Boating on Melissana Lake
Boating on Melissana Lake

The impressive Melissana Lake cave, 2 km. outside the Sami, is perhaps the most striking attraction of the island. It is a true miracle of nature, featuring on lists of the most beautiful corners of the Earth. The experience of boating in the small cave which is illuminated from an open roof is unique, as sunbeams throw wonderful colors on the limpid turquoise waters and the silence is broken only the sound of the oars.

The cave was discovered in 1951 and the stalactites that adorn the walls are estimated to have formed 20,000 years ago. The lake is 20 metres below the surface of the ground, has a length of about 160 metres and a depth of 10-40 metres. Because of seismic activity, a large part of the roof has collapsed, leaving a huge opening that allows the sunlight to dance on the transparent waters, offering a fascinating spectacle.

Toward the middle of the lake, where the covered section begins, lies a small island on which items that attest to the use of the cave as a place of worship of the God pan and the nymphs were found. A narrow water passage between the island and the walls leads to the rest of the covered part of the cave.

As for the name, legend says that the nymph Melissani committed suicide in the waters of the lake, because the Pan rebuked her affections. Another version mentions a shepherdess Melisande, who, while looking for her missing sheep, stumbled and drowned in the lake.

The lake is reached by descending from an underground channel that leads to the main hall of the cave. The tour begins here by boat through the whole length of the lake.

Open summer season only
Daily: 08.00-20.00
€7, €4 (children)