These places are far from the most common image that Greeks and foreigners have of Greece. The endless blue sea, the white houses, the bright sunlight, the boats, the snow-white beaches with clear waters and the deep blue sea compose the “typical” Greek landscape, attracting the visitors’ interest.
In Greece, of course, one can as well enjoy holidays in the hinterland and the majestic mountains of the country have their own beauty, with green slopes, the houses with the red tiled roofs and impressive rivers that create their own paradise.
But in Greece one can also find landscapes completely different, “exotic”, incredible and yet completely Greek! Get a glimpse of the well hidden from the public areas that will transfer you not just out of your everyday life, but also… to another continent!
1. Elafonissi, Chania
Turquoise waters, shallow and clear… An exotic landscape, that you usually see on pictures of the Caribbean, the Maldives or the Bahamas and the small islands of the Pacific. Yet, this scenery is totally Greek and Mediterranean. We are talking about Elafonissi beach, at the southwestern edge of Chania.
Nature tried its best and created a separate, sandy strip of land that ends in a small island, covered as well with bright white sand. The water is so shallow between Elafonisi and the shore that you can walk around and explore the whole area. Dunes, cedars, white lilies, black rocks, rare species of animals and birds that inhabit the area, create a landscape exotic and unique.
The area has been listed as a Natura protected area and is home of the loggerhead sea turtle Careta careta. It is strictly forbidden to cut plants from the beach or even to take with you sand from the shore!
Find out more about Elafonissi on Terrabook!
2. Amothines, Lemnos
A desert … on a Greek island in the Aegean? Yet, it’s true! Amothines (sand dunes) at Gomati of Lemnos is a “miniature” desert, such as those encountered in the Sahara and North Africa. They cover an area of about 70 acres… and you will only see the sea far away in the background! Occasionally you will encounter undergrowth, while the low hills surrounding it are also overgrown with bushes.
According to geologists, the sand dunes of Lemnos are inland dunes and not coastal and they are created by the wind that transferred the sand. This phenomenon is considered extremely rare on islands and if you get there, you will hear the locals call the area Pachies Ammoudies (Thick Sands) and to characterize it as “the only desert of Europe!”
Read more about Amothines of Lemnos on Terrabook!
3. Melissani Cave, Kefalonia
Even though each cave is a unique and an admirable work of nature, the cave of Melissani in Kefalonia will leave you speechless with its greatness. The underground lake in the cave is 20 m. below the ground surface, has a length of 160 m. and is 10 to 40 m. deep. Stalactites 20,000 years old with odd shapes adorn most of the cave, while in the middle of lake there is an island.
What makes Cave Melissani unique however is the natural light that shines through a large, natural opening in the ceiling and paints the water with thousands of shades of blue, while endless colors are also mirrored on the walls of the cave.
Scientists have confirmed that the water of the lake communicates underground with the water in the Katavothres (sinkholes) of Argostoli, one of the geological mysteries of Kefalonia.
Read more about Cave Melissani on Terrabook!
4. Polylimnio, Messinia
A landscape right out of a fairy tale and found in the hinterland of Messenia. Over ten consecutive ponds and waterfalls, lush vegetation, tall trees and flowers – in other words, nature in all its glory, so much so, that you expect to encounter forest nymphs, fairies and elves…
Polylimnio (multiple lakes), as it is called, is located just 33 kilometers westward from the city of Kalamata. In the lakes with the strange names such as Kadoula, Mavrolimna, tou Ticherou (lucky), to Italou (Italian), anyone can dive and swim, while most impressive is the waterfall of Kadi, with waters flowing from a height of 25 meters.
In the ponds of Polylimnio you will see small fish, black freshwater crabs, amphibians, reptiles and small mammals!
Read more about Polylimnio on Terrabook!
4+1. Vathres, Samothrace
The scenery may be familiar to those who frequently visit the rivers of the Greek mainland, but no one expects that there is a Greek island, whose “fans” would not choose it for the sea and its beaches, but for its impressive lakes formed by dozens of rivers.
The vathres of Samothrace are small pools formed by streams passing through the rock cavities. During summer they are filled with vacationers who love the different scenery and experience offered by the island of Cabeiri and enjoy swimming there, under the dense foliage of trees, surrounded by nature and vegetation.
Read more about Vathres of Samothrace on Terrabook!