Dikteon Cave

Cave in Lasithi Plateau

Image by Jeff Knowles Getty Images

According to legend, Rhea hid in this cave to give birth to Zeus, far from the clutches of his offspring-gobbling father, Cronos. A slick and vertiginous staircase corkscrews into the damp dark, passing overhanging stalactites, ethereal formations and a lake. From Psyhro it's a steep 800m walk to the cave entrance, via a rocky but shaded natural trail or the sunny paved path starting near the car park.

The most famous formation is a stalactite nicknamed 'the mantle of Zeus' in a chamber on the right-hand side off the larger hall. Offerings found in the cave, including daggers, arrowheads, figures and double axes, indicate that it was a place of cult worship from Minoan to Roman times. Key items are now on display at the Archaeological Museum in Iraklio.