Caves in Crete
Our friendly leader informs us that there are a proud 5,000 caves on Crete… but just 4 of them are open to visitors: the stalactite cave Sfendoni, the stalactite cave of Melidoni, the stalactite cave of Diktaion Andron on the Lassithi Plateau (the birthplace of Zeus) and the Ideon Andron cave (where Rhea held her son Zeus hidden) on the Nida Plateau.
Location of Sfendoni Cave
The stalactite cave Sfendoni (145m long, total area over 3000 m2) is located high in the mountains between Rethymnon and Heraklion near the village of Zoniana.
Researching the Cave
The famous Greek cave researcher Anna Petrochilou, who 1966 officially chronicled the cave, gave the different rooms beautiful names, such as side church, sanctuary of the elves, organ chamber, the Parthenon (the age of the stone pillars here is 5 million years), Metropolis and hall of the lost child where they found a 900-year old child skeleton. Ceramics and stone tools from the Neolithic period, finds from later periods and skeletons of animals recorded life’s hustle in the Sfendoni cave for thousands of years.
Stalactites and stalagmites in various shades of color gives the psychedelic atmosphere, and the cave’s “natural air conditioning” keeps the thermostat consistently at 16-17 degrees. That’s why the first chamber of the cave, just behind the entrance, was used by the local shepherds from ancient times until the recent past “before electricity” as a warehouse for their cheese production.
- Combine visiting the Sfendoni cave with a walk through Anogia village and the Tour: Road Trip to the Nida Plateau: Sfendoni stalactite cave, Anogia, Ideon Andron cave