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Zacharo: The town of the unique natural attractions


Zacharo is a beautiful small town of Ilia. It located in the southwestern part of the prefecture of Ilia, and is 30 km from the county capital, Pyrgos. The town of Zacharo is the capital of the municipality, who owns 18 other districts.

Built in a fertile area of ​​outstanding natural beauty and of great archaeological interest, Zacharo is a lively city. It is the financial and commercial center of the region, and one of the finest resorts of the western coast of Peloponnese. The fact that it is up to the road axis Patras – Pyrgos – Kalamata and it has regular rail connections, makes it easily accessible.

Zacharo is a new city, historical. It is the capital of the historical Arini, and established as organized residential complex after the release of 1821.

Being a few hundred meters from the sea, the climate in Zacharo is quite mild. The main source of income of the area is agriculture, the main agricultural products are raisins and olive oil.

Zacharo Map

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Zacharo is built on two levels. A piece of the city is built on a low hill, and the other stretched out on a flat area, resulting in a beautiful sandy beach.

Zacharo has an ever growing tourism infrastructure. The excellent archaeological sites, hot springs, unique natural sites and the huge sandy beach attract thousands of visitors every year.

In Kaiafas baths flock every year thousands of visitors to enjoy the beneficial and therapeutic properties of thermal waters. In these sources, according to mythology, he washed his wounds, wounded by Hercules, Centaur Chiron.

Lovers of ancient Greek cultural heritage have the opportunity to venture to the nearby Ancient Olympia and admire the unique masterpieces of the ancient Greeks.

The complete combination of mountain, plain, sea, forest and lake make up a landscape of unparalleled natural beauty. Nature lovers will have the opportunity to browse through pine forests and paddle in Kaiafas lake. Holidaymakers can enjoy the sun and the sea in the beautiful beach of Zacharo and indulge in water sports.

Zacharo has a remarkable tourist infrastructure. Here you will find a wide range of hotels and apartments for every taste where you can enjoy a relaxing and comfortable stay. Also, you have a variety of restaurants and taverns, where among other things, you can taste fresh fish and delicious dishes of local cuisine.

Regional Flavours & Products
The main agricultural products produced in Zacharo are raisins, olive oil, vegetables, wine (red, white and rosé), tomatoes and legumes.

Here you will find many delicious local dishes. Do not miss piglet, tsigarida (fried salted pork), omatia, graters (small thin pasta) and boiled crabs for which the region is famous.

Cultural events
Many cultural events are organized in the municipality of Zacharo throughout the year. Carnival, “Olive consolation” – Olive Festival in Kakovatos in August, the festival of Prophet Elias on July 20, the feast of Saint Spyridon the Patron Saint of the city on 12 December, which is large and imposing procession and the International Film Festival of Olympia for children and young people in December.

Zacharo Attractions

Kaiafas Baths: Just 5 km from Zacharo is the site of Kaiafas, which is a unique ecosystem. The hot springs, the lake and the pine forest of Strofilia, are harmoniously combined, creating a landscape of endless beauty. The thermal waters of the spa town Kaiafas are known for their healing properties since ancient times. The water emanate from two caves, known as “Caves of Anigridon Nymphs” and “Geranium Andros”, located at the foot of the mythical mountain Lapitha. They are suitable for both balneotherapy and drinking therapy.

Lake Kaiafas was formed in the 6th AD century, after large earthquakes. Today hosts many species of fish, eels, turtles, and many migratory birds during the winter months. Moreovere, it is a sea-sports center for many water sports such as boating, water skiing, etc. In the lake lies the island of St. Catherine, where it stands the homonymous church. Between the lake and Kaiafas coast lies the beautiful pine forest of Strofilia, where you can make beautiful walks.

Gorge of Neda: A short distance from the town of Zacharo, it is the beautiful canyon of Neda. The Neda river got its name from the nymph Neda, and it is the only Greek river with a female name. Lilipoutians impressive waterfalls, ponds, lush, blue dragonflies, otters and other animals make a unique environment. The crossing of the canyon is a unique experience and requires a total of 7-8 hours. At some points you need to walk into the river, and even swim.

Ancient Olympia: Very near in Zacharo, 25 km away it is located the internationally famous Ancient Olympia. Unique masterpieces reveal the grandeur of ancient Greece. Ancient Olympia, where it starts the journey of the Olympic flame, spreading the message of reconciliation of peoples, it is one of the most important monuments of Greece. Among the dozens of splendid buildings, the gymnasium, the stadium, the temples, the baths, the villas, the altars, the  statues and the busts, stands the majestic temple of Zeus. Inside was the famous gold and ivory statue of Zeus, which is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia hosts important exhibits of unique value, among them, the amazing statue of Hermes of Praxiteles. The Old Museum has turned into the Museum of History of the Ancient Olympic Games, hosting findings that show long history of the Games.

Ancient Lepreo: This ancient city is built at a strategic point where were controlled the passages for Ilia, Messinia and Arcadia. The habitation is placed in the Neolithic era. Today excavations have unearthed remains of the city walls, prehistoric Acropolis, temple ruins stand which is attributed to the goddess Demeter, altar foundations and archaic graves.

Tomb of Nestor: Very near Zacharo, in Kalidona village, excavations uncovered three tombs, of which one, according to archaeologists, belongs to the King Nestor.

