Crete is full of mountain ranges, amongst which fertile plains and plateaus are formed. The largest plateau of Crete, the peaceful Lassithi Plateau is hidden between the wild peaks of Dikti Mountains and some smaller plateaus. The Omalos Plateau, in White Mountains, is in the heart of the most mountainous area of Crete. Omalos is the starting point for several canyons of Sfakia, such as Samaria. Psiloritis Mountain also has several plateaus, with Nida being the most important. The largest plain in Crete is that of Messara, located in the southern prefecture of Heraklion. Smaller plains are scattered throughout the island, especially in coastal areas.
The wonderful Lassithi Plateau is located about 25km south of Malia and 70km west of Heraklion city. Located in a peaceful and fertile region, it is surrounded by the wild mountains of Dikti and several smaller plateaus. The views of the surrounding mountains of Selena and Afendis Hristos are majestic.
Omalos is located 38km south of Chania at an altitude ranging from 1,040 to 1,250 meters, surrounded by the high peaks of the White Mountains. The plateau is particularly beautiful in the winter, when it is frequently covered by snow. At older times, the plateau of Omalos was the shelter of the locals and the base of rebels during the two and a half centuries of the Turkish occupation, but also during all other wars against invaders.
Amari valley is formed between the Mountains Kedros and Psiloritis, at an altitude of 400-500m and is 25km long. It is the natural passage from the north to south Rethymno and Messara Plain. For its central location, it was the theater of several historical events, especially during the Ottoman rule.
The plain of Messara is located on the south side of Heraklion Prefecture, in an elongated area of 50km in length and with its width not exceeding 7km. In the south, the valley is protected by the wild Asterousia Mountains, while its western side is bounded by a vast beachfront with sandy beaches.
The plateau can be reached via a dirt road starting from the picturesque village of Anogia, but also via a rugged dirt track from Gergeri. The plateau is used as pasture and is not cultivated. Due to overgrazing, you we’ll not see any trees in the plain, although it was previously covered by dense forest.
The Plateau of Anopolis is located in the area of Sfakia and more specifically 13km west of Hora Sfakion. It is a small plateau formed in the wild mountains of Sfakia, the most inaccessible province of Europe.
The plateau Katharo lies 26km south of Agios Nikolaos and 16km west of Kritsa, at an altitude of 1150 meters. The waters of the Plateau are transported through the beautiful gorge of Havgas into Lassithi Plateau. Katharo is uninhabited, although there are several farmhouses belonging to the village of Kritsa.
The Plateau of Askifou is located 50km south of Chania, in one of the nicest and most authentic areas of Crete. The wild mountains around and the serenity of the valley, form a magnificent landscape all year round.