10 Best Things to Do in Kalamata

Written By: Trifonas Douvris

Feb 5, 2024

A top 10 things to do guide, essential for explorers seeking the wonders of Kalamata, featuring a curated list of cultural hotspots, gastronomic journeys, and the finest sea and land adventures.

Table of Contents

  1. Stroll from the old town to the vibrant beachfront

Going on a casual walk from the historic heart of Kalamata to its lively beachfront allows travelers to gain insights into the rich history and culture of this captivating city in Greece. Start your exploration from the legendary “castle of Isabeau” offering a bird’s eye view of the city. At the foot of the castle lies the old town. As you wander the streets and alleys of the old town, you’ll be engulfed by the tantalizing scent of local dishes and the melodious strains of traditional tunes. You’ll encounter age-old milestones like the Church of Aghii Apostoli, a Byzantine-era edifice constructed between the 11th and 12th centuries. Before you reach the beachfront, make sure to visit the railway park. Along your way to the city center, pause at one of the charming cafes or bakeries for a rejuvenating Greek coffee or a scrumptious pastry treat. As you relish each bite and sip, immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the bustling streets filled with animated conversations and joyous laughter. Upon your arrival at the beachfront, inhale the fresh sea breeze and let the radiant sunshine touch your skin, while your eyes feast on the boundless expanse of the deep blue sea.


  1. Embrace Beach Life in Kalamata: A Day-to-Night Experience

Kalamata’s beach is not only the most beautiful part of the city but also a true paradise promising amazing beach life during day and night. The 2.5 km-long beach is easily accessible and exceptionally well-organized, offering fine pebbles and warm, clear blue waters that attract visitors of all age groups and families. With its blue flag award for cleanliness and safety, it is a great place to unwind, sunbathe, and swim. During the day, visitors can enjoy delicious food, as well as refreshing beverages and bites, at its popular beach bars and restaurants. However, it is when the night falls that Kalamata comes alive with a variety of beach bars and restaurants. From charming neoclassical mansions overflowing with elegance to tiki-inspired beachside retreats, and cozy wine havens sprawled in the bustling Navarinou street, each establishment has its own unique story to tell. Kalamata’s day and night beach life promises memorable moments that will linger in your memory long after your holiday ends.



  1. Get into the olive culture of Kalamata

Savoring a glass of tsipouro, or white wine, accompanied by freshly baked bread and a slice of feta cheese, and topped off with a bowl of Kalamata olives. This is the ultimate Greek appetizer. The experience is heightened when you’re seated by the shimmering azure sea on Kalamatas coast. Kalamata olives, the dark purple, oval-shaped fruits known for their robust flavor, are integral to the Greek lifestyle. They’re cherished not only for their taste but also for their nutritional value and healthy fats. These olives are carefully hand-harvested to prevent damage, usually in the late fall, later than other olive varieties which are typically green when picked. During the harvest period, if you have the chance to visit the region, you’ll see mesh nets spread beneath the trees to catch the fruits as the branches are shaken. Kalamata olives, inherently quite bitter, cannot be consumed immediately after picking. They are typically soaked in a brine solution, initiating a fermentation process that slowly infuses them with their distinctive, savory flavor.


  1. Find your Sea Kayak paradise at Kalamata coasts

Sea Kayaking is the perfect way to experience the diverse coastline of Messinian Bay, which beautifully transitions between cliffs, beaches, mysterious sea caves, and secluded coves. This activity is a favorite among those who value eco-friendly and leisurely travel as it leaves no carbon footprint and is typically less strenuous than one might imagine. Sea kayaking is accessible to all skill levels, including beginners, making it ideal for families with children. No prior experience is necessary to enjoy a day trip on the sea. You have the option to book a guided tour, allowing you to explore the shoreline at a leisurely pace, fully soaking in the stunning coastal scenery without missing out on a refreshing swim in the enchanting waters. Guided sea Kayaking trips are offered not only along the stunning coast of Kalamata but also at various points such as Navarino Bay and Pylos in the west and in the eastern parts of the region with tours available in Kardamyli and the captivating Mani Peninsula.


  1. Explore the Vibrant Culinary Heritage at Kalamata’s Central Market

One way a traveler can get the full picture of the local life and culture of any destination is through its culinary heritage and the local market. Kalamata central market is an attraction itself and a hub where consumers and producers meet. The market houses over 450 vendors and farmers claiming they have even ”bird milk”. Not sure if this is true but definitely sure that is a mecca of local produce. It opens its doors every Wednesday and Saturday, displaying an assortment of fruits, vegetables, and the famed Kalamata olives. Despite the lack of historic architecture or an elegant, open-air agora, the market bursts with vitality and showcases some of the best produce of Messinia. In addition to fresh produce stalls, it offers a variety of local delights such as fresh herbs, cured meats, cheese, and regional specialties like sfela (a semi-hard, off-white sheep’s cheese), and lalaggia (fried dough fritters), pasteli and honey. It serves as a one-stop shop for anyone looking to bring home a slice of Greek flavor.


