Kalamata: The beautiful and modern city of Messinia


Kalamata is the city of the southwestern Peloponnese and the capital of Messinia. The city is built on the site of ancient Farai, on foothills of the imposing Taygetos in the heart of Messinian Bay.

Kalamata is the second largest city in the Peloponnese after Patras and it is 255 km from Athens, 215 km from Patras and 715 km from Thessaloniki.

The city of Kalamata is the financial, commercial and administrative center of the southwestern Peloponnese and its geographical position and mild Mediterranean climate make it one of the most charismatic cities.

The municipality of Kalamata includes 13 municipal districts that stretch from the city’s west central lowlands to the volume of Taygetos and the east coast.

The old town was built on the ruins of the ancient city of Farai. Its name “Kalamata” first appears in 1142 to the third part of the Life of Saint Nikon “Repent”. Its name probably came from the monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary the Kalomata or from the reeds of Nedon. The latest version is strengthened by other placenames that have taken their name from the reed.

Kalamata Map

The history of Kalamata is lost in the mists of time, after starting from the EH era (2600-2300 BC) having traces of human life found in Akovitika 2-3 km southwest of Kalamata. The city came under the domination of Sparta (8th BC – 4th century BC), the Franks (1205 AD), Venetian (1685-1715mCh) and then the Turks.

Kalamata and the surrounding area of ​​Mani, played an important role in the Revolution of 1821. The most important historical event of Kalamata is the liberation from the Turks on 23 March 1821. Then, Nikitas, Kolokotronis, Papaflessas, Petrobeis Mavromichalis and other chieftains entered the city as liberators. In the church of Apostles was celebrated doxology and then began the Revolution of 1821.

In the late 19th century the port of Kalamata was built that is up to date, and the city experienced considerable growth and acne. Today, Kalamata has managed to retain the charm of the old aristocratic city with the historic center, the beautiful neoclassical buildings and the modern facilities.

The city’s economy is based on agriculture, especially in production of olive oil, olives, figs, raisins, fruit and also tourism. In the area there are several industries of processing and standardization agricultural products as well as the important unit of tobacco Karelia.

A stroll through the Historic Centre of Kalamata will enliven your pictures of the past and will fill you in awe. Beautiful pedestrians, Byzantine churches, magnificent beaches and crystal clear waters, stunning buildings adorn the lady of Messinia, Kalamata.

Kalamata is one of the most modern cities of Greece, with excellent layout and strong educational and cultural activity. In the city there is a modern hospital, modern sports facilities and in the city is based TEI (Technological Educational Institute and faculties of the University of Peloponnese. In the area there is a commercial airport that facilitates the arrival of tourists.

Patron of Kalamata is the imposing church of Ypapanti beneath the castle. It is the cathedral of the city and it is celebrated on February 2.

Kalamata is birthplace of many important personalities such as Nikitaras (Niketas Stamatelopoulos, 1782-1849) chieftain of the Revolution of 1821, Alexander Koumoundouros (1815-1883), a great personality of politicians who served 10 times as prime minister in the late 19th century, Mary Polydouri (1902-1930) poet of the romantic school, Vassilis Fotopoulos (1934-2007) the set designer and Nicholas Politis (1852-1921) the folklorist.

Other major artistic and political figures are Yanni (Yannis Chrysomallis) composer and pianist, Antonis Samaras the politician, Prokopis Pavlopoulos the university professor and politician etc.

Many attractions can be found in the picturesque town of Kalamata such as the Castle, the Cathedral of Ypapanti, the monasteri of Kalograion, the Benaki Archaeological Museum, the Church of the Holy Apostles and others. All the monuments and sights of the city resemble its great history.

You will also find many hotels, apartments and villas for your stay, which will offer you all the modern facilities for a pleasant and relaxing holiday. Intense nightlife with numerous bars, cafes and club promise you fun and relaxation.

From the port of Kalamata you can head west to the beach where sailboats moor or east to cross the bustling street Navarino which is a hangout for locals and beyond.

Heading from Kalamata to Mani you will find beautiful beaches such as Avia, Kardamyli, Stoupa, Agios Nikolaos and the bay of Almyros.

