The Diros Caves are located in a cove on the west coast of the Mani Peninsula. The main Vlychada cave is an impressive, subterranean chamber with white stalagmites and stalactites, sparkling crystals and striking curtains.
The entrance to the cave was first opened to visitors in 1967, when GNTO completed the visitor accommodation work that had begun six years earlier.
The route for visitors is 1,500 meters long, of which the first 1,200 meters is by boat on the subterranean lake. The tour takes approximately 25 minutes. The water in the cave is brackish and has a high calcium content. Water temperature is approximately 14° Celsius, while the air temperature in the cave varies between 16º and 19º Celsius.
The natural entrance of the cave is only half a meter in diameter and is very close to sea level. In earlier times the cave had other entrances, which gradually closed.
Fossilized bones of panther, hyena, lion, deer, ferret and the largest hippopotamus bone deposit in Europe have been found inside the cave. Ceramics, indicating human habitation, have been found near the natural entrance to the cave.
The existence of the cave was known to local residents as early as 1900, but it was not until 1949 that the founders of the Hellenic Speleological Society, Giannis and Anna Petrochilou, began to systematically explore it to discover and highlight the cave’s unique beauty. By 1960, 1,600 meters had been explored and mapped. In 1987 the Ephorate of Paleoanthropology and Speleology of the Ministry of Culture began a detailed study of the cave and, in collaboration with an international group of cave explorers, continued the exploration and mapping. To date, 14.7 kilometers of routes have been mapped. Most of the cave is below sea level.
The cave began to form hundreds of thousands of years ago. The stalactites and stalagmites that are currently underwater formed when the sea level was well below its current level. Stalactites have been found at a depth of 71 meters. The maximum depth of the cave is located off the tourist route and reaches 80 meters.
The water penetrates the cracks of the limestone rock and dissolves it, creating, drop by drop, the unique formations of the cave. The accumulation of dissolved calcium carbonate very slowly forms the stalactites and stalagmites.
Audio tours are available free-of-charge at the cave's ticket office in five languages: Greek, English, German, Italian and Russian.
By the entrance to the Vlychada Cave, guests can enjoy coffee and snacks at the canteen.
A souvenir and gift shop operates year round.