Waterfalls aren’t the first thing you think of when you think of Greece, right? We were surprised to find that there are tons and tons of waterfalls here in the Peloponnese Region.
One of the most beautiful ones is the Polymnio Waterfalls!
Located not far from Kalamata in Messenia (a regional unit in the Peloponnese region) you’ll find the stunning Polylimnio Waterfalls.
Not only are the falls super beautiful, but the whole area around Polylimnio Waterfalls is pretty cool!
There’s a cafe right at the trailhead which definitely adds bonus points in our opinion. I mean a cafe + hike combo is the definition of the perfect afternoon – at least for Jo it is.
We don’t want to spoil too much but Kadi Waterfall (ΚΑΔΗ Waterfall), which is the biggest of the Polylimnio Falls has to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Greece.
So how do you see it for yourself?
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Everything you need to know about Polylimnio Waterfalls
In this post, we dive into everything you need to know about one of Greece’s most beautiful waterfalls. Also, where to find KADI Cafe, and how to get to Kadi Waterfall and the other Polylimnio Falls.
We will go over how to get to the trailhead (since you do have to drive on a gravel road). We share some pictures of what the falls and the trail look like, and we’ve also added a little packing list for you with what we suggest you bring here and what to wear.
One of the best things about this hike is that it’s super short and accessible so you can swing by and see the Polylimnio Waterfalls in less than an hour if you want to.
We spent some more time just enjoying the views and the water but it can be done quite quickly if you’ve got a packed itinerary.
As we mentioned above, you can stop by the cafe, head down to the falls, hike around and see everything, maybe grab a bite to eat at the cafe afterwards and spend all afternoon there.
Either way, this is one of the most beautiful inland parts of Peloponnese and we’re sure you’ll have a wonderful time exploring the waterfalls!
The last thing we want to mention before we dive into the details of this short trail guide is: Be prepared for hot weather. I mean 40+ hot during the summer months.
Even in October which is out of peak season it was still 25 degrees Celsius when we did the hike! We loved it though and I even took a dip in one of the “pools”!
Practical information about the Polylimnio Waterfalls
Distance: 2.7 km return / 1.67 miles return
Elevation: 124 m / 406 ft. elevation gain
Type: In-and-out trail
Length: 1-2 hours return (depending on how much time you spend at the falls)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Here’s a picture from the start of the Polylimnio Waterfalls hike
Starting the hike next to KADI Cafe
We actually found this hike thanks to KADI Cafe and not the other way around!
While looking for day trips from Kalamata and things to see in the area this cafe popped up with cool views in the middle of this stunning forest.
Then we saw that there was a “waterfall complex of Messenia” next to the cafe and that’s how we found this waterfall hike we knew we just had to do while exploring this part of Greece!
The hike itself starts directly at the KADI Cafe and that’s where you park your car. You can also use the bathroom at the cafe before starting the hike if you buy something (it’s for customers only).
By the way, the owner of the cafe is a sweet Greek Canadian and he is the friendliest guy. So definitely chat him up if you have any questions about the trail or the area when you’re there.
The food, pastries, and drinks he sells are delicious too – and it’s very reasonably priced when you take the location into consideration. For two cappuccinos and two big pastries, we paid less than €12.
Back to the hike though… As you can see in the pictures, the view you get right from the trailhead is really good. It gives you a bit of an idea of the waterfall network down below that you’ll be hiking to.
It’s almost like you can see a little valley going across – and that’s where the water runs.
Hiking Tip: Look up the trail on AllTrails before starting your hike 🗺️. You can find important trail information such as recent wildlife sights and trail closures. Check out the free version here or get a 7-day free trial of AllTrails Pro here.
Down the trail towards the waterfall complex
This first section of the hike is what you see from the cafe. It’s relatively short and easy since this section of the trail is man-made.
There’s a bit of a descent to get down to Polylimnio Waterfalls but it’s not that bad and it’s relatively short.
It’s really the heat that’s the exhausting bit on this hike but, thankfully, once you’re down in the waterfall complex it does get a little shaded and a bit cooler. But not much.
But if you get too hot, you can always dip in the water if you want!
This short descent doesn’t offer too many views. There is one spot next to this type of gazebo (shelter) where you can get a view of the area around but that view is better from the cafe.
It’s best to just get into the forest where you’ll have a chance to see a couple of waterfalls including Kadi Waterfall (the biggest of the Polylimnio Falls).
In our opinion, Kadi Fall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Greece (some locals say the same)!
