Cavo Malias – Μυθική Πελοπόννησος

Cavo Malias

The trip to Cavo Malias is described as a transcendent experience. The small mountain of Peloponnese is decorated by the remains of temples and isolated churches, the ships that pass constantly in the dark troubled sea are outlined with the island of Kithira. Its name means noise- roar and a great rumor already follows it from the ancient times.  The storms, at this point, where the three seas are joined, have been noted by the geographer Strabo and Homer but also by modern writers. In ancient times, on the cape, the Sanctuaries of Poseidon and Apollo were situated, while in the Middle Ages it was renamed to Cape of the Angels, because of the horrific storms.

From early Christianity hermits and ascetics came and settled in the cape, founding their hermitages in the hollows of the rocks. There gradually founded small monasteries and during the byzantine period, the cape was transformed into a center of monastic life, and was named small Holy Mountain. In 1833, a stone lighthouse at the corner of the cape was constructed, and it is claimed to be one of the most important lighthouses of the Greek seas. After its restoration in 2006, the lighthouse was declared a historical landmark.

The entire peninsula of Maleas is full of byzantine chapels, and on the same rock there are also remains from byzantine hermitages and churches. The cape is surrounded by a dense network of paths with the most important of leading up to the lighthouse of the northern shore and the small Holy Mountain in the south.

At the point where Epidauus Limera peninsula ends, lays Cape Maleas (Akra Maleas), the second most southern spot of the mainland Greece after Tenaro. In the middle of three seas, the Aegean, the Ionian and the Cretan this cape constituted a very significant naval crossing since ancient times. Its storms were so powerful that have been noted by everyone: from the Geographer Strabo and the Homeric epics until the modern poets, writers, travelers and lyric writers. Pausanias informs us for the existence of two ancient sanctuaries in honor of Poseidon and Apollo on the west and east of the Cape. In the late 18th century at the Cape Maleas there is a country chapel dedicated to Taxiarches and the hermit rang the bell only when a sailing boat was approaching the Cape to provide food supplies. In modern times, Cavo Malias is the most significant Greek cape, a spot where the ships going from the Western to Eastern Mediterranean, to Piraeus, to the Northern Aegean and vice versa, change their course.

The cape is steep, with high cliffs 600m tall. At the northern edge of Cavo Malias, exactly over the cliff, stands the chapel of Saint George. It was built in the 13th -14th century and it is one of the most important monuments of Laconia. In the area there havebeen detected fragments and larger sections of buildings of various eras and among them the church of Forty Saints with the half-demolished body and the chapel with the preserved wall murals. Ten minutes before you arrive at the Monastery you will find the small monastery of Saint Irene Kavomalousa that was built in the 19th century above the ruins of an older temple. All around, there are scattered isolated hermitages in which today reside the local fishermen and jetties can be noted, approachable by crafts only when the weather allows. Near the jetty of Saint Irene is situated the legendary cave of Kokkaliara, in which human bones related to many local myths and stories were found. Although the landscape is wild, isolated and abandoned, you can find there rare endemic plants and jackals while near the caves Mediterranean seals have been seen.

At the northern side of the peninsula a dirt road leads from Velanidia to the small churches of Saint Myron and Sainted Thomas. From this point starts the path to the lighthouse that goes all the way up the rock offering an amazing view of the sea. The lighthouse of Cavo Malias is considered one of the most important and steepest in Greece. It is built on the infertile landscape of the hostile rock, and it stands there imposing, isolated and noisy, guarded today by four lighting keepers that divide their duty into two shifts. It first opened and operated in 1883 and in 1993 the guards were replaced by lighting mechanisms. It is built 40m above the sea level, its tower is 15m tall and it lights up in a range of 17 miles. In 2006 the lighthouse was declared a historic and listed monument, it was staffed again and now the people of Vatika are full of pride for this breathtaking site.

The tour in the area of Cape Maleas begins in Neapoli. It is a crossing to heavenly Elafonisos and offers many opportunities for sea and ecotourism entertainment. The sea bottom of Cavo Malias is of exquisite beauty and filled with known and unknown shipwrecks.  Here, you should definitely visit the fishing villages of Elia, Plytra, Archaggelos with the magnificent beaches, the sunken city in Pavlopetri, the geopark of Cavo Malias with the Petrified Forest and the Cave of Kastania in Neapoli. The lagoon Stroggyli and the wetland of Gerakas are suitable for ecotourism, while a climbing field has been recently founded in Zombolo of Cavo Malias and offers more than 40 climbing routes. Furthermore, the sea of Cavo Malias is adequate for strong yachtsmen, since there are also a lot of nearby marinas with mooring availability and satisfying yacht services.