On the Greek islands you will find many amazing rock formations, around the coastlines and in the mountains and gorges. Here are three natural wonders, that demonstrate just how amazing the Greek landscape is, and how you could live in a town with all this amazing nature on your doorstep.
Natural Wonders create landscapes and environments that leave us mere humans in awe. Thousands of years of water eroding at the rock, have created caves and gorges, that have inspired architects to build arches and columns. Nature has perfected lighting effects and a colour palate that is both calming and pleasing to the eye.
Find homes in Greece via our property portal.
The Melissani Lake Cave on Kefalonia
Discovered in 1951 by Giannis Petrochilos, the cave of Melissani and its underground lake are 20 metres (66 feet) below ground. It was created by a mechanical and chemical process called karstikopoiisi (dissolution of rocks) during which water enters the calcareous rocks, erodes them and creates hollows. Nowadays, you can visit this unique geological formation and wonder at its beauty.
In small groups you are taken down steps, to reach the most magical underground lake, where a boat enables you to experience the joy of floating on the still water. The reflected shades of green and blue change with the sunlight, that illuminates the lake through a large opening in the cave roof. Particularly stunning at midday, when the sun’s beam shines directly down.
The Melissani Nymph
A narrow passageway leads to another part of the cave, with amazing stalagmites. Excavations have revealed a number of finds here. Those include lamps, a clay figure of the god Pan, a clay disc depicting dancing nymphs, and a plate depicting the procession of nymphs. These finds add to the mysticism of the legend of the cave, which tells of the nymph Melissani drowning herself, after Pan did not respond to her love for him. During antiquity the lake was a place of worship dedicated to Pan and Nymph Melissani. Hence the other name of the cave, the Grotta delle Nymth.
Where is Melissani cave?
Melissani cave is located 10 km from Argostoli, near Sami on the island of Kefalonia, in the Ionian archipelago.
The main town on the island is Argostoli, which has been the capital of Kefalonia since 1757. The town has some wonderful architecture, from expansive and bustling town squares to charming churches and neoclassical buildings. Argostoli is a working port with local sightseeing tours, small ferries and fishing boats that go out early every morning and then sell their fish on the seafront. Local businesses and traditions, add to the character of the town. Argostoli is surrounded by mountains covered in lush green forests and is connected to the rest of the island by the large stone bridge that crosses the lagoon.
Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands, renowned for its green mountains, sparkling azure waters and beautiful beaches. Even before Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed here in 2001, it has been a popular holiday destination for decades. The atmosphere is laid back and fun, as the locals have a reputation of being witty and jovial. For an in-depth introduction to island culture from the 15th to 20th century, pay a visit to the outstanding Corgialenios Historical and Cultural Museum.
Kefalonia has some of the most picture postcard worthy beaches in Greece. Myrtos, is among the most spectacular, as it lies at the bottom of a towering limestone cliff. The beaches of Petani, Skala and Poros are also gorgeous.
Nature lovers will also wonder at Mt Enos, which takes its name from the black pine (Abies cephalonica) that once completely covered it. Since 1962, it has been a national park, known for its beautiful wildflowers. It is also home to a special breed of pony, called Equus cabalus.
Property for sale in Kefalonia: South of the island is recommended for anyone considering a permanent move to Kefalonia. The main expat community is around Argostoli, which for home workers has the better internet connection services. In the inland villages you can still find renovation projects from €45,000 and there are a lot of plots of land for sale. An apartment in Argostoli starts at about €135,000 and a town house cost from €180,000.
The Samaria Gorge on Crete
The island of Crete has several natural wonders, one of which is the Samaria Gorge. It was created by the ground lifting and a river eroding the rock fault line running between the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) and Mt. Volakias. The Gorge became a National Park in 1962 and is the longest gorge in Europe. It is recognised as an important refuge for the rare kri-kri (Cretan goat). This National Park and World Biosphere Reserve attracts many visitors who appreciate the great outdoors.
Hiking through a natural wonder
The hiking trail is 16-kilometer-long (9.9 miles) and is open to the public from May to October. The designated path runs from the Omalos Plateau all the way to the coast. This long hike can take over 6 hours, yet you’ll be so distracted by the wonder of it all, it won’t seem that long. In one part, called “The Gates”, the sides come closer together, and are just 4 metres apart and 300 metres (980 feet) high. It is then that you realise just how small you are compared to the wonders of nature.
