About this Tour
The Dictaean Cave was the birthplace of Zeus. Since the time of King Minos the cave has been a meeting place for mortals and immortals, an awe-inspiring environment full of primeval geological formations, myths, and traces of the human presence.
This is a self-guided mobile tour provided by our tour-guide app. The tour is based on an award-winning storytelling concept and the fascinating narratives prepared by handpicked destination experts. Enjoy this multilingual tour by using your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet at your own pace, even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step by step to explore all the points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of signature stories, allowing you to tailor this experience to your personal interests and schedule.
*Ticket / entrance fee to the site is not included!
The Dictaean Cave: The Birthplace of Zeus is not for the faint-hearted. This is a cave, after all, with a long pedigree of visitors who encountered something unexpected.
Ask poor Epimenides. He went looking for a lost sheep and entered the cave to rest. He woke up 57 years later without having aged at all. In a most remarkable demonstration of persistence, he kept looking for that errant sheep before he realized what had happened. And what about the band of young delinquents (Laius, Celeus, Cerberus and Aegolius) who decided to steal honey from the cave and found themselves before the swaddling-clothes of Zeus? It was a good thing they were in a sacred place where murder was a profanity, otherwise Zeus would have killed them instantly with his thunderbolt for snooping in his closet.
Fortunately, not all visitors have to suffer for their adventurous decision to enter the cave. Europa found her bridal bed here and an array of impressive wedding gifts: a gold dog that excelled in the hunt, a bronze giant, and a quiver with arrows that always hit their target. Minos, the legendary ruler of Crete, would come here to chat with his father, Zeus, and receive the new laws for humanity. And the archaeologists who used explosives to explore the cave came across a bonanza of Minoan artifacts, scattered all over the floor.
As you descend to the depths of the cave, try to picture a time long ago when these chambers echoed with the clanging armor of the Kouretes, the young male warriors entrusted with the protection of the infant Zeus. Here he was nourished by Amaltheia, the she-goat whose horn could grant any wish. And when you reach the pond at the deepest part of the cave take a minute to admire the stalactite that hangs above the waters like a chandelier. This is the mantle of Zeus and fortunate are those who see it and live to tell the tale.
To take this self-guided tour you will need the app on your iOS or Android device.
- Enjoy the most awesome view of the Lasithi plateau in all its glory, as it is surrounded by the breathtaking mountains of Crete.
- Marvel at the sensation of having entered the very cave where Zeus was raised.