Kalamata: 6+1 stops for an urban walk

For many people Kalamata is just… a city. A capital of the Peloponnese drowned in cement. If you’re one of those who think so, you might want to reconsider. A trip to Kalamata is a destination in its own right. Kalamata is so small that after one day you don’t need some kind of navigator on your phone, but so big and interesting that you’ll want to come back.

It is a place that in recent years has increasingly become a destination, both because of the new road that has brought it closer to Athens and because of the regeneration and development of the city. An important role for Kalamata is also played by the International Dance Festival that takes place here every summer and gives rise to various cultural events throughout the year. The proximity of Kalamata to the archaeological site of Messini, the beaches of Messinian Mani and the mountain range of Taygetos are also reasons for attracting visitors.

In the embrace of Taygetos but also with the heavy heritage of the 1821 struggle, the city stands firm in the passage of time. And of course filoxeno.com is here to guide you as to where to go in, around and near the city. Bonus that from Kalamata you can start a wonderful road trip to Messinian and Laconian Mani.

The walk in the city

Before we start exploring let’s talk about the transition. Kalamata is 237 km from Athens (2½ hours, about 50 euros for fuel and 14 euros for tolls). From Thessaloniki the distance is 726 km via Lamia and Athens.
You want a short or a longer break. Messinia’s central port, with its long coastal promenades inviting visitors to “walk it off” and its atmospheric old town offering beautiful and tasteful entertainment spots, is a highly interesting option. The starting point of your walk is the Castle with its magnificent view of the city. From there you continue to the church of Hypapanti.

The cathedral was founded in 1860 and is one of the symbols of the city. Just below it starts the Historical Center of Kalamata with narrow alleys and many shops. There you will see the small church of the Holy Apostles in front of the Archaeological Museum and continue to the bustling pedestrian street of Aristomenes. From there you will be led to the huge central square with its many cafes. If you continue south towards the sea you will find yourself at the Railway Park, a large green space with ponds, a playground and lots of trains! Cross the park vertically and at its southern end you will start to face the sea. The beach of Kalamata is very long and is a meeting point during the summer months. Initially and up to the port you will encounter many shops, while as you move east the traffic will decrease. Locals choose the beach for walks and cycling.

The food and drink

But after all that walking you have to stop somewhere and taste the local (and not only) cuisine. At the «Vayas tavern» you’ll find a lovely, cool garden and a couple of owners who cook like at home, with many of the ingredients being their own production. The meats are sourced from a local producer and whatever you try will be well cooked and fresh. Equally good choices are «Versailles», a modern kitchen with excellent cooks and bakers who prepare excellent food every day in the pot and wood-fired oven with ingredients that are local and in season. They also have fixed charcoal and pan options daily. Right above the archaeological site of Ancient Messina, it would be worth a visit to «Ithomi», just for the view alone. But here you will taste delicious food, made with care and mastery. For your drinks and cocktails you will go to a garden across the sea. Yes, it can be done. At «Le Jardin» you will indeed feel the relaxed atmosphere of a tiki bar, with wood and lush green plants dominating.

6+1 stops in Kalamata (or outside of it)

If you find yourself in the city in summer, specifically in July, Kalamata will be alive with the rhythms of the 23rd International Dance Festival. Groups of dancers, choreographers and performers from all over the world will present their work at 6 venues in the city. For information go to www.kalamatadancefestival.gr
Visit to the unique Museum of the Greek Costume Collection. A unique experiential exhibition space that provides a thematic presentation of Greek costumes through a modern tour model.
Walk along Navarino Avenue to the beach. As you walk along it, you will gaze at the opposite side of the beach at the magnificent neoclassical buildings and Taygetos in the background.
Visit the railway park. Near the main square south of Aristomenes street the park reminds of an open-air museum. The square is literally adorned with old railway vehicles, locomotives and boarding platforms with a history that goes back 150 years.

Every day dozens of boats come out of the Messinian Gulf and supply the markets and taverns of the region with fresh fish. If you are adventurous and want to combine it with swimming, you will seek the beach of Kitrias and the tavern «Gaitanaros». On the outskirts of the town, the «Fountain», near the marina and also to the west of the town, the «Mouria».

The area of Verga is located southwest of the city and offers a magnificent view not only of Kalamata but of the entire Messinian Gulf. Drive up in the evening to admire the city from above. The “Kastraki” is ideal for a relaxed drink and desserts.

If you have the time, it’s worth driving the 63 kilometres to reach Costa Navarino and dine in one of the many restaurants in the complex. Fish, grilled meat, Italian, Japanese, American, American, Greek cuisine and many tasty surprises in the 12 restaurants. Reservations are essential.