  1. Savor the traditional Gournopoula

Gournopoula is a signature dish from the Kalamata region, prominently displayed in even the smallest of local Tavernas using street-side glass showcases. This Messinian delicacy, particularly cherished in Kalamata, involves spit-roasting a piglet. The belly of the piglet is seasoned with a mix of salt and oregano before being put on the spit. This cooking technique renders the meat supple, tender, and succulent as the heat melts away the fat and tissues. The high heat for a prolonged period of ten hours also results in caramelized and crispy skin, contributing an extra layer of flavor to the meat. The origin of this dish can be traced back to the era of Turkish rule. The Turks, due to their religious beliefs, abstained from consuming pork, thus leading to a spike in the pig population. This surplus became a primary food source for the locals, and thus, pork-based dishes emerged as a mainstay in the regional cuisine.


  1. An afternoon in Mt. Kalathi. A Blend of Scenic Views, Thrilling Sunset, and Cocktails

Just a breath from Kalamata lies Mount Kalathi rising up to 1316 meters. Visible from any side of the city It is very rare for a mountain of such height to be sited so close to the sea and a city. Once you venture up to Mt. Kalathi, you’ll be greeted with panoramic vistas that will take your breath away. After taking a small hike around Ano Verga village, you’ll witness a stunning sunset that could easily rival the one in Santorini. From the same spot, you’ll also have the opportunity to witness a paragliding launch and see these thrill-seekers fly over the city. Descending a bit lower, you’ll find the small village of Kato Verga, which offers amazing opportunities for sunset cocktails and dinner. When the sun goes down, the nightlife heats up with bars offering great music and cocktails and an energized atmosphere the perfect ending to a picturesque afternoon experience.


  1. Experience a few of the best canyoning trails in Greece

For the adventure seekers visiting Kalamata, there is a wealth of Canyoning opportunities that await. Exploring the stunning Gorges of Neda and Polylimnio near Kalamata offers a unique blend of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping activities. Nestled among awe-making rock formations and crystal-clear waters, Neda Gorge is a playground for canyoning aficionados spanning all experience levels. Canyoning in Neda is the ideal place to get addicted to the magic world of canyoning. No previous experience is required, families with teenage kids are welcome. Add another layer of wonder to your escape from Kalamata by visiting Polylimnio Waterfalls, a place where nature’s artistry is on full display. The Polylimnio waterfalls are one of the most stunning sites in the Peloponnese. Only a few kilometers away from Kalamata is the perfect place for canyoning for beginners. It offers a unique combination of awesome jumps, swims into crystal clear pools, easygoing waterfall abseils, and of course a thrilling zipline over one of the lakes and even leisurely swimming amidst the panorama of this nature-crafted Eden.


  1. Get your dose of history at Ancient Messene

As a visitor to Kalamata, an exploration of the Ancient Messene is a must to enrich your cultural experience. Located just 30 kilometers west of Kalamata, Ancient Messene is one of the most well-preserved ancient cities in Greece, giving visitors an authentic glimpse into the country’s rich history. Enjoy the drive and the stunning scenery of the mountains and surrounding valleys. Once there, wander through the remnants of the ancient city, capturing stunning images of the amphitheater and stadium. Visit the city’s main sanctuary and consider leaving a token for Artemis, the guardian of girls. Picture yourself in the still-functioning public Roman toilets. As you unravel the historic significance of this site, immerse yourself in your guide’s stories about the Messenians’ neighbors, the formidable Spartans. After the ancient tour, why not venture out to one of the nearby villages for a delicious dinner accompanied by a glass of the local wine? This trip is a perfect day escape to indulge in history and immerse yourself in the local culture.


  1. Enjoy an E-bike ride at Kalamatas beachfront and the surrounding hills

Nestled between the verdant embrace of the Messenian Gulf and the mighty Taygetos mountain, Kalamata is a city that captivates with its awe-inspiring landscapes providing unlimited opportunities for e-biking trips. There are plenty of quiet secondary streets, bike routes, single tracks, and serene coastal routes, where each pedal stroke reveals yet another breathtaking vista of the endless azure sea or the captivating images of the mountains. For thrill-seekers, the adrenaline-charged MTB trails in the majestic Taygetos mountains offer a heart-pounding adventure that’s hard to resist. If you’re more inclined towards a relaxed exploration of urban life, the city rides are an absolute delight. As you venture to the outskirts, the city’s hustle and bustle slowly give way to the tranquil beauty of the surrounding hills topped with expansive olive groves. With the aid of electric bikes, these journeys become effortless experiences, allowing individuals to pedal at their own pace, freeing them to fully immerse themselves in the intoxicating allure of Kalamata.