A Day of Underwater Adventure in Chania's Famous Elephant Cave

This excursion offers a stroll through beautiful and picturesque villages, exploration of an underwater cave, and dives in a unique beach.

Embark on a thrilling day exploring the renowned Elephant Cave in Chania. Dive into its depths and uncover the mystery of the elephant bones found there. If you want to learn more about Elephas Chaniensis, read here.

Near the cave, discover the secluded haven of Koutalas Beach. After immersing yourself in the underwater wonders, take a break and unwind on this pristine beach.

Conclude your day with a visit to the charming villages of Plaka and Kokkino Chorio, indulging in local meze to complete your memorable day.


Photo: Municipality of Chania

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discover crete

1 day

The Singular Cave of the Elephants in Chania

The Singular Cave of the Elephants in Chania

Caves

difficult

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ABOUT

In 1999, Manolis Efthymakis, an avid snorkeler, indulged in his favourite hobby in the sea area of Chania prefecture, right outside Souda Bay.

Fate led him to discover the entrance of an underwater cave, approximately 10 metres long and 6.5 metres high. This cave, later named the Elephant Cave, earned its name due to the paleontological discoveries found inside.

In the early 21st century, the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology and Spelaeology conducted the inaugural expedition to investigate the cave. Through underwater exploration, the team uncovered bones that were identified as belonging to deer and elephants. Remarkably, this is the sole location in Crete where elephant remains have been discovered beneath the sea, suggesting the presence of land in the area in the past.

The prevailing theory regarding the elephant species known as Elephas Chaniensis, originating from the Chania region, suggests that it inhabited Greece approximately 60,000 to 50,000 years ago. 

Photo Municipality of Chania

Omega Divers: Exploring the Elephant Cave Dive

Omega Divers: Exploring the Elephant Cave Dive

Scuba Diving

4,5 hours

intermediate

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Immerse yourself in a captivating diving adventure consisting of two dives. The first takes you to the location of the lighthouse, while the second explores the breath-taking Elephant Cave. The entrance to the cave, located between 7.5 and 12 metres deep, spans approximately 9 metres in width. As you swim about 40 metres inside, a mesmerising sight awaits you—exquisite red-white stalagmites and stalactites that adorn the cave's interior. Prepare to enter a magnificent underwater paradise of vibrant colours and awe-inspiring natural formations.

The natural ‘décor’ inside the cave creates a truly enchanting atmosphere. Stunning white and red formations adorn the ceiling and floor, sparkling as they catch the light. The presence of these formations both above and below the water's surface is a testament to the cave's formation thousands of years ago, during a time when sea levels were much lower. Among the cave's treasures lie fossilised remnants of an elephant, including a vertebra, teeth, and a tusk. Additionally, the cave houses numerous deer bones, belonging to both regular-sized and pygmy deer, some measuring as short as 30 centimetres in height. These remarkable features make the Elephant Cave a fascinating site to explore.

Evelin Dive Centre: Exploring the Elephant Cave

Evelin Dive Centre: Exploring the Elephant Cave

Scuba Diving

intermediate

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Since the inception of the Evelin Dive Centre, this diving location has consistently earned a place among the top 10 dive sites globally, as recognised by experienced divers from around the world.

The underwater Elephant Cave is situated in the Drepano area of Akrotiri, within the Chania region, and lies just outside Souda Bay.

To access this diving destination, you will convene at the second diving centre of Evelin Dive Centre, which is situated in Georgioupoli, right in front of Kalivaki Beach.

Koutalas Beach: A Secluded Haven

Koutalas Beach: A Secluded Haven

Beaches

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Koutalas beach is located on the edge of Cape Drapanos, to the north of Kokkino Chorio. Just outside the village, there's a wooden sign that points towards Koutalas. From there, a downhill route starts, which covers about 2 kilometres and follows a passable dirt road, leading to the magnificent beach. The beach is rocky and deep, so caution is necessary due to the presence of rocks. You can take a car down to the beach.

The broader area is abundant with incredible caves, such as the Elephant Cave or Petsis Cave.

The beach is situated at the mouth of a rocky gorge and nestled within an elongated bay. The beach is covered with pebbles and large stones, which can make swimming a bit challenging. However, you have the opportunity to combine your hike in Cape Drapanos with a refreshing swim at this beach.


Photo 1 by @manos.papadomanolakis

Kokkino Chorio (Red Village): Nostalgic Signs, Symbols of the Past

Kokkino Chorio (Red Village): Nostalgic Signs, Symbols of the Past

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The charming Kokkino Chorio in the Municipality of Apokoronas carries a nostalgic touch from the past. Visitors can encounter signs displaying old place names for each neighbourhood, providing a journey back in time to decades gone by.

Unique Caves

Above the village, the hill of Drapanokefala commands the landscape, while to the northwest lies Cape Drepano. In close proximity to the village, numerous caves can be found, including ‘Petsi o Spilios’ (or Karavotopos) and ‘Katalymata’ in the village centre. At Cape Drepano, beneath the sea level at a depth of 10 metres, lies the Elephant Cave, boasting a hall measuring 60 by 60 metres adorned with stalactites and stalagmites.

During the 1821 revolution, 150 women and children sought refuge in one of the caves in the area. Despite the cave's inaccessible entrance, the Turks managed to locate them and tragically slaughtered them.

Source: Wikipedia

Plaka Chania: A Coastal Haven Preserving its Traditional Essence

Plaka Chania: A Coastal Haven Preserving its Traditional Essence

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Plaka in Chania treats visitors to a unique vantage point, showcasing the sandy shores of Almyrida and a substantial portion of Souda Bay.

According to the Municipality of Apokoronas, the village's name likely draws inspiration from the shale rock prevalent in the area, mirroring the nomenclature of two other settlements in Crete (Viannos and Mirabello).

Plaka is a haven for those seeking a blend of water sports, diving, fishing, hiking, and more. The area seamlessly intertwines with the captivating hinterland of Apokoronas, offering a plethora of activities related to both the sea and the picturesque landscapes.


Photos: Wikipedia