Kalamata is one of the most beautiful coastal cities of Greece, but apart from the beach, it also boasts a rich history and a number of attractions that make it a magnet for visitors from Greece and around the world. The town of Kalamata is the capital of the Messenian Gulf, home to olive oil, the famous local scarf, the Revolution and Dancing.
If you believe that you can see it all in one day, you better think again because, although the distances are not that big, the city has so many things to do and see, that one day is not going to be enough.
The castle was established during the Byzantine era and up to this day visitors can walk among the ruins of that time. At the southern end of the castle the International Dance Festival is held and the castle is also the background for the unfolding of the widely read novel by Angelos Terzakis – “Princess Isabeau.”
This is the area in the northern part of the modern city, situated beneath the Castle. Today it is bounded by the Cathedral of the Ipapanti (Presentation), the Sparti Street and the Square of March 23 and this is where, among other things, many youth haunts are gathered, particularly during the winter months.
It is considered the best place to begin a tour of the city. Wandering through the narrow streets will take you back to another time and give you the opportunity to discover old buildings that have stood the test of time, dozens of houses, stone-churches, museums and shops with local products.
This square was the first inhabited area outside the castle. On Ipapanti square stands the majestic Cathedral of Ipapanti (the Presentation of Christ), with the two bell towers and silver domes. To the north of the Cathedral and the Ipapanti square is the Municipal Conservatory of Kalamata, housed in a traditional building of the 19th century. Just opposite of the Cathedral stands the Military Museum of Kalamata, with interesting exhibits dating back to 1821 and onwards, while nearby, on Agiou Ioannou Street you can visit the Historical and Folklore Museum of Kalamata.
You will find it in the old town of Kalamata and of course it got its name from the city’s day of liberation from the Turks in 1821. On this square stands also the chapel of the Agioi Apostoloi (Holy Apostles), where according to tradition, the Revolution was declared and the first Mass of the liberated Kalamata was celebrated.
Its center is dominated by the Iroon (heroon) while surrounding it you will find many cafes, bars and taverns. In the streets around it are many coffee shops, traditional cafes and bakeries, filling the air of the area with the wonderful smells of their produce.
A few meters to the north of the square of March 23rd, in the Paplomatadika district and on Amfias square, you will come across the crowded haunts of the city youth.
It crosses the heart of the city, beginning at the square of March 23 and ending at the Telonio (Customs) at the port. When built in 1871, it was named National road Paralias – Kalamon.
Taking Aristomenous street from its beginning, which has been paved and closed to traffic, you will find some of the finest neoclassical buildings of Kalamata, occupied by public authorities and institutions: first the REX hotel building next to the Kalamata Dimarchio (City Hall). After the end of the paved part of the Aristomenous street we meet the square Vasileos Georgiou, the central square of Kalamata.
There we see the building of the Bank of Greece, the neoclassical of the 20th century. From Aristomenous street, that crosses the square Vasileos Georgiou, you will see the composition of “Eleftheria (Freedom)” erected in the middle of the square, with the heroes of the Greek Revolution, Papaflessas, Kolokotronis, Mavromichalis. Aristomenous street is filled with cafes and shops throughout its length.
The coastal road of Kalamata, Navarinou Avenue, is one of the busiest parts of the city and one of the most beautiful places to stroll, ride a bike and of course go for a refreshing swim in the sea. It offers large sidewalks with palm trees along the coast and many exquisite neoclassical buildings, among which the one on the corner of Navarino and Vyronos stands out, a two-storey building from the 1900s, as well as the one that houses the Municipal Fine Arts School (Navarinou 8). Here also beats the heart of the intense nightlife of Kalamata.
The square of Telonio (Customs Office) holds a central position at the port, dominated by the homonymous administrative building and the Port Authority. Just to the west of the square you will see a huge edifice of the Autonomous Currant Organization, while to the west is the marina of the city that gathers many restaurants by the seafront.
Going east, you will see the industrial building of Milling machines of Messenia “Evaggelistria”, a monument of cultural heritage built in 1926, reminiscent of an other era, when the port of Kalamata was flooded by merchants and was the center not only of Messenia but of all of Greece.
This is a unique open-air museum in Greece and is known to all the “Railway” friends worldwide. It occupies a total area of 54 acres and is one of the most central parts of the city. You will find it at a distance of five minutes from the central square of Kalamata, following the Aristomenous street towards the port.
Steam locomotives, a diesel street car, a manual crane from 1890, two draisines (one pedal-powered and one manual), three passenger vehicles, first class, and five first and second class from 1885, are among the exhibits that you can enjoy in the museum, while it also features a basketball and volleyball court as well as other facilities for the children.
In the renovated station “Kalamata – Limin” you will find a canteen on the ground floor.