Travels in Greece

Katakolon Western Peleponnese | Greece

Katakolon Katakolon (Κατάκολον) is a small, some would say sleepy, port town located about 15kms from Pirgos on the western coast of the Peloponnese. Its main claim to fame is a deepwater port suitable for the largest cruise ships you can imagine, along with the fact that it is only 35kms from Ancient Olympia. It is also where my wife´s family is from, so I have spent more than a few summer holidays sitting around Katakolon chatting with friends, watching the cruise ships come and go and exploring the surrounding areas.

Don’t want to read it all? Use the following links to get to what you want fast, or else read on for the full Katakolon story!:

A short history of Katakolon

Katakolon has always been a port town, with its original heyday being the end of the 19th to the mid 20th century when it was the main point of departure for the region’s famous raisons. The Pirgos – Katakolon rail link was completed in 1881, a full 10 years before the Greek state railway line between Athens and Lamia was constructed. Katakolo’s port was funded entirely by the local Pirgos authorities to facilitate the transport of finished raisons to the ships at Katakolon where they were shipped to all the major ports of Europe. The Katakolon of those days can still be seen in the old warehouse buildings along its back streets, some of which have been nicely restored.

That being said, the first time I went to Katakolon in 1997 my first impressions were not particularly warm. The town had a bit of a rundown feeling to it, some of its older buildings along the back roads were in complete disrepair and the general feeling was one of a place that was on its last legs, port or no port, Olympia or no Olympia.

Since 2003 however, Katakolon has undergone a surprising and very pleasing makeover. The port was renovated in that year with funds donated by the town’s most famous of sons, John Latsis. With the renovated port came more cruise ships with more tourist dollars and in a surprisingly short time Katakolon has become a much nicer place to hang out in with most of its old buildings lovingly restored, the cafes and tavernas along the waterfront full of smiling people and its relaxed bars pulling in the locals from Pirgos on the weekends.

Katakolon to Olympia

Many of you reading this might well be coming on a cruise ship, and maybe you will want to know if there are any options for getting from Katakolon to Olympia which does not involve the official cruise ship tour (something I have been asked by more than one lost looking soul wandering down the beach). Well, the short answer is yes, there are, although walking is not one of them. If you are adventurous you could rent a car from one of the car rental agencies and drive yourself. The roads from Katakolon to Olympia are in good condition and hold no major surprises and the signs have been improved in the last few years to avoid having to go through Pirgos.

If you are considering the DIY driving route take into account the complete chaos that is called parking in Olympia. They have recently closed the main road to thru traffic meaning that you will need to park at the far end of town (while battling through the waiting busses and taxis parked all along the main road) and then walk the entire length of Olympia to get to the site. It is not that far, say 15-20 minutes normal walking, but the summer heat and the bus and taxi fumes can make that seem like a pretty long 15 minutes.

Train from Katakolon to Olympia

Remember that train line from Katakolon to Pirgos? Well it is back up and running! Having been defunct for the better part of 20 years, I can honestly say that I never really expected to see it back in operation again, but in operation it is and not only will it take you to Pirgos, it will take you all the way to Olympia. If that is not good enough news, it will do this for you in ultra modern, air conditioned carriages.

The train station is a 10-15 minute walk down the Katakolon sea front from the main pier, just look for where the tracks end, the platforms next to that point is where you catch the train. As of 2010 the miniature ticket office has been refurbished and is open for tickets (obviously) and other information and there is a little cafe next to the tracks where you can have a coffee while waiting for the train to arrive. The train drops you into the center of Olympia where another 10-15 minutes or so walk will get you to the main archaeological site.

The August 2012 update and train timetable
Contrary to what the official OSE helpline and multiple online sources tells us, the Katakolon – Olympia train is running a custom schedule to coincide with cruise ship arrivals and departures. This means that if you are coming on a cruise ship, there will be a train there ready to take you to Olympia. It will cost you 10 Euros for a round trip, kids 2-12 go for 5 Euros, kids2 and under for free.

