Geosites of Kefalonia

  1. Spring Keria

The "Keria" spring is made of stone; it is ornamented with intensely carved decorations and islocated in the village of Ag.Thekli on the Paliki peninsula. Next to the spring, there is a Christian icon of Cosmas of Aetolia, marking the passage of the monk, who is believed to have preached his teachings at that site. This part of Paliki, where the spring is situated, it is mainly covered by Neogene formations (clay sediments) that were deposited unconformably over Mesozoic limestones of the Pre-Αpoulian Zone. The Keria spring is a contact spring between Neogene and Eocene limestones, which during the past was considered as a mineral spring.

  1. Matzavinata

Matzavinata village is located on the Paliki peninsula. In this village and in the surrounding villages of the area Pliocene sediments prevail, mainly blue clay sediments strongly eroded, with a characteristic appearance that differs from the rest of the island. They are geomorphological formations with main featuresthe small ravines, erosional valleys and small streams created by mechanical and chemical weathering.

3. Xi

Xi is located in the southern part of the Paliki peninsula. The lithological formations of the beach are consisting of mainly blue clay sediments.Due to the clay composition of these blue sediments and their content in specific clay minerals, which seem to have beneficial properties, this beach presents particular interest for "mud therapy".The sandy beach has a deep tile color and the spawning of Caretta caretta (sea turtle) has been also observed there.

  1. Kounopetra

Kounopetra is located in Paliki cape, south of the village Mantzavinata where Pleistocene sediments (mainly sandstones) prevail."Kounopetra" is one of the strange geological phenomena found in Kefalonia as a large sandstone rock seat the rocky coast "Kounopetra", was constantly moving. This perpetual motion is due to waves and the clay composition of the rocks at the bottom of the sea and the base of the rock that make it unstable.

  1. Gerogompos

Gerogompos cape is located in Paliki peninsula, close to the Havriata village. Because of its geotectonic location and the lithology of the area whereEocene limestones prevail, ruptures have been caused along the coastal zone as well as karstic erosion such as small coastal caves. Furthermore, near Gerogompos cape there is a historic, well-designed lighthouse of international importance. At the Cape of Gerogompos, a lighthouse of the same name was built in 1907 by the British, was destroyed by the German troops as they left the island and was rebuilt in 1947, with its light beam reaching 30 nautical miles.

6. Kipouria

Kipouria is located in the westernmost point of the Paliki peninsula. Here the Holy Monastery of Kipouria is also built. The island of Kefalonia is located at the NW end of the Greek arc which was formed due to the collision of the African plate with the Eurasianone, making the Greek arc the most active geological structure in Europe. For this reason, Kefalonia and especially its western part is characterized by intense deformation and very high seismicity.

7. Platia Ammos

Platia Ammos is one of the most impressive beaches of the Paliki peninsula, and Kefalonia as well. It is located in the westernmost point of the peninsula at the NW end of the Greek arc which was created due to the collision of the African plate with the Eurasianone.The impressive landscape as well as the wild beauty that we observe in Platia Ammos is due to its lithology (limestone) and mainly to its geotectonic location.

8.  Agia Eleni

 

Agia Eleni beach is a beautiful, quiet beach located atthe western part of Paliki peninsula close to the village Damoulianata. Because of its geotectonic location and the lithology of the area where Eocene limestones prevail, ruptures have been caused along the coastal zone as well as remarkable geomorphs of karstic erosion.

 

9. Vouti (Zola region)

 

Vouti Beach is located in the northern part of Paliki peninsula where Miocene sediments occur.  In the wide area Eocene limestones prevail, as well as Upper Cretaceous limestone’s but in a lesser extent. In this area, due to the lithology as well as to the intense tectonics that prevail, there is an impressive "rock garden" (karstic geomorphs), which consists of scattered large boulders that compose an impressive stony landscape.

10. Fteri

Fteri beach is located in the northern part of the Paliki peninsula. The access to the beach is done by foot with considerable difficulty, as the road stops almost two kilometers from the beach. Alternatively, we can visit it by boat. The area is characterized by the impressive appearance of Upper Cretaceous limestones as well as of karstic geomorphs of erosion. On the beach there was an impressive erosional rocky arch which was destroyed during the 2014 earthquake.

