There are a couple of interesting places to worth seeking out on the outskirts of Kalamata:
As you leave Kalamata for the Mani you will pass through Verga. The beach is popular with the locals and the road can get a bit jammed up with cars parked in places they should possibly not be. The beach itself is well serviced by cafe’s and is pleasant, albeit busy.
The Mani Warrior monument just by the side of the main road commemorates the Maniats victory over the Ottomans in June 1826. Just behind the monument are the remains of the Wall of Verga. The wall and two towers were built by the locals as a defence against the Ottomans. Today there are only fragments of the wall and one crumbling tower remaining.
The Mycenaean Neocropolis
These tombs are well worth seeking out!
If you head out of Kalamata to the north there is a bit of of a surprise. There is an ancient cemetery in the hills above the suburb of Ethea. There is a sign to it on the main road in Ethea which points to a road that soon degenerates into a track with a couple of very steep bends. The road/track is about 1.3km long and takes you right up to the site. You know you are there when you see the brown sign which appears to have been used for shotgun practice by the locals.
If you park on the right amongst the olive trees you can skirt the fence to the right and if you are lucky you should be able to enter the site quite easily. The cemetery which is around 3000 years old has about 20 graves of various shapes and sizes. You can enter most of them with care. Sadly, unlike the Mycenaean tombs at Dendra, near Nafplio there are no information boards, but the accesability of the tombs makes up for that.
The first tomb requires trusting a rather rickety looking wooden ladder, but it held out for me and I am a bit of a lummox! The other tombs are easier to enter- just walk in! One of the tomb entrances has markings visible above the entrance.
It’s a truly amazing site and of course the views overlooking the gorge are superb.