Antiparos Cave is situated just 8 km from Antiparos town (Chora). It is also called the Cave of Agios Ioannis church.
This natural wonder is the number one attraction of Antiparos island.
Antiparos Cave is the only vertical cave in all of Europe with a depth of approximately 85 meters. The cave showcases the most exquisite stalactites and stalagmites making this one of the finest enchanting natural museums in Greece. In the cave you will find the the oldest stalactite in Europe estimated to be 45 million years old! A must see!
The view from the Cave is special. The Aegean sea sprawls at your feet, you can gaze at Soros beach and the surrounding inlets, the wild beauty of the rocks, and also see clearly Paros island.
- Antiparos Cave is open for visits from April 2018 through October 2018 and its opening hours are daily from 10:00 to 16:00. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.
- The admission ticket costs 6.00 euros (including a visit to the Folklore Museum). There is a 50% discount for children (6 to 12 years old) and those over 65 (3.00 euros).
- In winter months visits can be made upon arrangement with the Municipality of Antiparos.
- For school visits, please contact KEDA at the telephone number 22840 61640.
- The descent in the cave will take you down approximately 411 steps so be prepared. You should wear comfortable shoes.
- Make sure you bring a bottle of water as you will need it after the 411 step ascent. There is no shop close to the cave.
- Individuals with respiratory or heart problems are not permitted to enter, because of the high level of humidity prevalent inside the Cave.
- Smoking, flash photography and the breaking off of stalactites and stalagmites are strictly prohibited. Writing on the walls and surfaces of the Cave is also explicitly prohibited.
- The area in and around Antiparos Cave was renovated in 2009. The modernization project included the creation of the 411-step cement staircase with a protective railing, for a spacious and safe descent, the installation of security cameras, the remodeling of the forecourt area and the installation of lighting using the latest technology.
- The audio tour is available in two languages (Greek and English). Free printed leaflets with the cave information are available in seven languages (Greek, English, French, Italian, German, Swedish, Russian), and may be obtained at the entrance to the Cave.
- The cave can be accessed by bus from the port that runs hourly during the summer. The public bus timetable is available here.
- You can also go to the cave by car, motorcycle or bicycle. The paved road that leads to the Cave begins to the left of where the ferry boat docks (arriving from Paros) in the Port area of Antiparos. The parking lot at the Cave is very big and spacious. You can also walk to the cave. The walk is estimated to take about an hour and a half from Antiparos port.
Antiparos Cave information and history
Antiparos Cave is very large, and extends at several levels.
Its maximum depth is about 85 meters, it has a length of 89 meters and its maximum width is almost 60 meters.
Inscriptions on the walls of the cave mark are proof of the many prominent visitors of the cave dating back to the Neolithic period. A few of those visitors include: Alexander the Great, King Otto, the marquis de Nointe (ambassador of France) and the lyric poet Archilochus of Paros.
Originally the Cave of Agios Ioannis was used to provide shelter and was later used as a worship place for the goddess Artemis.
Stalactites and stalagmites in the cave, which change form according to the inspiration and imagination of the each visitor. It is located 171 meters above sea level, is precipitous, and its interior temperature in wintertime is at about 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees fahrenheit). It has an area of approximately 5,600 square metres. Its maximum depth reaches about 85 metres and the descent takes place easily and securely, by a cement staircase made up of 411 steps.
- The Cave is divided into the ‘Antechamber’ and three additional halls: ‘The Chamber of the Stone Waterfalls’; ‘The Chamber of the Cathedral’; and, ‘The Royal Chamber’.
- The huge stalagmite found at the entrance is 45 million years old, the most ancient in Europe, and is called ‘The Huge Central Column’.
- ‘The Royal Chamber’ was ‘christened’ as such on account of the visit paid there by King Otto and Queen Amalia. Its adornment is not impressive, but it is commanding nonetheless.
- The two picturesque little churches at the entrance are named Agios Ioannis (Ai Yiannis) Spiliotis and Zoodohos Pigi.
The lyric poet Archilochus of Paros is said to have left an inscription in the cave. In 1673, marquis de Nointel, French ambassador to the Ottoman Empire visited the cave for three days with numerous companions and celebrated mass on Christmas Day in it. Later, visitors who carved their names include Lord Byron and the first king of Greece, Otto.
During the German occupation, part of the cave was destroyed.
At the entrance of the cave the beautiful church of Agios Ioannis Spiliotis was build.
On the eve of and the day of Ai Yiannis—on 7 and 8 of May, respectively—a celebration is held with local food and drinks.
Antiparos Cave was fully developed in the second half of the 2000s with funds from the European Union by erecting barriers, building adequate steps, installing lighting, security cameras and loudspeakers to inform visitors.
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This webpage is also available in: Ελληνικα (Greek)