The Diros Caves are perhaps the most important natural site in Greece and in their own way as spectacular as the caldera of Santorini. The Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts found here, many of which are in display in the museum, mean that the caves were one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece. The known part of the caves cover an area of around 33000 square meters of which only 5000 square meters have been explored. Some say that the caves go even further, maybe as far as Mount Tagetos and Sparta.
Located at the top of the Mani between the town of Pirgos Dirou and Areopolis the entrance is a few meters above the sea and a beautiful stone beach. When you arrive at the Caves you buy your 12 euro ticket at the booth and continue driving to the parking lot just outside the entrance. Try to get here early especially in the summer. In the off season you should also come early because it closes early. When you enter the cave you will walk down a stairway to an underground lake where there are boats waiting. You are given a life-vest and then each boat gets a guide who uses poles to journey through the caverns and tunnels, which are eerily lit and adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, many with interesting names. You will pass through some sections just wide enough to allow your boat, where you have to duck your head and then enter into an enormous subterranean room where you can hear the voices of people on other boats in the distance. The air is a comfortable seventy degrees at any time of the year (so bring a sweater or light jacket if you tend to get cold).
Some guidebooks warn people with claustrophobia that this may not be for them. Possibly not, but it would be a shame to miss it so maybe take whatever you need to get on an airplane. I did not find it scary at all until I read in Frommers about the giant eels that live there. (I asked and there are no giant eels.) If there is someone in your group who has a fear of caves they can go to the museum while the rest of your group goes into the cavern. The boat trip takes around half an hour and then there is a ten minute walk to the exit. The price is a little high for a half-hour tour but with some things you can’t think about what it costs. You just have to do it. This is one of them.
Diros Caves are about 2 hours away from Ininity Blue Villas and to reach them you need to go to Kalamata and then continue to mani and gytheio
Address: Pirgos Dirou, Laconia
Telephone: +30 27330 52222 (Cave), +30 27330 52223 (Neolithic Museum)
Tickets: Full: €12, Reduced: €7
Open Winter: From November 1st until March 31
Hours: Monday – Sunday: 08:30 – 15:00