Crete is not only its stunning beaches and the crystal-clear turquoise sea waters. Crete is a geological wonder with impressive gorges, high mountains and wild landscape. The White Mountains, Psiloritis and Mt. Dikti hide amazing geological and historical treasures in mythical caves. These caves are wonderful destinations for each traveller, who wants to go off-the-beaten-path and explore the nature of the island in an unforgettable hiking trip away from the crowds.
Ideon Cave is located near the village of Anogeia, about one-hour drive from the town of Rethymnon. According to the mythology, this was the place, where Zeus was raised by a goat, hidden from his father, Cronus. Until the Roman times, this cave was considered sacred, and archaeological excavations unearthed many votive offerings. The route to the cave is just imposing, with high mountains and wild rock formations. Inside the cave, are many caverns, which have been sculpted naturally by the water and the snow, as well as stalagmites and stalactites. Even during summer, you can find snow blocks inside the cave!
Diktaion Cave is located in Lassithi Plateau, near the village of Psychro. From the village, you can walk to the cave (about 20 minutes walk) or go by a donkey admiring the magnificent view of the plateau. Inside the cave, you can admire stalagmite and stalactite complexes, marvellous water lakes and rocky halls, but was is the most impressive thing here is the cradle of Zeus. According to the mythology, in this cave, Zeus was born. Thus, inside the cave were found many ancient objects and offerings that date back to the Neolithic Times.
In a very short distance from the village of Melidoni in the prefecture of Rethymno, is located the Melidoni Cave, a heroic place that combines history with geology. During the Cretan Revolution against the Ottoman Empire, 400 people, including women and children, found refugee inside the cave, which in 1824 was blew up by the Ottoman soldiers burning all the poor people. Their bones are now kept in an ossuary in the entrance of the cave.
The Cave of Sfendoni is also located in a close distance to the village of Anogeia. It is considered one of the best preserved and most significant caves in Greece. It is a large cave with many chambers, water basins and glowing crystals offering breathtaking view of the imposing rock formations.
The Labyrinth Cave is located in the prefecture of Heraklion, close to Kastelli Village. It is not a natural but rather an artificial cave, but this fact is the most impressive thing about this cave. It has labyrinth-like corridors and rooms that used in Minoan Times for the extraction of stones for the Minoan Palace of Phaistos to be built.