Looming over the town is the 13th-century kastro (fort). Remarkably, it survived the powerful 1986 earthquake that levelled the city. The entry gate is its most impressive feature. Inside, the kastro is a lush haven of tranquillity and there are excellent views over Kalamata and beyond from the battlements.

The fort has an interesting history, having been Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian and Ottoman at various periods. The Venetians burned it in 1540 before yielding it to the Turks, who did the same in turn in 1685.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kalamata attractions

1. Church of Ypapantis


Kalamata's massive 19th-century cathedral is home to the icon after which the town takes its modern name. Pilgrims visit for its miracle-working icon of…

2. History & Folklore Museum of Kalamata

0.14 MILES

This quaint eggshell-blue building holds an exquisite collection of donated local artefacts – from tools and looms to household items and clothes – that…

3. Military Museum

0.18 MILES

One for war buffs, this museum's displays depict Greek military history from the Turkish occupation to the Greek Resistance to Nazi occupation and 21st…

4. Archaeological Museum of Messenia

0.24 MILES

This partially interactive, child-friendly museum focuses on treasures found in four regions – Kalamata, Pylia, Messini and Trifylia. Exhibits include…

5. Museum of Traditional Greek Costumes

0.26 MILES

Opened in 2017, this stunning museum features a remarkable collection of Greek costumes that was donated by Victoria Karelia. Far from moth-eaten old hand…

6. Old Town Kardamyli

12.52 MILES

Old Town Kardamyli consists of a fortified settlement with a handsome 18th-century church, plus restored tower, oil press and three-storey building. There…

7. Patrick Leigh Fermor House

13.38 MILES

Larger-than-life Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915–2011), a Hellenophile and marvellously engaging writer, lived just outside Kardamyli for much of his later…

8. Mystras

14.06 MILES

Spread over a steep mountainside and surrounded by verdant olive and orange trees, this former Byzantine capital and fortified city is the single most…