11. Wetland Livadi

Livadi lagoon is the most important wetland on the island of Kefalonia. The plain of Livadi is a typical coastal swamp, which is sheltered in a protected environment such as the Gulf of Argostoli, and consists a refuge for many rare birds such as the heron and the alcyone, as well as for many species of amphibians and fishes.

12. Gorge of Agia Varvara

The gorge of Agia Varvara is a relatively small gorge which presents geological, aesthetic and religious interest. Ιn the cave located at the bottom of the gorge the church of Agia Varvara was built when, according to tradition the locals discovered the icon of the Saint in the cavity. The church of Agia Varvara is framed by two stone arched bridges.

13. Koutavos Lagoon

Koutavos lagoon is one of the two wetlands of the island of Kefalonia, which hosts many species of aquatic and migratory birds, as well as remarkable species of fish fauna. Koutavos lagoon is delimited by the De Bosset Bridge with a length of 750m, connecting the city of Argostoli with the neighboring area of Drapanos. Koutavos lagoon develops on post Alpine formations of Quaternary (2.58-0.00 My) age.

14. Katavothres of Argostoli

One of the most astonishing geological phenomena which is unique for the Island of Kefalonia, is the hydrological karstic system, which connects the sinkholes of Argostoli with the brackish springs of Sami-Karavomilos, with an inflow speed up to 3 m / sec. They constitute an underground karstic system of conduits and cavities, which develop in the limestones of mount Aenos.

15. Piniatoro area

 

Piniatoro is located in Lassi area, close to the Lighthouse (Fanari) of Saint Theodore, where Late Cretaceous limestones prevail. Due to erosional processes karstic geomorphs such as grooves, small pits and sea arches are formed in these limestones, creating a distinctive landscape.

16. Ai Helis

 

Ai Helis beach is located near the village of Svoronata in Livathos. Pliocene sediments predominate in the area, mainly blue marls which contain a rich malaco-fauna. Ai Helis is a rich fossiliferous site wherea taphocoenosis of marine bivalve molluscs (Pectinidae) can be found.

17. Agios Thomas (Saint Thomas)

Agios Thomas beach presents a special geological, paleontological, aesthetic and mythological interest. The sedimentological and palaeontological characteristics of this beach indicate marine terraces. This sudden change in the sea level also creates fossilized horizons, rich in Pectinidae (scallops), Ostreidae (oysters)and Echinidae(Echinoids). The beach of Agios Thomas is also an excellent place to observe a deltaic system.

18. Polje of Valsamata

 

The polje of Valsamata is the largest karst valley on the Kefalonia Island. It is located North of Mount Ainos and on the southern slopes of Mount Roudi and belongs to the village Omalon. Formed in Cretaceous limestones of the Pre-Apulia zone those are strongly karstified. The total area of the polje reaches about 6.4 km2. Furthermore, the cultivation of Robola takes place in the whole area of Omalon. In the area of the polje of Valsamata one can visit the most important religious monument of Kefalonia, the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos, which was founded by himself in 1560 and, today, it hosts his body in a silver shrine.

19. Ionian Thrust

 

The pre- Apoulian zone almost prevails on Kefalonia Island. During the Pliocene theIonian zone thrusted over the Pre- Apoulian one. This event is the most important tectonic event of Kefalonia that forms the current geomorphology of the island. The Ionian thrust can be observed alongside the road network from Sami to Poros, where Pantokrator limestones (Ionian zone) are thrusted over the Miocene marls of pre- Apoulian zone.

20. Poros Gorge

The gorge of Poros is one of the most beautiful geomorphological phenomena of Kefalonia. It is a gorge with, aesthetic, archaeological and religious interest. Also in the area several endemic plants are found. Also the gorge is closely connected with myths of the area and inside the gorge there is a cave which was in use from the Neolithic to the Historical years.

21. Waterfalls of Gradou

 

One of the most impressive sights of the island in the area of ​​Eleios-Pronnon is the "waterfalls" of Gradou. Waterfalls of Gradou, is a gorge that is formed in Miocene limestones of the Pre-Apoulia zone with many small waterfalls and small lakes between Skala and Poros. The largest waterfall is about 18 m high. You can reach the Waterfalls of Gradou only by foot following a very pleasant path.

