There’s no visit to the islands of Antiparos or Paros complete without a walk through the famous cave of Antiparos. Home to the oldest-known stalagmite in Europe, you will find this unique site on the southeastern side of the island on the Agios Ioannis hill some 177 meters above sea level.
At the entrance of the cave you will be greeted by the 18th-century church of Agios Ioannis Spiliotis and the colossal 45 million-year-old stalagmite. Upon entering the cave, you will sense its wet atmosphere and will be amazed at its cavernous beauty as you descend over 100 meters into its depths. The cave spans some 5,600 square meters and is full of prehistoric stalactites and stalagmites, many of them unfortunately hacked down by vandals over the years. Still, this cave is simply breathtaking, and quite literally, if you climb it too fast!
Celebrated as one of the most spectacular caves discovered in Greece, the unearthed depths of the Antiparos Cave remained a secret in modern history until 1673 when Marquis de Nouadel, French ambassador to Constantinople, visited the site. Since then, the cave has been visited by thousands of people, among them King Otto and Queen Amalia, the first modern royals of Greece. In fact, once you climb down 411 steps into the ground, you will find Otto’s signature at the deepest end of the cave! Ancient poet Archilochos beat de Nouadel to the cave however, as he is known as its first ever recorded visitor.
Throughout the years, the Cave of Antiparos was used as a refuge and point of worship by various groups of people including invaders, and locals. It is interesting to see up close the various signatures of the cave’s previous visitors, some dating back to America’s Declaration of Independence in 1776, right next to autographs from the 1600s, 1950s, and today…though writing on the walls is prohibited. You can drive or access the cave by bus. There is a small entrance fee.