The Cave of Zeus in Crete
Most of the sights of Crete are associated with ancient myths and legends. One of the most interesting and most visited is the cave of Zeus, which is located on the Lassithi Plateau in the homonymous town of Lassithi. The cave, also called Diktaia or Psihro, is considered to be the place where Zeus the Thunderer, son of the goddess Rhea and the titan Kronos, was born and grew up.
According to legend, Rhea hid baby Zeus in a cave to protect him from Cronus, who had been told he would die by his own son.
The fierce titan, fearing the prediction, swallowed every child born to his wife, so Rhea had to leave the future god of thunder and lightning in the mountains, where he was nurtured with goat milk and bee honey.
In the light, the stalactites and stalagmites look fantastic.
The Dictea cave has long been a place of worship of Zeus. During the excavations, which began in the late 19th century under the direction of Joseph Hatzidakis, a large sacrificial altar, many ancient ceramic figurines and other religious objects were discovered.
Today these findings can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.
Zeus Cave consists of several halls connected by passages between them, one of them is an unusually beautiful underground lake.
During excavations in the cave of Zeus were discovered ceramic figurines and a sacrificial altar
For centuries this underground kingdom was overgrown with stalactites and stalagmites of fanciful forms – skillfully illuminated, they create fantastic compositions that make an indelible impression.
The total area of the cave – 22 thousand square meters, the length of excursion trail – 250 meters.
How to get there
The famous Zeus Cave is located near the village Psihro, about fifty kilometers from Heraklion, the capital of Crete.
The fastest and easiest way to get to this site is through an organized tour; we will tell you more about this option below.
Not too convenient, but quite acceptable way to get to the Cave of Zeus is the shuttle bus that runs between Heraklion and the village of Psichro.
It is worth noting that the bus does not run every day. If it does, it arrives to Psichro too early, long before the opening of the cave.
You can also get to Diktei cave by cab or by renting a car. You can find a favorable car for the trip with the help of this car rental price comparison website.
There is a rather steep two-kilometer-long mountain path that leads to the Zeus Cave.
From the village Psihro to the cave of Zeus the Thunderer leads quite steep two kilometers long trail that can be crossed on foot or by donkey.
At the foot of the mountain donkey drivers are waiting for those who want to make their way up the mountain with relative comfort. The price of their services is 15 Euros for ascent only and 20 Euros for ascent and descent.
Opening hours and tickets
Zeus Cave is open for tours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from May to October and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. from November to April, but official hours are often disrupted. Staff can easily shorten their work day and close the facility at 2 to 3 p.m.
Tickets cost 6 euros, children and students can visit the cave for free. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance to the cave.
You can take pictures in the cave, but you can get high-quality pictures only with powerful photo equipment, because lighting there is quite weak, and it is prohibited to use a flash.
At the foot of the mountain leading to the Monastery of Zeus tourists are waited by donkey-drivers.
You should remember that under the ground is wet and cold enough – about 14C, so you should take care of warm clothes and comfortable shoes with non-slip soles.
You should wear a hat and a bottle of drinking water.
Other Caves in Crete
Zeus Cave of Zeus is not the only one of its kind in Crete. The well known caves of Melidoni and Sfendoni (Zoniana) are also worth seeing.
The cave of Melidoni, near the village of the same name, was once a place of worship of the bronze giant Talos, protector of Crete, but today it is open for visitors.
Sfendoni cave is located near the village of Zoniana
The ancient cave of Sfendoni, divided symbolically in 16 rooms, is located near the village of Zoniana.
It is especially popular with professional and amateur photographers alike because of its good lighting.
Excursions to the Cave of Zeus in Crete
As we said above, the easiest way to go to the cave is on an organized tour. This trip, although it is one of the most intense experiences, belongs to the category of inexpensive.
Organized tours, in addition to the cave of Zeus, be sure to include the plateau Lassithi and the famous monastery Kera Kardiotissa.
There are also longer tours – the whole day, and their program also includes a visit to the palace of Knossos.
Organized tours, in addition to the cave of Zeus, include Lassithi Plateau
Finally, you can also book an individual guide, but this option will cost more.
You can book an excursion to the “cradle of Zeus” on the spot or over the Internet – advance booking does not affect the cost of the tour.
The second option, especially in early May and July-September, may be preferred because it guarantees a place in the group.
During the peak season, when Crete is experiencing a real invasion of tourists, it is not uncommon to see days with 100% occupancy of the tour, when there are no vacant seats for certain dates on the bus.
Kera Kardiotissa – Convent of Our Lady of the Heart
You can find out all the details of the trip and book your participation by emailing your Crete guide Victoria at [email protected] or via the feedback form below.
Victoria and I have been in contact for a number of years now, and in that time I have not heard a single complaint about her work. The story of our acquaintance and a detailed review of her work can be found in this article.
I can only add that besides the Zeus Cave, you can book any other excursion available in Crete with Victoria’s help.
Have a great trip!
Email for Victoria – guide in Crete
Photos by: David, Sharon, David, Tim Schofield, Sharon, Gjabu, makis krassanakis, Iliya Flyorov
Excursion to the Cave of Zeus (Greece, Crete) – reviews
Someone says that the cave is not interesting – don’t believe me, of course, if you are already a world-class traveler and have not been before in a dozen or two caves. This is the largest cave on the island.