We are told that this schedule will run all year round, so even if you are a passenger on one of the 4 cruise ships that arrive in January, you should still be able to use the train. A word of advice: the trains we have seen are running 2 carriages which is probably enough for 100 people or so (at a guess). We don’t know if they put on more carriages for bigger ships or not, so if you want to be sure of getting a seat, we would advise to get your ticket before the crowds arrive, better safe than sorry!

Renting a car in Katakolon

Renting a car is another economical way to get to Olympia for small groups. Avis It has the added bonus of freeing you completely from taxi or organised tour schedules so you can easily check out the Mercouri Winery, the lovely little beach at Agios Andreas and generally snoop about the area to your heart’s content. The driving around Katakolon is really pretty laid back by Greek standards, so if you are even somewhat confident behind the wheel, I really don’t think you will have any problems. There are a number of small car rental places just to the right off the pier as you enter Katakolon. The only one we could find offering online bookings is Avis. To check out their rates just click the Avis image above right and put Katakalo (note no N at the end, and you do want Katakolo Hlias) into the search field. Car seats for the little ones are available for those who need them. We get a small commission for rentals through these links, so thanks for the support!

Katakolon to Olympia by Taxi

The Katakolon to Olympia route has become the biggest business in town for any taxi driver based within 50kms of Katakolon. It amazes me every time I pass by the port once the last cruise ship has left for the day to see at least 50 new Mercedes taxis all parked up waiting for the next day when the cruise ship gods will offer up their next spoils to the lucky natives. Now, perhaps I shouldn’t be so cynical, and I have no doubt that most of the taxi drivers are good honest people who will offer you a great trip to and from Olympia. They will stop at a couple of picturesque spots along the way, they will tell you tales about the area and about Greece generally that you would never hear otherwise and generally you will have a good time. The only problem according to my local friends is the completely exorbitant rates that some will try pass onto the unsuspecting customer. Call me conservative, but 150+ euros for a 3-4 hour trip where 2 of these hours involves our friendly taxi driver sitting around with his mates smoking and laughing while you see the sights of Ancient Olympia seems a bit steep. Now if you have lots of spare cash, hey, why not share the wealth a little, take a taxi, enjoy the trip and think no more about it.

The August 2012 update
There seem to be a lot less taxis around than there used to be! Perhaps the combination of a still running Katakolon – Olympia train plus the introduction of some privately run (and much cheaper) bus options have squeezed the profits out of what was a few years ago a massive cash cow. There are still taxis available for those that need or desire them for whatever reason, but certainly not in the numbers there once were.

Katakolon Museums

There are two small but really very good museums in Katakolon, covering ancient Greek technology and ancient Greek musical instruments. They are both more than worth a look and both free to visit (be sure to leave a donation, or buy the great book on ancient greek technology, it is really fantastic). Both museums are open from 9am to 3pm on days that cruise ships arrive. So if you are on a ship, the museum will be open, if you are visiting Katakolon by car, make sure you see a ship in port to be sure the museums will be open. More information on the museums can be seen on the pages we have made for them a few years back: The Museum of Ancient Greek Technology and Ancient Greek Musical Instruments.

Katakolon Beach

Well, you say, all this Olympia stuff is fine, but I have been there, done that, or maybe you just are not up to another slog around an ancient site and just want to relax for a while, what are the best options then? Well, first of all, I would say don’t miss ancient Olympia if you are only in Katakolon for one day and will never be coming back. Yes it gets crowded in the summertime and yes Olympia the town is a bit of a tourist trap (well, more than a bit), but at the end of the day ancient Olympia is an amazing site and the museum is top notch, so it is definitely worth your time to go and have a look. Not convinced? Ok, there are a couple of other options that Katakolon and its surrounds can offer you, starting with the beach.

