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Old town historic centre of Kalamata

The Essential Kalamata, Greece Travel Guide

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If you yearn for the allure of an authentic Greek coastal city, look no further than Kalamata, Greece, situated in the heart of the Peloponnese. The name might ring a bell because of its association with olives and don’t worry, we’ll delve into that shortly! Kalamata boasts experiences for every visitor.

Kalamata is a small coastal city in south Greece with around 60,000 residents. It is the Peloponnese’s second-largest city and is nestled in the Messinian Gulf, surrounded by olive groves and the Taygetus mountain range.

International tourists often overlook it, but Kalamata has plenty to offer.

It’s a modern city with a small historic quarter and a 2 km stretch of pebble beach with a palm-tree-lined promenade.

With ancient ruins and Greek myths, delectable offerings of traditional Greek cuisine, and vibrant local markets, Kalamata can provide a tranquil retreat or a more adventurous break.

Use this travel guide to help you navigate the essentials of your Kalamata, Greece adventure.

The Essential Kalamata, Greece Travel Guide - Old Town Kalamata

How to Get to Kalamata, Greece

By Car

From Athens, Kalamata is a three-hour drive through the Peloponnese. This is a great option as en route, there are several fascinating places to stop, such as the Corinth Canal. You can also explore the ancient wonders of Mycenae and Epidaurus, which feature their impressive ancient theatres.

By Bus

Alternatively, you can take a bus to Kalamata, departing from the KTEL Kifissos bus station in Athens. Again, it is a three-hour journey, but remember that traffic congestion is a constant in Athens, which may add to your journey time.

By Plane

Kalamata has its own international airport that serves as a gateway. It receives flights from various European countries, including the UK, France, Austria, Russia, and Germany. Notably, there are no direct flights connecting Athens and Kalamata.

The airport is a 15-minute drive from the airport into the centre of town.

Boat in the water surrounding Kalamata Greece

Getting Around Kalamata, Greece

Local buses (minibuses) serve three routes around the city, but finding a map online takes time and effort. You can take a bus from the airport and go into town. A taxi from the airport to the beach is around €20-25.

While there are local buses, they are rare and make exploring more complicated. A car will make navigating Kalamata and surrounding areas much more manageable.

When to Visit Kalamata, Greece

With a mild Mediterranean climate, Kalamata is a great place to visit almost year-round. 

Early autumn and spring are optimal for outdoor pursuits like hiking or mountain biking. For beach enthusiasts, summer extends from late May to the end of September. For our visit in October, the weather was still perfect for the beach, although the water was a little chilly.

For budget travellers, the shoulder seasons, spanning April to May and September to October, offer a perfect opportunity to visit Kalamata. They offer good weather and discounted accommodation.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Some establishments shut down for the season in October, but it’s still a great time to visit.

What to Do in Kalamata, Greece

Explore the Old Town

Ypapanti Church in Kalamata Greece
Ypapanti Church

Stroll through the small picturesque old town under the Kastro City Fortress, featuring cobblestoned streets, neoclassical buildings, souvenir shops, traditional cafés, and Greek taverns. Visit the Byzantine Church of the Apostles, dating back to the twelfth century.

Municipal Market of Kalamata

Agora Kalamata Public Market

This bustling Agora Public Market has around 400 vendors offering a taste of Kalamata’s unique produce, including olives, nuts, cheeses, honey, figs, apples, and the delicious local fritter, lalagia. The market opens twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It gets busy!

Victoria Karelias Collection of Traditional Greek Costumes

The small Victoria Karelias Collection museum houses traditional Greek costumes, jewellery, and accessories spanning centuries. Address: Stadiou 64, Kalamata.

Locals dressed in traditional Greek costumes on National Day

We were in Kalamata for the National Day on March 23rd and saw many of these costumes worn by local villagers.

The Castle of Kalamata (Kastro)

Visit the ancient Castle of Kalamata for fantastic views over the area. There is a small amphitheatre, so check the schedule for any events

Archaeological Museum of Messenia

Visit the Archaeological Museum, which showcases a small but well-organized collection of artifacts from the Peloponnese region.

Paralia Kalamatas (Local City Beach)

Paralia Beach

Walk or jog along the Navarino Avenue promenade for 2 km along the beach. After the promenade, there are many other small beaches to explore.

Kalamata Railway Museum

Kalamata Railway Museum Park

An open-air railway park featuring eight locomotives, carriages, railcars, and freight wagons. Kalamata Railway Museum is a bit run down, but it is a green space in the city.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Museums and archaeological sites tend to close one day a week (often Monday or Tuesday), so check before visiting. Some businesses will close for siesta in the afternoon.

Where to Stay in Kalamata, Greece

Kalamata offers a variety of accommodation options, including small hotels, residences, flats, family-run guest houses, elegant hotels, and resorts.

Hotel options are concentrated along the beach rather than in the town centre.

Budget Places to Stay in Kalamata

Hotel Fotini

  • 3-star hotel near Kalamata Beach with stunning views.
  • Bright rooms, private balconies, kitchen, and dining area.
  • Seasonal swimming pool, sun terrace, and snack bar.

