Rethymno Sfendoni Cave

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Location: Zoniana

Thanks to its mountainous terrain, Crete abounds in gorgeous caves; yet, there is no exaggeration in saying that Sfendoni Cave is the most impressive of all, even ranking among the most beautiful ones in the whole country. It lies at an altitude of 630 meters, about a kilometer northeast of Zoniana, 43 kilometers from Heraklion Town and 52 kilometers from Rethymno Town. Covering a surface of 3,500 square meters, Sfendoni is easily accessible, as a specially designed 270-meter-long corridor allows visitors to see around 2/3 of the cave and makes it reachable to people with mobility impairment as well.

It stands out for the stunning natural sculptures created by countless stalactites and stalagmites, which take on a variety of shapes and colors. Many of them even create columns that separate the cave into no less than 14 labyrinthine chambers, 7 of which have been spectacularly lighted in purple, green, blue and other mesmerizing hues. In several spots, you will also have the chance to see stone water basins and the so-called cave pearls, calcareous concretions that develop in subterranean limestone caves. The glint of tiny calcium carbonate crystals also adds its own unique charm to the various geological formations.

Marveling at the intricate speleothems, visitors can pause and hear the characteristic sound of the water droplets as they carve their peerless sculptures in the entrails of the earth, engulfed by darkness. The inexpensive ticket fare includes a guided tour in both Greek and English, so you can learn a wealth of information about this magical world, the way stalactites and stalagmites are formed, the cave’s flora and fauna, as well as about the legends and myths surrounding it. Moreover, you can find out about the archaeological findings discovered there, as research has revealed traces of human activity from the Neolithic to the Roman times.

Within 100 meters from the cave, you will find the Sfendoni tavern, where you can have an unparalleled dining experience against the backdrop of breathtaking views. The winding road leading to Sfendoni can be challenging, but the experience is definitely worth it. The area around the parking lot is also highly impressive, as it is enclosed by massive vertical rocks.

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