Churches: The church of Saint Spyridon, patron saint of Zacharo, is built on top of a small hill. The church celebrates on December 12th with a great procession taking place. It is worth visiting the magnificent Byzantine Church of the Archangels, in the homonym traditional village, 15 km. from Zacharo. The monument was built in the 13th century and it has a mural decoration.

The Archaeological Site Kakovatos: It is ocated 4 km northeast of the village. There have been excavated Mycenaean tombs and a fortified settlement. The excavation was done at the beginning of the century (1907-1908) by W. DOERPFELD. From the hill of the archaeological site you can admire the whole valley of Zacharo.

The Shelter of Caretta – Caretta: In the beautiful sandy beaches of Ilia they find safe refuge the caretta- caretta sea turtles. For thousands of years the sea turtles lay their egss in the Greek seas, mainly in Zakynthos, Crete and Peloponnese.

During the summer months, only in Peloponnese, about 900 nests are being protected. The most important areas of the prefecture of Ilia for the spawning of the rare reptiles is Neda beach, Kaifas, the Alpheus River and the beach lagoon Kotychi.

In the municipality of Zacharo there are areas that have been established as areas NATURA 2000:

Thines (Dunes) & Zacharo’s Beach Forest: The area is a coastal zone which is combining the dunes, the lake and the coastal forest. The area is a very important ecosystem with rich flora and fauna. The developing dunes located on the beach, between Kaifas and Zacharo are in very good condition.

Other areas NATURA 2000 in the municipality of Zacharo are the Lake Kaifas, Kakovatos, Strofylia, the Marine region of Kyparissia Gulf, Katakolo-Kyparissia Cape an the dunes of Kyparissia.

In Zacharo municipality there are areas designated as wildlife refuges. Integrated in the network NATURA 2000, they qualify to cover the basic needs of the prey. Some of them are: Kivouria – Rodina (Kalidona – Rodina- Schinia) and Lower Samiko – Xirochori – Smerna – Graika – Vrina.

Surrounding Area

 Artemis: Artemis or Koumouthekra is 10 km. from Zacharo where you can admire the temple of the 5th century of Artemis. In the village Lapitha north of Artemis temple are the ruins of Artemis Limnatidos and of another smaller.

Giannitsochori: It is the southernmost village in the municipality of Zacharo. A beautiful village with sandy beach, blue waters of the Ionian sea and dense pine forest by the sea. There are rooms to let for your stay and seaside taverns and restaurants where you can enjoy your food.

Kakovatos: Kakovatos village is located southwest of Zacharo and has one of the most beautiful sandy beaches and a remarkable archaeological site. The archaeological site of Kakovatos is 4 km northeast of the village. There have been excavated remains citadel, tombs and a fortified settlement. The excavation was done at the beginning of the century (1907-1908) by W. DOERPFELD. From the hill where is the archaeological site you can admire the whole valley of Zacharo.

Zacharo Beaches

 There are many wonderful beaches along the coast of Ilia. Sandy beaches with crystal blue waters of the Ionian Sea. Friendly beaches with shallow waters and glittering golden sand. Every beach has its own color, its own charm and its own character.

Zacharo Beach: The beach of Zacharo is a beautiful long beach with golden sand and crystal waters. Indeed it has been awarded by the EU Blue Flag for its beauty and purity of its waters. Here vacationers can indulge in windsurfing and other water sports. They can also make romantic walks in the sight of the idyllic sunset.

Giannitsochori Beach: South of Zacharo, in the village Giannitsochori, there is a lovely beach, where the combination of the sand and the pine forest make up an image of outstanding natural beauty. All around there are several taverns where you can taste fresh fish.

Kakovatos Beach: Swim in the huge sandy beach of Kakovatos, which is organized by offering free shower, umbrellas and sun beds.

How to get there

Zacharo is 30 km from Pyrgos.

From Athens you can reach Zacharo if you follow the National Road Athens-Corinth-Tripoli, and then follow the route Tripoli – Megalopolis – Change Messinia – Kalo Nero – Zacharo. The distance is 260 km.

From Patras you can get in Zacharo by N.R. Patras-Pyrgos. Then, when you reach N.R. Pyrgos – Kalamata, after about 20 minutes, turn on Zacharo following the signs. The distance is 129 km.

There are daily bus itineraries from Athens, Patras and Thessaloniki toPyrgos, and with final destination Zacharo. There are also regular train connections from Patras to Pyrgos and Kalamata, with a stop at the railway station Zacharo.

There are also daily connections with ferries from Zakynthos and Kefalonia to the port of Kyllini. By plane you can reach Araxos, which is the nearest airport (charter flights only).

Zacharo Useful Telephone Numbers (Calling code for Greece 0030)

Municipality of Zacharo
26253 60300, 60301
Taxi Zacharo
26250 31356-7
Health Center Zacharo
26250 34915
Post Office Zacharo
26250 31205
Pyrgos Hospital
26210  22222
Kaifas Baths
26250 31709-10
Police Station Zacharo
26250 33333
Katakolo Port Authority
26210 41206
Tourist Police Pyrgos
26210  81767
Kyllini Port Authority
26230 92211
Bus Station Zacharo
26250 31219
Araxos Airport
26930 23598
Railway Station Zacharo
26250 31271
Tourist Police Olympia
26240 22100

Zacharo Video

Zacharo Photos