Ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of Zeus? Or explore some of nature’s most glorious creations? Then look no further than the caves of Crete.
The diverse physical landscape of the island of Crete includes numerous remarkable caves that are of great cultural, ecological, and historic importance.
Many of these amazing structures feature in the island’s rich mythology too, and are as unique as they are beautiful.
Ready to discover these incredible formations? Then read on, as we take look at some of Crete’s most amazing caves – a must-see for any visitor to the island.
A place of great mystery, beauty and myth, the Diketeon Cave is one of the most magnificent sights that Crete has to offer. And of all the 3,000 caves on the island, it’s by far the most famous.
The cave has a long and fascinating history, and archaeological evidence suggests that it has been visited by humans for at least 6,000 years.
The cave was first excavated by British archaeologist David Hogarth back in 1900. Within its walls, this intrepid explorer was able to unearth a remarkable selection of objects of great archaeological significance, from ancient ceremonial altars to fine jewellery.
The cave has a rather intriguing connection to the illustrious Greek deity Zeus too, and was, at one time, dedicated to the worship of this eminent figure.
In Greek legends, there were not only gods; there were titans too. And the most infamous of these was Cronus. This child-gobbling Titan had a rather unpleasant habit of eating his own newborn children. Yikes!
The story goes that to spare Zeus from a similar fate, his mother, Rhea, hid Zeus in the Diketeon Cave to protect him from his monstrous father – and, truth be told, she probably couldn’t have chosen a more spectacular spot.
In its lengthy history, the cave has been used for a variety of purposes, and to this day continues to attract travellers from across the world, keen to explore its mysteries for themselves.
Inside this vast cavern, silence prevails. It has a real ethereal quality to it, and it’s easy to get caught up in the magic of the place.
From the cave’s vast antechamber, you can follow a steep stairway downwards into the hidden depths of the cave below. And here things get a little more interesting.
An array of astonishing stalactites hang from the ceiling of the lower cave in a variety of fascinating formations. The most impressive of these is the ‘Mantel of Zeus’ which is suspended high above the cave’s small lake, like a chandelier.
The cave is located just outside the pretty village of Psyhro, and can be accessed by a paved path that offers breathtaking views over the surrounding Lasithi Plateau.
This curious cavern has got to be one of Crete’s most wonderful natural structures. Located near the charming village of Zoniana, the Sfendoni Cave has a rare beauty that captivates all who venture into its depths.
Sfendoni’s vast columns create a series of labyrinthine compartments that are a real treat to explore.
The cavern is adorned with a number of dramatic stalactites and stalagmites, in an assortment of colours, from brilliant whites to rustic reds and glittering greys. And that’s not all – the walls of the cave literally sparkle too, thanks to the tiny crystals of calcium carbonate embedded in their surface.
Other fascinating geological features found here include so-called ‘cave pearls’. These rare, spherical speleothem – cave formations – are formed by calcite deposits, and bear a striking resemblance to oyster pearls.
This cave is also home to a variety of unique life forms, including snakes and snails who, throughout the centuries, have adjusted to life in near total darkness.
The cave is easily accessible, and features a well-lit, specially designed walkway, making exploring its many wonders effortless.
We hope this has inspired you to discover the many charms of Crete’s caves for yourself. If so, then here at Pure Crete we can provide you with the perfect place to stay during your visit. And whether you’re looking for Crete villas with pools or a house by the sea, you can rest assured we can offer the right option for you.