Kalavryta: All aboard the rack railway
By Natasha Blatsiou
Board the gauge rack railway, locally known as the odontoto, at Diakofto station, 160 kilometers from Athens in the northern Peloponnese, and cross the renowned Vouraikos Gorge.
The line, just over 22 kilometers in length, passes through immensely beautiful wild nature, hand-carved tunnels, over steel bridges, as well as a narrow gorge attributed by Greek mythology to Hercules, who created the passage to reach his love, the sea-dwelling Voura.
Kato Zahlorou, literally engulfed by nature, is the ride’s first stop, ideal for a coffee break and a look around. Head up the hill to the Megalou Spileou (Big Cave) monastery, two kilometers away.
After an hour’s journey, the train arrives at Kalavryta, which houses a municipal Holocaust Museum.
Serving as a further reminder of the Nazi occupation, the hands of the cathedral clock tower on the main square have remained fixed at 2.30 pm since December 13, 1943, when occupying forces torched the provincial city and executed its entire male population.
Catch a taxi to see all the city’s tourist attractions, such as the Place of Sacrifice (Topos Thysias), or the hilltop location, 500 meters from the city center, where the men were executed, and the Aghia Lavra monastery, one of Greece’s oldest.