The city of Kalamata (Greece) is located in the southern part of the Peloponnese. The capital of one of the Greek nomes (administrative units) of Messinia. I call this picturesque city the capital of olives, because Kalamata is famous not only for the number of olive groves, but also for the quality of the crop. This is where tourists buy the best olive oil in all of Greece.
The rich historical heritage of Kalamata was formed over many centuries. During this time, the city was ruled by the Spartans, the Byzantine Empire, the Venetians and the Ottoman Empire. Kalamata became part of Greece only at the beginning of the 19th century. By the way, the city is one of the first from which the formation of independent Greece began.
Today, a little less than 60 thousand people live in the city. Only 7 km away is an international airport.
The history of the town of Kalamata begins in the distant past – BC, when it was a small port settlement. The first references are found in the works of Homer, the author used the old name – Fares or Fires. The works of Kalamata are described as a large settlement.
A millennium ago, the famous traveler Pausanias described the city in the book Missianica. The author explained the origin of the name by an interesting legend – the founder of the city was the son of the god Hermes Faris.
The Romans retained the name Fares, after which the name appeared – Kalame. The modern interpretation – Kalamata – first met in 1208, during the reign of Baron Villardouin, who loved the city for its picturesque appearance and even built a residence here, where he spent a lot of time. After his death, the city was ruled by the sons of the baron, then Byzantines, Venetians and Turks came to power. At the beginning of the XIX century, a group of Greek partisans began the liberation struggle from the Ottoman Empire. Since then, March 23 is a national holiday – Independence Day. He is celebrated throughout Greece on March 25th.
Kalamata is the capital of Messinia. This is the second most important city on the Peloponnese Peninsula, the city of Patras is considered the first.
The tourist season is open year round. Many Europeans love the winter resort for its tranquility, serenity and relaxing atmosphere. In winter, unhurried walks along Aristomenus Street are a particular pleasure; this is a pedestrian zone where traffic has long been prohibited.
In the summer the city becomes busy, the main influx of travelers happens from mid-May to the end of October. At the peak of the tourist season, the Kalamata embankment is densely filled with people.
Attractions and entertainment
In the homeland of Kalamata olives, there is rest and entertainment for every taste – walks in picturesque places, visits to historical monuments, beach vacations, shopping and even extreme sports are presented here.
Travelers usually start exploring places of interest from the hill where the fortress, built in the era of the Crusaders (XIII century) by Baron Villardouin, who often admired the city from the fortress walls, is located. In the warm season, a summer theater operates, where theater performances and concerts take place. Unfortunately, there are not many surviving buildings here, but the view from the hill offers panoramic views.
At the foot of the hill is the central square of the city – Ipapandi. Its main attraction is the Cathedral, whose construction was completed in the 19th century. Previously, there was a church in its place, in its ruins, builders found a valuable icon of the Virgin Mary Ipapandi, which is now stored in the cathedral.
Guests of the city must visit the oldest church of Kalamata – the Holy Apostles on the square on March 23 (Independence Day). Construction was carried out in the XIII century. The square itself also has a rich history, since it was here that the proclamation of the liberation struggle against the Turkish authorities was proclaimed.
In total, there are about fifty churches and monasteries in Kalamata, many of them are shrouded in the atmosphere of antiquity and centuries-old history.
Kalogreon Convent is notable for its amazing silk products, which the nuns weave by hand. Here tourists buy amazingly beautiful scarves and ties, delicate scarves. There is a weaving museum at the monastery, the best works are presented here.
In addition to the museum of weaving art, tourists visit the Archaeological Museum, it is located in the Benaki mansion. Exhibits are finds found during excavations not only in the city, but throughout Greece. Admirers of painting must look into the art gallery, where the works of mainly Greek masters are presented. Another interesting place to visit with the whole family is the Museum of Railway Transport, where old steam locomotives and decommissioned equipment are exhibited.
If you are bored of a monotonous vacation on the beach, pay attention to the services of local tour agencies. Travelers who are interested in history will surely be interested in making a trip to Olympia – the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Here guests will be shown the venue of the first competition, invited to visit the temple of Zeus and the temple of Aphrodite. Remember the scary story of how weak children in Greece were thrown off a cliff? It turns out that this rock is located in Sparta and this legendary place can be visited.
