Are you looking for the best things to do in Kalamata? Kalamata is located in the southwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece. It is the second-largest city in the region of the Peloponnese region with 60,696 citizens and is the capital of the province of Messenia. 

Since 2 years ago, I have called Kalamata my hometown and can confidently say that it’s my favourite city to live in Greece.

The city is mainly known for the Kalamata olives and its olive oil. It’s a popular tourist destination, with many beaches, amazing day trips from the capital and the perfect city to relax and live your myth.

If you’re planning a trip, here are the top things to do in Kalamata from a local’s point of view.

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Museums & History In Kalamata

Explore The Historical Centre

The old historic centre of Kalamata is full of narrow streets and many tavernas where you can have your meal. You can explore the area on foot and discover many interesting sites, such as the 13th-century Frankish castle that overlooks the city. The historical centre of Kalamata is a must-see.

In the heart of the old historic centre, you’ll find the Square of 23rd March, the Archaeological Museum of Messenia and close by it the Museum of Traditional Greek Costumes and the big church Ypapanti.

Square Of 23rd March

The Square of 23rd March in Kalamata.

The Square of 23rd March of Kalamata is an important public square located in the city centre. The Square is named after the historical event of March 23, 1821, when Kalamata joined the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. The 23rd of March is a bank holiday in Greece to celebrate the Greek revolution. Within this church, the Greek generals got the eulogies from priests to start the revolution.

The square is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a lively place. Throughout the year, the square hosts various events, cultural celebrations, and festivals.

Museum Of Traditional Greek Costumes “Victoria Karelia”

The museum was founded by Victoria Karelia, a researcher and collector of Greek folk costumes. Victoria Karelia is currently chairman of the board of the Karelias tobacco industry that has been operating in Kalamata for a few generations. She collected and studied traditional costumes from different parts of Greece, and you can see her collection in this museum. Being so interested in folk history, Victoria Karelia has also founded Lyceum Dancing Club.

The Museum has many costumes, including those worn by men, women, and children. The collection includes garments, accessories, and textiles that represent the rich diversity of Greek regional costumes.

Archaeological Museum Of Messenia

The Archaeological Museum of Messenia is located in the Square of 23rd March and it has a collection of artefacts from the history of the region. You can see ancient pottery, sculptures, and jewellery from the Mycenaean era to the Byzantine period dating back to the Neolithic period. The museum is a great place to learn about the city’s history.

Visit Ypapanti Church

Kalamata’s Ypapanti Cathedral is the largest church in the city and was built in 1860. Ypapanti is the protector of the city. Kalamata has an Orthodox Mitropolis and the church is part of it. An interesting fact is that in February there is a bank holiday only in the municipality of Messenia dedicated to Panagia (Holy Mary).

Ruins Of The Castle Of Kalamata

small church in Kalamata

The Castle of Kalamata is a medieval castle that dates back to the 13th century. It is located on a hilltop overlooking the city. The Franks built the castle which the Venetians and the Ottomans later used. Unfortunately, you cannot see the castle inside, unless you get a ticket for an event. Most events such as theatrical plays take place in summer. You can wander the streets uphill from the Ypapanti Church and see it around.

Maria Callas Alumni Association Of Music School Kalamata

The Maria Callas Alumni Association of the Music School of Kalamata is an organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting music education in Kalamata.

Named after the famous Greek-American opera singer Maria Callas, considered one of the greatest sopranos of the 20th century, the association aims to honour her legacy and promote musical talent in the region.

The association consists of alumni of the Music School of Kalamata, a prestigious institution that provides music education to students of all ages.

The Maria Callas Alumni Association of the Music School of Kalamata organises various activities and events to promote music education. These include concerts, recitals, master classes, workshops, and competitions, where students can showcase their talents and receive guidance from experienced musicians.

In addition, the association may offer scholarships, grants, and other forms of support to deserving students who wish to pursue music education.

The aim of the association is to create a supportive network for musicians and to promote the musical community.

Railway Park

The Railway Park has a collection of old railway wagons and locomotives, some of which date back to the early 20th century. These waggons have been conserved and restored to their original condition.

In addition to the waggons and locomotives, the park frequently displays informative exhibitions, photographs and other exhibits on the history of the railways in Kalamata and Greece.

