Knossos was the court of the legendary King Minos, whose wife Pasiphae, cursed by Poseidon, bore the Minotaur, half-bull, half-man. The labyrinth was constructed by Daedalus to contain the monster, and every nine years seven youths and seven maidens were brought from Athens as human sacrifice. Hearing of this, the Greek hero Theseus arrived on Crete vowing to venture into the labyrinth and slay the beast. Ariadne, daughter of the king, promptly fell in love with him and, as every cub scout knows, showed Theseus how to find his way back using a simple ball of thread. The legend has inspired writers from Homer to Dante, who famously depicts the best in his vision of Hell:

Dante, Inferno, Canto XII

Into the chasm was that descent: and there

At point of the disparted ridge lay stretch’d

The infamy of Crete, detested brood

Of the feign’d heifer: and at sight of us

It gnaw’d itself, as one with rage distract.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Greece features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
11 tips for travelling in Greece

11 tips for travelling in Greece

Although the news has been full of negative stories about the financial and immigrant crises which have engulfed Greece in recent years, there are still many r…

02 May 2017 • Nick Edwards insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right