova: It is one of the most popular beaches of Kalamata, and the only one in the region with fine sand. There are many bars and cafes that attract young people.
Kitries: 12 kms from Kalamata lies this picturesque village and its beach, shaded by the abundant trees nearby. There are only few cafes and sun beds, which makes it ideal for a quiet swim.
Foneas: The “killer’s” beach with the turquoise waters and the white pebbles is 40 km. from Kalamata. It is not an organised beach but the canteen serves coffees, refreshments and even homemade dishes.
West side of Kalamata (to Pylos)
Analipsi: In its crystal waters, you can enjoy activities like sailing and wind surfing before heading for the numerous cafes and bars of the area.
Vounaria: The region’s natural pool, with shallow waters, fine sand and …. equipped with an elevator, for the guests of the café nearby!
Peroulia: A quiet sandy beach 40 minutes from Kalamata, where you can relax at the small beach bar nearby or on the fine sand.
Polylimnio waterfall: Amazing place for adventure! From the parking area you walk 10 minutes down to the waterfalls. Clear green small ponds in which the different water falls end. A rejuvenating place for mind and body. Wear trainers!
Gialova – Divari: A natural bay with golden sand. The amazing landscape will make you forget the one-hour drive to get there.
Voidokilia: The famous beach with the light sand and crystal-clear water. Beautiful in every season. No beach bar, make sure you have everything you need. Don’t miss it!!
WHERE TO GO
Museums – Kalamata
Benakeio Archeological Museum
Housed in a beautiful Venetian-style building, it has a vast of collection of items from the Bronze Age until Roman times: sculptures, tomb stones, parts of mosaics, jewellery and items of everyday use. Activities for children.
Address: Agiou Ioannou 3, Tel.: +30 2721 083485
Ticket price: 2-3€
Open: Weekdays, Sundays & Holidays: 8.00 – 20.00, Monday 13.30 – 20.00
Historical & Folklore Museum
A complete image of pre-industrial Messinia (rural life, manufacture, weaving, pottery), with recreations of traditional buildings, exhibits from the Greek Revolution, costumes and works of ecclesiastical and byzantine art.
Address: Agiou Ioannou 12 / Tel.: +30 2721 028449
Opening hours: Sun. 10:00-13:00, Wed.-Sat. 09:00-13:00
The Greek history from the 1821 Revolution until nowadays presented through uniforms, army material, documents, photographs and audio-visual material.
Address: Meletiou 10 / Tel.: 2721 021219
Ticket price: Free
Opening hours: Tues. – Sat. 09:00-14:00, Wedn. 18:00-20:00, Sun. 11:00-14:00. Mon. closed
Municipal Gallery “A.Tassos”
Housed in a neoclassical mansion in the historical centre, it hosts 350 works of visual art, mostly painting and sculpture but also engraved and ceramic artworks.
Address: Papazoglou 5 / Tel.: +30 27210 88991
Ticket price: Free
Opening hours: Mon. 15:00-21:00, Tues. 09:00-15.00, Wedn.; 15:00-21:00
*Museum of traditional Greek costumes
One of the largest collections in Greece. It narrates the history of local folk dress from the 18th to 20th century, combining modern stage design and an exemplary use of sound and light.
Address: Stadiou 64, Tel.: 30 27210 86923, 86927
Ticket price: 5€
Opening hours: Tues.-Fr. 09:00-14:00, Wedn.17.30-20.30 Sat. 09-14.00 & 17.30-20.30, Sun. 10:00-13:00
Municipal Railway Park :
A unique open-air train museum in the city center. Strolling in the park, you can see trains from the 19th and 20th centuries, some of which host local cultural and athletic clubs. The park has basketball and volleyball courts and many playgrounds. Several events take place there on an annual basis.
Castle of Kalamata – Kalamata
Built during the Byzantine times and reconstructed at the beginning of the 13th century, it was of strategic importance until the 18th century. The interior is no longer open to visits but it is worth wandering around the outside space and attend some of the various shows, concerts and plays that take place there in the summer.
Address: Spartis 28 / Tel.: +30 2721 083086
Opening hours: Tues.-Sun.; 08:00-15.00
Cathedral of Ipapanti – Kalamata
The church of Ypapanti (“Presentation of Christ”) is a magnificent Byzantine-style church, built in 1839 and inaugurated in 1879. It hosts the Holy icon of Virgin Mar, celebrated on February 2nd. As the Virgin is the patron saint of Kalamata this is a major celebration and local holiday.
