Kalavrita Greece is a small mountainous town on the northern side of the Peloponnese, 110 km from Ancient Corinth, and 189 km west of Athens Greece. Kalavrita Greece is a traditionally built town famous for its historical past, impressive nature, and great taverns.
In 1943 the nazis executed 693 people, almost the entire population of the village and there is a monument and a museum you can visit if you are interested in more details.
Kalavrita is surrounded by the large mountains of Erymanthos, Aroania, and Chelmos. This mountainous area is ideal for hiking and exploring the caves, gorges, and rivers that are plenty in the area.
Kalavrita is a very popular winter destination amongst Greeks – they combine skiing and hiking with visiting some of the best traditional taverns in Greece!
Some of the best things to do in Kalavrita are: Hike the Vouraikos gorge, visit the Mega Spileon Monastery, take the Odontotos train crossing rivers and gorges, and go to the second-largest ski resort in Greece!
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Where Best to Stay in Kalavrita Greece
Chalet Azanias is a fantastic property made of wood and stone, set on the slopes of Helmos Mt, overlooking the Kalavrita village.
Chalet in the Forest is another stunning hotel with a capacity for up to 8 people in a scenic natural environment.
10 Best Things to Do in Kalavrita Greece
1. Kalavrita Hiking – Mt. Chelmos Trail
- Distance: 11 km
- Start Altitude: 1600 m
- Finish Altitude: 890 m
- Time: 4-5 hours
- Difficulty: (2/5), requires good physical condition.
- Permit Required: No
- Trail Condition: Variable with a very steep downhill, challenging route. Not very good signposts
- Mobile Phone Reception: Very good
- Water, Food: Bring 1-2 liters of water (depending on the season), energy food, and fruit
- Gear: Wear anti-slippery, water-resistant, ankle-protective hiking boots that will reduce your chance of sliding during the steep descent. If there is snow, crampon-compatible boots. Walking sticks. Rain – snow protection garments.
This particular route starts from Kalavrita Greece Ski Resort, at the leveled planes right across the chalet. The hike at first follows the dirt road until the red signposted path leads you to the dense and lush fir forest of the area.
The trail through the forest is not signposted so at times may not be so easy to discern. You need to watch out for painted stones, arrows, numbers, or a piece of plastic garland, hanging from a tree.
This is a very picturesque and demanding trail that ends at the entrance of the Mega Spileon Monastery.
2. Visit Mega Spileon Monastery
- Mega Spileon Monastery is a male monk Monastery
- It is the oldest Monastery in Greece, founded in 362 AD by the Thessalonian brothers Symeon and Theodor
- It is literally carved against the slopes of Chelmos Mountain in a large cave on a sheer cliff
- The monks took part in the Greek War of Independence in 1821
- On 8 December 1943, the Germans destroyed the monastery and executed 22 monks and visitors as part of reprisals. The monastery was rebuilt from the ground after the war
- If possible, buy a small token from their shop to support their work for the local community
- Free entrance
- When to visit: All year round
- How to get to Mega Spileon: by car or even better hiking from Kalavrita village (11km) or Kalavrita Ski resort!
3. Discover Kalavrita Greece Ski resort
- Second biggest ski resort in Greece at an altitude ranging from 1,700 to 2,340 meters
- The Kalavrita resort has 13 tracks with a total length of 20 km and 8 ski lifts, suitable for both beginners and advanced skiers
- A choice between freestyle, snowboards, ski bikes, special programs for children, and lifts to the trucks
- Warm and hospitable Hippocrates Farm Chalet offers lunches and drinks
- When to go? Probably when there is enough snow!
- How to get to the resort? If you are staying in Kalavrita Greece, the resort is very close to the town, easily reachable by car.
4. Ride the Thrilling Rack Railway Odontotos
UPDATE October 18th, 2023: The train route is closed due to landslides)
Kalavrita Greece is famous for Odontotos, the rack railway on cogs train first ran in 1896. Start this really exciting train trip from Diakopto seaside village, and enjoy the 22km route in Vouraikos river, through imposing mountainsides, tunnels, and breathtaking iron bridges.
Stunning mountainous views all around you, the river’s water running speedily, offers one of the most scenic natural areas in the world.
The train stops at Mega Spileon Monastery and at the green and picturesque small village of Kato Zachlorou. There are taverns to have your lunch there. Best time to Visit: All year round
Official Rack Railway, Diakopto-Kalavrita (Tip: buy your tickets in advance, the train is very popular).
You are reading about the fun things to do in Kalavrita Greece.
5. Hike Vouraikos Gorge
- Grab the opportunity to hike through the Vouraikos Gorge. The trail is part of the E4 European Trails Network.
