The Katavothres Sea Mills

The Katavothres (καταβόθρες = sinks) are an unusual geological feature.

The sea water enters sink holes and the flow thus created was sufficient to drive a water wheel which was used to power the mills.

The mystery has always been as to where the water goes, it has to go somewhere, not just to a cavern as that would fill up.

By injecting dyes it was discovered that the water that entered the sink holes came out two weeks later in the Melissani lake and thence flowed out to the sea at the village of Karavomilos, above sea level.

Katavothres - The Water Wheel The Water Wheel
Katavothres - The Wheel Race The Wheel Race

Defying Gravity

The reason for the water to be apparently going up hill is due to the fact that the sea water entering at the mill site is diluted by rain water on its journey. This brackish water is less dense than raw sea water so in order to retain equilibrium, the level of the brackish water has to be higher than sea level.


On its travel across the island the level goes up! Mystery solved.

Getting There

The sea mills can be found along the Fanari road about 3 kilometers from Argostoli. They can't be missed as they are right on the sea edge. Unfortunately the original mills have gone and all that can be seen is a cafe and a fake wheel. But use your imagination...

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