Exploring the first waterfall in the Polylimnio Waterfalls
Once you get off the main trail and into the forest there are a few ways you can do this hike. We’ll explain the way we did it and you can use that to choose how you want to see the waterfalls for yourself!
As soon as you’re done with the descent, there’s a fork in the road. Both ways lead to waterfalls that are along this network that goes through the forest.
We decided to go left first (downstream) since it was only a few hundred meters to a nice little pool. This way leads to the smaller waterfalls so we figured it was a nice way to start with the small ones before finishing up at the bigger, nicer one.
The trail is a little narrow at times and dense since you’re hiking through the trees but it’s easy enough to follow.
Soon enough you’ll get to this stunning pool created by the stream where you can walk around it and enjoy the view!
Please note that the trail does get a little narrow and steep at one point so pay attention to where you’re walking, wear proper shoes, and don’t go if it’s raining or slippery. As long as you’re being careful, you should be fine.
There are a few signs that mention this and they also say that you can swim but at your own risk. We didn’t swim in this one but you totally can. There are even a few small fish in the water as well!
This is one of the smaller waterfalls so don’t think THIS IS IT! I mean this one is still beautiful but the other way is what most people come for.
As you’ll see, the trail slowly fades after the pool and it seems like there’s a small trail that continues downstream. It does, and we went, but there is no reason to go down there unless you truly want to explore.
The trail gets narrow and very steep – and the waterfall down there is very small as well!
The views and waterfalls are so much better the other way. So once you’ve enjoyed the waterfall, we recommend you just go back the same way you came from and continue up to the biggest fall, Kadi Falls.
Up the waterfall network to Kadi Falls
If you’re not up for a long hike, you can just go upstream from the fork in the road instead of checking out the left side first like we did. We wanted to see it all so we went downstream first (left) and then back upstream (right) after.
There’s a good chance there will be more people on this upstream side of the Polylimnio waterfall network since most people just go to see Kadi Falls.
The trail is quite easy to follow since it’s somewhat well maintained although it isn’t in perfect condition.
You can tell they originally did a good job creating the trail but over the years the wear and tear has gotten in and not a whole lot of money has been put to fix it. Yet.
On one of the bridges, you’ll see some missing planks, etc. but that’s part of the charm I guess.
You’ll notice there are sections that are super slippery too as the rocks have been walked on a lot so pay attention and walk slowly there.
We definitely recommend wearing hiking shoes or other shoes with good traction.
We wore our hiking shoes but it’s safe to say that most people weren’t. They seemed ok but if you have some with you, we definitely suggest wearing them.
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Make your way to Kadi Falls
From the fork in the road, it’s about 250 meters to Kadi Waterfall.
As you get closer to the falls, you’ll start to see a few more pools and the water stream will become a little stronger as well.
Most of the time you’ll be walking parallel to the water stream and cross it a few times on some small bridges as well. After a while, you’ll start to hear the water coming down from Kadi Falls.
Since it is upstream there is a little bit of elevation up to Kadi Falls but it’s not much. Just watch your footing, beware of slippery rocks, and try not to step in too much water!
Soon enough you’ll start to see some water falling down in the distance and the trees will clear. And in the opening, you’ll see the stunning Kadi Falls!
Here we did end up going for a swim and it was so much fun!
If you decide to go in, know that it’s at your own risk. Be careful as it is deep, very cold, and the waterfall is powerful. So be smart and don’t go in if the conditions don’t seem to be good.
We had a beautiful sunny day in October with no wind or rain so it worked out quite perfectly for us and we had a great time!
Swim or no swim, we hope you enjoy this spot! It’s hands down the coolest and most beautiful part of the Polylimnio Waterfalls!
Take in the view from Kadi Waterfall
There are quite a few spots to enjoy the waterfall so you just have to find a spot that works for you!
You’ll also see that there is a trail that continues up above the waterfall. You can absolutely continue up but please be careful as it is steep and it’s not the best trail.
We didn’t go there but we heard from the café owner and some other people that it was super cool!
You can do the trail as a loop – so you’ll continue up until you reach the gravel road and from there, you can walk back to the café.
When we went it seemed very slippery so we decided to just find a spot near the base of the waterfall where we could enjoy the awesome views and hang out!
This is definitely the highlight of the Polylimnio Waterfalls and I’d say it’s a good spot to turn back once you’ve taken in all the views.
You’ll head back the same way you came from across the bridges and through the trees. Once you get back to the fork in the road you’ll connect back with the main trail.
