5 Best Things To Do In Katakolon Cruise Port (Olympia, Greece)

Ancient Olympia archaeological site

Welcome to Katakolon cruise port, Greece! (Post updated: March 2024)

Located in the municipality of Pyrgos on the Peloponnese peninsula, this charming port city offers visitors a chance to experience the unique Greek culture, stunning scenery, and archaeological sites. From the picturesque port of Katakolon, you can explore the ancient city of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, visit the nearby beaches, or even take a tour of the Ionian Islands. In this article, read about:

  • Katakolon cruise port (Katakolon cruise terminal, getting around)
  • 5 best things to do in Katakolon port & shore excursions

Visit also our cruise port guides to Athens (Piraeus), Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes, LimassolMalta (Valletta)

Katakolon Cruise Port

Cruise ships dock at a medium-sized harbour located within easy walking distance from the downtown. Two piers can accommodate two cruise vessels, both opening right into the town of Katakolon. The terminal building features facilities such as seating areas, a tourist information desk, ATM, and duty-free shops.

Upon exiting the terminal, you will spot a beautiful waterfront promenade with seaside cafes and taverns offering wonderful coastal views. The next parallel street is a shopping street offering a wide range of shops selling souvenirs, handicrafts, jewelry, leather goods, Greek icons and so much more! You’ll find many mini markets, a post office, a bus/railway station, car rentals, and local tour agencies offering excursions to Olympia and the Greek countryside. You will also find many taxis and companies offering round-trip transfers to Olympia.

Unlike other Greek destinations such as Santorini or Mykonos which are usually packed with tourists, Katakolon (locally known as Katakolo) is less crowded and a perfect place to relax. The town itself is surrounded by low hills and forests, which makes it a perfect location to unwind.

Getting Around Katakolon Olympia

  • The port of Katakolon is flat and suitable for wheelchair users.
  • The currency in Greece is EURO (€). Local currency and credit cards are widely accepted. The currency exchange office and ATMs are available in the town.
  • Katakolon is a small town and there are a few beaches within a short walking/driving distance (read further below). The majority of cruisers choose to visit Ancient Olympia and cruise lines generally organize shore excursions that include a guided visit of the archaeological site and some free time (sometimes with optional lunch). Cruise lines may also offer transfer-only options.
  • Alternative ways to visit Olympia are by taxi or car/scooter rental. The driving distance between Katakolon port and Ancient Olympia is 30 minutes and the official fare is around 45€ per vehicle one way. If you decide to keep the same taxi for a round-trip, you will pay only around 22€ for the way back, however, the waiting time is included in the cost and it is approximately 10€ per hour. If you decide to take another taxi on the way back, you will pay the same rate of 45€ one way (which is a better option, because you can be flexible with time). There are many taxis, so don’t be afraid that you won’t get any. In addition, many taxi drivers offer half-day trips to Olympia (4 hours) for around 80€ per taxi and these trips typically include a visit to the Olympia archaeological site, the archaeological museum and some beach time.
  • Public buses in Katakolon are operated by KTEL company. There is no dedicated bus station in Katakolon, however, there is a bus stop around 350 m from the port, near the waterfront (you’ll spot a large square and playground). Here, you can take a bus to various destinations within the region, including nearby towns, attractions, and transportation hubs. To get to Olympia, first you need to take a bus to Pyrgos Town (driving time 30 mins) and then change the bus to Ancient Olympia (driving time 30 mins). You can check the bus timetables at https://www.katakolon.org/public-bus/. However, the buses are not so frequent, so this is not a recommended option for cruise passengers if you are staying a limited time in port.
  • From Pyrgos, you can also take a train to Olympia, however, there aren’t frequent either so it’s not a recommended option.
  • In front of the cruise terminal area, you will find numerous car/scooter rental companies as well as many independent tour operators and local vendors selling tours to Olympia and nearby attractions. You can also check out Katakolon rent-a-car deals online.
  • Explore Katakolon tours and activities
  • Book a private transfer to/from Katakolon cruise port
  • Book accommodation in Katakolon

5 Best Things to Do in Katakolon Cruise Port

Before I share the best things to do in Katakolon, I invite you to grab your copy of theMediterranean Cruise Port Guide”, the most comprehensive guide to 45 Mediterranean cruise ports (Katakolon is not included), packed with practical information, expert tips & unforgettable experiences! (PDF format/200 pages.

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1. Katakolon Town

The town of Katakolo has a beautiful waterfront area lined with numerous taverns and cafes, where you can spend a relaxing day indulging in the Greek specialties. The main shopping street runs parallel to the waterfront and is filled with shops selling all kinds of goods, including souvenirs, jewelry, handicrafts and typical Greek products.

The most popular landmark of Katakolon is the “Kostas Kotsanas” Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, which is always open when the ship is in port. The museum is located within a 5-minute walk from the port.

Check out Katakolon tours and activities

Katakolon cruise port
Katakolon. Source: Canva Pro

2. Ancient Olympia

Nestled amidst the idyllic landscapes of the Peloponnese, Ancient Olympia is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. It was the birthplace of the Olympic Games and served as the site of the ancient Olympic Games for over a millennium, from 776 BCE to the 4th AD.

