Off road Trip in Lasithi
About The Place
Nestled in the heart of Crete, Greece, the Lassithi Plateau stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of history, captivating landscapes, and vibrant culture that characterizes this Mediterranean island. This elevated plain, situated approximately 800 meters above sea level, is a captivating mosaic of nature’s wonders and human endeavors.
History: The history of the Lassithi Plateau is deeply intertwined with the broader historical narrative of Crete. Archaeological evidence suggests that the plateau has been inhabited since Minoan times, with remnants of ancient settlements and agricultural activities. It has been a witness to the rise and fall of various civilizations, from the Minoans to the Byzantines and the Venetians.
Landscape: The plateau unfolds like a vast canvas, surrounded by towering mountains that create a natural amphitheater. The fertile soil, fed by the waters of the Melissani River, supports a lush and diverse ecosystem. Olive groves, orchards, and fields of vibrant wildflowers paint the landscape, creating a stunning contrast against the rugged mountains that cradle the plateau.
Geological Formations: The geological formations of Lassithi are as intriguing as they are picturesque. The plateau is dotted with the famous windmills of Lassithi, which were historically used to irrigate the fields. These white structures stand against the backdrop of the Dikti mountain range, creating a postcard-perfect scene. The cave of Dikteon, associated with Greek mythology as the birthplace of Zeus, adds a mythical touch to the geological wonders of the region.
Fauna: The fauna of Lassithi is diverse, with the plateau providing a habitat for various bird species, including eagles and vultures. The region is also home to small mammals, reptiles, and a variety of insect life. The harmony between the natural environment and the agricultural activities has allowed for a balanced coexistence of flora and fauna.
Culture: The cultural richness of Lassithi is evident in the traditional villages that dot the plateau. These villages, such as Psychro and Tzermiado, offer a glimpse into the authentic Cretan way of life. Visitors can explore charming squares, centuries-old churches, and engage with the warm hospitality of the locals. Traditional Cretan cuisine, with its emphasis on olive oil, fresh produce, and dairy, is a culinary delight for those exploring the region.
Villages and Mountains: Each village in Lassithi has its unique character and charm. Psychro, in particular, is famous for the Cave of Zeus and the Dikteon Antron. Tzermiado, the largest village, serves as a hub for those exploring the plateau. As for the mountains, the Dikti range dominates the southern skyline, providing a dramatic backdrop to the plateau.
In conclusion, the Lassithi Plateau is a captivating destination that weaves together the threads of history, nature, and culture into a rich tapestry. Whether exploring ancient caves, wandering through traditional villages, or marveling at the breathtaking landscapes, visitors to Lassithi are immersed in the timeless beauty of Crete.
The off-road driving
The view from Afentis to the North, South and West side of the island
The imposing and calm flight of vultures
The cave of Zeus with the rich decoration
- 7 Hours
Embark on an exhilarating off-road adventure that will immerse you in the diverse landscapes and majestic mountaintops, believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, the king of the Gods. Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Lasithi plateau while exploring the cave of his birth, all while enjoying panoramic views that will take your breath away.
Our off-road trip begins in Hersonissos, where you’ll receive a comprehensive briefing from our skilled driver before setting off towards the enchanting Lassithi plateau. Along the way, we pass the Aposelemi dam, where, depending on the water level, the abandoned village of Sfendili reveals itself. Continuing through olive groves, we reach the picturesque village of Amariano, where you can take a moment to relax and witness the remnants of the Roman aqueduct.
Here is where the real off-road adventure begins, as the landscape becomes untamed and we ascend rapidly. However, the reward is the breathtaking panoramic views that unfold before us. If we’re fortunate, we may even catch a glimpse of the majestic vultures soaring above! Our journey culminates at the fertile Lassithi plateau, once adorned with over 1000 windmills that provided essential irrigation to the fields.
Our next stop takes us to the awe-inspiring Cave of Psychro (Dikteon Cave) perched at an altitude of 1025m. According to myth, this is the sacred birthplace of Zeus himself. As an archaeological site, the cave can be explored (admission ticket: €6), with a beautiful short uphill path leading the way. Alternatively, for those who prefer not to walk, donkeys are available for a small fee to transport visitors to the cave. After our visit, we have the pleasure of indulging in the flavors of traditional Cretan cuisine at a local restaurant.
Following our meal, we commence our return journey, passing through the mountain col, where the iconic windmills that once ground the locals’ flour still stand tall. A few kilometers later, we arrive at the renowned Kera Monastery, one of Crete’s most significant religious landmarks. Nestled in a central location between Heraklion and the Lassithi Plateau, the monastery served as a refuge for Cretan freedom fighters. Unfortunately, it endured two burnings by Omer Pasha’s army between October 1866 and June 1867.
As we make our way back, we make one final stop in the charming village of Krasi, where you can savor a refreshing drink of raki. The view from this vantage point, overlooking the Cretan Sea, Mallia, and Hersonissos, serves as the perfect finale to a remarkable day of exploration.
- Tickets to museums and archaeological sites
- Personal expenses, including coffees and alcoholic drinks
- Specialized guides for museums and archaeological sites
- Anything not mentioned in the “Includes” list
What to Bring
Walking shoes or sandals
Hat – Sunglasses
Free transport from/to your hotel. (as long as you are within the predefined pick-up area)
Land Rover Discovery 3 – Fuels
Lunch (wine, soft drinks, water)
Two Bottles of water and one juice box per person
Binoculars (2 pairs per car)
- Minimum number of 3 participants
- Starting time 08:00
- Ending time 16:00
Cancellation Policy - Flexible
- Whenever you cancel 4 days or earlier than the confirmed activity starting date, your fee will be refunded for the entire activity charge.
- In case of cancellation within 48 and 96 hours before the scheduled activity starting date, you'll get 50% reimbursed.
- Those who cancel 48 hours or beyond are considered last-minute cancellations. There will be no refunds