Kalogria, Greece

Kalogria is located in Lalrissos in the western district of Achaia,  on the peninsula of Peloponnese in southern Greece.
Kalogria is situated with a mountain to the west and a cliff to the east. Most of its countryside is rocky and covered with bushes. The land north of Kalogria is forested and the central and southern part has mostly pine trees.
Within the forest is a lake. Farmland extends beyond the forests in the east.

Kalogria’s sandy beaches are its most well known feature. The beaches continue north to the area also known for its climbing with over 80 climbing trails in the Mavros Oros Mountain Range. Travelers will find Kalogria 260 kilometers from Athens and 42 miles to the west of Patras Greece.

Sunset at Kalogria Beach, GreeceKalogria is linked with the Ionian Sea and one can view the Ionian Islands to the south and Aitolia-Acarnania. To the north, one can also view the Echinades Islands and Oxeia.


Sparta, Greece

When the term Sparta is mentioned, it often brings to mind the expression of Spartan living. Indeed, ancient Sparta’s society, especially between the ninth and fourth centuries B.C., was centered on a rough and highly disciplined lifestyle that truly embraced the survival of the fittest mentality. Frail children were taken away from their mothers and cast into the Kaidas ravine. Inhabitants were separated into three castes: The Spartiates (warriors), the Perioikoi (artisans, farmers, and traders) as well as Helots, which were serfs without legal standing.

Regardless of the class system, even the men who were highly trained warriors and did not have to engage in manual labor led harsh lives with little freedom. However, the women were educated, had higher status, and enjoyed more liberty than other Greek females. The government consisted of two kings, 28 elders, and five executives. Despite its intensely disciplined structure, especially after losing the Battle of Leuctra in 371 B.C., Sparta’s military empire went into decline.

Ancient Theater and Sparta GreeceHowever, Sparta has even deeper origins dating back to 3000 B.C. During Neolithic times it included five settlements. These joined under the name Lakedaimon. In Mycenaean times, none other than Helen of Troy’s husband, Menelaos, ruled over Sparta.

In 1834, King Otto re-founded the main street close to the Euortas River and started developing the modern town, named New Sparta or Sparti by the locals. Situated 15 miles near the Gulf of Messenia on the Laconian plain of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece, Sparta is surrounded by Mount Párnon and the Tayegetos range. According to the annual census, in 2001 it had a population of around 18,000.

Other than location, sleepy Modern Sparta has little in common with its ancient origins. Today’s serene parks and tree-lined streets co-exist peacefully with the ancient ruins of its volatile history. Much of New Sparta functions as a farming site for olives and citrus production. While buildings here lack the impressive scale of Greek architecture, their low statures allow for fabulous views of the surrounding orchards and mountains.

The actual ruins are situated north of the modern city. The most famous Spartan was Leoniadas, a famed king who barely survived a last battle against Xerxes. His tomb near the ancient theater is still a popular attraction. A contemporary monument of Leonidas is located at the top of Stadium Street. Perhaps one of the most famous structural remains in Sparta is the Acropolis, although visitors also come here to view temple fragments and the low ruins of a few Byzantine churches.

Like in the rest of Greece, the weather rarely changes in Sparta. The climate is subtropical, but dry and hot with long summers. Summers commonly pass with no rainfall at all. If it does rain, it usually falls in the mornings, leaving the afternoons suitable for outdoor living and recreation. Even the brief winters, which are considered the wettest season, only see mild precipitation, although it does snow in the mountains. Climatically, autumn and spring are even shorter and usually see rain or heat.


Mystras, Greece

Built atop Mt. Taygetos near the ancient city of Sparta, lies the historic fortified city of Mystras on the peninsula of Peloponnese, Greece. The capital of a Byzantine Despotate in the 14th and 15th century, Mystras experienced an era of prosperity and cultural enlightenment. The city was inhabited until the mid-1800’s when the site was abandoned in favor of the new town of Sparti which was built eight kilometers to the east. The region has a Mediterranean climate of hot summers and warm winters. Snow is rare along the coast but is common in the mountainous regions where Mystras is located.

