Rough and rugged Lassithi, Crete

Crete has many facets to appeal to diverse tastes, but the mountains have fewer visitors than the beaches, towns and villages with good reason! I live in the east of Crete in the area called Lassithi, named after the Lassithi Plateau in the Dikti Mountains. In fact there are seven plateaus linked by a range of roads that vary from well used tarmac surfaces to rock strewn tracks.

We have an intrepid amateur botanist friend, Steve Lenton who explores on a sturdy quad bike to catalogue the flowers and plants of the wider Lassithi area for his two great websites.

As the blistering heat of summer subsided Steve suggested we use our 4×4 Terios to follow him, and his pillion companion, Cindy around all seven plateaus in one day. Now that sounded like our sort of challenge!

PuppyWe met at the middle taverna on Katharo Plateau owned by Giannis, where I enjoyed meeting his adorable trainee guard dog.

Then we were off, heading south on Katharo’s perimeter road towards Males, overlooking the distant south coast.

Here is a high level view of our 107 km route. I can’t figure out how to make it interactive, so do contact me if you’d like the GPX file. x7

Starting on Katharo at 9.30 a.m. we were at Lapathos Plateau by 11.30 a.m., and Omalos Plateau at 12.30 p.m. some of the heights we reached were dizzying at over 4,000 ft, 1,200 m above sea level.

We took the road through Erganos Plateau without stopping to descend to Liminarko Plateau for lunch at 2.15 p.m. This amused me because on previous visits to that plateau it’s been via Lassithi, and its a long steep drive up to Liminarko from there, so it served to reinforce just how high up we’d been.

Descending to Lassithi on a concrete road seemed tame after the rough stuff! We then whizzed around the Lassithi perimeter on its tarmac road to the village of Tzermiado then up to Nisimos Plateau. From here there is a fantastic path up to the Karfi peak, but as this was a driving day we headed back down to Lassithi to join the dirt track for the ascent back to Katharo  by 5.00 p.m. for a welcome beer with Giannis.

Thank you Steve and Cindy, it was a fabulous day. However we zoomed past many places that are now on the ‘Must Visit’ list so that we can enjoy them in more detail.

Steve and Cindy are planning a new website to focus on what to see when ‘Exploring East Crete’ and this Seven Plateau trip will certainly feature along with other less arduous drives. I’ll let you know when it’s live.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions about this trip, would like more precise instructions, or the GPX  file, then you can use the contact form below.

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