Kalamata is an ideal base for those who want to discover the prefecture of Messinia, since it is located in the center of the county and it is just an hour from travel destinations. Blending harmoniously mountain and sea, the noble city of Kalamata invites you to discover and explore the heavenly place of Mani.

Local Flavours & Products

The fertile and blessed Messinian land produces many local products such as fruits, vegetables, olive oil, wine, etc. Messinia is famed for its olive oil and for Kalamata olives well known throughout Greece, products that it also exports.

Many more products produces the Messinian land such as figs, raisins, grapes, honey, excellent wine, balsamic vinegar, tasty tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, tasty peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, tangerines, melons and melons.

From various shops of Kalamata you can buy herbs and aromatic plants from Taygetos.

Do not forget to visit one of the restaurants or taverns and try rooster kapama with thick pasta, salted pork with celery, the famous Kalamata olives, fresh fish cod with garlic sauce, syglino, sausage, cheese sfela, rusks with olive oil.

Cultural Events

In Kalamata there is strong cultural activity and intellectual life. Of the leading cultural events is the Kalamata International Dance Festival held annually in July. Every July and August take place many events such as exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, art, festivals etc.

Especially celebrated on February 2, the patron saint of the city Ypapanti, and on March 23, 1821 is carried out celebration for the declaration of the Revolution in Kalamata in the chapel of the Holy Apostles. Also, the Culture and Sport Agency of Messinia Prefecture (O.P.A.N.A.M.) organizes and presents many cultural events throughout the year, such as:

Vlacherneia – Meeting of Philharmonic: It is held in late June or early July in Filiatra.

Ithomaia: Events in Ithomi of Ancient Messini. They are held in the first 15 days of August.

Agapineia: Various cultural events to Gargalianoi in honor of Telos Agras Macedonian fighter of Messinia. Events take place from early July to mid-August.

Nestoreia: Wine Festival in Chora that takes place in the first 15 days of August.

Navarineia: Celebration Events for the anniversary of the Battleship at Pylos. Held each year on 20 October.

Kalamata has very good sports facilities and hosts many international sporting events: Some of them are sailing, athletics, tennis, gymnastics and more.

Kalamata Attractons

Squares: The beautiful Ypapanti Square is south of the castle. In the square stands the majestic Cathedral of Ypapanti celebrated on February 2.

The historical and central square of March 23 is full of life as it has many cafes and bars. In the center of the square stands the Memorial mentioned the time of the uprising, while north of the square is the church of the Holy Apostles, where according to tradition, in this church was declared the Revolution of 1821.

The Frangolimnas Square is located southeast of the Ypapanti Square and came from filling in the 19th century. There lies the Metropolitan Palace of Kalamata.

You can see the Mavromichali square where in the north rose the Tower of Panagiotis Benakis and while entering the square you will see the temple of Small Archangels.

The castle of Kalamata: It is linked to the historic family of Villehardouin who founded the principality of Achaia. Over the centuries, the castle has seen many sovereignties as the Byzantines, Venetians, Franks, Ottomans and it was connected with the history of the city until the 19th century.

Today, the castle of Kalamata, which stars in Princess Isabeau of Angelos Terzakis, is a sample of the castles built by the Franks in Peloponnese. In the castle are survived many parts that can be seen by the visitor and offers panoramic views of Kalamata and the surrounding area.

In the southern part of the castle there is a small theater built in the 1950s and hosts dance performances, music, and other events.

Churches: Near the castle, in the northwest bastion, is the church of St. Dimitrios built in the 19th century. Southwest of the castle, near the entrance, is the small church of Agia Kyriaki. The church is single-aisled,  with wooden roof and its construction is placed in the 17th century. It is a chapel of the monastery of Kalograion.
At the foot of the castle is the church of St. John the Baptist. The church is half-caved and features remains of wall paintings, probably of late Byzantine times.

The church of St. George is located southeast of the castle and it was the first cathedral of the city. The church is single-aisled with wooden roof while its long history is mentioned in a inscription of 1939 inside the church. The construction of the temple dates from the time of the second Venetian occupation (1685-1715). According to the story, they visited the church I. Kapodistrias and King Otto when Ibrahim destroyed the church.

