Lake Melissani on the Greek island of Kefalonia, also known as Melissani Cave, is among the most astonishing lakes in the world.
It lies beneath a cave of unique beauty, which is an incredible 3.5 km (2.17 miles) long, 40 meters (131 feet) wide and 36 meters (118 feet) high. Its crystal-clear waters are up to 39 meters (127 feet) deep. The stalactites in the cave are between 16,000 to 20,000 years old.
Located in an easy-to-find location, just two kilometers from Sami Beach and ten kilometers from the town of Argostoli, Melissani is a must for every visitor to the Ionian island.
This natural wonder, discovered in modern times in 1951, contains both fresh and sea water. The salt water comes from the nearby sea, while the fresh water comes from a natural spring located approximately 20 meters (66 feet) underground.
Boats are used to ferry visitors along their cave explorations. The journey begins at the more open part of the cave, which is lit by the rays of the sun, creating an almost neon turquoise glow from the water. The waters of the cave are the most gorgeous if you get there between 11:30 AM and and 1:30 PM, when the sunlight streams in through the crater of its exposed roof.
Exploring Melissani Lake by boat, you will view the first section, with its spectacular underwater reflections, then a small island in the cave. When you enter the second section, you will be in a world full of stalagmites, stalactites and other peculiar rock formations.
The cave even has a place in Greek mythology. According to these legends, the natural wonder was named after one of the nymphs, called Melissanthi, who committed suicide because the god Pan would not return her love.
The scientific excavations carried out in 1951 and 1962 brought to light artifacts (including an ancient lamp, plates and figures of the nymphs and of the god Pan) dating back to the 3rd and 4th century BC, which were used during the post-Classical periods.