In addition to the fascinating history and culture, the lovely islands and beaches and age-old archaeological sites, Greece is home to some stunning and unique natural wonders.
From underground lakes to majestic mountain peaks, rushing waterfalls to intriguing geological formations, the country is home to a plethora of magnificent works of nature that will astonish you. Here are some of the most beautiful natural wonders you can see in Greece.
Discovered in 1951 by Giannis Petrochilos, the cave of Melissani and its underground lake are situated on the island of Kefalonia, in the Ionian archipelago. Located near Sami, the cave’s underground lake, 20 meters (66 feet) below the surface, includes an islet where Pan and the nymphs took sanctuary; Melissani was the name of one of the nymphs. Nowadays, hundreds of visitors explore this unique geological formation by boat and revel in the beauty of the place.
The island of Lemnos (or Limnos), nestled in the northeastern portion of the Aegean Sea, is an under-the-radar destination, even though it boasts a range of stunning beaches and enchanting villages. But the highlight might be its abundant nature, which includes dormant volcanos dating from the Miocene era. As such, the spectacular volcanic rocks of Falakro, also named Fragokefala, in the northern part of the island are a must-see. The unusual-shaped rocks are made of solidified lava.
Located in the Dodecanese archipelago, the volcanic island of Nisyros lies between Kos and Tilos. This charming and quiet island features a dormant volcano where you can explore one of its craters, better known as Stefanos. To visit this fantastic place, right in the middle of the island, opt for a pair of sturdy shoes, as it is possible to feel a burning sensation when walking inside the crater, though its center is off-limits.
The region of Epirus, in the northwestern part of Greece, is home to a few stunning wonders, including a stone forest aptly named Petrino Dasos. These karstic limestone structures, located 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) above sea level, look like rock slabs stacked on top of one another. This stunning field of rocks, rising around oak and maple trees, can be found on the way to the Oxia viewpoint and is a great spot to stop before enjoying the view.
Meteora is an extensive region located in central Greece, near the Pindos Mountains. It features a collection of gigantic rocks home to a series of medieval monasteries, some of which are still in operation. This UNESCO-listed region boasts spectacular sights, incredible nature, and a mystic atmosphere. Stay in Kalambaka, the little village at the foot of the rocks, and take the time to explore the region. Visit the monasteries along with the surrounding area, where you can experience the natural beauty of central Greece.
Did you know that Greece is home to a desert? That’s right—on the northern coast of the little island of Lemnos lies a small desert, near the beach of Gomati. Called Pachies Ammoudies, or Gomati Desert, this area of inland sand dunes covers 17.5 acres and changes shape according to the wind. As with any other desert environment, it is home to drought-loving plants such as shrubs and brushwood. It’s best to avoid visiting the sand dunes during the afternoon as the sand gets really hot. After exploring it, head to the beach for a refreshing dip in the water.
The island of Crete, the largest island in Greece, also houses a few natural gems, including the Samaria Gorge. This National Park and World Biosphere Reserve attracts lovers of the great outdoors. Visitors can explore this 16-kilometer-long (9.9 miles) gorge, which is open from May to October, all the way from the Omalos Plateau to the coast. The strenuous trek takes explorers through steep cliffs, streams of fresh water, and forests, which are home to local fauna such as the kri-kri goat. It is also possible to camp within the gorge in designated areas.
On the northern coastline of the Ionian island of Zakynthos, near the famous Shipwreck Beach, visitors can explore the Blue Caves, a series of underground waterways cut into the coast. While you may think that there is nothing unique about these sea caves, the fact that anything inside of them can take on a striking blue glow might seduce you; this fascinating feature is due to the light refracting against the rocks. Whether you opt for a boat tour or hire your own, you will undoubtedly enjoy going through the naturally formed tunnels and may even be lucky enough to swim in the waters before another boat tour arrives.
Have you ever dreamed of swimming in a natural pool filled with crystal-clear waters? Then head straight to the island of Thassos, in the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea, where you can visit Giola—a natural pool built by Mother Earth. This stunning natural feature in the south attracts many sun worshippers and beach bums. Thanks to the turquoise glow and the warm waters as well, its natural beauty will surely make you want to immortalize your jump on your Instagram feed.
You may not be aware that the world is filled with heart-shaped islands, and that Greece has its own. Right off the coast of the island of Sapientza, in the Messinian Gulf near the town of Methoni, Kardia Island is a rocky islet shaped like a heart. There may not be much to see, but if you have a drone, you can definitely capture stunning photos from above.
Messinia is one of Peloponnese’s best-kept secrets, and Polylimnio even more so. Located near the coastal town of Kalamata, the region of Polylimnio is a green paradise, home to a collection of no less than 15 refreshing lakes and waterfalls. As you explore the area, you will also stumble upon lush, verdant forests and narrow gorges. In order to reach this beautiful natural wonder, you must hike your way through the wilderness, but once you get there, you will not regret it.
Many people are familiar with the island of Milos, with its charming Cycladic villages, its stunning beaches, including the lunar Sarakiniko, and its peaceful atmosphere. But did you know that near Milos, the small island of Kimolos is just as stunning and breathtaking? Furthermore, Kimolos plays host to some spectacular geological formations, including Skiadi, the stone mushroom. This formation was created by a process called ablation, which involves the wind scratching away at dust at the bottom of the rock, eroding its bottom layers, which are softer than the top layers. This unique rock, reachable after a walk in the wilderness, dominates an inland valley on the island.
Drakolimni describes lakes located in the massive mountains in Epirus and includes the lakes known as Tymfi and Smolikas. According to legend, these two lakes were home to two dragons. Of course, this is only a legend, but the area, with alpine lakes enclosed in green meadows, is simply breathtaking. If you are lucky and visit in the winter, the stark bright snow gives the area an even more eerie glow.
A small island nestled between Greece and Turkey, Samothraki is less known when compared to its more popular cousins. But while the island may not have a PR team as large as Santorini’s or Mykonos’s, it has a couple of things that the other two destinations lack: hot springs and the absence of crowds. If you wish to see hot springs, head to the aptly named town of Therma. The exquisite beauty of the area, which features impressive stone formations, rich fauna and flora and enticing waterfalls, will enchant you.