The Complete Adventure Guide to Kalavrita Greece

posted in: Hiking, Peloponnese | 0

Updated January 8th, 2022 by Travel the Greek Way

Kalavrita Greece or Kalavryta is a small mountainous town on the northern side of the Peloponnese, 110 km from Ancient Corinth, 209 km from Porto Heli, and 189 km west of Athens Greece.

Kalavrita is traditionally built, with great historical interest from the Second World War. 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 Chelmos mountain

Kalavrita is surrounded by the large mountains of Erymanthos, Aroania, and Chelmos making the area ideal for hiking and exploring the caves, gorges, and rivers that are plenty in the area.

Kalavryta Gorge train
Kalavrita Odontotos train

Kalavrita is a very popular winter destination amongst Greeks – they combine skiing and hiking with visiting some of the best traditional taverns in Greece!

Hiking in Kalavrita

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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Kalavrita Quick reference

Where best to stay in Kalavrita: Beautiful Chalet Azanias set on Chelmos Mountain slopes overlooking Kalavrita village.

Private Tour for Corinth, Cave of Lakes, Odontotos Railway with Great Lunch Included: A 5-star review tour for a great Greek experience. Check the tour for prices and availability here

Get your interactive map of Kalavrita here, to drive to any of the places listed on our things to do in Kalavrita:

Kalavrita Greece Map

How to Get to Kalavrita Greece

Traditional mountainous Greek village
Picturesque villages on your way to Kalavrita

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: Check Best car rental prices for great deals in Greece.

A wooden bench across a mountain in Greece
Kalavrita Greece Mountain Views

What is Kalavrita famous for?

Kalavrita Greece offers a richness of outdoor activities combined with spectacular nature, modern history, and Greek Orthodox monuments all together!

Kalavrita Greece was built near the ancient city of Cynaetha and today has a permanent population of 1829 persons.

The Kalavrita Hiking – Mt. Chelmos Trail

Hike Overview

  • Distance: 11 km
  • Start Altitude: 1600 m
  • Finish Altitude: 890 m
  • Time: 4-5 hours
  • Difficulty: (2/5),  requires a 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 litres of water (depending on the season), energy food and fruit
  • Gear: Wear anti-slippery, water-resistance, 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.
Hikers on a trail in a forest in Kalavrita Greece
Hiking Chelmos

Hiking in Greece can be versatile and full of surprises at every turn of the path.

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.

Hikers walking uphill by a tree in Greece Kalavrita
Hiking Kalavrita Chelmos Mountain

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.

A hiker raising her hands on a peak in Kalavrita trail
Reaching the first peak

Soon the downhill starts, although the most slippery part is much further down and closer to the Mega Spileon monastery.

Hikers on a forested trail in Kalavrita mountain Greece
A hiker helps other hikers to go downhill in Kalavrita mountain Greece
We couldn’t make it without the expert’s hand, literally speaking!

The hike ends when you reach the Mega Spileon Monastery.

Two hikers walk between a mountain rock and a house wall
The entrance of the Mega Spileon Monastery in Kalavrita mountain Greece
Mega Spileon Monastery Entrance

Kalavrita 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 in a sheer cliff
The Mega Spileon Monastery in Kalavrita mountain Greece
  • 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
Odontotos Train Station at Mega Spileon
  • When to visit: All year round
  • How to get to Mega Spileon: by car or even better hiking from Kalavrita village (11km far) or Kalavrita Ski resort!

Kalavrita Greece Ski resort

kalavrita ski center with skiers walking around the chalet
Kalavrita Ski Resort
  • Second biggest ski resort in Greece
  • 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 at Kalavrita Greece, the resort is very close to the town, easily reachable by car.

