Kalamata Holidays

Home of legends


Blissful beach life and abundant archaeology

There’s far more to Kalamata than the juicy olives for which this sun-soaked corner of the Peloponnese peninsula is justly famed. The capital of Messinia offers plenty to entice visitors, from weathered castles and ancient ruins to stunning beaches and captivating museums. The ancient sites of Sparta and Olympia are within easy reach and you’ll find yourself in the land of the gods here – the home of Hades and the Underworld.

The Old Town’s narrow streets teem with historic buildings, including the Byzantine church of the Holy Apostles and the church of Agioi Apostoloi where the 1821 revolt against the Turks began. The cathedral of Ypapantis, built in 1839, houses an icon of the Virgin Mary purportedly dating to 672 AD.

The twice-weekly Central Food Market offers Kalamata olives and other local delicacies such as sfela cheese, pasteli, honey, lalagia (a kind of fried dough cracker) and Poliani apples. Climb lush pine-clad hills to enjoy the sunset from the Kastro, Kalamata’s 13th Century Frankish-built castle. Visit the Folklore and History Museum, containing priceless artifacts from the 1821 Greek War of Independence, and stroll through the open-air Municipal Railway Park to see impressive vintage engines. Book your flights to Kalamata today and start exploring.

Kalamata holiday FAQs

Make the most of your Kalamata holiday

If you’re visiting in July, don’t miss the Kalamata Dance Festival, which has been enticing culture lovers since 1995. This annual ten-day celebration attracts a diverse programme of international artists showcasing the latest choreography and physical theatre.

What are the best things to do in Kalamata?

  1. Guarded by the Lion Gate, Ancient Mycenae was a prosperous, influential citadel that lent its name to an entire civilisation which thrived from around 1600 to 1000 BC. In legend, it was home to Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the Trojan War, and its protective walls are said to have been built by a cyclops. Check out the Treasury of Artreus, a stone vaulted tomb topped by what was once the world’s tallest dome and thought to have once contained many priceless relics.
  2. Olympia is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece as the original home of the Olympic Games, where Greek city states would send their top athletes to compete for the honour and to win a simple olive branch. Discover the ancient stadium complete with remnants of the track and judges’ platform, temples dedicated to Zeus and Hera and a fascinating Archaeological Museum packed with locally excavated exhibits.
  3. One of the shining stars of Kalamata’s nightlife scene, Bocca Liquor Bar offers an intriguing mix of cocktails, spirits and beers in a chic, modern setting in a happening summer spot on Navarinou. Its low-key music and party atmosphere generally attracts a young and up-for-it crowd.
  4. Vlychada Cave in Diros Bay, on the west coast of the Laconian Peninsula, is arguably one of the world’s most beautiful caves, with pristine white stalagmites and stalactites and glistening crystals. Hundreds of thousands of years old, the cave was discovered in 1900 and finally opened to the public in 1967. The fossilized bones of panthers, hyenas, lions, ferrets and hippos have all been discovered in the cave, which reaches a depth of around 80 metres.
  5. In the western Peloponnese, visit the charming village of Mavrommati, the Byzantine 12th Century Samarina Monastery, once occupied by the nuns of the Osia Mary of Egypt, and the ruins of 13th Century Androusa Castle. South of the pretty harbour town of Pylos, climb the walls of the Venetian-era Methoni Castle for spectacular coastal views. Head to the attractive town of Marathopoli with its long promenade and take a boat to Proti Island for secluded coves and scenic beaches.
  6. The ruins of Messini are just as extensive as Olympia’s but you’re likely to have them largely to yourself. They were built in 371 BC by the Thebans, with a six-mile wall to keep out the mighty Spartans. There’s also a large theatre, the agora, a treasury and sanctuaries dedicated to Artemis Orthia and Ascelpius, and one of Greece’s most intact ancient stadiums.
  7. Kids will love the Victoria Karelias Collection of Traditional Greek Costumes. This immersive museum highlights the exquisite artistry of Greek dress down the centuries with beautiful exhibits charting the intricate details of traditional dress, ornate jewellery and accessories.

Where are the best places to stay in Kalamata?

Sparta (Sparti) famously defeated the naval power of Athens during the 5th Century BC Peloponnesian War. Visit the ruins of ancient Sparta including a theatre, rotunda, temples and the Tomb of Leonidas. The modern city is home to vast squares, tree-lined avenues, the Archaeological Museum, cathedral, the Koumantareios art gallery and a museum dedicated to olives and their oil.

Costa Navarino is home to luxury hotels, spas, fine-dining restaurants and 18-hole golf courses. It bills itself as the Med’s first high-end eco-friendly resort with a landscape of lush green hills, turquoise seas and rolling dunes. Don’t miss Voidokilia's stunning half-moon-shaped beach – one of the most beautiful in Greece it sits below a castle-topped hill – or the birding paradise of Gialova Lagoon.

Once-sleepy Stoupa is a tourist hub that’s fast becoming known as the new Cote D’Azur. It’s a world of crystalline waters, stunning beaches, cypress trees, olive groves, rolling hills and distant snowcapped mountains. Intimate yet lively enough, the town offers a bustling promenade and a scenic harbour. Dine on woodfired stuffed aubergine at Stoupa Restaurant and sip a sundowner at nearby bar Enigma. Walk the two-mile trail with stunning views to Agios Nikolaos, a charming fishing village.

Immortalised by Homer’s epic poem the Illiad, Kyllini has a long sandy coastline and the Loutra Killinis thermal springs. The small harbour town offers fish tavernas and activities such as windsurfing and sailing. Explore the imposing 13th Century Chlemoutsi Castle and the Byzantine monastery of Vlacherna. Enjoy the well-equipped beach, take a 45-minute stroll to the rock of Kefalopetra or catch a boat to the islet of Kafkalida for Roman tombs and the remains of an early Christian church.



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