The Lera cave is located 15 kilometers northeast of Chania, in the steep volume of Vardia above the Stavros bay. Its name derives from the chieftain, Stefanos Lera, who served in the Akrotiri region from 1821 until 1833.
According to the findings, in antiquity, the cave had a cult character.
There is a large plateau in the porch, and on the right side, there are three carved niches, where the tributes and the clay tablets were depicted. The first hall of the cave is divided in the middle with stalagmites. The second room is a little smaller and going up some 3m carved stairs is the third room. At the base of the stalagmites and around the basin with clear water people placed their offerings in the name of the cave. The cave is particularly impressive, looking at the stalagmites one looks like an angel wing.
Zorba’s legendary film, Michalis Kakoyiannis starring Anthony Quinn and Alan Beech, was shot at the site. The cave played the role of the lignite mine and then the first excavations took place. The archaeologist Paul Faire made some tests in 1959-1961 and in 1966 made the official excavation.
The result of the excavation was to find many clay figurine heads, female figures seated on a throne, pottery shells, a black clay figurine on which the creator’s fingerprints were distinguished. Shells from the Neolithic, Late Minoan, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods attest to the cave’s timeless use.
Two beaches are formed in the bay of Stavros. The main beach is at the exit of the river Nerokampos and next to the port of Galini. The second beach is north and west of the village. The bay has white sand and shallow turquoise waters.