From there you’ll head back up past the gazebo and then, soon enough, the cafe will be in sight and you won’t be too far from some coffee and delicious food!
Enjoy the views and some coffee from Kadi Cafe
Now for the best part of the whole hike (kidding): time to drink a cup of coffee and eat some delicious pastries.
Kadi Cafe is a great spot to relax and hang out for a bit after exploring the Polylimnio Waterfalls. You can sit outside and take in the view of the forest and rolling hills.
It’s such a relaxing place and the terrace overlooking the area is awesome! We can imagine it getting quite busy and crowded during the summer but doing this in October was great and not too busy! (And we went twice).
We spoke to the owner of the cafe and he said that July-August is crazy but that during the quieter season (spring and fall) it’s a bit calmer and less busy.
Once you’re done with your coffee and food, the car park is right there and you’re set to drive back to Kalamata, Pylos, or wherever you’re off to next!
What to bring to the Polylimnio Waterfalls
It’s always good to come prepared especially since this waterfall network is kind of located in the middle of nowhere with only a small cafe nearby!
There’s a small town (Charavgi) only a few kilometers away with a few restaurants as well but that’s about it.
We definitely recommend wearing hiking shoes since the trail does get quite slick. At least some proper trail shoes would be good.
Depending on how you want to do it, you can also bring your swimwear, a towel, and some snacks and hang out next to one of the waterfalls for a few hours!
It’s magical being down next to Kadi Falls – especially when the weather is good!
Packing list for Polylimnio Waterfalls
- Water! We always fill up our LifeStraw bottles before we go on day trips and hikes. I’m sure if you ask the owner at Kafi Cafe, he’ll gladly fill up your water for you. Especially if you buy a snack or something else there.
- Sunscreen! Please pack sunscreen for this hike. During the summer it can easily get +40 degrees Celsius. Even during October, we had 25+ degrees Celsius and we were absolutely roasting!
- A power bank is nice to bring as well because you don’t want to run out of battery while you’re exploring the waterfalls and then need it for navigation back to your accommodation after the hike.
- Bring some snacks or lunch to enjoy during the hike. Otherwise, you can also grab some snacks at the cafe once you’re done exploring the waterfalls.
You can check out this great list of hiking gear to get some more inspiration for things you may need for this trip!
The best affordable camera for beginners
If you’re looking for the best and most affordable camera for beginners, check out the Sony Alpha a6000 Camera.
This is the camera we’ve been using for years and still use to this day.
It’s perfect for travelling and super easy to use – even if you’re a beginner.
Before you hike the Polylimnio Waterfalls
Check the weather
I think it’s easy to assume that the weather is always good in this part of Greece – and for the most part, it is. But please check the weather forecast before hiking to these waterfalls in Greece.
When it’s raining a lot, the ground is super slippery down in the waterfall network! There is also erosion and rock falls that can happen. This trail is not officially maintained so going is at your own risk.
For how beautiful and busy the trail is, it really doesn’t get that much love back in maintenance and I don’t think there are too many safety measures put in place there.
It can get quite dangerous when it’s raining.
This isn’t by any means to scare you. When the weather is good and you have the right footwear, it’s a super chill hike! So go on a sunny day and have so much fun!
Wear hiking shoes
We always recommend wearing hiking shoes or trail shoes on almost every outdoor adventure we do.
This trail in particular has lots of slippery rocks and there’s even quite a bit of water in places when you go off the trail.
As you hike further into the forest and closer to the waterfalls the trail gets more dense with lots of rocks so wearing proper footwear helps a lot!
If you don’t have any hiking shoes, we highly recommend the Newton Ridge hiking shoes from Columbia. Jo just got these recently and she loves them!
Leave no trace
When you go hiking (and do other outdoor adventure activities), always remember to follow the 7 principles of leaving no trace.
I feel like this is something that is not something they don’t preach in in Greece but as tourists and visitors it’s something we can really try and do.
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of others.
When is the best time to explore the Polylimnio Waterfalls?
This is probably one of the most important questions to ask when deciding to explore the Polylimnio Waterfalls.
When it’s way too hot during peak summer it is really uncomfortable hiking in the heat.
It gets into the 40s (Celcius) during July and August and it’s just not fun hiking in that heat. (Although swimming in the waterfalls is).
So during the summer, it’s definitely best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. You’ll also avoid the worst of the crowds because around midday it can get quite busy on the trails.
The trails are narrow and there’s not a whole lot of room so it’s best to try and avoid the peak hours during the summer.
If you go during the off-season, then you can go pretty whenever and you’ll enjoy yourself since there will be way fewer people!
