Petralona Cave | Geological shapes [Reopened]

Petralona Cave | Geological shapes [Reopened]

Petralona Cave is one of Europe’s most impressive and important caves thanks to its wealth of fossils (one of the richest collections in Europe) and to the discovery of a human scull that dates back approximately 700.000 years and it is located near the village of Petralona, on Katsika Hill.

Nature has always been an unpredictable designer. This is more than obvious entering Petralona Cave, formed around a million years ago. The locals call it "the red-rock cave" due to the colour that the bauxite deposits give to the stone. The natural hollow stretches over a zone of 10,400m² and comprises of a progression of stoas, chambers, high roofs and pools, loaded with stalactites, stalagmites, draperies and shields, segments and different arrangements.

Its disclosure in 1959 opened a window into prehistoric times.

The Cave of Petralona was accidentally discovered in 1959 by a villager. They named it "Red stones" (Kokkines Petres) because of the red earth which coloured the stalagmites and stalactites. It covers an area of 10.000 m2. "The cave is part of an extensive cavern system in calcareous Mesozoic deposits containing large quantities of fossil mammalian bones including horse, cave bear, lion and others," Encyclopedia Britannica says. In 1960 Dr Aris Poulianos found a complete skull and part of the skeleton of an erect hominid. It belonged to a woman between 25-35 years old.

The skull is dated as being 700.000 years old and the traces of fire found next to it, around 1.000.000 years old.

It is considered one of the earliest human findings in Europe.

Worth it to see:

  • The "Great Hall" has huge stalagmites in white coral-like. The "Hall of Roots" has fine roots above the cave having pierced the roof and formed a net.
  • The cave provides a breathtaking spectacle of geology beauty. In the part named "cemetery of Giants", 14 different types of animal bones were found.
  • The Anthropological Museum next to the cave which contains many of the archaeological findings of the cave and a replica of the authentic skull that was found in the cave. The authentic skull is in the paleontological collection of the Aristotelian Museum of Thessaloniki

Visit information:

Petralona cave and museum are opening its doors to the public on February, 28th, 2024.

Opening days & hours:
full: 8 euro & reduced: 4 euro

Official website:


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