In Greece, there exists a lake with a nice tint of blue that you can only see inside a cave. It sparkles as the sunshine coming from the cave’s oval opening hits the water’s surface. The whole place gives off an impression that deities have been living in here for thousands of years, spending their mornings floating on the lake under the sunshine. The deities might be works of fiction, but the location isn’t something brought out from a human’s imagination. Blame it on nature and save a weekend to see Melissani Cave.
Melissani Cave is located on the island of Kefalonia, northwest of Sami in Greece. The beautifully-sculpted cave is 3.5 kilometers long, 40 meters wide and 36 meters high. The cave is shaped like a letter B with two big water-filled halls and an island in the middle.
The well-known cave with an oval opening to the surface is found at the first hall. Here, you can see the sun’s rays hit the water, making the whole cave light up with a blue glow. That’s why it’s best if you visit the cave in the middle of a sunny day. It’s also fine to visit in the morning or the evening, but expect a different atmosphere.
The cave was discovered in 1951 by Giannis Petrocheilos. This exploration led to the discovery of an ancient lamp which can now be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli. More relics were found in an excavation done in 1962 by S. Marinos. The clay figure of Pan, a clay disc depicting dancing nymphs, a clay plate depicting the procession of nymphs and a small plate with a woman figure relief were found out to be from the former Minoan culture on Cephalonia. The relics show images of the god Pan together with several nymphs which made the place be known as the Cave of the Nymphs.
Myths mention that there was a nymph who took her own life and fell on the lake because the god Pan didn’t respond to her love. Later on, it was named after the nymph whose name is Melissanthi.
The lake water is a mixture of salt water and fresh water. It rises from a 30-meter deep cave system on one side of the cave and flows smoothly to the other side. A boat trip is needed to go through the first hall and the second hall of the Melissani Cave. There’s also a narrow channel leading to another hall which is entered with the help of a rope to pull the boat through.
When On Earth Magazine is for people who love travel. We provide informative travel guides, tips, ideas and advice regarding places to see, things to do, what to taste, and much more for world travelers seeking their next dream vacation destination.