Diakofto is a peaceful village on the Gulf of Corinth. It has a small beach and a background of steep mountains, olive groves and citrus orchards and it is the end of the remarkable Vouraikos Gorge Railway. This was built between 1889 and 1896 to transport ore from the Kalavryta region to the coast. The short – 22.5 km (14 mi) -journey is memorable and enjoyable; the track climbs 700 m (2,275 ft) using a rack-and-pinion system for traction over the steep gradients. The best view of the mechanism is from the front of the train; the very back gives wonderful views of the scenery.
After a gentle ascent through the lush landscape of the valley, the line criss-crosses the river; the gorge narrows and the train enters the first of fourteen tunnels, then runs along a ledge above the river. The only stop is at the picturesque, unspoilt settlement of Zahlorov – there is accommodation and good walking here. The journey continues beside the river in the shade of plane trees,
and over open country to Kalavryta.
This is a delightful spot. At 756 m (2,457 ft), with fresh air, bubbling springs and tree-shaded plateia (town square), it is a favourite with Athenians for weekends. Some miles south of the village the deep Cave of Lakes has fine stalactites and a chain of deep stone basins which run with water in the spring. Little Kalavryta is famous nationwide – the War of Independence started officially here in 1821, and in 1943 it saw one of the worst atrocities of World War II when the Nazis executed all the men of the area.
WHEN TO GO:
May to early July, September and October (avoiding weekends)
TIME IT TAKES:
At least two days
The lovely landscapes of the Gorge.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
It Is worth buying a first class ticket, as this allows seating In the front and back of the train.
It is a very small train; buy tickets early.