Katakolon’s beach starts from the end of the town and stretches in one continuous arc around the huge Kyparissian Gulf for what must be at least 30kms. It is easy enough to walk to it from the port, or if you are inclined to go a little further then scooters can be rented from the same shops that rent cars at the end of the pier itself. Katakolo’s beach is nice enough, it has a couple of decent fish tavernas and beach bars at intervals along it and the waters are warm and shallow and perfect for small kids.

The beach at Katakolon has 2 main problems: firstly, there are often jellyfish in the waters there and while they are not deadly, they can give you a itchy rash, and secondly, the powers that be have decided that the beach will make a great cut through route for a lot of the town’s car traffic, and therefore allow cars, buses and even trucks onto the beach(!). About the jellyfish there is not much one can do except be alert, they don’t move fast and are easy to see and avoid (blue/purple, the size of a medium to large plate), for the cars on the beach, feel free to mention to any local who wants to listen that you consider it a bit of a turn off to have vehicle fumes swirling around your head when you are going for a swim, who knows, maybe the anti-car brigade will eventually get enough members to put an end to this odd practice.

The August 2012 update
Thanks to all of you that must have mentioned the bus on the beach issue, because it seems that the buses are no longer using the beach to get to Olympia. The power of the people shows itself! Unfortunately cars and trucks still use it, but the lack of buses is a big improvement.

There is also some movement on the jellyfish front. One of the fish taverns have managed to net off a pretty good sized area of sea in front of their shop. It will be one of the first thing you see if you keep walking past the train station and onto the beach itself. They have umbrellas, loungers and a small slide in the waters which I am sure the small kids will enjoy a lot. I guess to use a lounger and umbrella you will need to buy a coffee, but if you don’t want or need any of that, you are free to swim wherever you like in the sea (including the above mentioned netted area!).

Reneta / Plakes Beach

If you only have a short amount of time in Katakolon and you want a beach that is as close as possible to the port, then Reneta (also known as Plakes) Beach is just for you. Simply walk to the end of the pier and head off to the left hand side of the parking lot. Just on the other side of the port wall is Renata beach, a small pebbly beach with a subdued beach bar and a few palm like umbrellas.They have also recently put in showers and toilet facilities.

The beach is nothing special, and if you are on a big ship it does not take many people to get full, but the waters are nice, and importantly seem to never have jellyfish unlike the beach at Katakolo. The hows and whats of jellyfish migration and why they show up in one spot and not another has been the subject of many a discussion, if anybody has a definitive answer please send us a mail! In the meantime, while Renata beach is a good enough option for a short visit, if you have anything more than a couple of hours, I would suggest the beach at Agios Andreas as your best bet by far.

Agios Andreas Beach

Literally a 5 minute drive from Katakolon is Agios Andreas, a microscopic village with a couple a small cafe/bar and two restaurants above a wonderful little beach. If you are driving yourself head straight out of Katakolon (there is only one road), take the first left you see of any consequence opposite the last of the shops of Katakolon and head up the hill. You will hit what looks like a T junction after a minute or two, turn left and a hundred meters down on your right is the Kastro (Το Κάστρο), a relaxed café from 10am to sunset and the hip place to be from sunset and beyond for the sophisticated Pirgos crowd.

The Kastro has a lovely relaxed atmosphere, it has nice green grass that the kids can play on and of course it has its own little beach where a coffee or a drink will also get you a lounger and an umbrella. Don’t like loungers and umbrellas? Well then feel free to head a little bit further down the beach and plop yourself under the rock overhangs or small bushes that line the sand. An outdoor shower is available and the prices for coffees, drinks and snacks are reasonable. All in all this is the place I would recommend to anyone wanting to pass a day of relaxing, swimming and doing not a lot of anything at all. The restaurant at Liris, about 50 meters past the Kastro also has a small beach under it, and is rightly known for its lovely mixed dishes served with beer or ouzo. Liris could be considered a slightly more sophisticated version of the Kastro, but both allow bathing suits and bare feet, so pick whichever suits best.