22. Klimatsias

 

The beach of “Klimatsia” is located atthe southern part of Kefalonia in the village of Spartia in the area of Livathos which is believed to have taken its name from the loud noise made by the waves when they crash onto its impressive rock formations. The beach is dominated by Pliocene sediments such as sandy limestones, which are rich in fossil Echinidae (Echinoids) and Pectinidae (bivalves), as well as thick blue clay sediments. These blue sediments are characterized by intense erosion forms which are created due to the mechanical and chemical processes of water.

23. Limenia

Residual forms of erosion are located along the road network fromSkala to Poros in the area of Elliou-Pronnon. These forms are remnant erosion geomorphs of Oligocene-Miocene conglomerate limestones of the Pre-Apulian zone characterized as marine notches.These sea notches were formed due to sea level change, being indicators of this change, either due to eustatism or due to the tectonic uplift that followed their formation.

24. Grouspa Cave (Razata)

South of Razata village, just before the Cyclops Walls, we find the Grouspa cave. It is a relatively small but richin speleothems cave which is inhabited by a population of bats. The dimension of the steep entrance of Grouspa cave is about 10x10 meters and forms an almost circular opening. The cave consists of two chambers which communicate with each other through a small opening. The fist chamber consists a doline. In the second inner chamber rich and very beautiful speleothemsconsisting of stalactites and stalagmites, gours and curtains with a variety of colors are found.

 

25. Melissani cave

The cenote of Melissani is one of the most important caves in Greece as it presents special geological, biological, archaeological, aesthetic and mythological interest.It constitutes part of the wider karstic network of Sami area. It is a submerged doline where 20m below the ground surface and under the natural entrance, there is a lake measuring 60x40 with a depth ranging from 10 to 35m, and which continues for 240m as a siphon.

26. Karavomilos Lake

Karavomilos spring constitutes a submarine brackish karstic spring of great water supply, located 80m from the coast and isolated with a wall from the sea, forming an artificial lake. It presents great geological and biological interest and it constitutes one of the most important springs of the wider karstic network of the area of Sami and is connected through an underground karstic system with the sinkholes of Argostoli.

27. Drogarati Cave

Drogarati cave is one of the most important caves of Kefalonia, if not the most important, and the richest in speleothems. For this reason it is considered as one of the most beautiful limestone caves in Greece.The cave develops in Paleogene (Paleocene-Eocene 65.5-33.9 My)limestones.

28. Aggalaki Doline

The doline of Aggalaki is surrounded by a low stone wall with a railing. It starts as a pothole with a large opening with a diameter of about 20 m. The opening of the doline comes from the collapse of the roof creating a cone of scree. From the one side we find a large chamber with speleothems which in its lower part ends up in a lake of about 5 m. The cave has a second chamber with speleothems as well, while at the end of the cave a second small lake is found.Unfortunately, the cave does not continue. A large colony of bats populates this cave.

29. Agioi Theodoroi Cave

The doline is located in an area where there are several other caves. Once it was a single cavern, which over the centuries and due to the geological changes that have taken place in the region (earthquakes, rockfalls) resulted in its current form. After a 20 m pothole, the scree from the collapse of the ceiling are partly covered with small trees, we get to the terminal lake which can be seen from the entrance. The lush vegetation, make us feel that we are in the middle of a rainforest. The total length of the doline is 125 m.

30. Agia Eleousa Cave

The Agia Eleousa doline is located about 300 m from the Agioi Theodori cave. It is a vertical doline of 50 m at its lowest height and 70 m at its greatest. Scree from the collapse of the ceiling at the center goes downto the north to the edge of a first lake, which is 26 m wide and 15 m long. From this lake a siphon begins, about 300m long with beautiful decoration. On the south side of the gallery another siphon, almost 150m long, which gets to a gallery with air about 50m wide and 30m long. It is a superbly decorated cave with: stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies follow one another, often intact and with very beautiful colors.

31. Chiridoni-SotiraCave

Chiridoni can be reached from the road or by following the path that leads to Agia Eleousa doline. It is a vast collapseddoline in the southern part of which a siphon over 500m begins. It actually consists of two large galleries, more than 20 m. It is fairly rich in speleothems. At the end of the second room, after a narrow passage through large collapsed blocks, we come across the scree cone of the cave of Sotira, with which it is connected.