The Railway Park is located in Kalamata Park, so you can walk around the park and exercise on outdoor equipment. The railways you see in the park connect the port with the Railway Station located in the city centre.

The port does not exhibit the glory of the old times and part of the Railway Station has been converted into a summer cinema.

Free Admission Days For Museums And Historic Sites

Note that there are certain days when you can visit museums throughout Greece for free. These days are the following:

  • 6th March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)
  • 18th April (International Monuments Day)
  • 18 May (International Museums Day)
  • The last weekend of September (European Heritage Days)
  • 28th October (national holiday)
  • Every first Sunday of the month from November to March

Best Beaches In Kalamata

Kalamata beach
Kalamata’s Beach

If you want to relax and swim, Kalamata Beach is perfect for that. The sandy beach is just a few minutes from the city centre, where you will find many cafes and restaurants.

As the beaches are within the Messinian Gulf, the water is warmer. Generally, the sea is calmer in the morning until noon, after which it gets a bit windier.

Almyros Beach
Almyros Beach

It’s also good to know that you do not have to pay for sunbeds and umbrellas at most beach bars and cafes. Near Kalamata (a 10-minute drive) you will find more turquoise waters than Kalamata beach.

Two of the most popular beaches are called Almyros and Mantinia. If you continue along the coast, the road to Mantinia ends at Kitries, a picturesque place with a small harbour and beautiful water.

These beaches are stoney, so you may want to wear water shoes to walk around comfortably.

Where Are The Best Views Of Kalamata

There are amazing places where you can enjoy the view of the town and eternal sunsets. The sun may set, but the memories will last forever! The following are my favourites:

best views of kalamata

The Kastraki restaurant has pretty views of the city meanwhile you enjoy your dinner and sip from your drink.

sunset view from top of the mountain in kalamata
Taverna Para Pente

It’s not the easiest road to arrive up here, but it’s definitely worth it. This is a restaurant on top of the mountain called Para Pente which means until the end. It is a traditional tavern with the best views you can get.

At the Pharae Hotel, you can have a coffee and admire the views of the port and Kalamata mountain.

Taygetos hike with views to kalamata from the mountain
Taygetos hike

Last but not less beautiful, if you decide to hike the mountains of Kalamata you’ll discover these views!

What To Do In Kalamata

Hike The Taygetos

hiking the Taygetos

Kalamata is surrounded by beautiful mountains and hills, making it a great place for hiking. Some of the most popular hiking trails include the Taygetos Mountains and the Polylimnio Waterfalls. The Taygetos Mountains, located just outside the city, are the highest mountains in the Peloponnese.

Take A Day Trip From Kalamata

You can take a day trip from Kalamata to visit the nearby sites such as Ancient Messene, an impressive archaeological site located just a short drive from Kalamata. You can explore the ancient city, founded in the 4th century BC, and see well-preserved structures such as the ancient theatre, stadium, and temples.

Another very popular day excursion is a hiking tour to the Polylimnio Waterfalls with a guide. Escape the heat of the city and enjoy the cold and blue colours waters.

Wine Tasting

Many wineries offer tours and tastings where you can learn more about the winemaking process and sample some of the region’s best wines.

Olive Oil Tour

Kalamata is also known for its delicious olive oil. Many local olive oil producers offer tours and tastings where you can sample some of the best olive oils in Greece.

Water Sports

The beaches of Kalamata are ideal for water sports. You can try activities such as kayaking, windsurfing and jet skiing.

Kalamata’s clear waters are ideal for diving. There are diving schools in the area offering courses and trips for all levels of experience.

Attend A Cultural Event

Kalamata is known for its culture, so you can attend a variety of events throughout the year, such as concerts, theatre performances, and art exhibitions.

The city’s International Kalamata International Dance Festival, held every July, is a popular event that attracts visitors from around the world. Other events are the Drama International Summer School.

Take A Cooking Class

Kalamata is known for its delicious cuisine, and you can learn how to cook traditional Greek dishes in a cooking class. Many local restaurants and cooking schools offer classes where you can learn how to prepare dishes like moussaka and spanakopita.

