Mavrosouvala is an amazing cave which emerges, totally unexpectedly, in a wooded area otherwise completely devoid of cliffs. Measuring 50m high by 80m wide, the cave is solid Kalymnos-quality limestone brimming with tufas and prominent features. It serves as the outdoor-gym crag of the young, hardcore Athenian sport climbers who ‘project’ routes, so don’t be surprised by the number of permanent quickdraws swinging in the wind.
Mavrosouvala Cave is located 45km north of Athens, very close to the Athens-Lamia-Thessaloniki motorway (A1 / E75). The area is so lush it’s hard to believe it’s on the outskirts of such a massive urban sprawl like Athens. The cave is hidden in the midst of a dense pine forest above a small ravine with water in the winter and spring. This spectacular cave was discovered by happy accident: in January 2006 a young climber - who will remain unnamed - ‘borrowed’ his father’s car for a joyride. As he drove on the sly, along deserted back roads to avoid detection, there it was: a tremendous cave rising out of nowhere! No doubt a lucky break for the climbers of
Athens, because they would probably never have gone cliff-sniffing in that area.
Mavrosouvala was ‘inaugurated’ in May 2006, during the 30th birthday party of the Acharnes Alpine Club, with special guests none other than Chris Sharma and Steve McClure (incidentally, Acharnes Alpine Club provided a significant amount of bolts for this crag). Routes were mainly bolted by the following equippers: Thomas Michaelides, Kostas Roussos, Christos Daniel, Thanassis Kefalas, Polydoros Karaberopoulos and Vangelis Kastanias.
Follow the steep path up.
From Athens, take the Athens-Lamia-Thessaloniki motorway (Greek Motorway A1 / European Route E75) in the direction of Lamia-Thessaloniki. Exit at Markopoulo (35th km) and keep following the signs to Markopoulo. After about 3km, turn left at a small sign reading ΜΑΥΡΟΣΟΥΒΑΛΑ. At the first junction, turn right towards Mavrosouvala village, which is about 5km away. Just before you reach the village, you will see some industrial waterworks facilities. Turn left. Then, at the first junction, turn right onto a dirt road. About 1km past the waterworks, you will see a large concrete water tank on your left-hand side (“Mavrosouvala climbing” is hand-painted on the tank). Just after the water tank, there is a fork in the road. Go left and park about 50m further (38.251742, 23.805340). Now you can see the cave on your left. Follow the steep path up for only 3 min.
If you are driving from north to south on Motorway A1: Exit at Malakasa interchange (37th km from Athens) towards Malakasa / Oropos. Drive 6km. You will see a sign on the right-hand side reading ‘Mavrosouvala – Ag. Varvara.’ Follow the sign through the village. When you come to a clearing like a village square, turn right. About 2km later you will see the waterworks facilities. Drive past them and turn right. Then, at the first junction, turn right onto a dirt road. About 1km past the waterworks, you will see a large concrete water tank on your left-hand side (“Mavrosouvala climbing” is hand-painted on the tank). Just after the water tank, there is a fork in the road. Go left and park about 50m further. Now you can see the cave on your left.