The small cruise port and seaside town of Katakolon, or Katakolo, offers an excellent opportunity to experience authentic Greek culture and to discover its secrets and rich history. This quiet fishing village is one of the lesser-known areas of Greece, although it can undoubtedly boast of being the land from which the Olympic Games began. It is here that you will discover the ancient site of Olympia, along with a true feel of local life and Greek countryside.
Katakolon (pronounced "ka-TA-ko-lon") is conveniently located on the west coast of the Peloponnese. It 320 km southwest of Athens and administratively it belongs to the Municipality of Pyrgos. The harbor is within walking distance of the picturesque fishing village that reminds you a little of an island. The village is surrounded by low hills with forests. Katakolon now sees plenty of traffic, mainly from cruise ships with visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ancient Olympia and the surrounding area. Also, nearby is the sunken ancient city Pheia, once one of the harbors of the nearby cult site of Olympia.
The History of Katakolon
Katakolo of ancient times is located in the area of ancient Pheia, a city located on the beach of today's Agios Andreas. It was the second port of Ilia after Kyllini. During the Homeric years it was a fortress, while during the Peloponnesian War (second half of the 5th century BC) it was a stronghold of the Athenians to capture Elia.
The port was lost in the sea during the strong earthquake of the 6th century AD, while the islands of Tigani and Korakas are still distinguished by the bay of Agios Andreas. Shells of all ages have been found, from the Neolithic to the Roman period.
The region played an important strategic role during the Byzantine and Medieval times, as in the remnants of the ancient Acropolis the Villehardouins built the majestic Pontikokastro / Beauvoir castle.
After the liberation from the Turkish yoke, the center of Katakolon was moved to the area where it is today. It was at that time one of the most important ports of the country for the export of currant, Greece's most important export product. Today, the port still plays an important but mainly touristic role.
“Discover the best of Katakolon
with the locals!”
In Katakolon, visitors have many options to fill their leisure time or enjoy their vacation. Therein lies the magic of this place, in how many places, creations of nature or man, can excite your interest.
The lighthouse, the beautiful mountain trails, the picturesque church of Agios Nikolaos are the most popular attractions of the village. Explore the beach area and the picturesque alleys before visiting one of the many tavernas and cafés to get to know the locals and sample the excellent Greek cuisine. The waterfront is dominated by old currant warehouses which have now been restored into cafés, tavernas and souvenir shops giving a distinctive color.
Shopping in Katakolon
The village of Katakolon is arranged in three parallel roads that follow the shoreline. The front promenade is lined with warehouses that have been converted into tavernas, cafes and souvenir shops and offers a wonderful view of the port and marina. On the second road, the main road, you will find a couple of ATMs, the post office and plenty of jewelry and souvenir shops for tourists. The backstreet, although more residential, also offers a variety of shops along with a bakery.
Katakolon Local Products
For the eclectic visitor who seeks out local delights, Katakolon proves itself an idyllic destination. Adding to the long list of assets of Katakolon and its surroundings is the production of its exquisite local produce; currants, the “black gold” which contributed to the long prosperity of the area; the famous Greek olives and blends of olive oil; the superb wines, cultivated in the region for over a millennium; dairy products as well as local honey offer the visitor unprecedented gastronomical experiences.
Lovers of the sea should not miss the tranquility and coolness of the numerous blue beaches of Katakolon, where you can relax on the golden sand and swim in the crystal-clear waters. Katakolon Beach is within walking distance from the port. Alternatively, for those who prefer to take a dip further away from the waters of the port, visit the organized (with sunbeds and umbrellas) beach of Agios Andreas or the unspoiled beach of Skafidia. A Blue flag award winner, the popular beach of Kourouta is an ideal option for families. Kourouta Beach is well-organized and caters to all your needs.
Katakolon with Kids
Katakolon is the idyllic cruise port destination for families with kids as the kid-friendly tours and shore excursions can be both educational and fun. The endless sandy beaches, warm sun, fascinating Greek myths and fantastic food are just a few reasons why kids will love Katakolon! Local expert tourist guides will make Greek heroes and legends come alive and introduce them to the origins of the ancient Olympic Games as they run the Olympic track where Hercules first participated and even make their own olive wreaths and challenge each other for the crown!
From Katakolon to Olympia
For those who consider that a trip to Greece is incomplete without visiting Olympia, Katakolon is definitely the idyllic cruise port destination. Set among cypress trees and olive groves, Olympia is most famous as the home of the Olympic Games with several sights to explore the town’s ancient legacy.
Dedicated to Zeus, the father of the Greek gods, the sanctuary of Olympia was the most important religious and athletic center in Greece. Visit the ancient stadium where the Olympic Games were held, the very spot where the Olympic flame is lit for each Olympiad and the ruins of the temple of Zeus where the statue of Zeus, the first of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World once stood. Not far from the archaeological site you will find the Archaeological Museum of Olympia which houses discoveries from the ancient site and the surrounding area.
The modern town of Olympia teems with tourist shops, restaurants and cafés but preserves a relaxed pace that makes visiting the ancient sights and surroundings a pleasure. Apart from these, the natural beauty of the Greek countryside is a sight in itself.
Katakolon Tours and Shore Excursions
Due to its geographical position, Katakolon is also the perfect base to explore the amazing ancient site and museum of Olympia, stunning beaches, award-winning wineries, striking churches and monasteries, traditional villages, medieval castles, and much more.
Check out these Katakolon tours and shore excursions carefully curated by our specialists:
Katakolon Joined Tours & Shore Excursions
- Premium Skip-the-Line Olympia - Katakolon Joined Tour (5h)
- Olympia - Katakolon Joined Tour & Free Olive Oil Tasting (5h)
- Olympia - Katakolon Joined Tour – Pure Olympia (4h)
- Olympia - Katakolon Joined Tour with On Board Guidance – Budget Tour (5h)
Katakolon Private Tours & Shore Excursions
- Private Olympia Sightseeing #1 rated tour
- Olympia Taxi Tour Experience
- Ancient Olympia & Beach Fun for Kids (half day)
- Ancient Olympia & Beach Getaway (half day)
- Olympia & Wine Flavors - Site and Winery - Half Day Tour
- Olympia & Archimedes’ Ancient Technology Museum – Kid friendly tour (4H)
- The Kourouta Beach Experience – Beach Getaway (half day)
- Sailing Experience at Katakolon - the Ionian Sea (8h)
- Temple of Apollo Epicurius - Monastery of Sepeto & Andritsaina Village (7-8h)
- The Mercouri Winery Experience (3h)
- Chlemoutsi Castle & Kourouta Beach Getaway - Kid Friendly Tour (full day)
- The Best of Katakolon with the Locals - Kremasti Monastery & Agios Andreas Beach