8. Crete: Lasithi Plateau Off-Road Land Rover Safari with Lunch
Experience being driven off-road in a Land Rover through traditional mountain villages and historic landmarks on this Lasithi Plateau safari with lunch. Visit the Cave of Psychro, see the Roman aqueduct, and more. Admire the view from Afentis to the north, south, and west side of the island.
The day starts in Hersonissos (Chersonisos). After the necessary briefing from the driver, head south towards the Lasithi Plateau.
The road soon leads to the Aposelemis Dam. There you can see the abandoned village of Sfendili, which, depending on the water level, is visible or not.
Continue driving on the provincial road among the olive groves to the picturesque village of Amariano. Here you can have a drink and see the remains of the Roman aqueduct.
Then, the off-road driving begins. The landscape becomes wilder and the altitude increasing quickly. If you’re lucky, spot the vultures that fly in the area.
The road ends at the fertile Lasithi Plateau where there were once more than 1000 windmills, which pumped groundwater to irrigate the fields.
Next, stop at the impressive Cave of Psychro (Dikteon Cave) at an altitude of 1025 m. There, according to mythology, Zeus was born. The cave is considered an archeological site and can be visited for a surcharge.
To reach the cave, follow a beautiful and short uphill path. If you do not want to walk, there are donkeys that take visitors to the cave for a fee.
Right after your visit to the cave, get the opportunity to taste traditional Cretan cuisine in a local restaurant. After your meal, start your return. Travel through the col, where the windmills that the locals used to grind their flour are still standing.
A few kilometers later, visit Keras Monastery (Monastery Panagia Kera Kardiotissa), one of the most important religious monuments in Crete.
Due to its central location between Heraklion and the Lasithi Plateau, the monastery was used as a shelter for Cretan freedom fighters. Within a few months, between October 1866 and June 1867, Panagia Kera was burned twice by Omer Pasha's army.
On the way back, make a final stop in the village of Mohos for a drink of raki (alcoholic drink). The view from the road to the Cretan Sea, Mallia, and Hersonissos as the sun sets is a perfect way to end the day.