Off the beaten track: Top Greek Caves
Explore, dream, discover, There’s never been a better time to holiday in Greece and on top of the beaches and sunshine, there is plenty to discover. Go home with a tale to tell after visiting one of the huge cave complexes dotted throughout the mainland and the islands.
Cave of Melissani: Found in the beautiful island of Kefalonia, this is an underground masterpiece. Shaped like a ‘B’ a small tunnel brings small tour boats inside the cave where the sun’s rays transform it into a heavenly light show. (Image via @ NikitasPhoto)
Cavern of Perama: Just 5km away from Ioannina city centre in Western Greece, the Cavern of Perama, discovered in the 40s is a real treat. A tour around the imaginatively lightened caves, and awe-inspiring ancient stalactites and stalagmites is well worth the trip.
Diros Cavern: One of the most beautiful lake made caverns in the world, together with Padirac Chasm in Southern France and Jeita in Beirut. Diros Cavern in the Peloponnese is 14.5 km long, featuring underwater and overland routes.
Cave of the Lakes: In the village of Kastria in Achaia lies the famous Cave of the Lakes, a rare natural creation. Apart from its labyrinth of corridors, its mysterious galleries and its strange stalactite formations, this cave has something exclusively unique that does not exist in other infamous caves. Inside visitors will find a string of cascading lakes forming three different levels that establish its uniqueness in the world.
Cavern of Aggitis River (Maaras): The cave of the springs of the Aggitis River in Drama-Northern Greece features colourful and varied forms of stalactites reflected in the still waters of the underground river. It’s the perfect choice for budding biologists; unique fish species has been found in this cavern, such as Barbus Barbus, Squalius Orpheus and a rare kind of semi-transparent stone crayfish.
Alistrati’s Cave: According to the Greek Mythology, Pluto, master of Hades kidnapped Persephone, daughter of the Goddess Demeter. He led her to what was called the Gates of the Underworld at a ravine. The specific area which is mentioned in these Greek Myths is the same one near Alistratis’ Cave. The cavern lies in a place called Petroto, where Mother Nature decided to demonstrate its power by creating medusa-like shapes. However, what fascinates the most is the huge stalactites forming pure white curtains along the walls.
Cave of the Elephants: The Cave of the Elephants in Chania, Crete is a refuge for the protected species of Mediterranean Seal, one of the most endangered mammals of Europe. Diving in this cavern is a truly magnificent experience as visitors can admire the beautiful décor of stalactites and stalagmites (underwater and above the water surface) and see fossilized bones, which are embedded in the rocks of the cave.
Dragon’s Cave: Sshhh! Located in Kastoria-Northern Greece, this impressive cave with underground lakes was once believed to be a gold mine guarded by a sleepless dragon.
Find out more about amazing places around the world, in our Off the Beaten Track series.