Plateaus in Crete



Askyfou Plateau
(7 votes)

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. In winter the plateau is dressed in white several times, since the altitude is around 1200 meters. The plateau brings a lake in mind from above and its name means “cup” in ancient Greek, because of its shape.

Askifou has four small villages with few inhabitants, most of them being shepherds. Some also work in tourism, since the main road connecting Sfakia to Chania runs through the plateau. So, here you will find some traditional taverns and logdings, while in recent years some luxurious agrotouristic units have appeared.

During the period of the great revolutions in Crete against the Ottomans a battle took place in the secluded plateau, where the rebels from Sfakia defeated the Turkish Army (1821). However, in 1823, the Turks returned and destroyed the villages.

Next to the village Goni, there's a large hill at the top of which there are ruins of two Turkish castles. The Koules of Askifou, as they are called, were built by the Turks in the late 19th century to control the passage to Sfakia.

The southern edge of Askifou plateau is the starting point of the imposing gorge of Imbros, which is visited by many tourists every day (in summer). Parallel to the canyon, runs the main road to Sfakia. An alternative route that you could follow is through the abandoned village of Asfendou, then through the Gorge of Kallikratis, to take the snaky road to Frangokastelo.

A few miles west of Askifou two smaller plateaus are shaped, with outmost beauty. The first plateau that you meet by driving Askifou is called Tavri, while the second is called Niato. In Tavri you will be admire the towering peaks of Kastri (2215m altitude).

It is worth visiting the village Kares and its small war museum of George Hatzidakis. The museum exhibits a variety of weapons dating back till 1770, with their main quantity coming from the Second World War. Rifles, pistols, swords, bombs, missiles, aircraft parts and other military equipment belong to the museum's collection.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Accessibility: Bus services, Paved road
  • Altitude (m): 1100
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