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 main settlement is Avdeliakos and is almost uninhabited, although there are several farmhouses belonging to the village of Kritsa. You will only see a few family gardens with potatoes, apple trees and vineyards, mainly grown by the shepherds of the area. You will also see the picturesque chapel of Lord Christ, celebrating on August 6.
Katharo can be accessed from Kritsa, by a narrow but beautiful road that leads to the plateau. If you have an elevated car it is worth following the road that connects Katharo to Lassithi Plateau. Last, there is as third rough dirt road connecting the plateau with the Males village, next to Ierapetra. Katharo is a scenic place of Crete, different from the usual places on the island. In summer you can walk between stone walls, apple trees and oak trees, but also explore the surrounding mountains.
In Avdeliakos, you will find a few taverns that cook traditional dishes and operate throughout the summer. On the other hand, in winter, when Katharo is snow-white, the taverns are open only on holidays and when the weather is good. Also, you should definitely come to the feast of the shepherds (the first weekend after 15 of August), when the plateau is crowded with people coming to see how cheese is produced and taste it. Meat is offered and the dancers are accompanied by live traditional music.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the plateau is a very important point for research by paleontologists, as since the 19th century fossils of elephants and dwarf-hippos have been found, dated around 540,000 years ago. This strengthens the belief that Katharo was once a lake, around which these animals lived.
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