A pleasant 30-minute walk starting from the central Vallianos Square of Argostoli along the oleander-lined Rizospaston Avenue on to the Lassi road, leads to Katavothres, the “Swallow-holes”.
Katavothres, site of a mill in the 19th century, is a remarkable geological phenomenon with its large water wheel that turns with the force of the seawater streaming inland. Contrary to the usual sight of water flowing into the sea, at Katavothres the seawater disappears into large holes at various points along the shore.
Where the water went from there remained an unsolved mystery until 1963, when a team of Austrian geologists poured a quantity of uranin, a fluorescent red dyestuff, into the swallow-holes. Two weeks later traces of uranin reappeared at several places near Sami: at the springs of Karavomilos and in the Melissani lake cave.
The experiment proved that the water travels 15 km underground through rifts in the limestone. By the time it reaches the east coast and re-enters the sea it is brackish, because it mixes with subterranean streams of fresh water along the way.
Along the pine clad coastal road are small beaches ideal for swim stops.