One of the highlights of our first family holiday with toddlers on Kefalonia was visiting the fantastic Melissani Lake. This is an underground lake on the island which you explore with a guide on a boat as they tell you all about how it was formed. Here's our guide to Melissani Lake and visiting it with toddlers and young kids.
Melissani Lake is found North West of Sami on the island of Kefalonia.
The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests and as you drive up you would be mistaken to think that there is no lake there.
But hidden beneath the ground is a crystal blue lake that is open to the air.
Mythology about Melissani Lake
As we love to combine learning with our trips we loved the mythology surrounding the lake. It is believe to be the cave of the nympths from Greek Mythology where Melisannthi drowned after being rejected by the god Pan!
Excavations of the caves in the early 60's showed evidence of the lake and caves being associated with this as they found artefacts depicting Pan and the nympths.
Getting to Lake Melissani
It is easy to get to Lake Melissani. We did the journey by hire car from Lassi and followed the clearly signposted roads from Sami to reach the car park.
It also forms one of the highlights for the tours of the islands. So if you don't hire a car check with the tourist offices and tour supplies as there is bound to be one of the coach trips heading that way whilst you visit.
How much does it cost to visit Lake Melissani
At the time of writing the cost of visiting is
7 Euros per adult and 3 Euros for children
This covers the boat ride as well as entry into the cave however, we were advised to tip the boat man and we did as he was very informative and even seranded us on the lake with Row Row Row your Boat!
Facilities at the Melissani Caves for Families
There are very basic facilities at the site. But the local towns of Karavomilos and Sami have plenty of options available and are a short distance away.
At the time we visited there wasn't any place for food apart from the small snacks and water available in the shop.
There was bathroom facilities but we don't recall changing facilities for toddlers and babies.
What to wear when visiting Melissani Lake with Kids
We visited the island in late October and there was a chill in the air, however, on a previous visit we visited in summer and it was very hot on the island.
The cave and lake can be a little cooler than the outside temperature but, both I and the toddler were fine. However, other members of the family felt the cold and wore a sweater.
In the summer it was extremely pleasant and we would have stayed down in the caves longer if possible.
Visiting the Melissani Cave and Lake with Toddlers
This is a place to leave the pushchair in the car or on the coach.
There are steps down onto a long ramp that takes you to a dock where you enter into the boats. So we again used the carrier and this made it considerably easier to navigate than carrying him on our own.
When in the boat there is no safety gear so keep hold of your little ones. Our toddler was in awe of the cave and lake system so happily sat on our laps as we were rowed around the lake.
Read some more of our top tips for travelling with toddlers with our guide to avoiding travel meltdowns.
Melissani Lake For Toddlers
Place Name: Melissani Lake
Place Description: Beautiful underground lake on the Greek island of Kefalonia northwest of Sami. Lake Melissani is part of the Greek myth of Pan and the nymphs believe to be where Melissanthi drowned when she was rejected by Pan.
Rating with Toddlers
This is a quick visit, the tour on the boat of the lake is around about 15 minutes. But the joy on the face of our toddler as he got to go underground and on a boat was worth it.
- Beautiful boat ride
- A quick trip with toddlers
- Learn some Greek mythology and experience the location at the same time
- There is no access for a pram or buggy/stroller toddlers and babies must be carried down steps and into a boat