32. Zervati Cave

Zervati cave, is a doline which constitutes part of the wider karstic network of the Sami area and in addition to its geological value, the cave presents particular ecological interest. The roof and walls of the cave are characterized by the presence of many stalactites. Due to the collapse of the roof a dome was created which is located in the center of the open part of the doline. On either side of the debris dome there are two lakes of brackish water.

33. Avithos Lake

 

Lake Avithos is one of the two natural lakes of Kefalonia which is located in the southeastern part of the island, near the village of Agios Nikolaos in the province of Poros. The name Avithos (greek word which means without a bottom) derives from the perception that this lake is so deep that no one could find its bottom. Lake Avithos is a karstic lake found in Upper Cretaceous limestones of the Pre-Apulia zone which has a depth of only 11mand which is connected underground with the wider karstic network of the area.

34. Myrtos

Myrtos bay is the most famous beach of Kefalonia and one of the main attractions. Apart from its special beauty, this region presents also special geological interest due to its particular geomorphological features and its intense active tectonism. The construction of a bridge built on the active fault zone of Charakas constitutes an achievement of engineering as it is constructed in such a way that it will be absolutely safe during an earthquake.

35. Asos

 

Asos is one of the most popular sites of Kefalonia and is located in the northern part of the island.Apart from its special beauty due to its picturesqueness, it is the only area wherethere is a significant surface outcropof lithological formations of the Lower Cretaceous of the Pre-Apulian zone. Also in Asos we can visit the Venetian fortress (castle).

36. Alaties

 

Alaties belongs to the area of Erisos and is located just before the cosmopolitan Fiskardo. Alaties as well as the whole area of ​​northern Kefalonia consists of Upper Cretaceous limestones ofthe pre-Apulian zone.These lithological formations are characterized by intense forms of karstification (erosive forms) due to the action of the sea, the wind and the intense tectonismthat characterize the whole area of ​​northern Kefalonia.

 

37. Rudi

 

Roudi is an extension of the mountain range of Aenos to the NW, and consiststhe second part of the National Park with a height of 1,125 m (peak Jupari). In this area, Upper Cretaceous limestones of the pre- Apulian zone prevail. On the eastern edge of Mount Roudi there is a large doline at the bottom of which the cave of Agios Nikolaos of Grouspa is found. The forest of Roudi consists of Kefalonian fir and other evergreen trees.

38.  Rudists

In Aenos Mountain mainly limestones of the Upper Cretaceous predominate and in the lower parts of its southwestern slopes, dolomites of the Lower Cretaceous. These limestones were deposited at the bottom of the ocean of Tethys and contain many and various fossils of marine organisms such as Foraminifera, Rudists and Gastropods. The most characteristic fossils of Aenos are the Rudists which we find in abundance in the Geosite of Rudists.

39. Karstic geomorphs of Aenos

The mountain range of Aenos is located in the southeastern part of Kefalonia near Argostoli and Sami, and constitutes the main mountain of the island as well as the highest mountain of the Ionian Islands. Due to the lithological composition and the intense tectonics that prevail, it resulted in the formation of various "karstic" geomorphs, creating an impressive petrosphere, with cavities of karstic erosion and caves (Nifi Cave, Petasi Cave).

40. View position Aenos

The Aenos mountain range is the main mountain range of the island and the highest mountain of the Ionian Islands. Its highest peak is Megas Soros (1627 m.) and has a ridge length of 11 km. It is the result of a series of successive tectonic deformation episodes, mainly of compressive nature.From the view position we can see the intense geomorphology of the mountain as well as the view towards the Southern part of Kefalonia.

41.  Monoliths of Anogi

The impressive “menir” or monoliths of Anogi, constitute impressive isolated boulders of Upper Cretaceous (100.5-66.0My) limestones of the Ionian zone.Theyconstitute one of the most important attractions of the island. They have been in correctly considered as prehistoric megalithic monuments; however their origin is purely geological and not anthropogenic (from rock or stone carving). Their striking shape, however, attracted the interest of the locals who have given names to the boulders based on their shape. Thus, the largest and most impressive boulder has been named "Araklis" after the ancient hero (Hercules).