Address: Ipapantis str.
Opening hours: all day long
Church of St. Apostles – Kalamata
Built during the Byzantine period, it was the place where the Revolution against the Ottomans was declared. Located in the heart of the Historic Centre of Kalamata, it is now the meeting point of locals and the starting point of a historical representation taking place every year on 23rd March.
Address: 23rd March square
Opening hours: at mess hours
Monastery St. Constantine and Helene (“Kalogries”) – Kalamata
Built in the 19th century on the ruins of an old temple, it was the first women’s monastery in the region. A refuge for abandoned children, but also the centre of silk textile that led to the growth of the city. The famous silk Kalamata scarves are still produced there and have granted the monastery several awards. The museum hosts relics of saints, sacred vessels, precious pictures and a rich collection of books
WHAT TO DO – Events
History / Folklore
Representation of the Greek revolution – Kalamata, 23rd March
Kalamata was the first city to be liberated from the Ottomans after nearly 400 years of occupation. This is celebrated every year on March 23 with a parade, a historical representation and a doxology.
The city celebrates its patron saint, Virgin Mary the Ipapanti, with a large litany of the hοly icon around the city.
Carnaval Events (February – April):
- Saitopolemos (Dart war) – Kalamata: According to the legend, darts were used to face the Turkish cavalry during the Revolution war. The custom is revived every year on Easter Sunday. Dressed in traditional costumes, participants set fire on handmade paper darts filled with gunpowder.
- Chariot parade – Kalamata: Join one of the many carnival groups and participate in the hidden treasure game, or just dress up and dance along with the locals!
- Gaïtanaki (Maypole dance) – Kalamata: A dancing event brought by the Greek refugees from Asia Minor revives on the central square of the city. It is accompanied with events for children and concerts by the Municipal Band.
- Chariot parade – Messini: In Messini, 20 minutes away from Kalamata, is organised the oldest carnival char parade in the region. Watch the chariots passing by and join the carnival events!
- Moutzourodeftera – Nedousa: On Ash Monday takes place one the oldest and most typical carnival events in Greece, dating back to the ancient celebrations for the arrival of spring.
- Koutrouli’s wedding – Methoni (one hour from Kalamata): A humorous event, reviving the history of the oldest divorce in the country!
Kalamata Dance Festival & parallel events – Kalamata, July
It started in 1995 and draws international attention. It takes place every July and attracts dance troupes and dance lovers from all over the world. The main shows take place at the Dance Megaron of Kalamata but there are also parallel events, some of them free, in different parts of the city.
Spring Keys – Kalamata, April
Concerts & musical events: Conservatory and other parts of the city
Αnthesteria (Flower Festival) – Kalamata, May
The festival takes place in the Municipal Railway Park and welcomes spring with a flower-decorated chariot parade, a large flower exhibition and artistic activities, as well as sensitization campaigns on environmental issues.
Zero Festival (Video art) – Kalamata, July (www.festivalmiden.gr)
The first video art and new media festival in Greece. It includes projections in open public spaces in the city of Kalamata and beyond.
Puppet Festival of Kalamata – Kalamata, May: Organised by the Experimental Stage of Kalamata in different parts of the city
Cultural Summer in Kalamata – July & August: Theatrical plays, and events concerts all over the city
Kalamata Street Festival – Kalamata, July
Organized by the Youth Centre of Kalamata and other social actors, it attracts music bands and street artists from all over Greece and Europe. It includes concerts, dancing and singing shows, film projections, exhibitions of photography and plastic arts, activities like wall climbing, skating, graffiti and also give-away bazaars and informative actions.
Penny Marathon – Kalamata, July: A fund-raising race for stray animals at the port of Kalamata
Local Product Festivals
Table Olive: Trikorfo, August
Fig: Polylofo, August
Watermelon: Agrili, Filiatra, mid-May to mid-June
Artichoke: Thouria, mid-July
Wine: Chora, & Kyparissia, July
Codfish: Kyparissia, August
Okra: Armeni, August
Chontrokatsari tomato and onion: Metamorphosis, August
Oregano: Kyparissia, mid-August