Petralona Cave is one of the most popular excursions in Halkidiki, perfect for an afternoon to take the family and escape the heat of the day.
The cave is located in the village of Petralona on the western slope of Mount Katsika on the Halkidiki peninsula just north of Kassandra and about 50 km south of Thessaloniki.
Petralona Cave and Museum
The archeological park is located about a kilometer out of Petralona on the lower gentle slopes of the mountain with a spectacular view to Mount Olympus and the Thermaic Gulf. First discovered in 1959 by the local residents of Petralona, the small entrance led to a maze of chambers in which they found many fossilized animal bones and a well preserved human skull. The cave offers tours and takes about 30 minutes. The museum is located next to the cave and showcases many of the archeological finds.
The main importance is the human skull that was found in the cave. This is the oldest to date human skull found in the Greek region believed to belong to the transitional stage between Homo erectus and Homo Sapiens – or modern man. The finds are dated to the Middle Pleistoncene period between 300 000 and 600 000 years ago, being one of Europe’s oldest archeological sites.
What we can recommend
You may be tempted to take a organized bus tour and leave all he work to the tour company but this generally will cost you 65€ per person plus the entrance fee. A taxi will charge you 150€ for a return trip. So… our recommendation, if you are a family, is to rent a car in Thessaloniki (or where ever you may be staying) and drive the 45 minutes yourself. Since the cave tour is only 30 minutes and perhaps another 30 minutes for the museum, make a day trip and include some wine tasting. Just south of Petralona is a winery the offers free tasting. Maybe you can drive to Afytos in Kassandra and relax on the beach or just enjoy the old town and have lunch at one of it’s many restaurants.