Not far from Kalamata is one of the most remarkable and interesting port cities – Pylos.
Its most striking attraction is the Neocastro fortress. Construction work was allegedly carried out in 1573 by specialists from Turkey. In addition to the fortress, the city has the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with snow-white, as if soaring, domes and the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
From Sparta you can go to Mistras. This city is called a ghost, here the severity and restraint of the Middle Ages is wonderfully intertwined with the grace and ease of churches.
Actually, to enjoy nature, it is absolutely not necessary to go far from Kalamata, just walk around the city. But 50 km is a real gem – Ridomo Gorge. The path here is not easy, but the beauty of the local landscape takes your breath away.
If you move towards Areopoli, approximately 90 km from Kalamata, there are Diru Caves, they are among the most beautiful and largest in the world. There are only 3 caves here, the largest area (actually Diru) is hundreds of square kilometers. Most of the cave is occupied by a lake, where tourists ride boats. Here they fall into huge stone rooms, fantastically decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, which are reflected in icy, clean underground lakes.
If a normal, relaxing holiday is not for you, if you like to test yourself for strength and cannot live without adrenaline, sky-surfing is exactly what you need. You can fly on a hang glider, which starts on the top of Mount Taygetos at the foot of which the city is located, and ends right on the city beach. There is a yacht club on the beach where you can rent a yacht and go for a drive on the bay.
Most stores are located on Aristomenous Street and the alleys adjacent to it. Here you can buy products of famous brands and Greek products.
On the promenade you can also make a promenade and visit shops, bars and restaurants. Tourists who have already visited Kalamata recommend tasting local sweets.
Kalamata beach is mostly covered with small pebbles, but you can also find sandy areas. All places of rest are clean, they pay special attention to this. Owners of coastal cafes and bars monitor the cleanliness of the surrounding area.
The beaches of Kalamata in Greece are municipal, therefore admission is free and the stay is unlimited. Vacationers here will surely enjoy sunbathing fans – there are sun loungers and umbrellas, and fans of outdoor activities can play ball or badminton. To freely enjoy all the beach benefits, you just need to buy any drink.
If you like to watch the underwater world, follow towards Kardamily. Tourists often stop on the rocky shores, as marine life is diverse.
How to get there
There are several ways to get to Kalamata.
- By plane. At 7 km from the city there is an airport that accepts international flights of 11 airlines. In the holiday season from Moscow there are regular flights directly to Kalamata. You can also fly to the city from Thessaloniki.
- By car. From Athens to Kalamata a new route was laid, following through Corinth and Tripoli. The journey takes only 2.5 hours.
- By public transport. Buses run regularly from the bus station in Athens. There are regular flights, in this case the travel time is approximately 3.5 hours. If you want to save time, buy a ticket for the express bus, it follows without stops, the duration of the route is only 2.5 hours. The cost of a one-way ticket is 22 euros.
Climate and weather
Photos of Kalamata in Greece show juicy greens, picturesque views. Such a riot of colors and a variety of vegetation with enthusiasm described Euripides. The peninsula has a special climate due to which winter is easily tolerated and summers are not too sultry. There are incredibly fertile soils, with a huge number of pastures.
Indeed, the climate is mild, the summer heat does not seem so strong due to the wind from the sea. There is almost no rain in the warm season, the average temperature is from +30 to +35 ° C.
The water in the bay warms up to +25 ° C, you can swim here from June to October. However, real lovers of the sea feel free to swim already in May, when the water temperature is not higher than +20 ° C.
In winter, the air temperature drops to +10 degrees. In the coldest weather – up to +5 degrees.
Kalamata resort (Greece) is open for tourists all year round. The peninsula and its inhabitants willingly share the beauties of nature, history, sights, as well as special, home comfort and tranquility. The road here does not take much effort, and this is another reason to visit Kalamata and be sure to return again.
All sights and other places that were mentioned in the text are marked on the map of Kalamata (Greece) in Russian.
Video from a quadrocopter.