If you don’t want to rent a bike to get there then grab a taxi (but don’t pay the 50 euros I have heard mentioned in some conversations!). The truth is that any fit person could walk from Katakolon to Agios Andreas in about 30 minutes or so. There is also a bus from Katakolon to Agios Andreas which leaves from the bus stop opposite the kiosk at the end of the pier and drops you off pretty much at the entrance to the Kastro.

The August 2012 update
There now appears to be one of these silly tourist train things (you know the ones with car wheels and a little engine at the front) that is doing the Katakolon – Agios Andreas run. It seems it will also swing you by the Mercouri Winery if you are interested and it cost 6 euros a person. We will try to dig up some more concrete information on its itinerary, but to avoid the hassle of the bus and the cost of a taxi, this seems like a pretty good option to get to Agios Andreas.

Day trips from Katakolon

All this is very nice you say, but I don’t want to go to Olympia, I don’t want to sit on the beach and I don’t want to sit around Katakolon all day drinking coffee. Are there other places to go in the surrounding areas that have something more to see and do? Well, if you are in the area for more than a day, or if you simply want to get a car or taxi and head somewhere off the main cruise itinerary then yes there are a few places I could recommend. How about Chlemoutsi Castle and the Thermal Baths at Kyllini? Or if you prefer something a bit more natural how about the beautiful Foloi Oak Forest which could be included in a trip to Olympia if time permits. If you enjoy nature there is also the Strofilia Forest and the adjacent Kalogria wetlands that are also about an hour from Katakolon. And of course, there is always the nearby Mercouri Winery. So there you have it, what to do in Katakolon for a day, or a week!

Ordering Mercouri wines online

Wanted to take back a case but the ship only lets in a couple of bottles? Seems to be a common complaint and we get many mails asking where you can get more bottles of your favorite tipple to remember your cruise with. Well, a solution for our American visitors is now at hand! Order Mercouri Wines Online!

The Artisian Wine Depot in Mountain View, California stocks the whites Foloi (our favorite!) and Kallisto and will send to most US addresses.

For those on the East coast even more of a choice!
Saratoga Wines in New York state have a great selection including Antares, Cava, Kallisto and our favorite Foloi!


Click the the bottle on the left to check out their selection, we get a small commission, so thanks for the support and enjoy the wine!

Detailed map of Katakolon


View Katakolon, Greece – sightseeing spots of interest. in a larger map


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49 responses so far

  • Jessica@FoodMayhem, Jul 17, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I guess we should have gone to Olympia. =(

  • Rachel Brown, Jul 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Spent close to a week in the area.

    A plug for Agios Andreas:
    We loved it, especially the Kastro restaurant/bar, with its open concept, comfortable seating, and busy little beach below. A perfect hang-out for our whole family, including teens.

    Stayed a couple of nights at the Vriniotis Hotel next door to the Kastro. The staff don’t speak much English, but you get what you need: comfortable rooms with sea views, good food on a gorgeous terrace, reasonable prices.

    Be sure to visit the untended ruin of a Frankish castle above Agios Andreas, which has beautiful vistas of both sides of the peninsula. A small hike up the hill, but worth it to stand on this piece of the past which will soon crumble into the ground.

    As for Katakolon:
    Quaint town with most of what a tourist needs, including bank machines and an Internet cafe (when the proprietor hasn’t gone to the beach). Not sure how sleepy it is, especially in summer! There seemed to be activity all the time: vendors selling/yelling their wares, train whistles, young men zooming up and down the long beach on motorbikes. And let us not forget the barking dogs, crowing roosters and stray cats!

    Katakolon filled with people when cruise ships came in, but most disappeared on day trips. We noticed on the weekend that people seemed to come from all around to Katakolon’s waterfront, to eat in one of several restaurants (generally very good) or to hang out at the trendy (and pricy) cafes. Found a favourite restaurant – decor was blue and white and nautical but the name escapes me:(. Maybe somebody else knows it?