Sunny City Studio

  • Picturesque apartment for two, two km from the city beach.
  • Modern building with a bedroom, bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, and balcony.

Mid-Range Places to Stay in Kalamata

Comfy Boutique Hotel

  • Contemporary property, a 2-minute walk from the main beach.
  • 3-star hotel with a rooftop pool and views of Taygetos Mountain.
  • Seventeen uniquely styled guest rooms, Greek buffet breakfast.
  • Quiet location near the harbour, with a family-friendly atmosphere.

Kalamata Art Rooms

  • Located in the central square with kitchenettes and a terrace.
  • Bicycle rental service for exploring the coastal road.
  • Pet-friendly hotel.

Luxury Places to Stay in Kalamata

Grecotel Filoxenia Hotel

  • Luxury hotel and spa nestled at the foot of Taygetos Mountains.
  • Rooms with sea or garden views and marble bathrooms.
  • Three pools, spa treatments, multiple bars, gourmet restaurant.

Elite City Resort

  • A 4-star beachfront hotel with a large swimming pool.
  • Strategically located at the heart of Messinia Bay.
  • On-site restaurant serving Greek and international dishes.

What to eat in Kalamata, Greece

Local specialities

The olives, of course! Let’s start with the obvious—kalamata olives! Black Kalamata Olives are undoubtedly the most famous product in the region. 

Love olives? Read the article The Birds, Bees, Baskets and Olive Trees of Umm Qais Jordan

Kalamata Fig Pie (Sykopita): Figs are abundant in the region, and this dessert is delicious!

Kalamata Rice Pudding (Rozata tou Koutaliou): Kalamata’s version of rice pudding usually flavoured with cinnamon.

Kalamata Cheese (Talagani): Talagani is a local cheese often grilled or fried, served with a sprinkle of oregano and a drizzle of luscious olive oil. It’s a simple yet delicious appetizer.

Gournopoula Messinias is slow-cooked pork marinated with aromatic herbs and spices and roasted until tender. It is delicious!

Fasolada: Greece’s national dish, fasolada, is a hearty bean soup made with tomatoes, olive oil, and vegetables. 

Moussaka: Layers of aubergine (eggplant), minced meat, and béchamel sauce baked together.

Souvlaki is grilled meat skewered on pita bread with a side of tzatziki sauce. It’s a popular and cheap street food choice.

Spanakopita: This savoury pastry contains spinach, feta cheese, onions, and herbs. 

Restaurants to try in Kalamata, Greece

Bistroteca: This restaurant offers a fusion of Mediterranean and international cuisine using fresh, local ingredients. It also makes excellent cocktails.  

Kardamo Comfort Cuisine: This restaurant serves lots of local comfort food and delicious, traditional Greek appetizers. Explore its enticing menu on its website.

Ta Rolla: Founded in 1924, this family-run restaurant keeps things traditional with fresh ingredients and local dishes. 

Ladolemono: This local fast-food lunch stop serves excellent Pita & Souvlaki.

Platea: Located in the main square, Platea is a favourite among locals and visitors for its diverse food offerings.

Places To Visit Near Kalamata, Greece

Kalamata is ideally located for exploring the nearby areas.

Ancient Messini

You can visit this underrated ancient site, which is a short 30-minute drive north. Only recently excavated, a theatre and stadium were uncovered. 


Mystras Greece

The abandoned medieval hilltop village of Mystras is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is approximately one hour’s drive away.

Polylimnio Waterfalls

Polylimnio Waterfalls

Hike to the spectacular waterfalls. When you think you have reached the top, another level is unveiled. The water can be chilly, though!

Voidokilia Beach

This beach is special, just one hour from Kalamata. As soon as you step foot on the fine golden sand and see the crystal-clear water, you know you have stumbled upon the absolute beauty of a beach. 


Gythio Greece waterfront

Another excellent place to visit is Gythio on the eastern coast of the Mani Peninsula. It is a small, traditional port town with dozens of delicious fish taverns and authentic cafés. Gythio was the Ancient Seaport of Sparta. 


Athens acropolis hill

Obviously, we couldn’t miss Athens. If you have a chance to explore the capital of Greece, then take time to explore this fantastic city. With a smooth mix between the new and the old, Athens can be whatever you want, whether that is parties or gastronomy. Don’t forget there is even a beach!

The Essential Kalamata, Greece Travel Guide - Kalamata Harbour

Should you visit Kalamata, Greece?

Absolutely. Kalamata feels like an undiscovered gem. The Peloponnese region of Greece has something for everyone, but international travellers don’t seem to flock here as much as the islands. Use this to your advantage and experience a more authentic Greek holiday with ancient wonders, delicious food, and fantastic nature.

Guest writer, Lisa Boston, is part of the full-time travelling family. You can find tips for family travel, destination inspiration and worldschooling at Family Travel and Worldschooling – Boston Tribe Travels. All Images from Boston Tribe Travels.