Holm Oak Wood of Selena
The holm oak wood (Azilakodasos) is located 11km west of Vrachasi and 9km south of Malia, in the foothills of Mount Selena. The small forest can be accessed either by walking the smooth path from Krassi village or by following the trail from Malia that runs uphill. There is also a small network of forest dirt roads in the area.
It is a beautiful forest with holm oaks or azilakes (in Cretan dialect), i.e. trees of the species Quercus ilex. The oaks are rare and can only be found in few other areas of Crete and small Aegean islands, such as Ikaria. These resistant trees are tall (10-15m) and grow at a relatively high altitude.
The main problem that Azilakodasos faces is overgrazing by goats, that destroy the tender shoots. Indeed, free range goats are the plague of Crete, being almost exclusively responsible for the bare mountains of the island.