This is a (very!) informal piece of advice to the GrStoch participants about how to spend a few days in the region around Kalamata, should they wish to do so.
is on the top of the Messinian bay, and both sides of the bay are well
worth visiting. The city itself is nice to walk and replete with
cultural activities. You'll probably explore a large part of it during
The east side of the bay is called Mani Peninsula and is quite
mountainous. It's worth spending at least a day there, visiting
the spectacular Diros Caves and stopping by the beautiful town of
Kardamili en route (or on the way back) for a coffee or a meal.
Alternatively, one could spend 1 more day and make a small circle,
coming back through Gytheio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gytheio) and
maybe go swimming around there.
In that case you enter the Sparta territory (Laconia).
The modern city is nothing special but next to it is Mystras
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystras) a unique example of Byzantine
art and of special importance in the Byzantine times. If you do that
you can get back to Kalamata through Mount Taygetus
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taygetos), an impressive trip through to
Kalamata, albeit on the twisty side.
West of Kalamata is where I spend time every summer so I'm a bit biased!
The region between Koroni (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koroni for the location) and Finikounta
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foinikounta) has several wonderful
places to go swimming.
En route from Kalamata it's worth stopping by Polylimnio (crudely:
multilake) for a walk among several tiny little waterfalls.
Some photos of the complex
may be found here
In addition, Koroni, Pylos and Methoni have nice castles to explore, perhaps in that order. Pylos is beautiful and certainly
the most historic town of the region.
Close to Pylos is a pretty village called Gialova
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gialova), of great ecological importance
as it's the last stop for several birds on their way to Africa.
If you opt for that, Voidokilia
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voidokilia) is a good choice for a swim
Finally, at http://www.costanavarino.com/ is an upmarket resort, ideally suited for those interested in golf.
All the places out of Kalamata are much easier to explore if one can rent a car, since public
transport is reliable but scarse
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