A Quick Visit to Kalamata

If, after you visit the nicely excavated market place and streets of ancient Messene, you long for some more lively city streets, head to Kalamata, only 31km (19 miles) to the south. On the beach a few miles out of Kalamata, the Mark Warner-operated San Agostino Beach and Spa Resort (www.markwarner.co.uk) has 63 units and more than 100 bungalows, is family-friendly, and offers sailing clinics; prices are available on request. Closer to town, the 193-unit Filoxenia Hotel has all the creature comforts, including swimming pools and restaurants (Navarinou St., 24100 Kalamata; www.grecotel.gr; tel. 210-322-5891); doubles start at 200€. In Kalamata itself, the seven-unit Hibiscus Hotel occupies a 19th-century neoclassical house, is furnished with antiques, and has its own peaceful garden (196 Faron St., 24100 Kalamata; www.traditionalhomes.gr; tel. 27210/62-511); doubles begin at 80€. I have to say that although I usually love anything in a neoclassical building, I find the Hotel Rex (26 Aristomenous, 21400 Kalamata; www.rexhotel.gr; tel. 27210/94-440) seriously boring. The facade is wonderful, the public rooms are okay, but the rooms are, well, unimaginative. If you get to Kalamata, try to eat the famous local figs and olives, take in the old market area, and visit the excellent Benakion Archaeological Museum, founded by the same family that gave Athens its Benaki museums (Benaki and Papazoglou sts., 24100 Kalamata; tel. 27210/26-209; Tues-Sun 8:30am-3pm). The Kalamata Dance Festival (www.kalamatadancefestival.gr) attracts contemporary dance groups from around the world for 10 days of performances, seminars, and films each year in mid-July.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.