The Church of Ypapanti (Visitation) dominates the square and it is the Cathedral of Kalamata. The present magnificent church of Ypapanti was founded in 1860 and inaugurated in 1873. The church has two bell towers and imposing domes while in the southeast of the temple, in the courtyard, there is a stone cross that reminds us that here was the old church destroyed in 1770.

In the Holy Church of Visitation is kept the sacred image of Our Lady Visitation, found in the ruins of an older church Visitation destroyed in 1770. Initially, the picture was in the first Metropolitan Cathedral, St. George and then the church of the Visitation. The Cathedral of the Visitation is celebrated on February 2 with great pomp and the rituals begin on January 27 and end on February 9 with a festive night vigil.

On the northwest side of the square of Ypapanti is the chapel of St. Anargyroi. This is a one-room wooden temple dating from the post-Byzantine period.

On the west side of Frangolimnas Square is a double temple. The main part is the church of St. Nicholas, a single-nave church with built temple and wooden ceiling. The church dates from the early 18th century and features stucco decorations of the 20th century. On the south side of the church of St. Nicholas is the chapel of St. Athanasios Tzane which is also single-nave.

The single-nave church of St. Nicholas Efesiou is located on the northeast side of Frangolimnas Square and features neoclassical elements. The church dates from the 19th century.

On the East of Frangolimnas square is the cemetery church of Saint Charalambos, which is one of the most important Byzantine monuments of Kalamata. During the years of Venetian rule, the church was called Cathedral.

The Church of St. John the Baptist is located west of the Ypapanti square and it is built on the foundations of a smaller church in the 19th century. This temple is one of the first parishes in the city.

The chapel of the Holy Apostles is located north of the square March 23 and it is the trademark for the whole city. It is a small Byzantine church dating from the mid 11th to 12th century. In the historical church of Holy Apostles was declared the Revolution on March 23, 1821 and they drew up the Declaration of the Messinian Senate signing Petrobei Mavromichalis, which was the first diplomatic document of the revolutionary Greece, sent to the European Courts. Every year on March 23 is celebrated the anniversary with great pomp and prices. At the events that are held there is also a representation of independence.

At the entrance of Mavromichali square stands the sacred temple of Small Archangels (Taxiarchaki) constituting monastery of Velanidia. It is a single aisle temple witha a wooden roof dating from the early 19th or late 18th century.

The Monastery of Kalograion: It is located southeast of the castle and a historic convent that now has about 23 nuns. The monastery was founded in the late 18th century, in 1796, by the teacher and priest Gerasimos Papadopoulos (1763-1844), who was born in Kalamata and studied in the famous school of Dimitsana. The tomb of priest is outside the church of the monastery. The monastery was plundered by Ibrahim, but reorganized and dissolved again in 1834 with Otto regency decree. After a few years he was occupied by nuns.

Today, to the convent you can see the church of the monastery and the Byzantine style church of St. John the Baptist dating from 1978 to 1983. The present church of the monastery is the church of Saints Constantine and Helen, which is considered the most important Byzantine church of Kalamata.

The nuns were involved in the silk weaving, which produced themselves resulting in several awards in Greece and abroad making famous the town and the monastery. While visiting the monastery you can admire or buy wonderful silk and impressive handiwork of monks.

Mansions: On the south side of the Ypapanti square stands the Korfiotaki mansion, which will house the Ecclesiastical Museum.

The Municipal Conservatory: North of the Ypapanti Square, at the corner of the street Alexandraki Villehardouin square, is the Municipal Conservatory of Kalamata. The Conservatory is housed in a neoclassical three-storey building of the 1860s and in its premises had operated the first High School of Kalamata and other schools.

The Alexandrakeio Nursing Home: It is located northeast of the church of Ypapanti and it is a donation of the great benefactor of Kalamata, Spyridon Alexandraki. In the last decades of the 19th century functioned as Alexandrakeio Hospital-Workhouse while in 1940 was limited to Alexandrakeio Nursing.
Alexandrakeio Nursing Home

The Central Public Library of Kalamata: Open since 2004 and located in the Ypapanti Square. The library features over 7.400 titles covering the cognitive and scientific spectrum.