Aristomenous street Kalamata
Aristomenous street

Here are some more things to do in Kalamata:

  • The coast of Kalamata is 4 km long and it’s perfect for walking or exercising next to the beach.
  • Visit the Kalamata Farmer’s Market which opens every Wednesday and Saturday morning.
  • Shop on Aristomenous Street. Note that shops are closed on Sundays and many are closed on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.
  • Try paragliding.
  • Walk around the port of Kalamata and try the delicious cuisine at one of the tavernas.
  • Walk on the Xiliomentro (kilometre) inside the port.

walk next to the beach
Coast of Kalamata in winter
xiliomentro, Kalamata

Cuisine In Kalamata

Some of the local specialities from Kalamata you cannot miss are the following:

  • Kalamata olives
  • Lalagia: pastry made from strips of dough and deep-fried enjoyed as a dessert
  • Diples: thin dough rolled into thin strips, fried, and crisped with honey syrup. It is popular during Christmas and served at weddings.
  • Pasteli: made from sesame seeds and honey, and roasted until golden. It’s served as a snack or with coffee and tea.
  • Talagani cheese: semi-hard cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It’s often grilled or fried, and eaten as an appetizer.
  • Sfela cheese: semi-soft cheese from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It’s another appetizer or meze in Greek and it can be complemented with a bit of honey.

An interesting fact is that Greeks prefer meat over fish even though they are literally surrounded by sea. If you want to go for fish, consider only taverns by the sea.


In conclusion, Kalamata offers a wide range of activities to enjoy, from exploring the city’s history to hiking through the Taygetos mountains and tasting the region’s delicious cuisine. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Kalamata has something to offer to everyone.


Is Kalamata worth a visit?

Absolutely! It’s one of the nicest towns in Greece, especially if you want to escape the crowds and visit nearby historic and picturesque sites.

What was Kalamata known for?

Kalamata was known in the past for its scarves, hats and olive oil.
The 23rd Square was surrounded by shops selling scarves and hats. There’s even a song called san pas stin Kalamata, meaning when you go to Kalamata that sings about bringing a scarf from Kalamata. 

What does Kalamata mean in Greek?

Kalamai is the plural of kalami which means sugarcane. The town used to have many orange groves and sugarcanes because it was rich in water coming from the mountains. 

How big is Kalamata? 

Kalamata is the second-largest city in the region of the Peloponnese with 60,696 citizens according to the World Population Review. 


Going to Greece? Read all the articles in Greece.

If you plan to visit Kalamata there are many day trips from Kalamata you can do.

Read my article on how to get from Athens to Kalamata if you want directions on how to reach Kalamata.


  1. avatar
    Almudena says:

    Parece un lugar muy interesante y con muchas actividades para realizar.
    ¡Lo apunto en mi lista de sitios que visitar!

    1. avatar

      Tienes que hacerme una visita pronto!

  2. avatar

    Wonderful guide! I will definitely have to visit Kalamata at some point!!

    1. avatar

      Kalamata and the Peloponnese are worth visiting! I hope you can visit one day!

    2. avatar

      Thank you Jess!

  3. avatar
    Gretchen says:

    Great and complete guide – adding this to my list of destinations!

    1. avatar

      Kalamata is worth a visit!

    2. avatar

      Thank you so much Gretchen!

  4. avatar
    Kelly Francois says:

    I had never heard of Kalamata. There are tons of things to do. I love that there are certain days that the museums are free of charge.

    1. avatar

      I’m happy you discovered Kalamata through my article!

  5. avatar

    What a gorgeous city! I love the idea of an olive oil tasting experience while in Greece. Plus, a wine tasting is always a fun time!

    1. avatar

      The Kalamata olive is one of the best and most popular in the world! You need to experience it! 🙂

  6. avatar
    Ashton says:

    This sounds like such a fun town to explore! The beaches look incredible and the sunsets breathtaking!

    1. avatar

      Kalamata is worth a visit!

  7. avatar

    Sounds like there are so many fun and amazing activities in Kalamata– it wasn’t even on my radar until reading this post. Thank you for sharing ㅤ◡̈

    1. avatar

      I’m happy you discovered Kalamata through my article! Kalamata and the Peloponnese are wonderful places to visit!

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