- Lasithi Plateau
- adult/child €4/€2
- 08:00-18:00 Jun-Oct, 08:00-14:30 Nov-May
Lonely Planet review for Dikteon Cave
Lasithi's major sight is the Dikteon Cave, just outside the village of Psyhro. Here, according to legend, Rhea hid the newborn Zeus from Cronos, his offspring-gobbling father.
The cave, also known as the Psyhro Cave, covers 2200 sq metres and features both stalactites and stalagmites. It was excavated in 1900 by the British archaeologist David Hogarth, who found numerous votives indicating it was a place of cult worship. These finds are housed in the Archaeological Museum in Iraklio.
The cave began to be used for cult worship in the Middle Minoan period and continued, though less intensely, up to the 1st century AD. An altar for offerings and sacrifices was in the upper section. Stone tablets inscribed with Linear A script were found here, along with religious bronze and clay figurines.
The upper cave is large and generally devoid of stalactites or stalagmites. A steep downward path brings you to the more interesting lower cave. In the back on the left is a smaller chamber where legend has it that Zeus was born. There is a larger hall on the right, which has small stone basins filled with water that Zeus allegedly drank from in one section and a spectacular stalagmite that came to be known as the Mantle of Zeus in the other. The entire cave is illuminated, although not particularly well, so watch your step.
It is a steep 15-minute (800m) walk up to the cave entrance. You can take the fairly rough but shaded track on the right with great views over the plateau or the unshaded paved trail on the left of the car park next to the Halavro taverna. You can also let a donkey do the hard work (around €10 or €15 return).