Melissani & Drogarati Cave
Duration: 3 1/2 hours
Tour Code: arm-001
Behold the natural attractions of Cephalonia, including those beneath the surface, such as the Drogarati Cave and subterranean Melissani Lake.
Departing from the pier, you'll drive toward the eastern shore of Cephalonia, the largest Ionian island. Arriving at the Drogarati Cave, you'll descend a flight of stairs into a large cavern which is lighted for dramatic effect. Stalactites hang from the ceiling like jagged curtains, and ancient stalagmites reach up from the rocky floor. The colors are predominately red, orange, yellow and white, from the iron content in the rock and the layers of chalk and limestone.
Although estimated to be 100 million years old, the cave wasn't discovered until about 300 years ago when a violent earthquake opened an entrance. Inside the cave's Chamber of Exaltation, the acoustics are considered near perfect, and concert events are often held in its voluminous interior. Even the famed opera soprano, Maria Callas, sang here.
Continuing on, you will travel in a northerly direction, passing the town of Sami en route to the renowned Melissani Lake. This underground phenomenon looks absolutely magical in the shafts of light that come from 100 feet above, where parts of the ceiling collapsed decades ago. You'll enter the lake by small boat, paddled in so it hardly disturbs the surface of the water, which is a brackish mix of saltwater from the Ionian Sea and freshwater that originated back in Argostoli and then flowed across the island. The stalactites hanging from the ceiling here are estimated to be at least 20,000 years old.
Afterwards, you'll return to Argostoli via a picturesque coastal route that offers spectacular views across the strait to the island of Ithaca, and further along, Myrtos and its dramatic, sheer white cliffs.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 hour of moderate walking; however, surfaces inside the caves are natural, uneven and can be slippery. There is also a flight of steps to negotiate at Drogarati Cave. Participants must be able to enter and exit the small boats at Melissani Lake with limited assistance. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Comfortable clothing, hat and flat walking shoes are recommended. No heels please. Temperatures in the caves can be cool so a light sweater or jacket is also suggested.