Caves of Antiparos

Antiparos Caves

The stalactites and stalagmites of the Cave of Antiparos have inspired numerous visitors. During archaeological excavations fragments of ancient vases were found here.

The imposing stalactites start impressing you even from the entrance, and continue to amaze you all along your tour. You can reach the Cave by car, or take the classical bus that departs from the port.

Cave of Antiparos

Located in the south of Antiparos the Cave of Antiparos (Spelaio tes Antiparou) is one of the most spectacular natural sights you can see on the island. It was once used as a shelter by Neolithic man and it also served during antiquity as a place of worship. The cave contains both stalactites and stalagmites, including the oldest which dates back 45 million years. It was first officially explored in 1673 by Marquis de Nointel, however the cave has been known to locals for thousands of years.

The cave’s most prominent feature is the soaring rock formations that rise from its floor. This karstic formation is made up of lava which was once molten and then solidified in the earth. Stalactites and stalagmites formed in the rock forming a maze of pillars and arches which are home to bats, lizards and other small animals.

The cave is a great place to explore on foot. You’ll find a number of signs that guide you around the cave and it is possible to see some of the stalactites from outside of the main entrance. The cave is often used as a base for hikers who want to go exploring in the surrounding hills. It’s also a popular destination for organized boat tours that depart from the beach at Agios Georgios and the port of Paros.


The cave Katafygi was formerly used as a shelter by the people of Antiparos in times of pirate raids or Ottoman occupation. It was also one of the main hiding places for revolutionaries. Archilochus, the ancient lyric poet from Paros, is regarded as the earliest known visitor of this Cave. His engraved impressions on the stalagmite at the cave’s entrance have survived up to today.

The Cave of Katafygi was shaped by an underground river. Over time, it formed an impressive system of halls and canals in the marble limestone. Its huge portal is still in place today. The cave’s interior is adorned by stalactites and stalagmites in various shapes.

These ornaments were formed drop by drop of the dissolved calcium carbonate in the water that seeped into the cracks of the rock. It took hundreds of years to create these beautiful structures.

The Cave of Katafygi is a very beautiful place and worth visiting. However, it is important to remember that you should never break a stalagmite in order to preserve the cave’s beauty for future generations. This is important because the stalagmite can break easily and it may be dangerous to you or your companions. In addition, it could ruin the entire experience of your visit to the Cave of Katafygi. In case you break a stalagmite, please notify the personnel of the cave.


Stalagmites are conical mineral deposits, usually made of calcite, that grow on the cave floor from the dripping of water. They form when the water drips through limestone rock, absorbing carbon dioxide and drawing it into the solution. When the carbonic acid is neutralized by calcium bicarbonate, it forms rock-hard calcite again. Over time, these crystals build up and become stalactites, which dangle from the ceiling of the cave. When the water drips again, it deposits any remaining minerals onto the stalagmitic flowstone. Over time, these deposits will grow to the height of a human head.

In addition to their sculptural beauty, speleothems are also an invaluable source of climate information. By dating the layers of stalagmites, scientists can determine past climate conditions. They can look for traces of organic matter, such as dissolved uranium, or use isotopes to analyze variations in the d18O and d13C of the calcified precipitate.

The stalactites and stalagmites in the Cave of Antiparos are some of the most impressive in Europe. Some of them are even over 45 million years old. The inscriptions on the stalagmites tell of many events that took place in Antiparos throughout history. This breath-taking natural work of art can only be truly appreciated if one visits it in person. Luckily, it is easy to get to the cave from Antiparos town. There are several buses that leave from the port, and their itineraries vary by season.

Stalagmite inscriptions

Stalactites and stalagmites are speleothems, minerals that form into structures that line the interior of caves. They develop a new layer each year, much like tree rings, and can be analyzed to reveal climate history. Scientists can use the layering of stalactites and stalagmites to track the frequency of droughts over the past 40,000 years.

When climatologist Liangcheng Tan first visited the Dayu Cave, he noticed a series of inscriptions on several stalagmites that looked like poems. He didn’t think anything of them at the time, but when he returned to the cave in 2009, he discovered that they were actually drought records dating back half a millennium. The inscriptions matched up with chemical analyses of the stalagmites, indicating that each time the inscriptions appeared, there was a period of severe drought.

Drought is a common feature in China, where the summer monsoon accounts for 70% of annual rainfall. The inscriptions from the cave indicate that people during these times were desperate for rain. The graffiti also mentions droughts that led to political strife, widespread starvation and cannibalism. In addition to the inscriptions, the park contains 14 petroglyph sites and four areas with positive impressions of handprints. Also found were 97 paintings, some showing calendar dates and others depicting mythological creatures. The park’s fauna includes three different amphibian species, including Bufo bufo (Common Toad), Hyle arborea (Common Tree Frog) and Lacerta viridis (Green Lizard). It also has six reptile species, including Elaphe quatuorlineta (Four-Lined Snake) and Testudo graeca (Greek tortoise). The cave is a protected site under the National Natural Heritage List of Greece.