Kalamata is a coastal town in the regional unit of Messenia, in the Peloponnese. It is known for its olives (Kalamata olives) and olive oil. Messenia is literally covered with olive trees! Last year during our Peloponnese road trip my husband and I spent an evening in Kalamata. We returned this year as we wanted to explore the city further.
Things to See in Kalamata
As I mentioned last year, I enjoyed Kalamata’s central square (on Aristomenous street) which is full of cafes. It does have a lot of free space as well and was full of people when we visited. This year we explored the old center of Kalamata as well. We stopped by 23rd March square and Agioi Apostoloi church (see photo below). The square is named after the date that Kalamata was liberated from the Ottomans in 1821. The Archaeological Museum of Messenia is also located nearby.
We also visited two churches: Ypapanti (Presentation of the Lord) church (see photos above), which is Kalamata’s cathedral and Agios Nikolaos church.
Next stop: the seaside promenade! I had spotted several interesting houses last year so we went for a stroll before stopping for ice cream!
Last but not least, a walk in the Railway Park is a must. The park used to be Kalamata’s terminal railway station, which is now defunct. The area is converted to a park where you can also spot (and explore) old trains.
Places to visit outside Kalamata
Apart from the city itself (which you can easily check out in a day), there are lots of places to visit outside Kalamata.
This year we visited Ancient Messene, which is located 36km NW of Kalamata. The archaeological site contains sanctuaries, public buildings, fortifications, houses, and tombs. The “best” part is a very well-preserved stadium, a mausoleum of a prominent Messenian family and the gymnasium (aka gym). It’s officially my second favorite archeological site in the Peloponnese after Ancient Olympia.
During our trip last year, we visited Koroni and Methoni. They are both located SW from Kalamata and have fortifications built by the Venetians. Methoni’s castle is particularly interesting, especially the small fortress built on the sea!
On the SE side of Kalamata lies the Mani peninsula. The peninsula is “split” between the regional units of Messenia and Lakonia. Kardamyli and Stoupa are the most known villages of the Messenian part of the peninsula. I presented Kardamyli on a previous post. It’s a picturesque village, with old houses and beautiful doors. Stoupa is more touristic and has a sandy beach! You can always drive further south and explore Areopoli, visit the caves of Diros and the abandoned village of Vathia.
Related: Postcards from Kardamyli
Accommodation and Dining in Kalamata
A colleague of mine suggested Elektra Hotel & Spa and I stayed there both years. It’s located next to the port in a quiet neighborhood. It’s close to both the city center and the promenade. It has nice rooms (both times we had a view towards the port) and the best thing: amazing breakfast! Its buffet is filled with everything your heart desires: cakes, omelet, croissants, Nutella, Greek yogurt and much more!
Dining-wise, we had lunch at Kentrikon, opposite Kalamata’s city hall. I got a carbonara and my husband tried the chicken risotto. Both dishes were delicious. We also had a salad and an appetizer. The appetizer was grilled talagani (cheese type) with tomato marmalade. It was exquisite.
For ice cream, we headed to Athanasiou bakery on the promenade.
So there you have it! Here’s the essential guide to Kalamata (and partially to Messenia). You can find my posts about more cities in the Peloponnese here.
Have you been to Kalamata? If not, definitely add it to your list!
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