A Day in the Traditional Mountain Village of Zoniana, Crete

Experience the authentic charm of Crete nestled in its mountainous terrain, with Zoniana being a traditional gem waiting to be explored. Perched at an altitude of 630 metres, this village offers a glimpse into the heart of Cretan culture.

Your journey begins with the captivating Sfentoni Cave, also known as Sfentoni’s Hole, a renowned green tourist destination in Crete and Greece.

After a satisfying lunch at a local taverna, immerse yourself in the cultural richness at the Potamianos Wax Museum. Here, iconic figures like Eleftherios Venizelos, V Kornaros, D Theotokopoulos, and N Kazantzakis come to life, inviting you to discover their stories in this unique mountain retreat.

Photo: Wikipedia

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Zoniana: The Domain of Zeus - A Village with a Rich Name History

Zoniana: The Domain of Zeus - A Village with a Rich Name History




Zoniana stands out as one of Crete's most distinctive villages, where tradition greets you at every glance.

Nestled on Mt Psiloritis (Mt Ida) at an elevation of 630 metres, the village is graced by the entrance to the Sfentonis Cave, also known as ‘Sfentonis’ Hole’, adorned with an abundance of intricate stalactite and stalagmite formations.

The village underwent two previous names before adopting its present one. Initially called Zouliana after the shepherd Zou, who discovered water in the area, it later became known as Zoutolakos, signifying ‘the pit of Zou’. Eventually, the name became associated with the god Zeus. ‘Zoniana’, which is the name by which it is known today, originated from the local expression ‘Zone God’, translating to 'Listen to me, my God’.

Photo 1-2: By Noam Cohen Via Unsplash

Information/ Photo 3: Wikipedia

Sfentoni Cave

Sfentoni Cave


Opening hours: summer (10/4-31/10 daily 10:00am - 6:00pm. Winter 1/11 - 9/4 Saturday & Sunday 10:00am - 2:30pm



The Zoniana Cave, also known as ‘The Hole of Sfentoni’, is situated at the entrance of the village of Zoniana in the Mylopotamos area of Rethymno. It is located above a site called Skafidia, where a spring with gurgling water used to supply the historic settlement of Axos.

The Sfentoni Cave is a highly significant environmental and tourist destination in Greece. Visitors can explore and marvel at seven out of the fourteen chambers of the cave, thanks to the accessible pathway and the specially designed lighting that enhances the cave's features.

It is a spacious cave that stretches in a north-south direction. It has a maximum length of 145 metres in a straight line and covers an area of approximately 3,500 square metres. The cave is composed of various chambers, including The Harmonies, The Sanctuary of the Fairy, the Chapel, the Palace, the Parthenon, the Panorama, the Cathedral, the Lost Child, and the Fossilised Waves. Inside the cave, you will find an abundance of stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations, and several fossilised stone basins, adding an intriguing element to its geological features.

Inside the cave, visitors can marvel at the vast array of stalactite and stalagmite formations. The characteristic sound of water droplets echoes throughout the cave, creating a unique ambiance and sculpting the interior as well as the entrance deep within Psiloritis. Pausing for a moment and holding one's breath, one is confronted with a profound sense of self and the insignificance of one’s existence in the face of the eternal stalactite nearby. It is an opportunity to experience a cave in the way the French describe it: ‘The cave is the kingdom of silence and solitude, where one is unafraid to be alone and confront oneself.’

Visitors to Sfentoni Cave can:

  1. Discover the magical world of the cave with the help of a guide.
  2. Learn about the formation of stalagmites and stalactites.
  3. Get informed about the invertebrate cave-dwelling animals and the troglobiotic ecosystem of the cave (isopods, diplurans, snails, etc.).
  4. Find out about the history and myths of the cave, as well as the archaeological findings discovered within.
  5. Find out about the plants of Crete in the beautiful outdoor area of the cave.
  6. Enjoy the view in the outdoor area of the cave while making a brief stop for coffee, refreshments, and sandwiches at the Tourist Kiosk.

Information Region of Crete

Unveiling Cretan History at the Wax Museum

Unveiling Cretan History at the Wax Museum




The Potamianos Wax Museum, conceived by Dionysis Potamianos, is a delightful discovery in Zoniana. It occupies a specially designed 1,000 square metre space with thematic decorations, featuring scenes that pay tribute to figures like E Venizelos, Arkadios, Kornaros, Theotokopoulos, Kazantzakis, Nikiforos Fokas, and many other notable individuals revered throughout Greece. The museum boasts a total of 87 life-sized wax figures portraying various historical moments from the history of Crete.

Particularly poignant are the depictions of the Venetian period, showcasing scenes of torture, the clandestine school, the execution of Daskalogiannis, and glimpses into the prisons and dungeons of that era. 

Opening times: Monday to Sunday: 10.00 am - 19.30 pm

Entrance Fee: €3,50

€2.50 discount ticket for schools, centres for elderly care and groups of more than eight people

More Information https://museumzoniana.com/mous...