As you hike through forests and streams of fresh water, nature is all around. Take time to just stand and look in awe at the soaring birds of prey and the colourful display of wildflowers in spring. There are some amazing views which make the long walk incredibly worthwhile. It will also remind you what a beautiful part of the world this is, and why you want to be here.
Where is the Samaria Gorge?
The gorge is in southwest Crete in the regional area of Chania. There are excursions to the Samaria gorge from most towns on the island, or you can drive there yourself. From Chania buses will take you to the top of the gorge at Xyloskalo. You can reach the tiny fishing village of Agia Roumeli at the exit of the Samaria gorge, on foot. Frequent boat services from Chora Sfakion will also take you to Agia Roumeli.
Chania is an enchanting city with a unique history and culture, which combined with open hearted people, makes this a very special place. Visitors from all around the world are enticed by the flavours, scents, colours, music and surrounding nature. Romans, Arabs, Venetians and Ottomans have all left their footprint over the centuries. Today, the 88,000 inhabitants of Chania welcome tourists, as their main source of income.
The most photographed view in Chania is of the Egyptian Lighthouse, with the Old Town and Venetian Harbour behind it. Around every corner there is something to discover. Monuments such as St Nikolas Minaret, the city Market and the Venetian Shipyards (Neoria). Religious buildings like the Metropolis Church, the Cathedral, and the Jewish Synagogue. Museums, such as, the Archeological Museum, the Byzantine collection and the Nautical Museum of Crete, which is located at the entrance of the Firkas fortress. For a place to stroll, there is also the Municipal Garden and the waterfront districts of Koum Kapi and Nea Chora.
Property for sale in Chania : A house in Chania cost from €250,000.
The Blue Caves of Zante
You will definitely need a boat to explore our next natural wonders, as they are a series of underground waterways cut into the coast. On the northern coastline of the Ionian island of Zante, the Blue Caves, take on a striking blue glow. This fascinating feature is due to the light refracting against the rocks. Whether you opt for a boat tour or have your own, you are sure to find going through these naturally formed tunnels an incredible experience.
Around the coast from the blue caves, is one of Greece’s most famous beaches, which also can only be reached by boat. Navagio beach, lies below towering white cliffs, and is made all the more photogenic by the presence of a crumbling shipwreck, right in the middle of the soft sand. Hence, being given the nickname “Shipwreck beach”. With electric blue water lapping onto white powder sand, this patch of nature is a truly beautiful sight.
The Island of Zante
Zante, is known by the Greeks as Zakynthos. Therefore, both can be used when doing a property search. The unspoiled natural environment of Zante, makes it the perfect home for the endangered species of the caretta caretta loggerhead turtles, that come here to nest and lay thousands of eggs. The Monachus Monachus monk seal also come to Zakynthos to give birth. Then there are the tourists, who come here to have fun, snorkel and enjoy the natural environment. Fortunately, the island doesn’t get too overcrowded with tourists outside of the package holiday resorts and there are still many quiet natural areas to find your own little haven in Greece.
Zante is one of the seven Ionian Islands, and is located off the northwest coast of the Peloponnese. The largest town and main port is Zakynthos, also called “Chora” by the Greeks, where half of the island’s 40,000 population live. Zakynthos has a very diverse landscape, with fertile plains in the southeast and mountains with dense pine forests and breath-taking cliffs along the western coast. Furthermore, the economy of Zante is based primarly on livestock, agriculture and tourism.
Zante is also the name of the main town and port on the island. The town is a maze of small streets and alleys and offers a variety of lovely sites, such as the famous San Dionysios Church. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and bars and three museums. An impressive Venetian castle overlooks the city from Bohali Hill. This is a great spot to enjoy spectacular views both during the day, and in the evening when the city lights can be seen twinkling.
Property for sale in Zakynthos: Houses start at about €165,000. Moreover, some of the villas are beautifully built using the local stone and have panoramic views to the sea.
Are you looking for some practical guidance on buying a home in Greece? We’re here to help. We have information on organising your finances to buy a property in Greece, planning a property viewing trip, and making an offer.