Melissani cave or lake as some people refer to it is located just a small distance from Sami. The cave is popular and can attract many tourists, especially in the height of summer. One tip is to go early in the day to avoid the bustling coach trips that can be busy at times. Sensible shoes are an advantage as there are steps leading to the tunnel which takes you to the boats and this can be quite slippery underfoot. Outside there is a small coffe shop along with a gift shop. Tickets for the cave can be purchased at the gates. Visitors are taken in rowing boats through a small channel into a brilliant turquoise subterranean lake. Boatmen who are also guides will talk you through your short trip. They are very interesting and entertaining.
The cavern has two large halls and centre island. The lake is 20m below the surface, and is about 165m long and the depth of the water ranges from 10-40 m. It’s stalactites are around 20,000 years old. A section of roof collapsed in an earthquake, creating a huge hole through which sunlight passes and creates wonderful colours to the waters of the lake. Best time to visit is noon for the most breathtaking view of the water. Below the calm surface of the lake gushing springs replenish the supply of water. The water flows slowly from one end of the B shaped cave to the other, finaly entering another narrow cave system before finally emerging into the sea at Katovothres.
How the water got out of the cave was once a great mystery but that was to be solved in 1959 by tracking the slow current with special dye.
In Greek mythology the site is known as the Cave of the Nymphs. A substantial amount of ancient artefacts have been discovered in the cave. They now reside in Argostoli History Museum. It is believed that Melissani is the place where the nymph of the same name took her own life because the god Pan would not return her love. Inside the cave there are stalactites that resembles dolphins these are said to be her frozen messengers.
It’s a wonderful place to visit and is a spectacular geological wonder.
Amazingly clear blue waters