The capital of Messinia is rapidly becoming a popular destination: the new road leading to its door in just 2.5 hours from Athens (although expensive in tolls), its international airport ( British Airways also lands here), its cruise port, the extensive network of bicycle lanes that has been embraced by residents and visitors, and even the balloon flights that started in mid-May and will last all summer. Moreover its wonderful beaches, the good food, a remarkable cultural movement and super archaeological sites emit it to the highest position on the preference lists as a destination! The fact that “Costa Navarino” is nearby has a positive influence on the area!
We stayed for two days at “Petra Thea” Guesthouse (tel. 6948262991/90 € per night) on the slope of Mount “Kalathi” in “Verga”, a suburb of Kalamata. Our stay will be unforgettable. Incredible view, comfort, cleanliness. A maisonette with wonderful furnishings, two bathrooms, two terraces …. To our right we could see the long beach with palm trees and umbrellas along “Navarino Boulevard”, offering both a walk and a bath and behind it the whole city. At our feet the long pebbled beach of “Verga”, full of beach bars and taverns. Opposite, the west coast of the Messinian Bay! We were reluctant to leave the balcony!
However, there are a lot to see in the area! Let’s start from the old town of Kalamata, located to the north of the modern city, built around the castle. Until the beginning of the last century, the city was rallied around the ancient acropolis and gradually began to expand until it joined the town with the harbor. Today it is demarcated by the metropolitan temple of “Ypapanti”, “Sparta” Street and the Square of “23 March” and has, among other things, assembled many places of youth especially during the winter months. Wander in the narrow streets and transfer to another era! Discover old buildings that have stood up over time, dozens of mansions, stone-built churches, museums, and shops with local products. In the area are also the Historical and Folklore Museum of Kalamata and the Archaeological Museum of Messinia.
The Castle now offers a unique view of the city. In the southern part there is a small theater that was built in 1950 and hosts most performances of the “International Dance Festival” (22 years of successful organization) and other events. Walk along the “Aristomenous” pedestrian street starting from the south where is the largest open-air railway museum in the country (OSE Park), within an area of 54 acres. The main building of the park is the renovated train station “Kalamata Port” where a refreshment center is located. (The truth is that it seemed to us a little neglected). Walk up the pedestrian street to the shops, cafes and some well-preserved neoclassical buildings. Exit the central square and turn right to “Stadiou” street, reach the historic square of the city, “23rd March” Square and to the left of the chapel of “Agioi Apostoloi”, where according to tradition the Greek Revolution of 1821 was declared on 23rd March. The square is surrounded by beautiful neoclassical and is linked to the historic city center with a picturesque pedestrian street. There, buy traditional Messinian products from “Philip”. Wonderful fresh,hot, handmade pastel!
Take a stroll along the beach that has plenty of taverns and bars to choose from. Get information about the events in the city at the time you visit it. With the serious nomination for the European Capital of Culture for 2021, it is a city of cultural effervescence!
For many suggestions for food, drink, etc. read here: http://www.athinorama.gr/travel/travelideas/articles.aspx?artid=2514979&c=710070&gr=1
The official site of the Municipality of Kalamata: http://www.kalamata.gr/
If you have time to dedicate to the area, visit the Ancient Messinian archaeological site with many important finds, 30 km northwest of Kalamata. Some of its most important monuments are the Temple of Asclepius and Health, the Conservatory, the “Voulefterion” (the parliament building), the Arcadian Gate of the Wall, the theater and the stadium. The findings are kept in a small two-storey museum on the outskirts of the village of “Mavromati”.