Cape Maleas is mainland Europe’s southeastern most promontory.
“But once he’d got off too, plowing the wine-dark sea in his ribbed ships, and made a run to Malea’s beetling cape, far seeing Zeus decided to give the man rough sailing, poured a hurricane down on him, shrilling winds, giant, rearing whitecaps, monstrous, mountains high.”
Homer’s Odyssey, Book III, 286-290, 8th century B.C.
It is a point of reckoning in the Mediterranean seascape as it rises dramatically 600 metres above the seas that surround it – the Aegean, the Ionian, and the Sea of Crete.
The difficulty of sailing around it has inspired awe and respect through the ages. Maleas’ story has been told many times from antiquity to the present, by the epic poet Homer in the Odyssey, the historian Strabo, the geographer Pausanias, the French Romantic poet A. de Lamartine, and by many contemporary writers.
Its striking terrain has been shaped by complex tectonic processes. Its geological riches include many caves, the wetlands of the Strongyli lagoon in the region’s coastal zone, the Petrified Forest at Agios Nikolaos, and the ancient sunken city located by the Pavlopetri islets. According to Pausanias, two ancient temples flanked the "windswept" cape: to the west, towards the Laconian Gulf, was a temple dedicated to Poseidon, and to the east, towards the Myrtoo Sea, was the temple of Apollo.
This land of wild beauty has important endemic flora (campanula andrewsii, linaria hellenica etc.) and the recorded presence of endangered mammals such as the jackal Canis aureus and the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus.
In 1883, a stone lighthouse with a 15-meter tower and a beacon visible for 40 miles was constructed at its tip. One of the most important lighthouses in the Greek lighthouse network, in 2006 it was designated as a historic monument by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and it was restored in 2009.
The lighthouse symbolically adorns the MALEAS label as a tribute to nature and the sea.
Cape Maleas has an average annual temperature of 18 °C, and the total annual rainfall does not exceed 550 mm. The prevailing winds are northeasterly and westerly and are calm no more than 17.5% of the time.
The sea breeze, limestone soil, sunshine, winds, and Mediterranean climate give life to the two varieties – Koroneiki and Athinoelia – that go into MALEAS olive oil.