Kalavrita Rack Railway Odontotos

  • 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 tunnels and breath-taking over the water bridges. Stunning mountainous views all around you, the river’s water running speedily, offers one of the most scenic natural areas in the world.
  • Makes a stop 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
  • Suitable for everyone, unless you are afraid of heights!
  • Official website about the Rack Railway, Diakopto-Kalavrita (Tip: buy your tickets in advance, the train is very popular)

Hiking Vouraikos Gorge

A hiker walking on the rails in  in Kalavrita mountain Greece
  • Grab the opportunity to hike through the Vouraikos Gorge. The trail is part of 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!

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.

The Cave of the Lakes

  • The Cave of Lakes is 17 km far 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 in three levels.
  • What to wear: a warm fleece is a must, no matter the season you are visiting
  • When to visit: all year round!

Kalavrita Greece Agia Lavra Monastery

Large Monastery in a forest in  in Kalavrita mountain Greece
Agia Lavra Monastery Credit ReligiousGreece.gr
  • 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 artefacts 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.

Kalavrita Greece Massacre

Kalavrita massacre monument
Kalavryta Memorial – Photo Credit Wikipedia

Kalavryta Greece Massacre («Unternehmen Kalavryta») 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.

Then, they burnt down the entire town, in retaliation to a defeat they suffered in a battle with Greek Resistance troops.

To commemorate the horrible event, a Monument and a Municipal Museum were erected at the location of the execution.

Book from Amazon: Eyewitness Accounts of the Nazi Massacres during Operation Kalavryta

Kato and Ano Lusoi Villages

  • 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. A Natura area is well known for its breathtaking treks, natural springs, waterfalls by the river Aroanios, trout and salmon farming, and exceptional traditional taverns.

Where Best to Stay in Kalavrita Greece

Chalet Azanias:

Azanias is a fantastic Chalet made of wood and stone, set on the slopes of Helmos Mt, overlooking the Kalavrita village.

I just love its spotlessly clean rooms decorated with plenty of wood, the stunning mountain views from the windows, the lit fireplace offering a unique warmth inside the room, the friendly and welcoming staff. A real Greek hospitality and classy choice!

Check for availability and prices in Booking.com

Taverns and Restaurants in Kalavrita Greece

Wherever you choose to have your meals, order some local delicacies. Each area in Greece might have its own cheese or a special pie.

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.

Would you like to taste affordable quality Greek food in the area you live? Check out my Small In-House Quality Shop with deals from the Amazon Store.

Archaeological Sites in the Peloponnese

Kalavryta is in the Greek region of Peloponnese which hosts some of the most spectacular archaeological sites in Greece:

Mycenae, the Agamemnon or Atreas Tomb
Ancient Mycenae – The Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon 

Where to Stay in Athens

Looking for the Best Hotels near old Athens Plaka and Acropolis Parthenon?

Or you would like to stay at a beachfront hotel?

Perhaps you are more in-budget hotels interested?

Whichever your preferences I have collected the best options for your staying in Athens below:

How to Get to Greece

A Greek dog looking at the sea view
Greek Dog in an island

Like most visitors to Greece, you will probably have to fly to Athens or Thessaloniki International Airports to get to your final destinations.

For the Cheapest, Fastest, Best Worldwide Flights, I highly recommend the Skyscanner search engine site.

Message from Evgenia

I hope I have inspired you to visit beautiful Kalavrita. If you need local help with organizing your visit, please send me an email at info@travelthegreekway.com and I will get back to you with ideas. Until then, stay safe and travel the world
Evgenia
Travel the Greek Way

Some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece

  • Airflights: Cheap/Fast/Best Worldwide Flights from KAYAK or SkyScanner search engine site
  • Map of Athens Metro
  • Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals, have info on hotels and Airbnb’s alike, with breakfast or not, free cancellations, and great prices!
  • Ferries to the Greek Islands: Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper, and get the best prices in the market with no hidden fees
  • World Nomads Insurance: I feel insecure traveling to another country without having even the most basic of insurances. Insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations
  • Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com
  • Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
  • iVisa: For any questions, you may have about your documents, passport if you need a visa, a new photo, or any visa-related matter, iVisa is your man (or woman!)
  • Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100EMERGENCY NUMBER 112

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