Crete has many caves worth visiting. Some of the most impressive caves lie in the western part of the island. Here you will find caves with formations and stones you would have never imagined! In this article we want to introduce you to two of the most beautiful caves of the island!

Sfendoni Cave (Crete)

The Sfentoni Trypa or Sfendoni Cave is a speleological wonder, a fantastic scene of ancient stalactites and stalagmites spread across a range of chambers in a long cave system. It is located near the village of Zoniana, overlooking the valley of Mylopotamos. It is one of the better-managed and more accessible caves of the region. It is also one of the most important and beautiful decorated caves in all of Greece.

The cave is named after a partisan fighter Sfendonis who took shelter there while fighting the Turks. It is also well known, as there is an old Cretan couplet that says: “Whoever wants to admire nature’s beauty, should visit Zoniana and Sfentoni Hole.”

Sfendoni Cave is the most well preserved cave on the entire island, and among the 5 best in all of Greece. This was not always the case as in the past visitors caused damage to the aged stalagmites and stalactites. Nowadays, the well-illuminated cave is laid with metal walkways, mostly to limit how close visitors can get to the natural wonders. Of its full 550 metre-length, visitors can walk about 270m. There are a total of 14 chambers. It is open to the public (only with a guide), throughout the summer season (April 10th-October 31st) 10am-5pm and in the winter season on weekends, only by prior arrangement.

Ideon Andron Cave

This is one of the most impressive caves in Greece: The Ideon Andron (Idaion Antron). It is located on the eastern side of Crete’s tallest peak, Mount Ida. It is also open to the public. It is a fair few steps up to the entrance and down into the cave. Oddly enough, it is not really the cave’s geological features that make it famous, but rather its cultural significance.

Ideon Andron is claimed to be the place where Zeus grew up to become king of the gods. It is therefore also called the Zeus cave. Crete has another cave in which the Greek god was supposedly housed; the Psychron Cave in the disctrict Lasithi. However, Ideaon Andron is said to be more beautiful.

The tale goes like this: Cronus, one of the earliest Greek titans, had a prophecy. He would be deposed by one of his own sons. Cronus therefore feared and devoured six of his children. His wife Rhea (understandably unhappy with this arrangement) conspired to hide the baby and gave Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes to eat instead. Young Zeus was not out of danger, so he was hidden and grew up in this cave. Rhea had some aid: The baby was fed by the goat nymph Amalthea, and guarded by Kouretes and Korybantes, warriors who danced and clashed their swords and shields to create a din whenever the babe cried. Later Zeus gave his father a draught that made him regurgitate the other children and together they fought a battle and banished Cronus to the pits of Tartarus. That’s the legend.

We hope this article has made you curious about these beautiful caves. If you want to visit them, please do not hesitate to ask our staff for information.

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