  • Chris, Sep 17, 2010 at 8:45 am

    A bit of a horror story yesterday that is worth sharing

    4 young folk came by taxi to the vineyard yesterday morning. I enquired as to how much they had been charged – 20 euro for a one-way trip from the port.

    They had been quoted as much as 100 euro for the same journey!

    The vineyard is less than 5 km from the port – you should not really be paying more than 10 euro for a one-way trip. If the taxi waits for you then it should be about 40 euro/hour.

    I have also heard of taxis taking the long way to get here – to make it look worth the high fee.

    About 1 mile from the port on the right hand side there is a white building with the word “Supermarket” in large red letters. Unless you have agreed to go on a magical mystery tour, the taxi should turn left here.

    Some of the Katakolo taxi drivers have an excellent reputation, but if you just hail one without doing your homework then you are potentially asking to be fleeced.

    Tell your fellow cruise ship passengers!

    Chris

    Mercouri Estate

  • Sheelagh King, Sep 21, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Love your site-so well written and certainly jives with my experiences. We may give the taxi man a try this time in port. Although the Kastro beach sounds delightful too! Will let you know.

  • Marianne, Feb 7, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Great site – coming to Katakolon in a couple of weeks – the information is really helpful. Will try and avoid the taxi drivers wearing the fleece’s!!!

  • Sally, Feb 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    The update to the Katakolo-Olympia train is incorrect, the announcement on the Trainose site 28/1/11 says:
    “Suspended until further notice, all passenger routes metric-line network in the Peloponnese EXCEPT :

    Local routes Patra – Rion – Saint Andrea and vice versa, and combined with these buses.
    Local services Katakolo – Pyrgos – Olympia & vice versa.
    Schedules Diakofto – Kalavrita and vice versa.
    All Bus Kiato – Patras & vice versa.”

  • admin, Feb 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Sally,

    Thanks so much for the correction! That will teach me to not check properly. Updated train info for Feb 2011 is now there. Great news everybody, you can still get the train!

  • Raymond, Feb 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Do you know if there is a laundramat or self service laundry near the portt?

  • admin, Feb 21, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Raymond, not as far as I know.

  • Peter Wilckozki, Mar 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    My wife and I had a stop with our cruise at Katakolon few weeks ago and we decided to visit Ancient Olympia.
    We asked some taxi drivers about the price, but I think paying 100 Euros for that trip is a little bit expensive, isn’t it?
    Then I saw something really unbelievable. Next to the Port exit is a Travel Office (Geo Travel) which charges only 10 Euros (yes it’s true ONLY 10 Euros) for that trip by bus!
    You can reserve your seat directly in their office.
    To be honest I was worried if everything was as they told us. Everything was fine. Great service and the bus were punctual and clean. They transfer you straight to Olympia and it is only a 4 minute walk to the archaeological site from where the bus lets you off.
    I really suggest it. Try it by yourself on your next visit to Katakolon.

  • admin, Mar 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Hi Peter,

    Wow, 10 euros… this is indeed a good deal! Anybody else used this service? Certainly seems something worth checking out!

  • Ted Strauss, May 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    You mention that you were going to update this page after April 9 re the Katakolon-Olympia train – is it running and will it be running in late October?

    Thanks!

  • admin, May 24, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Hi Ted and all who are asking about the train. There appears to be some misinformation regarding the train’s demise which is not entirely true. The timetables mentioned above are valid until 13th of June 2011, after that we will update again!

  • John, May 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Admin,
    Could you update the train schedule to/from Olympia soon as you can………we will be in Katakolon middle of June, but after 13 June 2011. Thanks. Great site.

  • admin, May 26, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Hi John,

    OSE is not giving out any data beyond June 13th yet. As soon as they do we will update the page!

  • Rich, Jun 23, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Any update on the train schedule? We’ll be in Katakolon on July 23.

