The Lassithi Plateau is 25km south of Malia and 70km southeast of Heraklion at an altitude of 850 meters from the sea level. It is the largest of all the plateaus of Crete and consists of a fertile and arable plain surrounded by the peaks of Mount Dikti. The whole area is 30 square kilometers and at the foot of Mount Dikti, there are 18 beautiful villages built. According to the 2001 census, it has a total of 3,152 inhabitants and is one of the few areas of the Mediterranean with a permanent habitation at an altitude of over 800 meters. The main occupations of Lassithi Plateau’s inhabitants are agriculture and livestock farming. Many vegetables, fruits and good-quality potatoes are produced in the area of the Lassithi Plateau.
The main road that surrounds the Plateau passes through most of the villages. The main streets of these villages are often full of tourist shops with traditional pottery and wefts and with cafes and taverns with excellent food. This amazing circular route is ideal for cycling, in the spring and summer, as the road does not have long hills and along it the visitor can visit all the sights of the Lassithi Plateau. The Plateau during the winter months is covered with snow and as the scenery is white, it offers a great spectacle.
The Lassithi Plateau is widely known for Dikteon Andro. Dikteon Andro is the most important cave of antiquity in Crete located over the village of Psychro. According to mythology, Rhea gave birth to Zeus, the father of the gods of Olympus, in this cave. It is an ancient place of worship with several important findings of the cave being kept in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Psychro is a beautiful village and thousands of visitors choose this destination in order to admire the cave.
One of the most characteristic features of the plateau is the 26 stone flour mills located at the main entrance of the plateau. It is estimated that at their peak, they were about 5,000 and operated until 1950 when the last of them stopped operating. Nowadays, unfortunately, they are ruined and only three of them have been rebuilt. These are windmills and watermills, most of which were rebuilt by the end of the 19th century, for the water supply and irrigation of the Lassithi Plateau.
Another attraction of the Plateau is the linear drainage works built by the Venetians around 1463, the so-called linies (= lines). These are sewerage channels built to exploit the waters of the surrounding mountains in order the plateau not to be flooded and of course to irrigate the flatland.
Every summer, at the end of August, in Tzermiado village, the “potato festival” is organized. The events last about three days. Other celebrations in the nearby villages are the “zucchini festival” in Avrakonte and the internationally well-known road races “Diktaoi Agones” where athletes run the tour of the Plateau (23km).
- Travel activities RECREATION
- Location Lasithi
- Listing categories RECREATION