On the island of Kefalonia, Melissani Cave is an intriguing two-chamber cave, appealing to tourists for its beautiful blue waters and mythical history. In this post, we will explore the Melissani Cave and share everything you need to know when planning a visit to the geological marvel. Additionally, we will explore other must-see places on the island and offer the best solutions for accommodation while staying on Kefalonia, making your Greek holiday truly unforgettable.

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Melissani Cave

Located near Sami, about 2 kilometres from the island’s east coast of the island, is Melissani CaveSurrounded by forests and mountains, you can reach Melissani from the nearby villages of Karavomilos and Agia Efimia. 

What brings so many visitors to the area is the stunning natural beauty of the cave and the large underground lake within it known for its azure waters.

The cave is divided into two sections, separated by a small island between them. The first chamber is open and receives sunlight while the second is in full darkness, giving visitors a feeling of being under the sea as many of the geological stones and structures have moss and algae growing on it. The depth of the lake is about 30 metres and has a mix of fresh water and salt water as the sea is located only 500 metres away.

The Legend of Melissani: mythology meets natural beauty

Apart from the natural beauty and allure of the Melissani Cave, it’s also steeped in history and mythology, attracting historians and archaeologists.

According to ancient Greek mythology, this site was once the cave of the nymphs. Nymphs are mythological beings associated with nature and fertility, who were fairy-like companies of the gods and always represented as female. The cave and lake are particularly linked to the nymph Melissanthi who drowned herself in the lake after being rejected by the Greek god Pan, lending her name to this enchanting location.

Exploring the cave: what to expect on your visit

To access Melissani Cave in Kefalonia, you first descend through a small corridor towards the sunlit chamber where a wooden row boat awaits to take you through the cave. This first chamber is known as the Cave of the Nymphs, and as you continue towards the second chamber, which is completely enclosed, is where you will find the stalactites and a balcony which was constructed as a viewpoint for visitors.

The Melissani Cave is particularly known for its midday light phenomenon when the sun shines directly through the opening of the chamber and illuminates the water with vibrant tones of blue and green. It is a surreal visual that only can be created by Mother Nature herself. We suggest planning your visit around noon and if possible during the summer months, so that you can experience this beautiful phenomenon first-hand.

Tickets to visit Melissani Cave are reasonably priced at €7 per adult, with reduced rates for children and larger groups. You can buy your Melissani Cave tickets directly at the site, but please call ahead if you are visiting as a larger family or group of friends.


The best times to visit Melissani Cave

Melissani Cave is open year-round, but its hours of operation to the public vary depending on the season. During the peak summer months, from early May until the end of October, the cave is open from 9 am to 7 pm Monday through Sunday. As expected, the peak summer months attract more tourists to the area, so you will have more crowds at this time. During the winter months, the cave has reduced opening hours, from November to March, Melissani Cave is only open on Thursdays and weekends, from 10 am to 4 pm.

As mentioned before, the best time to visit Melissani Cave is when the sun is high in the sky, anywhere between the hours of 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. During these hours, the sun aligns perfectly with the cave’s opening in the chamber ceiling, which casts a beam of light to illuminate the crystal-clear waters below.

Make sure to always check opening hours and dates so that you can enjoy your visit smoothly.

Preservation efforts: protecting the pristine condition of Melissani Cave

Melissani Cave is a stunning natural treasure, and its preservation is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the site. Some of the efforts made to protect Melissani Cave and Lake are by capping the number of visitors that are permitted inside the cave at a time. This helps to prevent overcrowding and control garbage and human interaction with the geological features inside. Of course, this helps to ensure the water stays clear and that the rock formations are well preserved.

You can contribute to keeping this area clean by following the visitor guidelines, such as not littering and staying within the designated areas and paths. Do not touch the rocks or greenery in the surrounding area.


Nearby attractions: What else to see in Kefalonia

While Melissani Cave is the highlight of any visit to the island of Kefalonia, it also offers so much more!

Visit Myrtos Beach, a beautiful pebble stone beach thought to be one of the best in Greece during the summer months for a relaxing time under the sun. While a stroll through Assos, a charming must-see village, known for its small houses and tavernas throughout the streets with views of the Venetian castle nearby. You can also visit the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli which has artifacts from the Mycenaean to the Roman periods. Or, if you are a pure nature lover, you can visit Mt. Ainos National Park, the only national park on the island, for beautiful hiking trails and even get a glimpse into historical sites, like Megas Soros, which was a sanctuary to the Greek god Zeus.

Make Melissani Cave the highlight of your Greek Odyssey

The beauty and rich mythological history surrounding Melissani Cave makes it stand out as one of Greece’s most spectacular wonders. It is an alluring site and has to be seen once in a lifetime. When planning your holiday to Kefalonia, make sure to add Melissani Cave to your list of must-visit places, and don’t forget to trust Villa Rentals for your accommodation needs. With a variety of amenities and prime locations, Villa Rentals offers the perfect base for exploring Melissani Cave and the island of Kefalonia.