The picturesque fishing village of Aghios Nikolaos is renown for the fresh fish served in the quayside restaurants, with a couple of mini-markets and a few bars, it is a wonderful spot to wander round and unwind. Within easy walking distance is the wonderful Pantazi beach, fringed with elegant tamarisk trees offering natural shade, it is set against the dramatic backdrop of the mountains beyond. Fresh bread from the bakery and the local honey fragranced with thyme make a delicious breakfast to wake up, whilst the laid back atmosphere of Aghios Nikolaus and the beautiful Mani scenery surrounding this charming village will make it a holiday to remember
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Kalamata, the largest town in Peloponnese, is renowned for its fantastic olives; deep purple in colour and the size of grapes. The olives are all handpicked when they are ripe to avoid bruising and are cured in red wine vinegar brine. You can buy them from many of the town’s supermarkets straight from their brine-filled buckets. The Greeks typically order a lot of meals and share them between family and friends, rather than sticking to one meal each. Some great dishes to try are Saganaki, which is a fried hard cheese served with lemon, Melidsanes tiganites, which is crispy fried slices of aubgerine and Souvlaki, which is grilled meat on skewers with peppers, onions and tomatoes.
There are a great selection of Tavernas here, and all of them are family run. Dine al fresco whilst you watch the fisherman bring in their daily catches into the harbour.
Life in Aghios Nikolaos is centred around the harbour, which is a fantastic place to spend your evenings. There are plenty of tavernas and bars so you can enjoy some traditional al fresco dining right on the water's edge.
The Inomessiniaki Winery is situated in Kalamata and offers a conducted tour of the winery, along with wine tasting and information about wine production.
Various boat excursions can be taken from Kalamata. Choose between seeing the historical landscapes and castles of Koroni and Methoni, or taking a different route past Kardamili and Stoupa to admire the beauty of the Mani coastline and stunning fishing villages.
There are some stunning waterfalls in Peloponnese, one being the Polylimnio waterfall in the Messenia region, not far from Pilos and Kalamata. The water here is extremely cold but it is definitely worth a swim, especially if you want to cool off on a hot day. Don’t forget your camera!
The ancient theatre of Epidaurus is situated just under 3 hours away from Kalamata, so it is quite a fair distance to travel. However, if you did want to make the journey then you will be highly impressed by the quality of acoustics here, especially from the very top row.
The old town of Kardamili situated around 7km from Stoupa, offers stunning views across the countryside. It houses a fort museum that will take you back in time to the Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian ages.
Learn all about the marvellous Southern Peloponnese history at the Archaeological museum of Messenia, which situated in the heart of the historical centre of Kalamata. The building used to be the Municipal Market and would quite often be packed with shoppers and merchants every day. Unfortunately, the market building got destroyed from a disastrous earthquake in 1986, so when it was replaced by the Municipality of Kalamata, it was decided it would become an Archaeological Museum instead.
There are various churches all over Peloponnese, some of the most popular being: Epidaurus, Ermioni, Nafplion, Mystras and Sparti.
The castles in Peloponnese are very well known, particularly Koroni, Karitena, and Kalamata. However, the most beautiful of them all is Methoni Castle. Situated directly on the coastline, you can clearly see the castle from the beach and the fortress is actually out in the sea. There is free entry but the castle does close at 3pm, so make sure you leave plenty of time to look around.
The Ancient Messini is one of the best preserved archaeological sites in Greece. It is situated just below the pretty village of Mavromati, approximately 30km north of Kalamata. Everything about the site has been preserved with utmost care, from the city gates, to the theatre and temples, right through to the stadium itself. The site is fairly big so you may want to allow around 3-4 hours of your day to see the whole thing.
Mystras is around 5km west of Sparta. Full of forts, mansions, palaces and churches, this archaeological site offers invaluable insight into the evolution and culture of the Byzantines.
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