The Archives of Messinia: It is accommodated in a two-storey neoclassical building of 1890-1910, on the south side of the square Visitation. It is a regional office of the State Archives, founded in 1991 and aims to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of Messinia. They reclaim their files and they organize various cultural events and programs.

The Metropolitan Palace: Southeast of the Ypapanti Square, stands the Metropolitan Palace of the city and then we see Frangolimnas Square.

The Military Museum: It is housed in a building that had been granted by the Holy Metropolis of Messinia. It is located in Frangolimnas Square next to the double temple, and operates since 2006 under the responsibility of the Army General Staff.

The Historical and Folklore Museum of Kalamata: It is housed in a neoclassical building of 1870-1890, the former mansion of Kyriakou family and it is located west of the Ypapanti Square. The museum was founded by the local Association for the dissemination of Letters. The museum includes historical, folklore and folk artifacts from everyday life.

Among the exhibits in the museum are  included the collection Karelia with the traditional attire of Kalamata, representation of the traditional coffee house and home and exhibition dedicated to bookbinding and typography, since Kalamata was the first printing house of the free Greece where it was printed the Notice of the Rebellious Greeks to the European Courts .

The Benaki Archaeological Museum of Kalamata: It is located southwest of the Ypapanti Square and housed in a remarkable neoclassical building. The building was donated by Anthony Benaki, founder of the Athens museum. The museum is open since 1971 and features exhibits from the Mycenaean era, prehistoric times and Roman times from different regions of Messinia.

The Archaeological Museum of Kalamata: It is housed in the old municipal market building in the historic center of the old city. The museum contains archaeological finds from ancient and Byzantine times around Messinia. The museum was founded in 2002 and the showroom unfolds the long history of Messinia.

The Tobacco Factory Karelia: In Frangolimnas square opposite the southeast side, there is the old tobacco factory of Karelia.

The Philharmonic City: It is housed in an old mansion Panagiotis Jane, which was used by the commander of the struggle Peter Mauromichalis as supply depots in the revolution of 1821. The mansion is located southwest of the Ypapanti Square.

The Municipal Gallery of Kalamata “A. TASSOS”: It is located southwest of the Ypapanti Square and it was founded in 2002. The gallery belongs to the Municipal Corporation of the Cultural Development of Kalamata and named after the great engraver A. Tassos, who came from Messinia and donated many of his works.

The exhibits of the gallery are works of VarotsosTetsis, Zouni,  KatsoulidisBostoglou and others. The neoclassical building where is the Gallery,  is located in the historic center of Kalamata, where are made several exhibitions.

Surrounding Area

You can see and visit many nearby destinations, which are only a few kilometers from Kalamata. Some of them are Stoupa, Koroni, Kardamili, Pylos, Methoni, Kyparissia, Finikounda, Agios Nikolaos etc.

Stoupa: It is a beautiful seaside village of Mani, located 45 km east from the city of Kalamata. It is in the Municipality of Lefktron, which lists about 600 residents. During the summer months, the number of inhabitants of the region rise sharply.

Kardamili: It is a beautiful seaside village of Mani, located 35 km south of Kalamata, and belongs administratively to the municipality of Lefktron. Kardamili is one of the best preserved traditional settlements of Mani and also a major tourist resort.

Methoni: On the southwestern tip of Messinia and just 61 km from the city of Kalamata is Methoni. Methoni is a beautiful seaside town with unique sights. During the summer months it attracts many visitors, and it is appropriate for a quiet family holiday.

Koroni: Koroni is a picturesque coastal town of Messinia, built amphitheatrically on a low hill. It lists about 2.000 residents and it is 52 km from the city of Kalamata.

Kalamata Beaches

There are many wonderful beaches along the coast of Messinia. Sandy beaches with crystal blue waters of the Messinian Gulf. Friendly beaches with shallow waters and bright golden sand. Each beach has its own color, its own charm and its own character.

Kalamata Beach: One of the most beautiful spots in the city of Kalamata is the beach. The Kalamata beach stretches for 2.5 km and can be reached even on foot from the city center. The beautiful beach of Kalamata with palm trees, the colorful umbrellas and small pebbles is awarded with blue flag and there are many restaurants, taverns and other along the beach.

