Ideon Cave in Crete, Greece
If there is one cave you have to visit on Crete, the Ideon Cave is the one. Not that it is particularly beautiful or impressive as a cave itself, but it has a historical significance that touches you. Ideon Cave, where Zeus was hidden and raised…how cool of a place is that? If a little bit of culture sparks your interest over laying on a sunbed on the beaches of Crete all day long (nothing wrong with that!), head there and grab a glimpse of the Nida Plateau on the way. Actually, the drive itself is spectacular and really worth the effort. We will have a separate article and some video for you in a few days, so sign up for our newsletter and don’t miss out on those articles!
How to get to the Ideon Cave
We have plotted a course from Chania to the cave for you. If you are coming from a different direction, just click the “more options” link in the map to the left and enter your starting point.
For this trip we actually had our “base camp” in Anogia and from there you can make the drive in less than an hour. Once you have arrived at the parking lot, which has a taverna, you can choose to either drive up on a dirt road to get close to the cave or take a hike up the mountain.
About the Ideon Cave:
Many places in Greece go by different names or variations in spelling of the name and this cave is no exception. Some call it the Ideon Cave, Odeon Andron or Idaean Cave while others simply refer to it as the Cave of Zeus.
The Idaean is mentioned by Pindaros (an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes) in the 5th century BC as “a well-respected and widely recognised cave”. In several literary sources it is characterised as a site of pilgrimage, initiation ceremonies and rituals in honour of Zeus. A clay plaque with an incised dedication to Zeus, which was discovered in the 19th century, contributed to its identification as the Idaean Cave.
The cave is now associated with the story of the birth of Zeus and his upbringing in the cave. His mother Rea chose the cave as a hiding place from his father Kronos. Kronos, who had learned that his destiny was to be overcome by his own sons just like he had overthrown his father, devoured all his sons as soon as they were born.
There is very extensive information about the whole development of the mythology online and Wikipedia is actually is a nice starting point to delve deeper into the realm of the gods.
Stay a night at Delina Mountain Resort. A great place for a relaxing night with an indoor pool & spa in a lovely setting.Try the lamb chops at their restaurant as well!
From the resort it is a very scenic 45-minute drive to the cave with plenty of landscapes and breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys and even up to the sea.