  • Excited for Olympia, Jun 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Any news on the train? I checked OSE’s website but I don’t see anything listed for next week or beyond.

  • Petra, Jun 30, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Hello, very nice page.
    We was here 23.06.2011. We went to Olympia by DIAS – rent a car, we spent only 40 Euro for the hole day. I found the page in the Internet – rentacarkatakolo.gr
    To reserve the car it was very easy. Good deal

  • NB, Jun 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    It’s June 30th…what are the updates for the OSE train?!

  • admin, Jul 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Hello everyone, sorry for the delay!!

    Although the ose site is not showing any information, we have just got off the phone with them and are told that the train will be running on the times mentioned above throughout the summer. So, enjoy the train, Katakolon and Olympia!

  • Barbora, Jul 13, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Hello, I have heard that it is possible to rent a scooter for half a day in a port? Is it true? Can I take a kid on it?

  • admin, Jul 13, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Hi Barbora,
    There are a couple of rental agencies just outside the docks. You can certainly take a kid on them (get a helmet!). The roads around Katakolon are relatively quiet so not many worries.

  • Nadeem, Jul 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    We had a stopover in Katakolon. It was wonderful expereince to be on this small lovely port city. Unfortunately there were no cars to rent, the taxis were on strike, the bus was full and had no place and we did not had enough time for the the train. Therefore we could not visit Olypia city. I have following suggestion for future visitiors: The bus tour Euro 10 is worth. Also train is good option but there is no sign for train or train station. The station is located at the far end of the Main street. The platform was under construction so when you would visit it may be ready. The trip to Olympia city is 45 minute one way. I guess the the ticket is around 7 euro per person.
    Since we could not get to Olympia city we enjoyed fabolous lunch at restuarant facing to cruise and port. The restuarant is first one if coming back from the train station to the port. The restuarant is bit pricey but food is delecious and fresh.

  • Kay Robinson, Jul 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

    We will be in Katakolon on Thursday 6 October. Can you advise if the train will be running then? I clicked on the train link trainose.gr but the page was entirely in Greek. Is there a wy to access it in English? Would appreciate latest updates on bus and any other transport options for getting to Olympis from Katakolon and back. Also the bus that goes TO Olympis, does it have a timetable for returning to Katakolon. Thanks.

    Kay

  • Erric, Aug 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Hello, I just visited Katakolon for cruise and went to Agios Andreas Beach.

    We planned to go there by taxi, but there were no taxi at that day due to the strike.
    However, there was a tram which took us to Agios Andreas in 10minutes. 6 euros for return ticket.

    It looked like this tram was operated every half hour and lost tram from Andreas to Katakolon was 16:00.
    This is a good transport to go to Andreas.

    Agios Andreas beach was great! Small but clear water and many fishes.

    Hope this information is helpful for those who are planning to go to beach at Katakolon

  • Ramona, Aug 31, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Is the train running? If you are not sure, how do we find out? Thank you. Great info about Katakolon — we will follow your advice.

  • admin, Sep 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Ramona,

    It seems the train has been cancelled, a real shame! If we hear anything new we will post an update asap.

  • John, Sep 3, 2011 at 12:08 am

    We just came back from Greece and were on a cruise on Norwegian Jade. We had a stop at Katakolon on August 25. At that time the train was running with a 10m and 11am direct schedule to Olympia and coming back 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. Not sure if anything changed in one week. I considered taking the train, but ended up taking the air condition bus from Geo Travel which is just outside the port for 10 euros round trip. I had no problems with them. It departed 10am and came back 1pm, and was less of a walk.

  • Maurice, Sep 5, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    I am in Katakolo now with my family, and, although our apartment owner said there was (just) a 0900 train running at the moment, I have seen three trains come and go today, leaving K at about 1045, 1415 and 1545, and there may have been more.

    I wanted to get some confirmation of the times, though, before trying to go to Olympia tomorrow, so we went to the station this evening, but there is no information there at all – a small board says Katakolo, but there is no mention of a railway service, let alone a timetable.

