Curious about how to get from Athens to Kalamata? This comprehensive guide discusses all of the various options available for making the journey.
Kalamata is the second-largest city in the rugged Peloponnese region of Greece. It is perhaps best known for its namesake black Kalamata olives.
However, travel to this region goes far beyond fruits and condiments! The Peloponnese in general is one of the most naturally beautiful and grossly underrated parts of the country.
Visiting Kalamata, Greece
Kalamata is the second-largest city in the Peloponnese after the region’s capital: Patras. It is a worthwhile weekend destination in itself, but it also makes a wonderful stopping point as part of a wider Greece road trip.
You can combine a trip to Kalamata with an exploration of the Mani peninsula and the nearby Lakonia region. While you are in the area, the Byzantine settlements of Monemvasia and Mystras are not to be missed.
In Kalamata, part of the fun of exploring the city is found in simply taking the time to get lost among the narrow cobbled streets and passageways. This area is essentially a labyrinth of unsuspecting little alleys that twist and turn and open out to charming plateias (squares) lined with eclectic boutique stores and quaint cafes.
Many of the stores here sell agro products like Kalamata olives, olive oil, cold cut meats, and cheeses. These are perfect for making an ad-hoc charcuterie board in your self-catered accommodation or as edible Greek souvenirs for your foodie friends.
There are also several museums in Kalamata that are very well deserved of your time. The Archeological Museum of Kalamata and the Historical and Folklore Museum of Kalamata, at the very least, deserves a place on your Kalamata to-do list.
How to Get from Athens to Kalamata, Greece
There is a distance of 238.6km between Athens and Kalamata. This equates to approximately 2.5 hours of driving time. Obviously, traveling by bus takes slightly longer on account of the various stops en route.
Having access to a vehicle and driving to Kalamata is the option that gives you the most flexibility and independence. However, public transport in Greece is also excellent.
Sure, this is a moderately long journey. But if you opt to take the bus, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the buses are, and how stress-free the process of taking buses in Greece is.
Driving from Athens to Kalamata
Driving in Greece can be an enjoyable experience, provided that you have plenty of patience and you are always aware of your surroundings and other drivers. The road from Athens to Kalamata takes you past breathtaking scenery, vineyards, fragrant olive groves, and quaint country villages.
Even if your Greece travel itinerary does not allow you the time to break up the journey and visit some of the destinations en route, there are several interesting things that you can see from the window. For instance, you can stop and snap a quick photo of the famous Corinth canal as you drive past it. Grab a quick Greek coffee and a pastry in Tripoli, and admire the quintessentially Greek villages that whizz past your window en route to Kalamata.
A lot of Greek rental cars come with sat navs. Alternatively, invest in a Greek sim card and use Google Maps on your phone as a GPS. Maps Me is another great map app that works offline.
The fastest route from Athens to Kalamata is via the A7. Keep in mind that this route has tolls that must be paid in cash so be sure to keep plenty of small denomination notes and change with you.
Exit Athens and follow Leof. Athinon and EO8 to Olimpia Odos/A8/E94 in Mandra. Then, take the A7 to Spartis in Kalamata.
Renting a car in Greece
Renting a car in Greece is a great idea because it means that you don’t have to rely on public transport schedules during your trip. It also makes it easier to get off the beaten track and discover nontouristic villages and secluded beaches that would otherwise be difficult to access.
A number of reputable rental companies operate in Greece -including the likes of Sixt, Avis, and Europcar. Prices vary depending on the season and demand so the best way to find a rental car is to use a comparison website like Discover Cars.
You can pick your car up from somewhere in Athens city centre (e.g. your hotel, Syntagma Square, etc) or immediately upon arrival at Eleftherios Venizelos airport. One-way rentals cost more than picking up and returning your car to the same place so think carefully about your route.
Take the KTEL bus to Kalamata
KTEL Messinias operates a bus from Athens to Kalamata that departs seven times a day. The bus currently departs at the below times:
- 07:00 am
- 11:00 am
- 13:00 pm
- 15:00 pm
- 17:00 pm
- 19:00 pm
- 21:00 pm
The journey takes between 3 hours and 3 hours and 15 minutes by bus, depending on the specific bus that you take. You can buy tickets online in advance via the KTEL Messinias website or in person at the bus station ticket office.
There really isn’t any need to purchase tickets online in advance unless you are traveling during a Greek festival or holiday. You are usually fine to arrive at the bus station an hour before traveling and purchase your tickets then.
There are several bus stations in Athens. Buses to Kalamata depart from Kifissos which is the city’s largest bus station. If you are taking a Greek Cab/Taxi beat to the station, do make sure that you input the correct station information as there are several!
A one-way ticket to Kalamata costs between €7 and €11 each way. It is important to note that although KTEL is the name of the bus network in Greece, there is not one main centralised KTEL website.
So, there are different KTEL websites for different regions of Greece. Confusing eh?
Welcome to Greece! So, to check info for travelling to Kalamata, you will use KTEL Messinias whereas, in Thessaloniki, you will use KTEL Macedonia, and to get from Athens to Meteora you use KTEL Attikis.
Flying from Athens to Kalamata
Flying from Athens to Kalamata is not really a viable option. However, Kalamata does have its own international airport.
Kalamata’s Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos (KLX) airport receives a lot of flights during summer in Greece. Numerous European flight companies such as Ryanair, Aegean Airlines, Easyjet, Lufthansa, and British Airways offer flights to Kalamata.
You can fly to and from the airport from Milan, Oslo, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Munich, Paris, and several other European cities. The only domestic flights to Kalamata within Greece depart from Thessaloniki.
There are no flights from Athens at this time however this may change in the future. If your flight lands in Athens and you want to go directly to Kalamata rather than spending a day in Athens, you need to make your way from Athens airport to the city centre first. There is no bus from Athens airport to Kalamata.
You can either take the X95 bus to Syntagma Square and then take a cab to the bus station. Alternatively, take the blue line metro to Syntagma or Monastiraki. From there you need to make your way to the bus station.
Organise a cab or private transfer
Several local taxi companies have drivers that will happily take you from Athens or Athens airport to Kalamata. Keep in mind that this is a 2.5-hour journey so this is not the most economical option.
However, if there are a few of you travelling together and you want to take some of the stress out of waiting around at bus stations and managing the logistics of getting from A to B to C, this can be a good choice. You can also organise an Athens airport transfer so that someone is collecting you straight from the airport.
What is your preferred way to get from Athens to Kalamata? Perhaps you will also find this guide on planning a trip to Greece useful, especially if it is your first time How to Get from Athens to Kalamata: Your 2022 Guidetraveling here.
Have a wonderful time! Geia sou! Xo