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Known initially as Kynaetha, Kalavryta was recorded in history for the first time in 776 B.C with the name Kynaetha, showing the love of the inhabitants for hunting. The inhabitants probably followed the Christian faith during the Persecutions by the Corinthians. An attribute to this fact was the discovery of an icon of the Virgin Mary, believed to have been painted by Saint Luke, in Mega Spileo. This led to the building of the famous monastery of Mega Spileo in 961 A.D. Kalavrita was recorded in history again during the Occupation by the Franks around 1205. In 1208 the Castle of Kalavryta was built as a fortress and was considered the capital of the Barony of Kalavryta.
The Franks occupied Kalavryta till 1330, at which time it was liberated by the Byzantine Generals of Mystras. In 1460 Kalavrita fell in the hands of the Turks. The Turks occupied Kalavrita for a long period of time. Even though the Venetians managed to gain control of Kalavrita in 1687, the town was back under the Turk regime in 1715. It had an active role in the revolution in 1770 where the Metropolitan priest declared the local outbreak. The locals also declared among the first Greeks to declare the Greek Revolution of 1821.
However, the event that marked the history of Kalavryta happened fairly recently. On December 13th, 1943, the German Nazi troops executed the whole male population of Kalavryta, children, and women and burned the entire town. This unfortunate event is known as the Holocaust of Kalavryta. All over the town, there are monuments paying homage to the countless people killed in these unfortunate acts. Today Kalavryta continues to grow, with the strength of the people who managed to survive.