In recent years Kalamata and Messinia have entered the Greek summer tourism arena quite dynamically, yet the prices of accommodations here are still reasonable. Their greatest advantage is their proximity to Athens and the low cost of transportation compared to the islands or other mainland destinations. Many families with young children prefer the coastal areas, renting a house by the sea along the shore.
The regeneration of the Messinian capital and its outward looking approach, with the Kalamata International Dance Festival, the enhancing of the archaeological site of Ancient Messene, as well as the systematic promotion of its history and natural setting, in combination with the Costa Navarino investment which is now synonymous with the wider area, have all attracted quite a few visitors from abroad, who arrive here either via direct flight or on small cruise ships that moor in the Kalamata port. The beaches of Messinia offer variety and diversity: from organized beach bars with sun loungers to small, sandy bays and rocky spots perfect for diving into the sea.
Beaches for all tastes
Most beaches of Messinia are not particularly large; plenty consist of small gulfs enclosed by rocks. Almyros and Mantineia are close to the city and usually attract a lot of people. In Karadamyli, Salio beach is ideal for a quick dip, while Limanaki is shady in the morning until midday. One of the most popular beaches is Foneas, memorable for its massive rock in the sea at the center of the beach. If you are after comfort and a happening scene, head to Kalogria where you will find a beach bar. Should you want to combine swimming with good food, Kitries is your place.
The western part of Kalamata is a paradise for foodies, as the area has developed into a hotspot with good eateries. The most traditional is “Mouria” (Kallipoleos 10, Tel. (+30) 27210.821.12), which serves fresh fish in an unpretentious setting and only during the day. In the evening go for “Krini” (Evangelistrias 40, Tel. (+30) 27210.244.74), which is also great for fresh fish. “Versallies” (Evangelistrias 46, Tel. (+30) 27210.818.58) is a modern version of a traditional mageirio (eatery serving homestyle food) that serves inventive dishes made with local ingredients.
Meet me at the Dance Festival
Both Greek and foreign artists will present their work at this year’s Kalamata International Dance Festival, set to take place from July 15th to 24th. Throughout the summer, the city’s Dance Megaron and the theater in the castle will host theatrical performances and concerts.
Up high, on Taygetus
Mount Taygetus is perfect for wanderings in the summer as well as in the winter. Head up to the café and guesthouse Touristikou Taygetou, 1350 meters above the sea, to feel the refreshing cool air and enjoy the view.
Waterfalls and mini lakes
The fairytale setting of Polilimnio (34 kilometers from Kalamata on the way to Pylos) is always a good idea when it is very hot. Along the 3-kilometer route you will see many little lakes and waterfalls, the largest boasting a height of 25 meters. Be sure to get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Between Aghios Dimitrios and Trachila, after Stoupa, there are no beaches. However, there are many lovely rock formations from where you can dive into crystal clear waters. The most well-known is called the “rocky pool”, located about 5 kilometers after Aghios Nikolaos.
Head up to the small village of Ano Verga at sunset, just 20 kilometers from Kalamata. You will enjoy a unique sunset, with amazing views over the Gulf of Kalamata.
Santova beach, 12 kilometers from Kalamata, is a favorite among youngsters, with beach bars pumping the beats and DJs keeping the party going until late at night. Earlier, swing by “Hobo Beach Bar” (Tel. (+30) 6988.013.063) for good coffee and delicious club sandwiches.