After pickup from your Costa Navarino hotel, journey through Greece's picturesque countryside by private, air-conditioned vehicle toward Kalamata.
On route, learn about this lovely city, the second-largest in the Peloponnese, hearing how it centers on a hilltop Frankish castle encircled by an old town that was severely damaged by a 1986 earthquake.
On arrival, hop out at pretty Ypapanti Square in the old town. Admire the silver-domed 19th-century Church of Ypapanti, and learn how the earthquake exposed remnants of ancient Kalamata underneath it, including fragments of the original city wall, statues, and pottery.
Climb up to the crumbled 12th-century castle and explore the old stones and walls as you hear about the Villehardouins, the noble French family who built it, including tales of the 13th-century Princess Isabella and her father, William.
Stop below the castle to see some well-preserved, early 19th-century houses that survived the earthquake, and pass Kalamata’s first free hospital after 300 years of Turkish rule.
See the cave-built Church of St. John, used as a secret school during the Turkish period, and visit the Monastery of Nuns, a working monastery founded in 1796. The original nuns were versed in the cultivation of silkworms and silk-making, and their modern-day counterparts produce exquisite hand-woven scarves and handkerchiefs, forever linking Kalamata with this beautiful fabric. See the courtyard and churches here, and perhaps buy some silk (own expense) from the shop.
Then, continue to the 11th-century Church of Agioi Apostoli, Kalamata’s oldest, and enjoy free time for shopping and coffee in the surrounding roads and square. Stroll along Kalamata’s pedestrianized main street, admiring its neo-classical and 20th-century inter-war buildings, including the City Hall.
Finally, choose a restaurant, perhaps one recommended by your guide, and relax over a lunch (own expense) of local cuisine. Your trip then finishes at your Costa Navarino hotel.