Zoniana Village and Sfendoni Cave

Zoniana Village: Driving to Mount Idi

Zoniana is a rather interesting village in one of the most picturesque areas of central Crete and it is located at an altitude of 650m on Mount Idi, also referred to as Psiloritis. It is situated 43km away from the capital city of Heraklion, but it is also a nice excursion from Rethymnon.

Wax Museum in Zoniana

Eleftherios Venizelos in the Wax Museum in Zoniana

Eleftherios Venizelos in the Wax Museum in Zoniana

Zoniana is a village of almost 1,500 residents, whose main occupation is sheep- breeding. Both its foundation and its history are associated with God Zeus; its original name was Zeus’ Pit, before taking the name that keeps until today.

Zoniana is a picturesque village with traditional tavernas and interesting sites to check. One of those is the Potamianos Wax Museum of Zoniana that features 87 full scale figures, representing the Cretan history throughout the centuries.

The Wax Museum covers a total area of 1000 sq meters and houses the figures of significant personalities of the Cretan life and history, such as Eleftherios Venizelos, the author Nikos Kazantzakis, Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) and much more. The idea behind the museum was to tell the history of the island in a more vivid way, representing some important events of the past centuries.

Sfendoni Cave

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Sfendoni cave, photo by Caucasian Panda

If you take your car rental and drive up the mountain road, you will see a sign directing you to Sfendoni Cave, one of the most known and beautiful caves in Crete, rich in natural ornaments, such as stalactites and stalagmites.

The cave has an entrance fee, as visitors are not allowed to enter unaccompanied. The fee includes cave tour by an experienced guide who is responsible for the safety of the visitors and the protection of the cave and its natural beauty. These guides are locals and very familiar with the complicated paths of the cave as well as with its long and intriguing history.

As all caves in Crete, Sfendoni also features its own dark secrets and a rather enchanting aura that seduces visitors, right when they step in it.  The cave has given birth to many legends referring to fairies and little children, legends that terrify the younger ones and fascinate locals and tourists.

Zoniana Cave covers a total area of 3,000sq meters and features a 270m path for those who want to admire its complexity and the natural phenomena developing inside it. Rich in mineral waters, the cave boasts a large array of impressive stalagmites and stalactites that reflect the artificial lighting creating a bizarre optical game on the walls. But these elements are not the only ones to see and admire; the cave is actually a place where living creatures are born and developed. The cave is dark and humid, ideal for creatures who adore these conditions. The cave is also full of bats, and it’s not surprising seeing a black layer of them sleeping on the walls and roof of the cave.

 

Sfendoni cave and the village of Zoniana are nice places to visit if you are a nature aficionado or you love scenic routes and picturesque villages; book a car from Heraklion Car Hire and enjoy a safe and comfortable ride on Mount Idi, overlooking the island of Crete.

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