At the article today we will share with you, information on how to spend a whole day in a very scenic destination in the Achaea mountains, the Kalabryta.
Kalabryta was the center of the Baron of Kalavryta within the Frankish Principality of Achaea until it was reconquered by the Byzantines in the 1970’s. After that it remained under Byzantine control until the fall of the Despotate of the Morea to the Ottoman Turks in 1460. With the exception of a 30-year interlude of Venetian control, the town remained under Turkish rule until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, in whose early stages Kalavryta figures prominently.
There are two different routes that you can take in order to go to Kalavryta the one from the highway and the other one from the Corinthian and Achaean mountains that passes from a lot different villages in the area. As usually, no matter the period of the year that you are visiting Kalavryta, we suggest you to take the route from the mountains as you go there and the route from the highway on your way back.
So, the first destination that deserves your attention on your way there if you choose the route that we suggest you is a small village called Levidi. Over there, at the main square that you will pass from, you will find some traditional and some modern coffee shops where you can enjoy a soft drink or even have a light snack. Especially in the winter time, if there is snow on the road the main square of Levidi will be transformed to a very graphic place.
Aprox 17kms before you are in Kalabryta, you will find the Cave of the Lakes at Kastria village. This cave is really a mystery, it has multicolor chambers, stalactites and stalagmites. There are total 13 lakes inside the cave that are connected to each other with small suspension bridges. The cave’s length is aprox 2kms and is unique due to the unusual formation of cascading lakes from three different levels within its mouth. You can enter the cave through an artificial tunnel that leads directly to the second floor. In the winter time when the snow will be melted, a river and natural waterfalls are created, while in the summer time some parts of the cave dry and you can see clear the stones and dams up to 4m high.
After the amazing cave at the Kastria village, you will go straight to your final destination, which is Kalavryta. There are different things that deserve your attention there and some unique attractions from all across Greece.
So, the first option is Odontotos. Odontotos is a railway train that starts from Kalavryta and ends to the village Diakopto all the route parallel to the Vouraikos Gorge. The unique thing about Odontotos is that from the day that it was constructed it travels every day, all year round no matter what the weather is.
The construction of the network started in 1889, when prime minister of Greece was Charilaos Trikoupis and it was ready by March 10th, 1986. The total distance of the railway is aprox 22kms and the route lasts aprox one hour till the end.
Another landmark in the village of Kalavryta is the “Municipal Museum of the Kalavrytan Holocaust”. It is located downtown right next to the train station. The ticket is 3€ and it is open daily except from Monday from 9:00am – 4:00pm. The Museum was originally built to host the Elementary School of Kalavryta in the early 20th century and began operated in 1906. From the beginning it had teachers for all classes and was equipped with teaching aids for the teaching of the historical, linguist, technical and practical subjects. On December 13th of 1943 it burned down by the Germans and later one it was reconstructed and reopened in 1955. Since 1986 it is the house of the Kalavryta Holocaust Municipal Museum.
At the main square of Kalavryta you will find the Byzantine church, the “Assumption of Theotokos Church” and right next to it the statue of Andreas Zaimis. Zaimis was born in Kalavryta and was a major leader of armed men who fought the Otthoman Turks securing Greece’s freedom. In 1826, Zaimis was chosen as the leader of the interim Greek government. The son and grandson of Andreas Zaimis, Thrasivoulos and Alexandros served as Prime Ministers of Greece as well. A little further at the north of the main square of the village you will find the “Three Eldery Plane Tree”,of Zaimis, Patimezas and Fotilas.
Another important historical momentum of Kalavryta is the Place of Sacrifice a little further out from the village. At this place on Kapi ridge, in 13th December of 1943, the German occupation forces executed the entire male population of Kalavryta of 14 years old and over. The letters that you will see at the ground in Greek, « ΟΧΙ ΠΙΑ ΠΟΛΕΜΟΙ – ΕΙΡΗΝΗ» is a message to all over the world that shows the sadness of the victims’ families, meaning “No more war – Peace”.
As you are in Kalavryta you can take the route that leads to the Momentum of Heroes of the Greek revolution of 1821 and then to the Agia Lavra Monastery. The momentum is composed of three statues depicting the clergy, for their participation in the Revolution, the fighters of the Revolution and Freedom from Turkish rule. Every year, celebrations are held to commemorate the historical day of the declaration of independence with a one-minute silence in the memory of those who fought and the playing of the national anthem.
The last destination in Kalavryta that you can spend some nice time is the Ski Centre at the top of the mountain. At the ski centre you can find different activities including sport activities with the snow, chalets, cantina. You can attend a ski lesson or just lease the equipment if you have some experience. Another point of attraction in this area is the St. Hyacinth church. At the very top of the mountain you can find the Helmos Hellenic Atmospheric Aerosol and climate change mountain station. You can go there if you follow the hiking route that starts from the point where you will have to park your car for the Ski Centre. From the very top you will enjoy an amazing view! If you do not want to walk up there you can take the ski lift that goes to a point very close to the Atmospheric Aerosol.
At the main roads next to the main square of Kalavrita you will find a lot of different taverns with traditional Greek food, coffee shops, retail stores if you wish to buy any gifts and some stores that sell local products as well.
Hopefully all the aforementioned information will be useful to you in order to gain another experience from the beauty of the mountains of Greece.
Below, you will find the route from the highway in order to come back to Vida Residential Apartments!