Monemvasia is renowned for its rich geological morphology. The one-of-a-kind Rock of the Castle Town, the amazingly beautiful Kastania Cave, the two sunken cities in Plytra and Pavlopetri (the latter belonging to the Municipality of Elafonissos) are exemplary of this morphology.
It is therefore, the Petrified Palm forest in Agios Nikolaos, which constitutes an outdoor geological museum of unparalleled natural beauty and unique scientific importance.
Even though it spreads over three coastal regions, its “heart” lies in the area of Agia Marina.
Follow the smoothest dirt road leading to Agia Marina from the village of Agios Nikolaos and a marvelous lunar landscape with huge rocks tucked away in the shadow of the climbing park of Zompolos and the massif of Kavomalias will unfold in front of you, comprising sceneries of exceptional wild beauty and unique harmony.
This marvelous landscape lies close to the sea, while its rocks seem to welcome the visitor to the Geopark.
You should not stop here, though.
Follow the route that goes past the little chapel of Agia Marina and stop at the edifying kiosk of the Geopark.
Quite soon, you will be at the “heart” of the Petrified Palm forest discovered at the end of the 1990s.
What is extremely impressive is that 2 to 3 million years ago, when the climate was semi-tropical, there was a vast palm forest covering the wider area of Cape Maleas (Kavomalias) up to the coastline of Vatika, where palm trees and date palms intermingled with conifer trees and broad- leaved trees.
The palm forest was covered by a violent upsurge of sea water and as a result the trees and the forest were calcified (by the process of replacing their vegetal material with carbon calcium) and covered by sand and deposit from the seabed.
It is this particular way its trunks were fossilized that has made the Petrified Palm forest such a unique and uncommon sight.
The landscape glorifies natural beauty, since palm trees, conifer trees and broad-leaved trees, with up to 1 meter trunk diameter – some of which emerge from the sea- commingle with rare shell imprints, seaweed and mollusk creating an extraordinary sight surrounded by the wild setting of Kavomalias and cobalt blue waters.