A visit to the cave is recommended to people with good physical health
Good afternoon to all readers of my review! I will share my experiences in the Cave of Zeus (Greece, Crete). This cave is one of the most popular attractions of Crete. To visit Crete and not to visit the cave is nonsense.
According to Greek mythology, is the birthplace of Zeus.
It was interesting to visit one of the few places that are not only described in myths and legends, but in reality exists.
Besides the beaches and the clear sea, Crete is also known for its natural beauty and magnificent landscape: high mountains, deep gorges and numerous caves. Today I want to tell you about the caves, or rather about one of them, the cave.
The myth is interesting, but the attraction is mediocre.
A contact with an object of Greek mythology. Steps and railings. You can burn a lot of calories. The donkeys and counselors are good!
I will not retell the myth, I will only say that this cave formation is considered to be the place where Zeus was born. The site is one of the important tourist attractions of the Greek island of Crete. We drove to the famous cave in a rented car.
The myths of ancient Greece are much more interesting than the cave itself.
It was interesting to see the place where Zeus himself was born, to remember the mythology, to touch the history of Ancient Greece.
How can you visit the island of Crete and not visit the cave of the birth of the mighty God Zeus! I would not forgive myself:) Back in my school years I read the myths about the Greek Gods with interest, now I have.
I recommend to visit the cave, where according to mythology the main Greek god Zeus was born.
Inspiring nature with its diversity, the fact of having a cave, where according to Greek mythology, the god Zeus was born.
In 2015 vacationing in Abkhazia, was able to visit the New Athos Cave, where our guide told us that there is a similar cave in Greece, but much smaller in area – Dikteiskaya. And now, two years later, to me.
Visiting the cave with children.
So many reviews already about visiting the Zeus Cave in Crete! I will also tell you briefly what I remember. In Crete we travel, as many of us do, by car. So to get to this attraction in general is not so.
Not far, but deeper (photos + video).
Somehow it happened that by now I have been to the caves twice, and both times in Greece. The first time was the cave of Diru on the peninsula Peloponnese in 2011, and the second time in August.
Cradle of the Supreme God of Olympus.
Full of mysticism and ancient atmosphere; reasonable price for the entrance; the site is close to Knossos and the resort area of the island
Difficult to find the cave on the map; won’t impress those who are skeptical about the myths and legends of Ancient Greece
If it is said of Greece that it is the birthplace of the gods, then it is fair to say that the island of Crete is their cradle. Or rather, Psichro Cave (or Diktei Cave, Dikti), lurking in the depths of the Lassithi Plateau. It is this.
One of the attractions of Crete – worth seeing
Lots of tourists, should arrive early; not recommended for people with heart problems
We went to the Zeus Cave, having taken a tour “Knossos Palace”, Zeus Cave, plateau “Lassithi” at a local travel agency and did not regret it. Our guide, a Greek woman, was a very experienced specialist in her field. She changed the order of the tour.
It was a waste of time, money and effort.
The most convenient way to travel around Crete is to rent a car. So here we are, outfitted for a trip to the famous Zeus Cave. That I was disappointed by this huge black hole is nothing to say.
Extensive, interesting, but can be tedious
If you do not rent a car, you can visit several interesting places in one trip
While vacationing in Crete in 2014, we took an excursion to the Lassithi Plateau with a visit to Zeus Cave. Before the trip, as I was outlining my list of must-see places to visit and how to get to them, I took note.
An attraction for sports people.
The place itself is interesting. First a myth, and second a cave. Do you often go to them? The grotto is very beautiful, spectacularly lit. But I should warn you right away – it is a very difficult trip. To begin with, you have to walk uphill.
Get there if you can.
Arrived recently to catch fire, I’m certainly all very happy at heart. On many excursions I visited, a lot of interesting and new learned. Well of course a special place in these excursions took a visit to the cave birthplace.
Very interesting place
In the cave constant, cool enough temperature not to get a cold you need to take some warm things with you.
Today I want to share with you my impressions from visiting one of the most iconic landmarks of the beautiful island of Crete. And we will talk about breathtaking cave called “Diktea Cave”, or more commonly known as.
It is not worth it.
Doubtful pleasure to go up with such difficulty, panting, and finally go into this cave of Zeus. Didn’t see much there. My son and I were not impressed. Small cave, cool, damp. A small lake in the middle. But the coolest part.
No wonder Zeus was born in this cave.
The cave captures its beauty: stalactites and stalagmites. Amazing forms of natural formations.
At the height of summer vacation in Crete, to be exact in mid-July, we rented a small Nissan Micra, in order to squeeze through the mountain roads easier, and drove it far ahead.
Didn’t like it, don’t like that.
To the Zeus Cave in Crete, went by car. The road is quite normal, serpentine as a serpentine (it can be worse). In the mountains in Crete there are some unpleasant bottlenecks, but the road is at least paved. The only unpleasant thing is the falls.
Cave of Zeus and where else you can look at climbing up the serpentine
Our hotel in Crete offered us various excursions. We decided to go on excursion to Santorini Island (Greece) and Spinalonga Island (Greece, Crete). But we decided to go on our own in the cave of Zeus.
The entire experience was spoiled by the second half of the trip.
To finish my series of reviews on holidays in Greece, I would like to spoon the soot. And it had more to do with the organization of the tour, rather than a wonderful mythical place. To be in Crete and not visit a single place.