Little Mantineia beach: The Little Mantineia beach is 7 km from the city of Kalamata and has a plethora of restaurants. It is a very beautiful beach, covered with pebbles and it is providing lifeguard.

Almiros Beach: Almiros beach is one of the most popular and crowded beaches of Kalamata. It is located six miles east of Kalamata and is ideal for water sports. The wonderfully organized Almiros beach is covered with pebbles and has many beach bar, taverns, clubs and you also have the opportunity to have fun doing some of your favorite water sports such as beach volley, wind surfing, water skiing and more.

Santova Avia Beach: The beach of Santova is  in Avia, 12 km from the city of Kalamata. It is one of the most cosmopolitan beaches of the area and it is covered with fine sand and small pebbles. On the beach there are many beach bar and parking.

Kalamata Activities

In Kalamata and around Messinia there are many beautiful landscapes that can satisfy lovers of hiking and climbing.

There are many trails in the Taygetos area where you can hike or mountain climbing with different degrees of difficulty. Along the mountain range of Taygetos there are numerous lake, gorges and ravines with most famous  the canyons of Kaskaras, Viros, Rintomou and Lagada.

Around 32 km from the city of Kalamata you can take a scenic drive of 3 km to the remarkable gorge Polilimnio with the 15 lakes bearing strange names like Mavrolimna, Kadi, Italian, Stathoulas, Kadoula, Tycherou and the waterfalls. A fascinating journey that will be unforgettable.

Kalamata has a special place in the hearts of friends of maritime activities. There are many water sports that you can do in the area such as swimming, water skiing, Kite surf, fishing, diving, wind surf, sailing etc.

How to get there

Kalamata is 238 km from Athens.

From Athens you can reach Kalamata if you follow the National Road Athens-Corinth-Tripoli, and then follow the route Tripoli-Megalopoli-Kalamata. The distance from Athens is 238 km.

From Patras you can reach Kalamata if you follow the National Road Patras-Corinth-Tripoli, and then follow the route Tripoli-Megalopoli-Kalamata. The distance is 286 km. From Patras you can reach Kalamata via the NR Patras – Pyrgos. Then follow the road to Amaliada and before you reach Kyparissia you turn in Kalo Nero towards Kalamata. There is signage that you can follow. The distance is 209 km.

Daily bus itineraries from Athens, Patras, Ioannina and Thessaloniki to Kalamata. There are also regular train connections from Athens and Patras to Kalamata. Kalamata can be reached by air from Athens El. Venizelos airport in Athens from Thessaloniki and Heraklion. There are flights three times a week. Also, the county is connected with Kythira and Kissamos.

Kalamata Useful Telephone Numbers (Calling code for Greece 0030)

Prefecture of Messinia
27210 44200
Bus Station Patras
2610 623886
Municipality of Messinia
27213 60700
Bus Station Thessalonica
2310 544470
Hospital Kalamata
27210 46000
Railway Station Kalamata
27210 95056, 95006
Police Station Kalamata
27210 44654, 44651
Railway Station Athens
210 5131601
Traffic Police Kalamata
27210 44634, 44631
Mpenakeio Archaeοlogical Museum
27210 26209
Police department Messinia
27210 44600
Folklore Museum Kalamata
27210 28449
Tourist Police Kalamata
27210 44680-1
Public Library of Kalamata
27210 86550, 22607
Post Office Kalamata
27210 22810
Gallery of Kalamata
27210 22607
Port Authority Kalamata
27210 22218
Cultural Center of Kalamata
27210 94819
Taxi Kalamata
27210 23434, 22522, 29898, 23939
Ferry Agency for Crete
27210 20704
Radiotaxi Kalamata
27210 26565, 21112, 90999
Yacht Club “Posidon”
27210 22367
Airport of Kalamata
27210 69696-7
Yacht Club “Aiolos”
27210 85382
Eleftherios Venizelos Airport
210 3530000
Mountaineering Club of Kalamata
27210 97733, 21129
Bus Station Kalamata
27210 22851, 28581
Hiking & Mountaineering Association “Euklis”
27210 84844
Bus Station Athens
210 5233810, 210 5134293

Photos Kalamata