So, for your very own reasons, you find yourself in Greece.It’s wintertime and you want to feel the winter scent, meaning you want to go the mountain. You want to spend the night in a chalet overlooking the snowy mountain of the area. Having a glass of wine by the fireplace made out of stone… Sounds cool so far? Yeah it does, doesn’t it? Too good to be true in Greece? Wrong!
That’s why you have to visit a place like Kalavryta especially in winter. Too many things can be said about this village. Kalavryta is widely known in Greece as a popular ski center. It takes you less than 3 hours from Athens by car to reach your destination. It lies in Achaia prefecture built on the hill slopes of Mount Helmos on 750 meters altitude.
I was fortunate enough to spend six months of my life running a small guest house in the area. That gave me the possibility to live from the inside the everyday life of the inhabitants as being one of them and I loved it. That experience I share with you on this post.
The main source of income comes from tourism. There are many hotels of different categories, taverns and bars. You will also find ski equipment stores. The ski center is only 15 minutes driving from the village and the road is quite good.
It is considered one of the best in the country, having 12 ski slopes for all types of skiers. It is one of the few that you can enjoy other activities like snowmobile riding. There is also a small slope just for sleighs. More info about the ski center regarding the prices you can find here.
I used to snowboard on the weekdays. It was not crowded at all and I could get the best out of it. You had this feeling that the whole mountain was at your disposal, just for you.
The mount of Helmos raises the interest for something else too. Aristarchos is one of the most advanced technological telescopes in Europe. The place was selected as the area has the perfect climatic conditions with no light pollution whatsoever.
If you fancy a train ride, then Kalavryta is the place to be. The rack railway is one of the most scenic routes that you will ever find in Europe. It starts from the railway station of Diakofto in the seafront and after a distance of 22 km and within 60 minutes it ends in the town of Kalavrita.
In a few words, an unforgettable journey through the evergreen and incredibly beautiful nature of the Vouraikos Gorge awaits every passenger of this special train
The trains operate on a daily basis. For more info about the timetables check this. The price is 19 Euro round trip. It is better to book in advance.
If you are into cave exploring, Kalavryta has something for you too! The cave of the lakes lies about 17 km from Kalavryta. It is a rare creation of nature. Apart from its labyrinth of corridors, its mysterious galleries and its strange stalactite formations, the “Cave of the Lakes” has something exclusively unique that does not exist in other well-known caves. Inside the cave there is a string of cascading lakes forming three different levels that establish its uniqueness in the world. The cost of the ticket is 9 Euros for the adults and 4,5 Euros for the children.
Last but not least, the accommodation. There are over 5o lodges in the area to choose from. 4* star hotels like this, to simple rooms providing just the basic, the choice is yours. Most of the hotels have a fireplace inside the room, a huge advantage if you ask me! I always pick a room with a fireplace if this option in on the table.
Of course, the area has more to give to its visitors. Every year cycling races take place in the ski center in the off season period, as the terrain is the perfect one for downhill cycling.
The list of activities is almost endless. You can stay many days in Kalavryta without doing the same thing every day! There are these guys that can help you out pretty much with everything in the area.
Tip of the day: You must drink a coffee and taste the local homemade desserts in the local pastry shops situated in the pedestrian street
This is, in a nutshell, a preview of Kalavryta. A place that definitely worths your visit and a place to remember.
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