We went on a Sunday in early October and we met around 10-15 people during the two hours we spent exploring the falls.
As we mentioned above, it’s best to hike down to the waterfalls on a warm sunny day. When it’s raining and the weather is bad, it can get dangerous there (due to rock falls and erosion).
To get the very best experience, go on a sunny day during off season!
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How to get to Polylimnio Waterfalls
The waterfalls actually aren’t that hard to get to even though they feel like they’re in the middle of nowhere.
If you’re coming from Kalamata or Pylos it’s a nice drive through the countryside to get to the trailhead where you’ll find the cafe and the waterfalls.
You will need a car though unless you go on one of the guided tours from Kalamata to Polylimnio Waterfalls.
From Kalamata to Polylimnio Waterfalls:
It’s a 45-minute drive from Kalamata to the falls and you can find the directions here.
From Pylos to Polylimnio Waterfalls:
It’s a 35-minute drive from Pylos to the falls and you can find the directions here.
You’ll turn off from the main road and drive on a little gravel road for about 5 minutes until you reach the cafe. (The turn-off can be a little hard to spot but it’s right next to the gas stations).
At the cafe, there is a ton of parking where you can leave your car and start the adventure to the falls.
Renting a car in Kalamata
If you plan to stay in Kalamata and want to do a day trip to the waterfalls, the Gorge of Ridimo, or any of the neighbouring towns it’s probably best to rent a car.
Renting cars in Greece is relatively affordable (at least during the slower seasons) and the distances aren’t far. We always use DiscoverCars to compare the prices across different car rental companies.
We did quite a few road trips from Kalamata and the small towns we stayed in. Having a car was really nice to explore the Messenia region of Greece!
Guided trip to Polylimnio Waterfalls
If you don’t want to rent a car and drive yourself to the waterfalls you can go on one of the guided tours from Kalamata. It’s about a half-day (3.5 hours) activity.
You’ll get picked up in Kalamata and from there you’ll go to the waterfalls where you’ll have time to enjoy the trail and the waterfalls!
From there the tour guide will take you back to Kalamata. It’s an affordable and fun tour to do if you want to get out of the city for the day.
Other related questions about Polylimnio Waterfalls
Is it safe to hike around Polylimnio Waterfalls?
It is safe to hike around the waterfalls when the weather is good and you have the proper footwear.
When you look at AllTrails for Polylimnio Waterfalls, you’ll see some horror stories of people injuring themselves, and, sadly, a few people who passed away during a storm that came in quickly and caused rock falls.
That definitely scared us a bit before going so before going we talked to a local about the trail and agreed that if we ever felt it wasn’t safe, we would turn around.
Once we got there, we felt it was completely safe to go. There were two narrow, steep sections by the lower falls and some slippery rocks by the upper falls.
As long as you go on a day with good weather and come prepared, the trail shouldn’t be a problem at all.
It’s a good trail that just has some slippery bits when you walk along some rocks and stuff but people of all ages hike these trails to the waterfalls.
How many lakes and waterfalls are there?
From what we know, this waterfall network has 15 lakes. We got to see a few of them but didn’t continue up to the upper lakes.
Is it a hard hike to Polylimnio Falls?
The Polylimnio hike would be rated as moderate. It’s not too long and there isn’t a lot of elevation except from the first section. The trickiest part is probably the terrain as it can get slippery and muddy at times.
Besides that, the trail is easy to follow, not too long, and relatively relaxed. A nice, moderate hike located with very rewarding views!
Where is the trailhead for Polylimnio Waterfalls
You can find the trailhead next to Kaid Cafe (ΚΑΔΗ CAFE).
So when you start the hike, you just go right from the cafe and walk down the trail to access the forest where you’ll find all the waterfalls!
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Recap of hiking to the Polylimnio Waterfalls
As you can see, this is by far one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Greece! It’s an awesome day trip from Kalamata and Pylos – and even from Athens.
You can easily do this hike in under an hour or spend all day hanging out at Kadi Falls and Kadi Cafe.
It’s great when the weather is nice and calm but not too hot. When it’s 40+ it’s better to be by the beach than on a scorching hot hike.
This waterfall network is stunning and we’re sure you’ll have an amazing time exploring this part of Messenia!
While Greece is known for its delicious food, beaches, beautiful architecture, and rich history it also has stunning waterfalls and awesome hiking!
We hope you have the best time on this hike in Greece!
If you have any questions feel free to DM us on Instagram. You can also leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you.