KALAVRYTA | MAINLAND GREECE | PELOPONNESE

Fashionable in the winter months, wonderful all year round.

Kalavryta is fashionable in the winter months and in early spring because of its ski resort. Most visitors are winter-sports fans, mainly from Athens and Patras, enjoying a weekend full of fun and action. The marvellous natural scenery and old monasteries are a special attraction for all age-groups.

Why visit Kalavryta ?

Because of the Vouraikos Gorge which you can go through either on foot or by cog-wheeled railway. Because of the historic monasteries of Agia Lavra and Mega Spileon and also Mt Helmos and the impressive cave of the Lakes at Kastria, the Aroanian springs and the ski resort.

WHAT TO SEE & DO IN AND AROUND KALAVRYTA

KALAVRYTA

At an altitude of 750 m on a slope of Mt Helmos, a historic chief town still preserving features of its heritage. It was the site of the ancient city of Kinetha, destroyed in 220 BC by Aetolians, later by Philip V, King of Macedonia, and finally devastated by Goth and Slav invasions. It was a barony in the days of the Frank overlords and when liberated with the assistance of Mystra, passed to the Paleologues. In 1460 it fell to the Turks when they captured the fortress of Oria (on the hill above the town) and was again twice destroyed in the course of the War of Independence. The greatest tragedy to befall the town in modern times occurred on 13 December 1943 when Nazi troops massacred the entire male population (over 1,400 men above the age of thirteen). Today Kalavryta is a modern town and the district’s commercial centre and is rapidly expanding its attractions for tourists.

COG-WHEELED RAILWAY – VOURAIKOS GORGE

The cog-wheeled railway starts at Diakof­to, stops at Zahlorou village and continues to Kalavryta. It is the only one of its kind in Greece, in operation since 1896, with pinions to prevent it sliding back on the steep gradients. The route is one of the loveliest in the country, climbing through the gorge above the Vouraikos river, unfolding scenery of unmatched beauty to the traveller’s marvelling eyes. Enormous cliffs down to the river bed, little valleys, bridges and, midway, Zahlorou’s abundant greenery, where there is a stop. You can take a walk in the forest and have a cup of cof­fee or a meal in one of the tavernas under towering plane trees.

MEGA SPILEON MONASTERY

An eight-storey monastery built into the cliff-face at an altitude of 924 m. It was founded in the 4th c. by two monks and is considered one of the oldest and best-known in Greece. The surroundings are stunning and it can be reached either by car or on foot by the path from Zahlorou. The monastery was first destroyed in 840 by the iconoclasts and again in 1460 and 1640 by the Turks. In 1934 it burned down and in 1943 was demolished by the German occupation troops. See the icon in relief of the Panagia tis Chryssospiliotissas, made of wax and gum mastic, one of four works attributed to Saint Luke. The church has significant frescoes dated 1600, manuscripts, bibles and reliquaries.

AGIA LAVRA MONASTERY

Founded in the 10th c. by the monk Athanassios Athonitis, it played an important role in the period of the Greek War of Independence of 1821. Several times destroyed by the Turks and then by Ibrahim when he invaded the Peloponnese, it also suf­fered great damage by the Nazi troops, but was always rebuilt by the monks. It contains numerous valuable relics and a library with antique manuscripts. It was here that the banner of freedom was raised on 18 March 1821.

UPPER AND LOWER LOUSSI

A short detour will take you through these villages where fine old mansions have been preserved.

LIMNON CAVE

16.5 km from Kalavryta at the village of Kastria
A cavern on three levels with thirteen tiers of lakes, galleries and passages presenting an astounding spectacle of stalagmites and stalactites hanging from the roof which is sometimes as high as 30 m, in extraordinary shapes. It was discovered in 1964 by Kastrian villagers and the lower level contains finds of great palaeontological interest: human and animal fossils, among which a specimen of Hippopotamus Anticus.

PLANITERO

Gorgeous scenery with thousands of plane trees, and streams, where you will see the famous springs of the Aroanios river, a trout farm and an artificial lake with real swans. Although popular with tourists, the area has not lost its charm. At numerous tavernas you can have delicious salmon and trout caught on the spot. They are open winter and summer and for lunch and dinner. It is an ideal spot for walking and hiking by the river, which has water all year round.

FROM NEOHORI TO KRINI

This route takes you through superb woods surrounded by mountain peaks, leading to the Makellaria monastery built on a huge smooth pinnacle of rock reminiscent of Meteora. An 18th c. marble inscription indicates that the monastery was founded by Belissarios, the renowned general of the time of the Byzantine emperor Justinian, and gives the date as 532. Continue on to the village of Krini to round off your experience of a truly exceptional landscape.

KALAVRYTA SKI RESORT

This route takes you through superb woods surrounded by mountain peaks, leading to the Makellaria monastery built on a huge smooth pinnacle of rock reminiscent of Meteora. An 18th c. marble inscription indicates that the monastery was founded by Belissarios, the renowned general of the time of the Byzantine emperor Justinian, and gives the date as 532. Continue on to the village of Krini to round off your experience of a truly exceptional landscape.

EPIDAURUS TIPS & INFORMATION

15 km from Kalavryta
Stretching from Xirokambos (altitude 1,700 m) to Neraidorahi (2,347 m), on the northern slopes of Mt Helmos, the resort has ski instructors and 12 runs for all aptitudes with 7 lifts (5 T-bars and 2 chair-lifts) of a total length of 25km. The reception building, with a cafeteria and parking lot, is at Xirokambos, from where the lift to Vathia Laka (1,850 m) starts. A refuge for mountain climbers is located at 2,100 m.


For more information contact T. 0030 26920 24451-2

HOW TO GET TO KALAVRYTA

By car in 2 1/2hrs from Athens.
By intercity bus (KTEL), from Kifissou Station, Athens, Tel. 0030 2105124913
0030 2105124911..

HOW TO GET AROUND

Definitely by your own transport or with an organized tour.

BEST SEASON TO VISIT EPIDAURUS

All year round.

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