We had high expectations for our road trip trough Peloponnesos. Beautiful sceneries, locally produced food and experience the real Greece. Peloponnesos made it all come true. This blog is all about why you need to visit this unknown part of Greece to get a glimpse of the real Mediterranean life.
We started our trip in Athens and made our way to Kalamata by car. A trip that would take us only a few hours to drive. Especially the toll roads are fast and really comfortable. They aren’t even that expensive. The new high way is an excellent way to get to your destination. Toll has to be paid, but you get there fast. A trip from Athens to Kalamata took us two and a half hours to get there.
Our first stop at Corinth channel and old Corinth was a little bit of a deception. It was not as interesting as we hoped. The channel is a 6,4 km long and only 21 meters wide. It is the world smallest sea channel. You will drive over the channel without even noticing it. It is constructed in 1881, but due to the narrowness and problems with landslides, it never managed to get enough traffic to be of any economic importance. Big ships and cruises are not able to enter the channel. Nowadays it is mainly a tourist attraction and an easy passage for small vessels from the Gulf of Corinth to the Eginian Gulf and back.
We stopped for a walk on the bridge over the channel and a quick bite to eat. The bridge feels like a rusty old metal bridge and is not for the faint of heart. There are several restaurants and tourists shops but it all felt like a place of faded glory. You would be able to take a small cruise or tour which will take you through the Canal. It is also possible to bungee jump at the bridge, but we let this option go by.
We drove a little bit further over the submarginal bridge over the channel. This bridge is lowered into the water to a depth of 8 meters to let the ships go by. A small drive in the rural landscape will lead you to the small village of ancient Corinth.
Ancient Corinth was one of the largest and most important cities of old Greece. It had over 90.000 inhabitants in 400BC. It was demolished by the Romans and rebuilt at its new place, only 5km away from the old location. For Christians, Corinth is well known for as it is mentioned more than once in the writings of the apostle Paul.
Ancient Corinth is now a site that can be visited. The main sight is the temple of Appolo. Next to it, is an old theatre and remains of the old city. The small village next to the site has some commercial shops and a few restaurants to grab a bite to eat.
As it was as already quite late we did not spend a lot of time here and drove further to our destination Kalamata.
Kalamata is a medium-sized city in the region of Messinia and has an airport close by. It is a perfect city to explore the region of Messinia and it has everything you need to enjoy your stay. It is located between the Gulf of Messina and the mountains.
You have probably heard of the Kalamata olives which you will find in abundance. The central market in the old town is a perfect spot to do some local shopping. There are over 450 vendors that will sell local produce goodness in all sorts. Especially in the morning, this is a vibrant place to check out and taste some amazing cheeses, meats, fish and of course these tasty black olives.
The old town is a pleasant place to wander around in the narrow streets. The main sights of Kalamata are the Castel on top of the hill, the byzantine church of Agio Apostoloi and the church of Ypapantis. At night the old town comes to life and you will find many restaurants, bars and terraces to enjoy a cocktail or an excellent glass of wine.
The new part of Kalamata looks more industrial. The city was struck by an earthquake several times and rebuilt every time. The last big earthquake dates back to 1986 and was one of the deadliest disasters which demolished big parts of the city.
The coastline and beaches on the other side of Kalamata are a welcome place to relax and enjoy the sunshine and sunset. The city beach is clean and comfortable and some parts have got a blue flag assigned, but don’t expect white sandy beaches. We found the scenery quite impressive between the mountains and the pine-trees. An excellent way to end your day after doing some sightseeing in the surrounding area. If you are not a city beach type of person, you can head towards Stoupa and visit beaches of Paralia Mikri, Paralia Santova or directly to Stoupa.
As always we made a reservation at Air BnB. It was at a perfect location, very cosy and the owner had some fresh tomatoes from her garden and some local olive oil for us. A nice welcome and a great place to start our journey in Peloponnesos. Heading for beautiful natural landscapes and the most impressive ancient sights we have seen so far.
Food tips for Kalamata
Kardamo is a new restaurant in Kalamata and an exciting place to eat. They serve new style Greek food. Excellent local food, a hip atmosphere and tasty wines. For example fresh grilled green beans, crusty bread, cherry tomatoes with a balsamic dressing and goat cheese. Our top restaurant in Kalamata.
Taverna Argo is a more traditional restaurant at the marina of Kalamata. Tasty tzatziki, meatballs in tomato sauce and excellent quality house wine for only a few euros. Good food for an honest price.
Drink your coffee at Taf Kalamata. A local coffee bar which serves strong coffee in the way you like it. Get a cappuccino freddo or a frappe to go and start exploring the city.
Stay tuned for blogs about this trip in the upcoming weeks. Don’t forget to follow our socials for more pictures, videos and information.
See you next week for our blog on the ancient Messinia, waterfalls and the beautiful area of Messinia.
Lots of love from Angelique and Carlo.