The natural beauty of Messinia with the indented shores, sandy beaches, forested mountains and fertile valleys, coexists with significant archaeological monuments. Kalamata, the capital and central port of Messinia, is situated at the site of ancient Farai. Following independence from the Turks and thanks to the exploitation of the fertile Messinian lands (producing olive oil, raisins, figs etc), it developed into a wealthy urban centre and a significant port. It is located 238 km SW of Athens.
If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity for a short holiday break before the start of the academic year, Kalamata is ideally situated for daily drives to a number of places of beauty and interest.
Beach lovers can make a day trip to the fishing village of Finikounda with its pristine Paradise beach, Anemomilos beach, and so on; the drive is about an hour and a half. Alternatively, Kardamyli is only half an hour’s drive away and offers a beautiful beach with spectacular sunset.
History lovers can visit the Homeric palace of king Nestor at the town of Pilos, an hour’s drive away; as well as the picturesque sea-side town of Koroni with its imposing medieval castle, an hour and a half drive away.
Nature lovers can visit mount Taygetos, one of the highest and wildest Greek mountains, and if you prefer driving to trekking, you can take the scenic mountain route to Sparta. Don’t miss the opportunity to buy local oregano from the villagers; your only other chance to find this exquisite herb will be at delis in London or New York at 7€ per 12 grams.
The foodies amongst you will find a region steeped in culinary and cultural tradition, don’t miss the opportunity to try the excellent varietal “coronaiki” olive oil (a perennial global favourite) and the local wines.
The City Hall.
The Modern Greek Art Gallery, with paintings, sculptures and carvings.
The Benakeion Archaeological Museum (housed in the neoclassical building of the old Municipal agora) with findings dating from the Bronze Age to the Roman period.
The spacious central Vassileos Georgiou (King George) square with many coffee shops, meeting places and strolling venues for residents and visitors. The pedestrian walkway of Aristomenous Street starts here with many stores and coffee shops to populate it.
To the west of the square the neighbourhood unfolds around the picturesque railroad station with a network of pedestrian ways,small coffee shops, bars and tavernas.
The Folklore and History Museum, which is housed in the Kiriakou mansion, with traditional objects and relics from the 1821 Greek War of Independence.
The Municipal theatre.
The Railways Park with exhibits of old motorcycles and railway wagons.
The seaside road in front of the city’s extensive beach (4 km length with marvellous waters). On the seaside of Kalamata, people can swim in crystal clear waters and enjoy lace-like beaches, which have been granted the Blue Flag award of quality. Along the seaside, there are several tavernas, ouzo restaurants, cafeterias, bars, clubs, whereas beach aficionados can enjoy all kinds of water sports.
The western beach with the city’s marina connected to the city centre via a cycle lane too.
***Information can be found at “Mythical Peloponnese” at facebook, or see the video at youtube. In addition, http://www.visitgreece.gr/en/main_cities/kalamata.