Katakolo is the harbor of Pirgos, the capital of Illia County. It was built in the 19th century in order to export products in Europe especially raisins. Today the harbor operates mainly for touristic reasons and less for commercial purposes.
In the entrance of the harbor the visitor will see old raisin warehouses, which have been converted into restaurants and taverns. In the summer period, the harbor serves a great number of cruise ships which visit the area. If you travel by boat, Katakolo is an ideal destination.
You will enjoy walking in this traditional village which beautifully combines sea and mountain. At the edge of the harbor you will see the historical lighthouse of Katakolo, which was built in 1855.
In the wider area you will find some traditional vineyards and olive groves that exist even from the 19th century. You could visit one and learn all the details about the traditional procedures the locals used to produce the well-known products of the area like olive oil, wine and of course raisins. In Katakolo you will find a lot of traditional fish taverns.
Katakolo during Antiquity was situated at the St. Andreas beach and the name of the settlement was Ancient Feia during that period. It was the second biggest harbor of the wider area of Illia (the first was in Kyllini). According to Homeric poems Katakolo was a fortress near Iardanos River. During the Peloponnesian War, Kalakolo was used by the Athenians in order to conquer Illia. In 6th century AD, there was an earthquake in the area which resulted in the destruction of the harbor and the ancient harbor was lost into the sea.
The settlement was important during the Byzantine and Medieval period. The Frankish castle “Pontikokastro” was built during the 13th century above the remains of the acropolis of Ancient Feia. The castle was named “Belvedere” from the Franks due to the astonishing view. You can still visit the location with the remains of this old castle in Katakolo. If you travel with your loved one this location offers a great opportunity to enjoy a romantic sunset.
After the liberation of the Greek Nation from the Ottoman occupancy in the end of the 19th the modern city of Katakolo was built and developed into one of the most important harbors for the exportation of raisins to Europe. During this period of economic prosperity, in 1882 the railway from Pirgos to Katakolo was built in the area. This railway was the second railway which was built in Greece. The exports gradually stopped and the importance of the railway and the harbor reduced. Today the train operates mainly for the transfer of the travelers and the harbor operates until today mainly for touristic purposes as well.
The closest and most popular beaches of Katakolo are Letrina beach and Spiatza beach. These beaches are parts of the same long sandy coast. The crystal clear water of this coastline will astonish you. Near this beach you will find a lot of taverns and cafes.
Only a few minutes away from Katakolo you could visit Agios Andreas settlement with the beautiful sandy beach. The beach is organized with sun beds and umbrellas and you will find some cafes here to enjoy your drink or a snack. The beach offers a nice view of the islets “Korakas” and “Tigani” across the beach.
Skafidia beach, about 8km north of Katakolo, is a lovely sandy beach with shallow water. This beach is surrounded by trees.
If you don’t mind travelling a little further, you could also visit Kourouta, about 25km away from Katakolo. This place offers an astonishing golden beach with crystal clear water.
Places to visit
The sciences and technology that developed in Ancient Greece astonish until today the scientists. In Katakolo you could visit the Museum of the Ancient Greek Technology. Here replicas of inventions and mechanisms of the Ancient Greece are exhibited. These inventions and mechanisms were used from 2000BC until 100AD.
Ancient Olympia is about 33km away from Katakolo. You could visit this world known archaeological site where the first Olympic Games took place in 776BC. The remains of the temple of Zeus can be seen here. Inside this temple there was the famous chryselephantine statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Try running at the stadium and feel like an ancient Greek athlete. The most important findings are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, like for example the stunning statue of Hermes of Praxiteles also known as Hermes and the Infant Dionysos.
Kaiafas is situated about 43,5km south of Katakolo. There is a beach that divides the lake from the sea. The natural beauty of this place will excite its visitors and the beach is considered one of the best in Peloponnese. The place is known from the Antiquity for the thermal springs that even today attracts many visitors because of their healing powers. Very close to Kaiafas there is the small town Zacharo with the homonym fantastic sandy beach.
While you are in this area you could also try river trekking across the Neda River. It is a place with natural beauty which charms the visitors and the river trekking is a rewarding experience. Consult some of the guided tours organized by experts in the area because the route might not be suitable for everyone.
About 50km away from Katakolo towards the North you will find Arkoudi, the lovely seaside village with the beautiful beach.