Papanikolis Sea Cave in Meganisi; Although the Greek island of Meganisi is a bit off the beaten track, there are still many gems here that people can’t wait to explore. The Papanikolis Sea Cave is one of those places that people flock to see, and it is well worth the trip! One of the reasons for this is its sheer size. Did you know that the cave is large enough for large ferries and ships, even those with tall masts, to sail inside?
This cave has been around for thousands of years, and it has gone by different names. Today, it is referred to as the Papanikolis cave and was named after a famous submarine from World War II. You should visit this cave if you get the chance!
About the Papanikolis Sea Cave in Meganisi
Meganisi is a small island composed of about nine square miles. It appears white when approaching it from the sea because the island is formed mostly from limestone. Locations that are made up of limestone, dolomite, or gypsum are called “karst regions” by geologists. These types of rocks are highly porous. It makes them conducive to cave formation.
Therefore, Papanoikolis is not a truly authentic sea cave. It is referred to as a “karst region cave” and was formed in an era when sea levels were much lower. Seas rose over centuries to fill the bottom half of Papanikolis. The result was the formation of a truly remarkable cave-like few others in the world. It’s the second-largest cave in all of Greece, measuring 360 feet long by almost 200 feet wide.
What to See at the Papanikolis Sea Cave in Meganisi
Visitors who sail inside the cave universally report that being here offers a truly unique experience for its visitors. One enters an almost otherworldly dimension of water below and rugged cave formations above. The salty smell of the sea combines with dark, cool air that produces a sensation of wonderment. The seawater is a brilliant and clear turquoise that beautifully reflects the craggy whitish rock formations and stalactites above. Once inside, the water takes on a dark hue that engenders a sense of mystery.
A feeling of history is palpable inside the cave. This is a location that has undoubtedly been used for thousands of years by ancient mariners who retreated to the shelter of Papanikolis to wait out a storm or hide from sea pirates. World War II buffs visit the cave because of the incredible contribution that the Papanikolis submarine made toward defeating Nazi Germany.
Inside, the cave makes a right turn at the rear. At the far end of the cave, there are small white sand beaches that can be accessed only by a ride on a small boat. It is a unique place for a stroll on a variety of small beaches that are just as unique as the cave itself. You can also paddle through the interior of the cave in a kayak or small boat to get a different experience.
The island of Meganisi is located a short 12 nautical miles east-southeast from Nydri village on the island of Lefkada. Tourists generally go to Nydri village first and catch a ferry or take a boat cruise to make the 45-minute trip to the Papanikolis Sea Cave.