42. Cave of Nymphs or Marmarospilia

The geosite cave of the Nymphs is located west of the capital of Ithaca, Vathi, at an altitude of 190 m above the bay of Dexa. The Cave of the Nymphs develops in white fine-grained limestones of the U. Jurassic-L.Cretaceous (163.5-100.5 My).The excavations at the Nymph cave revealed archaeological findings dating from Hellenistic and Roman times.

43. Marmakas

The beach of Marmaka, located north of the port of Frikes village, is a geosite where we can observe the outcrops of three lithological sequences, three different formations of the Ionian zone. Specifically, we observe the limestones of the U. Triassic (230-201 My) – M. Lias (190-183 My)"Pantocrator" formation, the U. Lias (182.7-174.1 My) Ammonitico Rosso formation and finally the Dogger (174.1-163.5My) limestones with cherts and shales. Also, behind the beach there is a small coastal swamp which is the only wetland on the island.

44. Afales

Afales is the large gulf located in the northwestern part of Ithaca. At Afales beach we have the opportunity to observe a large outcrop of the Paleocene-Eocene (66.0-33.9 My)limestones which come in contact with the thick U. Cretaceous (100.5-66.0 My) limestones, as well as with the Oligocene - M. Miocene (33.9-11.63 My)flysch formation (alternation of sands and clay layers) of the Ionian zone.

45. Rizes Cave

The RizesCave is located close to Perachori village, in the southeastern part of Ithaca, close to Anemodouri, where a path begins and takes us to the cave. It is a relatively small but impressive dolinewhich develops in white thin-bedded U. Jurassic-L. Cretaceous (163.5-100.5 My)limestones. On the side of the roof there is a large opening from which bright light enters. In this cave we can distinguish also karstification forms.

46.  Vathi

Along the Gulf of Molos in Ithaca(bay of Dexa, Skinos and Vathi)almost the entire series of the lithological sequence of the Ionian zone,as it appears on the island,is presented.The intense geomorphology of the Gulf of Molos is mainly due to the eustatic movements that took place during the last 2.5 My,whensuccessive alternations of glacial and interglacial periodswere observed.The result of these eustatic movements is the formationof thischaracteristic coastal landscape, consisting of valleys of the "fjord" type.

47. Gidaki

Across the beaches Gidaki, Filiatro and Sarakiniko, almost the entire sequences of the lithological formations of the Ionian zone that occur on the island of Ithaca are represented. Initially, at Gidaki beach a very good exposure of U. Jurassic - L. Cretaceous (163.5-100.5 My) limestones can be observed where we also find a large and impressive anticline.

48. Filiatro

Across the beaches Gidaki, Filiatro and Sarakiniko, almost the entire sequences of the lithological formations of the Ionian zone that occur on the island of Ithaca are represented. AtFiliatrobeach the exposed sequence consists of U. Jurassic - L. Cretaceous (163.5-100.5 My) limestones, and also of the younger Senonian (U.Cretaceous (100 .5-66 My)limestones.

49. Sarakiniko

Across the beaches Gidaki, Filiatro and Sarakiniko, almost the entire sequences of the lithological formations of the Ionian zone that occur on the island of Ithaca are represented. At Sarakiniko where the sequence of rocks, beginning from the oldest one, the U. Triassic (230-201 My) - M Lias (190-183 My) "Pantocrator Limestone", followed by the U. Lias (182.7-174.1 My) Ammonitico Rosso formation. Subsequently, limestones of Dogger age (174.1-163.5 My)are found. The sequence ends with the appearance of U. Jurassic - L. Cretaceous (163.5-100.5 My)limestones of the Vigla formation followed by brecciated limestones of U. Cretaceous age (100.5-66 My).

50. Polis cave (or Loizos Cave)

The coastal cave of Loizos is located on the Island of Ithaca and specifically in the bay of Polis near Stavros. The roof of the cave collapsed due to an earthquake in antiquity. The excavations by the British School of Archaeology at Athens in the 1930s have uncovered findings dating from the Bronze Age to Roman times. Those findings that stand out are fragments of bronze geometric tripods-cauldrons of the geometric period (9th-8th century BC) as well as a fragment of a terracotta mask of the 2nd century BC with an inscription mentioning the name of Odysseus.