Located in the heart of the prefecture of Ahaia, Kalavryta comprises a cluster of quaint mountain villages and communes, each with its own particular interest for visitors. The municipality boasts significant historical monuments, fascinating natural beauty and excellent ski facilities, making it one of the most popular winter destinations in the Peloponnese.
Nested at the foot of Mount Helmos at almost 800m above sea level, the historic head-village with the same name dates back to the Middle Ages and is famous for its multitude of springs. Burnt down to the ground twice during the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century, the town suffered its worst tragedy during the WWII German occupation, when in 1943 all of its male population over the age of 13 were executed by Nazi troops. The modern town of Kalavryta is a contemporary commercial centre with many tourist attractions and excellent infrastructure, famous for its 19th-century rack-and-pinion railway (odontotos), the narrowest one in Europe and the only one in Greece. In its 23-km journey the train passes through the gorge of Vouraikos, going in and out a number of tunnels, traveling along the river bank amidst a landscape endowed with rare natural beauty.
The Vouraikos Gorge, which is included in the Natura 2000 list, hosts a great variety of birds, mostly vultures, as well as interesting flora on its slopes. The gorge is dotted with chapels and monasteries with frescos dating back to the 18th century. Crossing the Vouraikos gorge is a unique experience. The route runs parallel to the tracks of “odontotos” forms part of the E4 international path. The railway is among the six most famous railway networks world-wide. It is synonym with the Vouraikos gorge, crossing landscapes of unsurpassed wild beauty even next to the banks of the river. There are six tunnels and 49 bridges, while the width of the tracks at 0.75 meters makes it the narrowest of its kind world-wide. The length of the network is approximately 22 kilometers.
At a mere 10km from Kalavryta, the 4th century AD monastery of Mega Spilaio is one of the oldest ones in Greece, built on a breathtaking location on the face of a precipitous rock at 924m above sea-level. The monastery houses an icon of Virgin Mary a creation of Evangelist Luke, made of wax and mastic, as well as a wealth of precious relics. At 10km from Kalavryta, another very important monastery, the 10th century AD Aghia Lavra is also well worth a visit. It was there where the Greek fighters in 1821 took their sacred oath to fight for freedom. Extreme-sport aficionados should not miss Zachlorou, a pair of two villages separated by the crystal-clear waters of Vouraikos River, the springboard for hiking and rock-climbing in the Vouraikos Gorge.
At 16km from Kalavryta, the village of Kastria is the location of the Cave of Lakes, one of the largest and most significant in Greece, comprising 13 terraced lakes adorned with hundreds of stalactites and stalagmites in fascinating shapes. Located east of the town on the slopes of Mt. Aroania (Helmos) at an altitude of 2341-m above sea-level, the Kalavryta Ski Centre, one of the most popular in Greece, boasts modern facilities including 8 ski lifts and 13 ski runs, parking, two chalets, coffee shops, restaurants, special ski run for moguls ski, snowboard park, paragliding, snowmobiles part and a lot of happenings.