Ruins of Old Town in Mystras, GreeceDuring its noted history, Mystras was for a time the seat of power for the Latin Principality of Achea. The principality was created after the capture of Constantinople by knights of the Fourth Crusade and a palace was constructed there. The principality was short-lived however. The city of Mystras and other fortified towns in Pelagonia were used as ransom for William II and fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire. Mystras achieved the status of being second only to Constantinople in importance and its palace being a residence for the emperors. It was during the Byzantine Era that the Church of Agia Sofia was constructed. The frescos located inside the church date from the mid-1300’s. These rare works of art provide a priceless insight into Byzantine art. The significance of Mystras is also enhanced by the fact that George Gemistos Plethon, an influential Neoplatonist philosopher, lived there with other philosophers who had a major impact on the Italian Renaissance. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, Mystras was ruled by Ottomans, Venetians and finally the Greeks once again.

Today, visitors can tour the archaeological ruins of the fort, towers and mansions. They will be awestruck by the frescos in the church of Agios Dimitrios, where the last Byzantine emperor was crowned and those on the walls of the Monastery of Pantanassa, and its mix of Gothic and Byzantine architectural styles. The Archeologial Museum of Mystras displays clothes, jewelry and written documents that provide a revealing glimpse into the storied past of this region.

In the past, Mystras has served as a military and cultural center. Now, it is one of the most well known archaeological sites in the country. Due to its place in Western cultural history, the churches, monasteries and palace of Mystras were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989 and as a result, tourism has provided a boost to the local economy. Visitors can stroll the narrow streets of the picturesque old village, enjoy the shops, outdoor cafes and the annual Palaiologeia Festival of this scenic hillside location.


Peloponnese, Greece

Situated 90 minutes away from Athens, Peloponesse is a region at the southern point of Greece. As a peninsula it is barely attached to the mainland, but is often called an island as well. Travelers can drive to Peloponnese from Athens by traversing the Corinth Canal, or connect via the Rio Bridge from the eastern mainland.

The landscape of Peloponnese is dotted with Venetian castles, Byzantine citadels, Golden Age temples, Greek Orthodox churches, and Mycenaean domes. The region also has plenty of pristine beaches and sparkling waters, but offers seclusion and more serenity with fewer crowds than the well-known Greek tourist spots. Peloponnese’s ancient sites and natural beauty allow for tranquil explorations away from sightseeing tours. This makes this magical region a welcome destination for vacationers looking for an alternative to the hustle and bustle of Athens and the popular Greek Isles.Koroni Castle, Peloponnese, GreeceOne of the most recognizable and historically significant places is Olympia. Visiting this site of the first Olympic Games is an important part of the itinerary. Olympia also houses a museum that includes regional findings and exhibits. In addition, Epidaurus, Mystra, Mycenae, Nafplio, Mani, and Messinia all offer different vacation experiences with visually stunning scenes of Greece’s glorious history.The Ancient Theater of Epidaurus is still one of the most recognized open-air marvels. If traveling here during spring, you can experience re-enactments of classic Greek theatre performances during the annual Epidaurus Festival.

Originally constructed as a secular shelter, the well-preserved ruins of Mystra with its unassailable castle and inspiring churches are a viable reminder of the Byzantine Empire’s architectural and artistic marvels. Mycenae is another historically significant relic dating back to the Byzantine era. You will need to dress in sturdy hiking gear, but following ancient footsteps through the Lion Gate on the way to the Mycenaean Acropolis and the Tomb of Agamemnon are worth it.

Nafplio, once regarded as the center of ancient Greece, is a cheerful city with pictorial streets winding among neoclassic buildings, Venetian castles, mosques, Turkish fountains, and outdoor cafes. Highlights include Constitution Square, the Venetian fortress of Palamidi, and the fortified islet of Bourtzi.

The centrally located region of Mani has lots of Frankish castles, Byzantine churches, and buildings reminiscent of the Ottoman occupational period. Since Mani has an independent and isolated aspect, even by Peloponnese standards, this distinct society developed its own traditions and architectural style.

Situated at the extreme southwest of Peloponnese, the Messinia region is a beach lover’s paradise. You can take your pick from sandy, pebbly, and rocky beaches. The most popular areas in Messinia are Kalamata, Koroni, Methoni, Pylos, Filiatra, and Kiparissia. However, anyone can discover hidden areas for swimming, diving, and sunbathing pleasures.

Peloponnese, like the rest of Greece, is sparsely populated with a well-developed road system. This makes car or bus travel uncomplicated. Renting a car is a favorite travel method and allows for effortless exploration of Peloponnese’s natural beauty.


Olympia, Greece

Birthplace of the Olympics, the town of Olympia is located between the Kladeos and Alpheios Rivers in the western Peloponnese peninsula. Olympia is home to a sanctuary of ancient structures built over centuries at Kronos Hill. The sanctuary, known as Altis, is a treasure chest of ancient Western civilization dating back to the Geometric, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods of Greece. As a result, thousands of tourists flock to Olympia every year to take in the awe-inspiring ruins of the ancient world.

