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 Islands Information

Place: Kalamata Messinia Greece

Holiday Destinations - The City of Kalamata, Messinia, Greece   by Claire May


The Prefecture of Messinia

Messinia lays on the southern part of mainland Greece, now divided from the mainland by the Corinth Canal. The peninsula hosts some of the most important and impressive ancient sites in Greece. It has a warm winter, it's not too hot in summer and boasts some of the best and cleanest beaches in the whole of Greece. Even in the height of the summer holiday season there are no more than a handful of people to be seen on them.

The mountain landscape of the Messinian Mani is simple stunning and is dominated by Taygetos, one of the largest mountain ranges in the Peloponnese. Whereas the Messinian peninsular has rolling hills and fertile valleys considered to be the market garden and wine centre of Greece.

Messinia is an ideal place to relax and go for walks. Wander off the beaten track into the old hill towns and discover the true beauty of the region. A world apart from the islands, the beautiful and sparsely populated the Peloponnese is a bastion of disappearing Greek village life. The rural villages in this area are beautifully authentic, traditional and spread out. The local villagers are friendly and welcoming, often plying new tourists with gifts of wine and oranges.

The City of Kalamata

Kalamata is positioned at the head of the crystal clear Messinian Bay, between the Mani and Messini peninsulas and Sparta to the north. This makes Kalamata an ideal base from which to explore the beauty of the surrounding areas. The capital and chief port of Messinia, Kalamata is the land of the Kalamatianos dance and the silk kerchief. Of succulent black olives, honeyed figs and the sesame-covered sweet called pastelli, which can all be sampled at the immense new market near the bus station. Kalamata market is a collection of meats, cheese, and fruit shops as well as a daily farmers market

Kalamata has three districts; the seafront, the residential quarter with its strict grid plan and the old town with its wandering narrow streets. The seafront has all the attributes of a resort: hotels, cafes restaurants, ice cream parlours and bars, but it is fairly low key compared to other towns. The beach is clean and the water is clear and safe for swimming in. Another lovely attraction is the train park at the end of Aristomemous street. It has shady trees, cafes, a performance area, a duck pound, and ice cream parlour in the converted station. Antique trains are displayed on the tracks. Just off the water front is the Kalamata School of Fine Arts which exhibits the work of Greek Artists. The residential quarter was rebuilt after the 1986 earthquake that killed 20 people and left 12,000 homeless

The charming old town is dominated by the 13th century Frankish fortress built by Geoffrey de Villehardouin which rises above Kalamata. On the north side of the citadel there is a small Byzantine church, dedicated to the Virgin of Kalomata (of the good eye), from which the town may have acquired its name.

From the fortress you can survey the expanse of sea below with its sandy and pebbly shores or turn your gaze upon the deep green plain, the "happy land" of the ancients.

The old city with its busy streets and shops reaches out underneath the fortress. Here you will find the Byzantine church of the Virgin Ypapanti and the convent of the Kalograies, where the nuns are famous for weaving and embroidering the Kalamata silks.

There are many churches in town, the oldest being the historic church of Agii Apostoli (13th c.), where the Greek Revolution against the Turks was formally declared on March 23, 1821. And the Benaki Museum displays the archaeological remains from the War of Independence. It also presents a small collection of folklore and fine art exhibits and a library containing 60.000 volumes.

Every summer cultural events like concerts featuring jazz, rock and classical Greek plays put on by the Kalamata theatre are held in the amphitheatre of the fortress. In the evening, the town comes alive, especially along the waterfront which is lined with tavernas, seafood restaurants and rotisseries serving local dishes and drinks, fresh fish, roast suckling pig and chicken, sausages, cheese, olives, retsina and ralki.

Other Useful Information

 Tourist office in Southern Peloponnese 9699500  Main language/s Greek  To dial from Southern Peloponnese call 00  To call to Southern Peloponnese dial 30  Emergency phone number/s  British Embassy: (1) 723 6211 Police: 100 Fire: 199 Tourist Police: 171 Auto road assistance - ELPA: 104 Auto road assistance - Express, hospital 0721-85203/25555  Lost travellers cheques: Thomas Cook: 00-800-4412-8366  Lost credit cards: Mastercard freephone number: 00-800-11-887-0303 VISA: call collect 24 hours a day 410 581 9994  Electricity supply 220V, 50Hz Food: There's a predictably wide choice of seafood and the ouzo is cheap and very good.

Nightlife: The nightlife in Peloponnese resorts tends to be low key and centered around a few bars and clubs, though some tavernas have live music. The emphasis in this area is concentrated on good company and wine.

Shopping: Local arts and crafts, wine and clothes are good buys.

Days out: Hire a boat for a trip around the Messinian Gulf, or rent a car and travel around the Messinia peninsular Events: Arrange to watch a show at the internationally acclaimed Kalamata Dance Festival, held every summer at the Kalamata Castle, above the town. Check local tourist information. Or for further information call (UK) +44 (020) 7734 5997.

Travel Information How to get to Messinia

Kalamata airport is served by charter flights from the UK, currently on Sundays, from Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and East Midlands. Alternatively you can fly to Athens and take an air-conditioned coach to Kalamata (four hours).

The drive from the south of England to here takes about four days with ferry from Ancona to Patras being the easiest. A great drive!

Travel Suggestions

There are many different website and discount travel companies who offer cheap charter flights. You can simply type "charter flights to Kalamata" into a search engine on the website or try some of the sites or companies listed below. The charter flights run from beginning of May to mid October and go from Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and East Midlands.

Scheduled flights to Athens go mainly from Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton although there are flights from many regional airports (mainly with British Airways). You can book online at their website www.ba.com and they often have competitive fares. www.easyjet.com is also often very competitive with fares from Luton and Gatwick. Olympic airlines are also very good and you can book direct with them at ww.olympicairlines.com

To give you an idea of cost for travel midsummer, a return charter flight from Gatwick to Kalamata averages 230. A return flight on Easyjet to Athens is around 140. A scheduled return flight to Athens on British Airways averages 170. Prices do vary, dependent on how much in advance you book and the time of year you travel. Bargains are often available!

Buses: Buses from Athens to Kalamata run every hour in the mornings and every 2 hours in the afternoon, costing approx. 15 one way.

Car Hire: It is possible to book car hire in advance which may be collected at either Kalamata airport or Athens airport.

Taxis: There are always numerous taxis waiting at Kalamata airport and Athens airport to take you to your holiday accommodation. Taxis from Athens cost approx. 70 from Athens to Kalamata (although you may have to share with other people.

Train: The train station is at the west end of town, between the fortress and the waterfront. Five trains a day to Athens. Three a day to Patra. 0721-23904

Companies to try for competitive priced flights:

www.flycheapuk.com www.go-nowtravel.com www.wecanbookit.com www.greektourismtravel.co.uk www.mytravellite.com www.lastminute.com www.cheapflights.co.uk www.charterflights.co.uk www.skydeals.co.uk (tel: 0800 298 0912) Argo Holidays 0870 0667070

The Greek National Tourism Organisation has a website with useful information: www.gnto.gr

For further information about Messina follow the link http://Blog.r-and-c-pms.biz

About Our Company

R & C Property Management Services can help you look for the prefect holiday rental accommodation for your dream holiday in Messinia, Greece. We have a selection of holiday rentals in the Kalamata area. To view our website for further information click the following link. http://r-and-c-pms.biz/

About the Author

Claire May is the owner of R & C Property Management Services which offers full property management and real estate services including; building maintenance and renovations. We can care for your holiday home and for your holiday guests. Or simply find you a property to rent for your holiday. For more details about our services look at our website. http://r-and-c-pms.biz.html