    We have a hire car but wanted to take the train for the fun of it and because I’ve read that it gets you nearer to the site and give you reduced entry charges, but I’m afraid we may end up driving there after all.

  • admin, Sep 5, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    John, Maurice, thanks for the updates.

    The soap opera with the train continues. It seems we better phone up OSE again and see what we can find out!

  • Maurice, Sep 5, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    The traffic on the beach is really quite disturbing! There’s hardly been any since we arrived, but it has flattened the middle half of the beach and goes quite close to the water, there are a few cars and boat trailers parked up and down it, and someone parked 2 metres from the water, got out their chairs and sat in them next to it! If Katakolo wants to go at all upmarket, it really should ban this.

  • admin, Sep 6, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Maurice,

    Agreed 100%. Maybe someone in a position to do something about it will read this…. (well, we can hope!).

    If you haven’t done already, swing by Agios Andreas… its a nice little beach + bar :)

  • Maurice, Sep 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Train latest! This morning I saw a train come into Katakolo at 0825, and one left at 0905. I didn’t see any more because we went to the temple at Bassae today (quite a slog, but worth it), hoping to find out more about the trains by tomorrow, and we called in at Pyrgos station on the way home. At least the station (unlike Katakolo) had an OSE sign on it and some trains on the tracks(!) but no staff and no timetable, only a live display showing the next two trains due to leave: the 0645 to Olympia (train 1380) and the 0750 to Katakolo (train 1381). I asked in the station bar and was told that the trains only run in the morning at the moment, so not much use if we aim to visit after the cruise groups have gone. So it still looks like a drive there.

    Went to the Agios Andreas beach this evening, but the sea was quite rough, and, as it is quite varied (rocks, sand, stones, etc.), and with the sun in the west, we couldn’t see what we were walking into, so I’m afraid we came back for a wallow in the shallows at Katakolo, where we at least know that the jellyfish don’t come in that far (until they are dead, that is).

    Fun and games! Well, I don’t believe holidays should be adventure-free!

  • kate, Sep 21, 2011 at 10:54 am

    hello to everyone!!i know that you had disinformation about the train all these months,so i can give some information about it.the train is working normally every day when there are cruises.the train is working according to the cruises that come to katakolon and the most of the days they had every hour trips.in the train station there is every day a person that gives infomations and tickets until 1p.m.also,in the info kiosk in the port they can give you informations about it.i hope to help you!

  • Kath Stott, Sep 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    We are in Katakolon for three nights on our sailing yacht Yarona, before carrying on down the coast.
    The latest on the train- we caught it today (Sunday) at 9.00 am and paid return to Olympia- 10 euros each. The conductor told us the return was at 15.45. So far so good, but half way there he returned to say it might be cancelled and gave us a refund for the return journey! A helpful lady explained that it would be cancelled unless there were enough people on the next train from the cruise ship. There apparently wasn’t as no train was waiting for us in the afternoon, so we shared a taxi back with another couple, 45 euros. Extra cost for the day 12 euros, but admission to Olympia had been free for European Heritage Day, so not too bad an outcome!
    Tomorrow we plan to get out the pushbikes and cycle to the Vineyard and Agios Andreas.
    Great website, by the way.

    Kath, S/Y Yarona

  • admin, Sep 26, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Thanks for the update!

  • Shari, May 9, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I lived in Greece for over 4 years. My heart will always be in Greece. I was hoping to find an easy transport solution for my friends who will arrive in katakolo July 14 2012 on a cruise. So far I have not been able to feel comfortable giving them information on how they can get to and from Olympia. I wanted to confirm a taxi for them. One taxi quoted 180 Euro but he was already booked that day. I don’t know if the train is running this summer or not. Any posts on this will be VERY welcome. Bravo to the creaters of this website. I love it. I hope to get back to Greece and Katokolo in 2013. For now I just want to help a family of 4 get to Olympia and back……whats so difficult about that????

