Emporikis Naftilias, Voia 23053.
Vatika, Cape Maleas.
JAN to MAY Sat, Sun 10-16.
JUN Fri-Tue 10-18.
JUL to SEP daily 10-18.
OCT to DEC Sat, Sun 10-16.
Tours every hour on the half hour.
Adults EUR 7, Children (6-18) EUR 3, Children (0-5) free, Students EUR 3, Disabled EUR 3,
Groups (): Adults EUR 5.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Dimension:||L=250 m, VR=30 m.|
|Guided tours:||L=500 m, D=30 min, T=17 °C.|
Kastania Cave, Agios Andreas, Kastania, Municipality of Monemvasia, 23053, Tel: +30-6986-555444, Tel: +30-27343-60115, Fax: +30-27343-60114.
Σπήλαιο Καστανιάς, Άγιος Ανδρέας Καστανέα Βοιών Λακωνίας, 23053.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1910||cave discovered by the shepherd Kostas Stivaktas.|
|1958||cave becomes known and the Kastania Community entrusted with the task of guarding and exploiting it.|
Σπήλαιο Καστανιάς (Kastania Cave, Chestnut Cave) lies on the southern tip on the easternmost peninsula of the Peloponnese, close to the homonym village Kastania. Obviously the cave was named after the village, which was named after the chestnut trees. It is also called Σπήλαιο Άγιος Ανδρέας (St Andrew’s Cave) after the nearby chapel Άγιος Ανδρέας (Agios Andreas). We are not sure if the concatenation Σπήλαιο Αγίου Ανδρέα Καστανιάς (Cave of Agios Andreas Kastanias) is ever actually used, but it is the heading of the Greek Wikipedia page.
The cave has numerous speleothems like stalactites, stalagmites, bacon rinds, but the spectacular speleothems are helictites and discs. The 500 m long tourist route winds through a single huge chamber which is shaped like an L. The cave has two levels and formed in Jurassic limestone (195-145 Ma). The karstification started 3 Ma ago.
The cave was discovered in 1910 by the shepherd Kostas Stivaktas (some sources call him Spyros Stivaktas). He had noticed bees flying into a small crevice, and he guessed they might go to drink at a spring inside. As a shepherd he also needed water, so he searched for the water by opening the crack and found the cave instead. He was able to gather some water from a pool, and so the cave became the secret of him and his descendants. He actually did not intend to keep it secret, he just did not understand its importance. This changed in 1958 when a group of people were admiring a postcard from the Dyros cave in Mani. The Mayor of Kastania had visited the newly discovered Alepotrypa cave and sent a holiday greeting card. When Kostas Stivaktas saw the picture, he said "It's nice, but what I have in my field is better." As a result the Kastania Community started to protect it and organize guided tours. Apparently they were smart enough to protect the cave with a gate so that the destruction in the cave is minimal. The cave is very well developed with concrete paths and stainless steel railings, obviously with greetings from the EU. Unfortunately they have yellow lamps for the path, which is quite common for Greek show caves. At least they have no coloured light.
The cave is located at a very remote location, the peninsula has no major roads. From E961 at Krokees the road 86 winds across the mountains and runs straight across the river plains to Neapoli. From here a 15 km long winding road across the peninsula leads to the cave. Actually there are two roads merging right before the cave thus forming a loop. The 100 km drive are more than two hours, even more if you stop now and then for the breathtaking views. Allow 30 minutes to drive the 15 km from Neapoli.
This is unfortunately one of those caves, where only a single description exists. Someone wrote a text about the cave once, and it was copied again and again, sometimes completely, sometimes in excerpts. Any webpage including the Wikipedia page is actually a version of this description. In other words: any link below actually points to the same text in different layouts. While the description is rather long and detailed, it was obviously written by someone who does not understand most of the details and just collected some facts from scientific publications. Unfortunately we were not able to retrieve any scientific research of the cave. However, we found one report by a cave visitor and the detailed infos in this report give the impression that the guides are actually very well-informed and the tour is of high quality, though only in Greek. Probably a result of the local Caving Club Poseidon being involved. And the cave is obviously very well maintained. The website is, while not very informative, full of impressive pictures and even has a virtual cave tour.