The monumental Temple of Zeus sits in the center of the sanctuary and is the largest temple in Peloponnese. Constructed in 450 BC by the Eleans, the temple was dedicated to Zeus. In a peripteral hexastyle, the temple was constructed with 13 columns at each side. Made of limestone and stucco, the columns are 10.40 metres high with a base of 2.25 metres in diameter. The east side depicts a chariot race between Oinomaos and Pelops, while the west side depicts the battle between the Centaurs and the Lapiths. Zeus dominates the composition as he is the master of the sanctuary. The Temple of Zeus is the finest representation of Doric architecture.Ancient, Olympia, GreeceThe Temple of Hera was constructed during the same time period as the Temple of Zeus. Hera was Queen of the Olympians and wife to Zeus. In a similar peripteral hexastyle, this temple was flanked with 16 columns on each side. However, the temple was divided into three chambers: the opisthodomos, pronaos and the cella. It is said the Olympic victor’s crown of olives were displayed in the cella chamber. It is in this temple that the first Olympian torch was lit. Today, several months before the Olympics begin, an acting ceremonial priestess lights the torch and carries it to an altar in the Olympic stadium. It’s a tradition the Greeks have continued in commemoration of their ancestors.

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia houses sacred finds from excavations of the Altis. It is one of the most renowned museums in Greece and its exhibitions range from the prehistoric era to Early Christian. One of the most extraordinary exhibitions is the 42 sculptured figures from the Temple of Zeus. These life size figures carved from marble were used to decorate the two pediments of the temple. It is a masterpiece of ancient Greek art. Another treasured marvel at the museum is the Nike of Paionios. This statue is carved from Parian marble and depicts a winged woman. The inscription at the base indicates the victory of the Messenians against the Spartans. It dates back to 420 BC and was the work of the famed sculptor Paionios.

Because of the historical significance of Olympia, it is a popular point of interest for travellers. From ancient Olympia, one can walk to the Modern Town Village Olympia. This town has a small population of 1,000; however, it is set up with many restaurants and accommodations for tourists. Accommodations include hotels, hostels and campgrounds. It is always recommended to book at least two months in advance due to the high level of tourism.


Kalamata, Greece

Kalamata is a city in the Messenia region of the Peloponnese. The Peloponnese is a large peninsula in the southern part of Greece. Kalamata is the capital and major seaport of Messenia. Cities nearby include Athens at 148 miles, Olympia at 71 miles, Tripoli at 50 miles, and Sparta at 37 miles.

Kalamata is famous for its olives and its pasteli. Pasteli is a candy that is mixture of sesame seeds, honey or sugar, and sometimes nuts, that is shaped into a bar. Major exports of Kalamata are olives, olive oil, and raisins.

Kalamata is also famous for the Kalamatianos dance that is very popular there. It is a festive dance typical of the Greek circle dances. The lead dancer will have a silk handkerchief that is held by the second dancer, allowing more freedom of movement.

Marina, Kalamata, GreeceThere are many things to do in Kalamata which include taking walks along the coast, exploring archeological sites, or cycling in the countryside. Transportation is excellent to get you where you want to go, including buses and the narrow gauge railways.

Many tourists are fascinated with castles and Kalamata has one from the 13th century. Kalamata Castle is located on a hill overlooking the water and is wonderful to explore. Another site to see is the Church of the Virgin Ypapanti. The nuns in the convent are famous for the silk they weave and embroider.

Whether you are into water sports or just want to relax on a beach, Kalamuta has beautiful beaches by the warm blue sea. You can take a trip by boat, windsurf, fish, snorkel, or scuba dive in the clear water. A fun day trip is taking the ferry to the island of Crete.

A great time to visit Kalamata is during the summer because of the festivals that are held there. Types of festivals include a film festival and dance festivals. The annual Kalamata Dance Festival showcases not only Greek dances but foreign dances as well.

One reason people love visiting Kalamata is because of the Mediterranean climate. Many visit in the summer which is very warm and has little rainfall. Highs in August can reach 32C or 90F. In the autumn, it is cooler with more rain in November and December but still very pleasant.

Winters are very mild and wet with January having an average low of 10C or 50F. Spring is an ideal time to visit with temperatures that are warm and comfortable between 16C and 20C or 61F and 68F.