  • admin, May 9, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Hi Shari,

    I will try to get more info on this year’s train asap. There are other options besides the (expensive if you ask me) taxis:

    1. There is a bus service as Peter mentions above which seems quite a good deal.

    2. You can rent a car. Avis (see link above in article) has online reservations. There are a couple of other firms if you search. For those wanting to drive, google has updated their maps and the route shown here is indeed the best one for avoiding the center of Pirgos.

  • Kristen, May 18, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Would love train info! My husband and I will arrive in 3 weeks and the train sounds great if its running. If not, the bus would be good too. Suggestions on places to eat lunch in Olympia or Katakolon would be much appreciated as well. Thanks. Can’t wait to see this beautiful country!

  • Johan, Jun 10, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Hello
    this is an interesting site.
    We plan to rent a car at rentacarkatakolo.gr and drive to Olympia on Monday 2 July.
    The ship is only there for the morning, so I guess we can’t visit the museum.
    Do you have any recent uptodate info on the parking situation in Olympia. On Googlemaps I see cars parked near the old museum.
    Thanks
    Johan

  • Travels in Greece, Jun 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Kristen sorry for the late reply!

    You are likely to have already been and gone, but for others with the same question, the latest we have from OSE is that the trains are not running this year at all. If you or anybody else has seen one, please do let us know!

  • Travels in Greece, Jun 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Johan,

    If memory serves there is a parking lot close to the museum (I think filled with taxi cabs the last time we were there in the summer). Best bet is to try to get away from the ship as soon as possible to avoid the rush. During the summer months they have usually have traffic restrictions in Olympia, but it is always worth a shot to try and park as close as possible. If you manage it, please let us know, and have a great visit!

  • Bebe, Jul 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    What is the best restaurant for a good Greek meal in katakolon? We will be there in September.

  • Travels in Greece, Jul 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Bebe,

    Our favorite is the one more or less in the middle of the promenade with the blue thatched chairs. The name escapes me but you will find it easily enough. Have a great time!

  • wendy, Aug 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    We will be in katakolon on the 25 Sept. Can you find out if the train will be running to Olympia

  • Travels in Greece, Aug 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Wendy,

    Latest we have is the train is NOT running in 2012. Will be in Katakolon in a week to check for ourselves and will update. If anybody else has first hand knowledge, feel free to leave a note!

  • Alex, Aug 14, 2012 at 11:45 am

    We were in Katakolo a few weeks ago, the trains were running to a very regular timetable. The train arrived at katakolo at 08:25 and departed at 09:00. Returning from olympia the trains were roughly every hour, we got on a train at around 12:10, there returning trains were then at around 13:08, and 14:00!:)

  • Travels in Greece, Aug 16, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Thanks for the update! Will be in Katakalon in a few days to get some firm times and numbers!

    UPDATE AUGUST 2012!

    At last we are in Katakolon to see for ourselves and the good news is the trains are indeed running. It appears that OSE have implemented a custom timetable to coincide with cruise ship arrivals and hence no official timetable to speak of. Will confirm prices shortly and have updated the train details above. Thanks for everyone’s comments!

  • Claire, Apr 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Went to Katakolo last month and I have to say I had the best customer service from AVIS people. I did my search before my cruise and I thought that it is definitely not worth it to pay so much money for taxi, when I could just rent a car for less than half and be eligible to go wherever I wanted. Maybe bus is a cheap way as well, but they are just going to Olympia, leaving you there only for a couple of hours and then back. You don’t have time to explore the area, plus the village of Olympia is much better than Katakolo village, so why not have some more time to spend there? And we were 5 in total, so it was actually cheaper to rent a car than taking the bus. AVIS manager was very helpful, he gave us a map and all the details of how to get there (it is just one road actually, you can’t get lost). Lots of gas stations on the way to Olympia, free parking next to the site. I can’t see why not to rent a car and do everything on my way with less money!