5 Interesting Caves to Visit in the Peloponnese
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If you want to visit someplace that is a bit off the beaten track, consider the Peloponnese! This region of mainland Greece is known for its natural beauty, gorgeous towns, and ancient ruins and is easily accessible from Athens. Among the highlights are the many caverns and caves, giving visitors the chance to descend into the depths of this storied peninsula.
As much fun as normal, above-ground hiking can be, a subterranean experience gives us a unique sensation of journeying to the center of the Earth. Here are some caves that you should visit while in the Peloponnese:
Located in Kastania (nearby to Neapoli) in the southern part of the Peloponnese region, this cave is a must see for lovers of stalactites and stalagmites, those conical rock formations so synonymous with the subterranean world. Formed by centuries of water dripping through limestone, these structures are a remarkable sight, especially when they possess the grandeur of those in Kastania Cave.
The park has English-speaking guides available. Tours cover 500 meters of the cave system and typically last about forty minutes. While underground, you might spot some dolichopoda, the blind cave crickets that somehow survive in the depths of the Earth.
Caves of Diros
You might not associate a boat ride with a trip underground, but this cave system provides an experience that is at once nautical and subterranean. Like the passengers of the ferryman Charon in the mythical Greek underworld, you’ll have the opportunity to float along in a small vessel beneath the surface of the Earth. The ride lasts almost a half hour, and tour guides share their expertise on the history of the caves.
The rock structures in the caves are notable for their irregularity. Small stalactites mingle with more blob-like forms along the ceiling, while roundish rocks rise up from beneath the water’s surface.
Located in the Arcadia region of the peninsula (just a kilometer from the village of Kapsas), these caves are perfect for amateur spelunkers with an anthropological bent. Experts believe people used the caves during the neolithic and helenistic ages, and traces of human remains have been found, suggesting some ancient Greeks met their demise during unexpected flooding.
The site doubles as a museum, and the tours are remarkably informative. The guides speak English as well as Greek, which is great because they contain an impressive wealth of knowledge. Tours generally last thirty to forty minutes, although, if the quantity of questions delays the tour’s conclusions, guides are generally patient and happy to continue educating their guests.
Located in the town of the same name, these caves are home to an impressive amount of human history. They served as natural hideouts during centuries of conflict, from the Ottoman period to the Second World War. There are also two Byzantine churches to visit inside, and the presence of man-made structures gives this natural phenomenon a whole different feel.
A trip to this fascinating attraction is about a lot more than just visiting a cave. While the cave itself is gorgeous, it is only a small part of a much larger adventure. Nestor’s Cave is located along the hike to the Navarino Old Castle, which sits at the top of a mountain from which the views are incredible. After a bit of caving, hiking, and exploring, you can trek back down to the sea and take a well deserved dip, completing a truly unforgettable Peloponnesian day.
The Pelopennese region might look great on the surface, but its even better when you do a little more digging. Give one or more of these caves a visit, and you’ll quickly learn Greece is full of subterranean delights.
This post was written by Greek Boston