Koutouki is the largest and most beautiful cave of Athens. It is located on the east side of Ymittos mountain, above the city of Peania. Its 350m underground route guides the visitor amongst stalagmites and stalactites that create unique formations.
It was discovered in 1928 by local residents but the cave was explored two years later. The first to explore was the journalist D. Chatzopoulos. With the help of the inhabitants of the area, made the first descent from the natural entrance, on the cave’s roof. However, the mapping was carried out in 1954 by the speleologists Ioannis and Anna Petrochilos of the Hellenic Speleological Society. It was opened to public in the early 60's by the Hellenic Tourism Organization (GNTO). In 2000 the management was handed over to the Ministry of Culture.
The cave has been formed within the beds of metamorphic limestone of Mount Hymettos. It owes its creation to the carst phenomenon – the process of chemical deposition of calcium carbonate dissolved in water, when the latter contains carbon dioxide (CO2) -, although its final form was affected by tectonic activity.
Koutouki consists of a single chamber measuring about 60 x 60 m. The chamber is divided into smaller ones, by stalactite and stalagmite walls developed along the diaclases of the bedrock. The rich stone decoration, with the variety of stalactite formations and colors which are due to the action of oxides, creates an evocative atmosphere.
According to evidence, the cave had initially no entrance. A crack in the bedrock, caused by tectonic movement, helped in the creation of the natural entrance on the cave’s roof 38.5 m high. Today the entrance to the cave is through an artificial tunnel, 17 m long, built for the convenience of visitors. The tourist route has a length of 350 m. and the cave has a stable temperature of 17°C all year round.
Koutouki is ideal for people arriving or leaving Greece through Athens airport. A visit is only a short taxi ride away.