Katakolon, Greece – Home of Olympia
Katakolon is a small port town located on the west coast of the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece. The town, which many still classify as a village, is situated in the municipality of Pyrgos, and is known for being a popular stop for cruise ships. It is claimed it is the second most visited port in the country (after Athens) which is quite a claim considering the popularity of Santorini and Mykonos islands. If visiting by cruise ship, check if you are going to be docked or tendered as some larger ships will have to anchor in the harbour.
A Bird’s Eye View of a Portion of the Town
A Cruise Ship in the Harbor
Olympia & More
One of the main attractions in Katakolon is the ancient site of Olympia, a UNESCO Heritage World Site, which is located just a 30-minute drive away from the town. Olympia was the site of the ancient Olympic Games, which were held every four years in honor of the god Zeus. Visitors can tour the ruins of the stadium, the Temple of Zeus, and the workshop of the famous sculptor Pheidias. Make sure you also see the Temple of Hera where the Olympic torch is lit for the Games and begins its journey to the current site of the modern Olympic Games the location of which changes every event. These days this task of lighting the torch is accomplished by use of sunlight and a mirror!
Another popular attraction in Katakolon is the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games, which showcases artifacts and displays related to the ancient Olympic Games. The museum also houses a collection of stamps and coins that were issued to commemorate the modern Olympic Games.
Katakolon is also a great place to explore the local culture and history. The town is home to several churches and chapels, some decorated in the traditional Greek colours of white and blue, and which can date back centuries. Visitors can also take a walk around the town to see the traditional houses and narrow streets. There’s a Hop On Hop Off bus which will tour the surrounding peninsula and the larger town of Pyrgos.
Traditional Greek Colors on the Orthodox Church
Beaches, Food, & Shopping
In addition to its historical and cultural attractions, Katakolon is also a great destination for those looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Greece. The town is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, and there are several beaches and coves nearby such as Plakes beach where visitors can swim and sunbathe. The town is actually situated on the Gulf of Kyparissia. Its beach stretches over twenty-five miles along its coast. If you prefer to travel inland and visit an olive grove, book a farm tour where you can participate in an olive-oil and honey tasting. Maybe there will be Greek wine too!
Speaking of food, if you’re looking for a place to grab a bite to eat, there are several restaurants and cafes in Katakolon that serve traditional Greek cuisine. Some popular dishes include moussaka, souvlaki, and dolmades. There are also several tavernas and bars where visitors can enjoy a drink or a night out.
For those who are interested in shopping, there are several souvenir shops and boutiques on the main street in Katakolon where visitors can find traditional Greek products such as ceramics, olive wood products, textiles, and jewelry. As you can walk the length of the town in less than a half hour, it is like an outdoor shopping mall with almost one hundred shops covering items from the basics to the artisanal.
Pottery – Unmistakable Greek Decoration
Dine by the Sea
When To Visit
Peak tourist season is the summer months of July and August while cruise ships call between April and October. With the heat waves that continue to strike Europe every summer, the best time to travel and enjoy this destination would probably be during the spring and autumn months. This way you also avoid the hordes of other tourists flocking to this area.
A Colorful Welcome to Katakolon
Overall, Katakolon is a wonderful destination for those who are looking to explore the ancient history, culture, and natural beauty of Greece. With its rich history, beautiful beaches, and delicious food, it is a perfect place to spend a day or two while on a cruise or touring Greece and the Greek Isles. Contact your travel expert at this agency to arrange your Greek odyssey!
All images courtesy of Adobe Stock. Article first appeared on Real Travel Experts.