Quick Guide to Kalamata
You might know Kalamata for its olives - but this is a city with a history that extends far beyond those famous salty accompaniments to cheese and crackers. It was first mentioned by Homer, way back when it was known as Farai. Since then it has experienced Turkish occupation, become one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean and been awarded several Blue Flags for its beaches! That history, coupled with its natural beauty, has turned this pretty Peloponnese peninsula city into an under-the-radar tourist destination.
Within driving distance of Athens (may we recommend you hire a car?), Kalamata offers plenty to do and see, no matter what holiday style you prefer! Hikers can take to the forested mountains that surround the city, beach bums can hit the sands of its Mediterranean shores, and history fiends are well-catered for - it's so close to Sparta you could almost smell Helen of Troy (if you were there a couple of thousand years earlier)! And, like any good Greek destination, Kalamata's food is a main draw - mezze, gyros and, of course, its namesake olives.
Fab holidays for:
Blue Flag Beaches, Ancient History, Mouth-Watering Food
Did you know?
Much of Kalamata was destroyed in an earthquake in 1986 - many buildings you see are quite new!
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Top Things to do in Kalamata
With such an incredible history, it would be folly not to explore some of it during holidays to Kalamata in 2018/2019. Start with an overview of the area's background at the Archaeological Museum of Messenia. Built on the site of the city's old market hall, the museum contains artefacts from the prehistoric, Mycenean, Byzantine and Latin eras. Wander through the old town to get a glimpse of the pre-earthquake city, and head on an hour's drive to Messeni's 2,300-year-old ruins. The enormous Church of Ypapantis is also worth a visit - it contains a 'miracle-working' Virgin Mary icon, which was found in stables during Ottoman rule.
No holiday to Kalamata is complete without a visit to its four kilometres of golden-sand beach. A variety of watersports are on offer, including snorkelling - and the truly adventurous can even gain their PADI diving certification! You could also take advantage of the splendid Taygetto Mountains that frame the city with a hiking trip. The Peloponnese is also considered by some to have the best food in Greece, with most of it locally-sourced and freshly prepared. Make the most of it by chowing down on gyros, olives, freshly-caught seafood, souvlaki and the best figs you're likely to ever taste!
When to go to Kalamata
Kalamata has a fairly typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool winters. Temperatures soar in the summer time, so many visitors prefer to visit during the spring and autumn, when it's still warm enough to take a dip in the sea, but not so hot they'll be baking! Visit in spring for some of the best weather, and to take part in the region's popular Easter celebrations that see locals flood the streets with dancing, feasting and drinking.
Temperatures often hit 40°C during the summer, and it's the most popular time of year for tourists - particularly those from Athens. The weather remains warm (and the water ripe for swimming) until October, when the mercury begins to plummet. Though there are often warm, sunny days in the winter, it's still too cold for swimming - but great weather for exploring the historic sites if that's your bag!