Kalamata: Exploring the vibrant Peloponnesian city


Explore Peloponnese's leading port city, which has a vibrant culture, historic landmarks, and rich flavours.

A charming destination located on the southern coastline of the Peloponnese, Kalamata offers a rich blend of historical and cultural experiences, from its stunning Old Town to the annual Kalamata Dance Festival, which showcases world-class performances, whilst the central market tantalises foodies with local delicacies.

History buffs will appreciate the Folklore and History Museum’s unique collection, and the entire city exudes a warm, welcoming atmosphere. With its fascinating heritage, vibrant arts scene, and delicious local cuisine, Kalamata augurs an unforgettable experience for every traveller.

Kalamata Dance Festival

Kalamata Dance Festival
Kalamata Dance Festival

Held annually since 1995, the Kalamata International Dance Festival is renowned for supporting and promoting the art of dance, spotlighting the creativity of choreographers and troupes, and attracting visitors to the beautiful Peloponnese.

The festival also offers an intensive training program and workshops for various ages and groups.

Old Town

Kalamata Old Town

Kalamata Old Town, situated below the castle in the city’s northern area, offers a journey through history as you wander its narrow alleys, admiring neoclassical mansions and discovering hidden corners.

Must-see sites include the Byzantine-era Church of Agioi Apostoloi (Holy Apostles), the imposing Metropolitan church of Ypapanti, and several museums showcasing the region’s rich past.

Exploring its streets, you’ll encounter old buildings, stone churches, and charming shops selling local products and unique souvenirs. The Old Town has become a popular meeting spot, particularly in winter.

The castle offers the best views of the Old Town, with its red ochre tiled roofs and the coastline beyond.

Archaeological Museum of Messenia

Archaeological Museum of Messenia

Located in the historic centre of Kalamata, amid cobblestone streets and traditional cafés, the Archaeological Museum of Messenia takes you on a journey through the region’s rich past.

The museum’s collection spans from prehistory (Bronze Age) to the Byzantine Period and is organised into four sections, each representing a province of Messenia: Kalamata, Messene, Pylia, and Trifylia.

Visitors uncover the fascinating history and culture of the region through artefacts from ancient settlements, including Mycenaean shaft graves, royal tombs, and exquisite mosaics.

Notable exhibits include a golden cup from Peristeria, coins from ancient Kyparissia, and the herm from Ancient Messene. Complemented by audiovisual material spanning ten thematic units, the museum offers an engaging and comprehensive experience of Messenia’s storied past.

Stop by the museum shop for unique souvenirs and replicas of ancient Greek artifacts to remember your visit.

Address: Agiou Ioannou 3, 241 00 Phone: +30 27210 83485

The Metropolitan church of Ypapanti

The Metropolitan church of Ypapanti- Kalamata
The Metropolitan church of Ypapanti- Kalamata

The Metropolitan church of Ypapanti, an imposing Byzantine-style church, is a centrepiece of Kalamata’s religious heritage. Built in 1839, it houses the holy icon of the Virgin Mary of Ypapanti, dating back to 672 AD.

The icon was discovered in the Ottoman governor’s stables following a dream, which led to his conversion to Christianity. The cathedral endured two earthquakes in 1886 and 1986 but was restored each time.

Today, the church hosts the annual Ypapanti Sotiros feast on February 2. Inside, the cathedral’s beautiful icons attract numerous visitors interested in ecclesiastical tourism.

In the courtyard, a fenced stone cross marks the site of the first church, which was destroyed in 1770. The Virgin Mary icon, found within the church's ruins, is now enshrined within the restored cathedral and celebrated annually during a revered litany procession.

Address: Ipapanti square, 241 00 Phone: +30 27210 22602

Historical and Folklore Museum

Historical and Folklore Museum of Kalamata

The Historical and Folklore Museum of Kalamata, located in the 19th-century Kyriakou Mansion, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. It showcases a unique collection of archives, everyday artifacts, and objects from the 1821 Greek War of Independence.

The ground floor highlights rural life, agricultural artisanship, weaving, pottery, and urban occupations. The first floor features an impressive display dedicated to printing and bookbinding, a nod to Kalamata’s historical significance as the first Greek city with a printing house.

Visitors can also explore exhibits that recreate an urban home from the early 20th century, a traditional coffeehouse, and materials related to the Greek War of Independence.

Castle of Kalamata

Castle of Kalamata

Perched atop a verdant, pine-clad hill in Kalamata, the Castle of Kalamata beckons visitors seeking to explore its vast grounds and take in remarkable views. Built in 1208 by the Frankish knight Geoffrey of Villehardouin, the castle has a storied past that intertwines with the mythological hero Faris and the ancient city of Farai.

Remarkably, the castle’s grand gate and robust fortifications have withstood the ravages of time, including the devastating 1986 earthquake that destroyed much of the city. Throughout its colourful and intense history, the castle has been held by various powers, from Byzantines to Ottomans, Venetians, and the Greeks during the 1821 revolution.

As you meander through the ancient ruins, which include remnants of a temple and a Christian church, be sure to pause and savour the captivating sunset from this extraordinary vantage point.

Today, the Castle of Kalamata is a vibrant cultural hub that hosts performances, events and concerts. Try to catch one during your travels.

Address: Spartis 28, 241 00 Phone:+30 27210 83086

Central Food Market

Kalamata Central Food Market

Kalamata Central Food Market is a foodies’ paradise. It is a loud and colourful place where everyone can discover the region’s diverse, quality produce.

Open every Wednesday and Saturday, the market hosts over 450 producers and vendors offering an array of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and other local delicacies.

Among the specialties are Kalamata olives, sfela cheese, pasteli, honey, lalagia, and Poliani apples. In addition to the vibrant display of agricultural products from the Southern Peloponnese, the market also features fishmongers, butchers, and stalls selling herbs and teas from the nearby mountains.

The lively atmosphere of Kalamata Central Market is a fantastic addition to any trip, giving visitors a true taste of the region’s culinary riches.

READ MORE: Athens: A metropolis pulsating with life.

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