Natural Marvels in Greece

Discover the singular works of Mother Nature Nature, this all-powerful sculptor and architect has -over the millennia- shaped astounding landscapes, and moulded intricate and peculiar creations across the country on solid ground and underwater. And what better way to discover them, than to go there on a springtime trip!? The Northern Pindos National Park in Epirus, NW Greece, offers breathtaking views and memorable experiences to hikers and climbers. Visit Vikos Gorge, about an hour’s drive from Ioannina town, and discover the deepest canyon in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, right in the heart of the Vikos-Aoos UNESCO Global Geopark. The neighbouring Pindos (Valia Calda) Forest Reserve is an amazing pristine landscape with high peaks and wooded slopes, adorned with lakes which are also known as the Flega area dragon lakes (drakolimnes). The lake area is a subalpine zone of great beauty and the only way to reach and explore it is on foot and by following the signposted hiking trails. Further south in Thessaly, Meteora (a UNESCO world heritage site) is a region of towering sheer sandstone rocks on the peaks of which byzantine orthodox monasteries (11th c. onwards) dominate the entire area. Once on top, the panoramic view is unique.  

In the SW region of Achaia, Peloponnese you can visit the Cave of the Lakes (near Kastria village). The cave interior is decorated with stalactites which hang from the 30m. high ceiling, and they come in amazing formations and sizes. This is an ancient subterranean river and depending on the season you will be able to explore the cave’s unique string of 13 lakes and cascading waters arranged in three levels. Not to be missed! The northern Aegean Sea island of Lesvos holds a special natural marvel. Visit the Petrified Forest of Lesvos, near Sigri village, with hundreds of fossilized trunks and the highest standing fossilized tree in the world, reaching a height of 7.20 metres. The forest was petrified some 20,000,000 years ago following a volcanic eruption. It covers a 15,000 hectare area attracting tourists and scientists alike. In the southern part of the Aegean Sea, you will find active volcanoes on Nisyros, Milos and Santorini Islands, the one on Nisyros being the youngest of the three. The island’s caldera reaches 4km and it holds many craters with fumaroles. The largest one has a diameter of 300m.! Picture-perfect Kastellorizo is the easternmost Greek island, a part of the Dodecanese group. Head for the SE part and you will discover Galazio Spilaio (Blue Cave), the biggest and most spectacular of all sea caves in Greece. Mother Nature has decorated it with a rich array of stalactites and as you enter you will catch your breath as the reflections of sunrays on the water light the stalactites creating a kaleidoscope of colours. In Crete, the biggest of all Greek islands, make a point of touring Samaria gorge - a UNESCO biosphere reserve on Lefka Ori (White Mountains), which offers a 16km hiking route.  You must also take a trip to one of ancient Greece’s holiest places, the Diktean Cave, located on Mt Dikti. This large cave was Zeus’ shelter as a baby. The king of gods grew up in its spacious main chamber, where lovely stalactites and stalagmites are to be found; the biggest one is the “Cloak of Zeus” hanging over the centre of the lake.

Angela Christopoulou