- An easy hike in general. However, when you cross the tunnels, you should be aware of the passing trains.
- Sometimes, you have to cross metal wobbly bridges over the fierce Vouraikos river, a very exciting (and slightly scary) thing to do. Be cautious.
- Best time to hike: All year round!
- Read here for a complete guide to hiking Vouraikos National Park
The Vouraikos bridges are extremely dangerous for children as they can fall through the large gaps to the void below (life-threatening) and the Vouraikos hike is NOT suggested for children of any age.
6. Explore the Cave of the Lakes
- The Cave of Lakes is 17 km from Kalavrita town at the Kastria village. A safe corridor is set enabling the visitor to see all the important chambers of the cave. You can see the stalactite and stalagmite formations and explore the cave’s 13 beautiful lakes’ strange rock formations on three levels.
- What to wear: a warm fleece is a must, no matter the season you are visiting
- When to visit: all year round!
7. Go to Agia Lavra Monastery in Kalavrita Greece
- The monastery is mostly famous for its historical contribution to the Greek War of Independence against the Turks. The War started here in March 1821 initiated by Bishop Germanos of Patras
- The Agia Lavra monastery was built in 961 AD
- Its collection of crosses with precious stones as well as artifacts of icons and religious symbols is notorious
- There is an in-house museum devoted to historical treasures of the revolution, like the diamond-decorated Gospel, a gift from Catherine the Great of Russia
- A perfect occasion to visit the monastery would be on 25th March, when commemorative celebrations are held
- How to get there: It is only 4,5 km away from Kalavrita Greece
- When to visit? All year round!
- Free Entrance
Other Monasteries in the area are the Monastery of St. Nicholas Vlasias built in the 7th century AD. Situated in a Meteora-like rock, the Monastery of Makelaria built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 532, is 30 km away from Kalavrita.
8. Discover the Massacre of Kalavrita
The Massacre of Kalavrita («Unternehmen Kalavrita») happened on 13 December 1943, when the German occupying troops executed 693 men and children. They separated the entire male population, everyone above the age of 14, and machine-gunned them. To commemorate the horrible event, a Monument and a Municipal Museum were erected at the location of the execution.
9. Explore the nearby Villages and Nature
Near Kalavrita you can visit Ano and Kato Lousoi gorgeous villages with fine old mansions. 25 km from Kalavrita Greece is the stunning Planitero village, surrounded by a dense plane-tree forest of exceptional beauty. Planitero is a Natura-protected area, mostly known for its breathtaking treks, natural springs, waterfalls by the river Aroanios, trout and salmon farming, and exceptional traditional taverns.
10. Enjoy Local Traditional Cuisine
Wherever you choose to have your meals in Kalavrita Greece, you will not be disappointed. Ask your waiter for the daily menu, their homemade tirokafteri (Greek spicy cheese dip) or dolmadakia or melitzanosalata (eggplant dip).
I had dinner with friends at “Katafygio Tavern” on 15th km Pounta – Kalavrita. The owner was very friendly and polite, the food was homemade and delicious and the tavern had the nice aroma of a wood-burning fireplace.
We had fasolada (bean soup), briam, tirokafteri, cheese pie, and chorta (greens) collected from the mountain around the tavern. All were accompanied by local white wine.
How to Get to Kalavrita Greece
You can take public transport, (KTEL buses) from Kifisos station in Athens that runs every day.
For me, however, the best means of transport, if you want to explore a region in-depth, is by driving your own car. Renting a car offers the invaluable freedom of traveling everywhere at your own pace and timetable and at a low cost.
Kalavrita Greece Map
Get your interactive Google map of Kalavrιta here, to drive to any of the places listed on our things to do in Kalavrιta:
Best Things to Do in Kalavrita
- Hike Chelmos Trail
- Discover Mega Spileon Monastery
- Explore the second-largest ski resort in Greece
- Have a thrilling ride with Odontotos, the old Gorge Train
- Hike Vouraikos Gorge (not for children)
- Go to the impressive Cave of Lakes
- Visit Agia Lavra Monastery
- Find out about the Massacre of Kalavrita, Monument & Museum
- Explore beautiful villages around Kalavrita: Lousoi, Planitero
- Indulge in local cuisine
Indulge in the Peloponnese Archaeological Sites
If you are a history buff like me, then from Kalavrita you can travel to a large number of spectacular archaeological sites:
- Ancient Corinth & Museum (Apostle Paul Bema)
- Mycenae – UNESCO-listed site
- Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus – UNESCO-listed site
- Ancient Messene
- Ancient Olympia – UNESCO-listed site
- Mystras – UNESCO-listed site
- Temple of Apollo Epicurious – UNESCO-listed site
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