Chlemoutsi is a medieval castle in the northwest of the Ilia regional unit in the Peloponnese peninsula of southern Greece. It is located 45 km (28 miles) north of Katakolon.
It was built between 1220 and 1223, during the rule of the Prince of Achaea Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, as a result of a dispute between the Prince and the clergy of the Principality. It is perhaps the finest fortification of the early period of Frankish rule in Greece preserved in the country today.
The history of the castle’s construction survives in the Chronicle of Morea. The castle consists of a large hexagonal keep at the top of the hill, while the more vulnerable sides are further enclosed by an outer wall. The castle was well suited for a princely residence: its halls, arranged around the inner courtyard, were spacious, comfortable, and well-lit, cool in the summer and provided with several fireplaces for the winter months. However, the architectural characteristics of the main keep are out of the ordinary for its supposed period of construction, and more in line with 15th century structures, which has led to uncertainty over its exact dating.
Chlemoutsi remains “one of the most important and best-preserved castles in Greece” (A. Ralli), maintains its strong Frankish character almost intact and today it forms a striking example of fortress architecture of the Frankish era in Peloponnese.
Today, the castle is a preserved landmark, under the 6th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities. It can be visited and it is easily accessible from nearby Katakolon.
Its location, on a small plateau of 226 m above sea level near the modern village of Kastro – Kyllini, gives it a commanding view of the surrounding countryside, encompassing the coastal plain of Ilia and reaching to the Ionian Islands of Zakynthos (Zante) and Cephalonia and even to the coast of Aetolia – Acarnania on the Greek mainland.
In the last decades, the castle became a preserved landmark. Lights added to the castle in the mid to late 20th century and can be seen as far as 80 km by night. Attractions and festivals occur every summer there.
You can visit Chlemoutsi Castle every day from 8:30 am to 3 pm, except Monday. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because some walking in and around the castle is involved and take your camera, since the views from the castle are splendid.
Admission: 3 euros
Free admission for:
Young people under the age of 18
Citizens of the EU aged over 65