Plateaus in Crete



Nissimos Plateau
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The small plateau of Nissimos is located near Tzermiado, 55km southeast of Heraklion, on the northern side of the Lassithi Plateau, at an altitude of 890m. Its name is attributed to Saint Onesimus, a student of the Apostle Paul. Access is quite easy as there is a passable uphill paved road, 2.5km long, starting from the village Tzermiado. The plateau is uninhabited and all you will only meet the goats of the shepherds coming from the Lassithi Plateau. High vegetation is almost nonexistent, except a few trees, and the surrounding mountains are totally bare, making the landscape very wild and eerie. 

Onissimos is different at every time of the year and completely changes its form. In winter it is covered with snow, in spring it is filled with poppies and other flowers. In the dry summer it takes on an earthy brown color, while in autumn the leaves of the maple trees that change color before falling on the ground turn the surrounding slopes to a multicolor scenery.

Through Nisimos passes the road leading to the chapel of the Holy Cross, which stands just above the village of Tzermiado. Another road leads west to the church of Saint Ariadne, the only church in Greece dedicated to this saint, built by the family Spanakis, and celenbrating on September 18th. Near the church starts a steep trail that leads to the Postminoan settlement of Karfi. Karfi is a steep hill that has endless views of the northern shores of Crete and appears to have played an important role during the past, due to its strategic location. Also, from Nissimops starts a trail that goes up to the peak of Selena (1558m) through the windmills of Zaroma (selena in the local linguistic idiom comes from the word selini (moon) in Doric). At the beginning of the path to Karfi we meet the water source of Astivideros ("astivideros" is the place with many astivides, a typical shrub of the Cretan mountains), from where the whole plateau was watered for keeping crops and animals. Astivideros water is considered by many to be the most delicious in the wider area of Lassithi Plateau.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Accessibility: Paved road
  • Altitude (m): 890
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