Geologically speaking, Methana is a very interesting region: a long time ago, it was very volcanic and nowadays, it counts no less than 32 ancient craters. One can also see some ancient lava flows, but it is the volcano located in the north-west, not far from the village of Kameni Chora (= burned village), that is the most spectacular witness of this volcanic past – over here, one can really imagine oneself in a true landscape of volcanoes.
About Methana Volcano
Methana is one of the youngest volcanic areas in the western part of Greece and its 30-32 volcanoes are still determined as “active“. There are many lava domes and lava flows around the volcanic centre. The thermal springs, gases and rare small earthquakes show that in future there may be new eruptions.
The peninsula belongs to the western serial of active volcanoes in the Aegean arc. The volcanoes of Methana (Poros, Egina, Sousaki), Milos, Santorin and Nisyros are the active parts of the subduction of the plates that are pushed from north Africa below Europe and little Asia. All these volcanoes are defined as active. Eruptions in future are possible.
The Methana volcanoes differ a lot from the famous volcanoes of Santorini (Koloumbos & Kameni islands). There are mostly lava domes.
According to the Pausanias traveler, his last explosion occurred in the 3rd century BC. century. The Methana volcano belongs to the Aegean volcanic arc along with those of Santorini and Nisyros. Geologically interesting is the fact that there are underwater volcanoes along the arc (one of them, outside Methana, had volcanic activity around 1,700 AD)
How to reach Methana Volcano (Kameni Chora)
Leaving Athens, you will travel towards the highway in direction to Elefsina-Corinth. You will drive until the channel of Corinth (but do not turn towards Loutraki & the touristic view of the channel, if you do not want to take photos there) and follow the road sign towards Epidavros, leaving the highway. Than you will turn left (be careful with the traffic!) and you follow the route towards Epidavros passing first Loutra Elenis.
After Nea Epidavros it is till about 15 minutes until you turn right towards Palia Epidavros / Poros / Methana. In the circle you take the first exit towards Poros / Galata / Methana / Koliaki. After about 2 km you turn left to Poros / Galata / Kaloni / Methana and drive about 30 – 45 minutes to Kaloni. After the lake Psifta you turn left towards Methana (still 13 km).
Trail to the Volcano
While the journey begins with a paved road, the path to the summit takes hikers through a beautiful pine forest and past imposing limestone rocks. At the end of the clearly marked trail, visitors climb up to the very precipice of the volcano’s crater.
The Lavadome of Methana
About 273 BC (about the exact date there are discussions, one speaks of 230 BC or 270 BC) a gap opened up on the mountain slope of northwest methana, from which sulfur dioxide gas and ash swelled first. Soon, a viscid dacitic lava emerged and built a dome that reached a height of 411.5 m over a period of months.
At this central lava dome a series of gaps broke up, and a stream of molten rock blocks and lava flowed down to 1.5 km in length towards the sea. Like a bulldozer, the rock pushed forward, and eventually, at the end of the activity, a crack split out again at the southern foot of the lava, from which lava flowed out for the last time. It is situated at the today village of Kameni Chora. When the activity was over and the magma chamber was empty, the dugout collapsed and a pseudocrater emerged. Rudolf von Leyden explains the phenomenon of the primary and secondary lavas in his book and also he described the mechanical processes of pressing the lava between primary lava blocks and how the central peak area has formed.
This volcanic eruption was visible until ancient Athens and so there were reports of the ancient writers Ovid and Strabon. There were surely first visitors, too, because the near shrine of Troezen, destroyed by earthquakes as a result of the volcanic eruption, attracted many Athenians. At that time, there were also hot springs at Methana, and as a result of the volcano, which later on, around 180 AD, was also being described by the Roman travel writer Pausanias.
Lavadomes, such as those in Kameni Chora, are very common on the Methana peninsula and there are still much larger ones, such as the lava dome of Kypseli.
Down to the volcano’s crater
The volcanic activity in the peninsula began 1 million years ago and continued sporadically until 300 years ago. The last eruptions took place in 1700 at a submarine volcano north of Kameni Chora. On land there is also the historic lava dome of Kameni Chora that erupted in 230 BC.
View from the top
Other Hiking Trails at Methana
- Megalochori – Panagitsa – Chelona – Makrylongos
- Kameni Chora – Aghios Andreas
- Volcano – Aghios Nikolaos
- Makrylongos – Kameni Chora
- Palea Loutra – Aghios Nikolaos
You can get more info on other hiking trails at Methana and valuable info about the volcano via the following two links:
Details of the Hike:
- Location: Methana Volcano
- Starting Point: Kameni Chora
- Ending Point: Methana Volcano
- Trail Signs: Well signed path
- Minimum Elevation: 300 m
- Maximum Elevation: 389 m.
- Total Distance: 1,3 km
- Difficulty: Easy
- Water Features: No
Below: This map marks all the mountaineering adventures that have been featured on Olympus Mountaineering so far, including several Sport climbing crags – Select full screen to expand, zoom in for more detail, or click on a marker for a link to the post.