Ancient Olympia Peloponnese
Archaeological Site of Olympia

Visitors to Ancient Olympia can explore the well-preserved ruins that showcase the grandeur of the past. Marvel at the remains of the Temple of Zeus with its colossal columns, the ancient Stadium where the athletes used to compete (fun fact: they ran naked!) and the ancient Gymnasium, a training ground for athletes.

Within a 10-minute walk from the archaeological site, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Olympia which houses a remarkable collection of artifacts offering a glimpse into the rich history and grandeur of the ancient Olympic Games.

Archaeological Museum of Olympia, Peloponnese
Archaeological Museum of Olympia

Useful info:

  • The entrance ticket costs 14€ and includes access to the Archaeological Site of Olympia, Archaeological Museum of Olympia, Museum of the History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity, and Museum of the History of the Excavations in Olympia.
  • The Archaeological Site of Olympia is partially wheelchair-accessible, while the museum is fully accessible.
  • The facilities on site are limited, so make sure you use toilets and purchase water before entering the site.
  • You need around 3 hours to visit both the Archaeological Site of Olympia and the museum.
  • There are a couple of nice restaurants nearby – I had lunch at Ambrosia restaurant and both the food and setting were fantastic!

Explore Ancient Olympia tours and activities

3. Katakolon Beaches

Several beautiful beaches near Katakolon cruise port offer a chance to unwind and enjoy the coastal scenery. These include:

  • Agios Andreas Beach (3 km/1.8 miles, a 5-minute drive) – This family-friendly beach offers soft golden sand and clear turquoise waters. Visitors can relax under the sun on lounge chairs or bring their beach towels. The beach is well-equipped with facilities such as beach bars, taverns, and water sports activities, making it a perfect spot for a day of sun, sea, and fun.
  • Plakes Beach (also known as Reneta Beach) – This is the nearest beach to Katakolon port and is located only 200 m from the terminal. It is a small pebbly beach featuring a small beach bar and basic facilities such as showers and changing rooms. The beach tends to get really crowded and it’s the best option if you are just looking for a quick dip into the sea.
  • Kourouta Beach – Situated 22 km/13 miles (a 25-minute drive) northwest of Katakolon port, this sandy beach stretches for about 3 km along the Ionian Sea, offering ample space for relaxation and recreation. With its soft golden sand and clear waters, Kourouta Beach is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. You can find sun loungers and umbrellas available for rent, showers and changing facilities for convenience, as well as a wide variety of beachfront taverns, cafes, and bars. This beach is suitable for families and offers a range of water sports activities, including jet skiing, paddle boarding, and windsurfing.
  • Skafidia Beach (Paralia Skafidia) – Located 10 km/6 miles (a 15-minute drive) north of Katakolon port, this beach features a mixture of sand and pebbles, with a calm and tranquil atmosphere. It is known for its crystal-clear waters and natural beauty. While Skafidia Beach is relatively less crowded, it offers limited facilities, so visitors may want to bring their umbrellas, snacks, and drinks. It’s an ideal spot for those seeking a more serene and secluded beach experience away from the bustling crowds.

Explore Katakolon beach tours and activities

4. Mercouri Estate Winery

Mercouri Estate Winery is a renowned winery located just 4 km/2.5 miles (less than a 10-minute drive) from Katakolon, offering a delightful wine-tasting experience. Situated in the scenic countryside of the Peloponnese, this family-owned estate has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century.

At Mercouri Estate, you can immerse yourself in the world of winemaking and explore their vineyards, which stretch across the picturesque landscape. The estate offers guided tours, wine tastings, and the chance to explore their vineyards. Sample a variety of their exquisite wines, including indigenous Greek varieties such as the red Refosco and white Roditis, and purchase your favorites at their charming wine shop. It’s a delightful opportunity to experience Greek wines and enjoy the beauty of the estate.

Check out Katakolon wine-tasting tours and activities

5. Pyrgos (Elis)

Nestled in the heart of the Peloponnese region, around 14 km/8 miles (a 20-minute drive) northeast of Katakolon cruise port, Pyrgos (Elis) is a captivating town that invites visitors to explore its rich history and vibrant atmosphere. As you wander through the picturesque streets of Pyrgos, you’ll encounter local shops, inviting cafes, and family-run taverns where you can savor delicious Greek cuisine.

Admire the city’s beautiful neoclassical architecture and make sure to visit the Municipal Art Gallery of Pyrgos if you are an art enthusiast. You can get to Pyrgos from Katakolon cruise port by local bus or taxi.

Explore Pyrgos tours and activities

Visit also our cruise port guides to Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Split, Dubrovnik

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2 thoughts on “5 Best Things To Do In Katakolon Cruise Port (Olympia, Greece)”

  1. Wow, your travel blog post is absolutely captivating! Your vivid descriptions and stunning photographs have transported me to the serene beauty of the destination, and your insightful tips will definitely come in handy when I plan my own visit.https://www.traversnepal.com Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us!

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