We found ourselves completely captivated by Lassithi, a region tucked away in the eastern part of Crete. It’s a haven of natural beauty and artisan craftsmanship, steeped in historical and mythological importance. Within just five days, we discovered the soul of Crete, from its legendary birthplace of gods to its contemporary culture.
Day 1: Windmills and Myths at Dicteon Cave
On the first day, we marveled at the iconic windmills of Lassithi, once numbering 12,000 and integral to the region’s irrigation system. Many of these windmills have been restored, standing as a testament to the artisan work of yesteryears.
Later, we made our way to the famed Dicteon Cave. The cave, believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, is accessible by car followed by a brief hike. The anticipation grew with every step, as we felt like we were traversing a path straight out of Greek mythology.
Day 2: Tzermiado Village and the Winds of Change
In Tzermiado, we found ourselves surrounded by countless windmills, adding character to this already scenic location. Here, we embarked on a segment of the E4 hiking path. This beautiful route led us to the top of Karfi, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding windmills and landscapes.
During our time in Tzermiado, we learned about the various festivals that celebrate the local produce, from “Potato Day” to the “Festival of the Marrow.” These events served as a window into the soul of this community.
Day 3: A Walk through History and Culture at Selakano Forest
The Selakano Forest offered a sanctuary of natural beauty and tranquility. This pine forest is the largest bee-producing area of Crete. We spent the day hiking and absorbing the rich biodiversity of one of Crete’s most vital ecosystems. Along the trails, we encountered Venetian lines, the linear drainage channels that once turned Lassithi Plateau into Crete’s largest “garden.”
In the evening, we reveled in the traditional Cretan music, a craft that had clearly been honed over generations.
Day 4: Voulisma Beach—A Mediterranean Paradise
A trip to Crete wouldn’t be complete without some sun and surf. Voulisma Beach gave us just that with its crystal-clear waters and with fine white sand mixed with pebbles. The beach is very well organized for watersports such as jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides. Families can also enjoy relaxing sunbeds and umbrellas, cafes and taverns.
Day 5: Venturing into the Hidden Corners of Lassithi
Our last day led us to some lesser-known but equally enchanting parts of Lassithi. We visited the Plateau of Nissimos and the small plateau of Limnakaro, each with its own unique attractions and historical significance.
The plateau of Nissimos is located near Tzermiado village, and is easily accessible through a 2.5km uphill paved road. The Limnakaro Plateau lies on the northern slopes of Mount Dikti at an altitude of 1120 metres. It is enclosed by three peaks Spathi, Strovili and Megali Korfi.
We also took the E4 trail to the chapel of Agio Pnevma, feeling a sense of accomplishment as we reached the destination.
Reflecting on Our Journey
Five days in Lassithi left us enchanted and yearning for more. From the windmills that once served as the lifeblood of the plateau to the ancient tales that permeate the very air, Lassithi was a treasure trove of experiences.
Tips and Secrets
- The E4 hiking trail in Tzermiado is a must-do for every nature lover.
- The best time to explore Selakano Forest is early in the day.
- Make time to interact with local artisans; their craft is the fabric that weaves Lassithi’s rich tapestry of culture and history.
So, if you’re looking to explore Crete beyond the usual tourist traps, we can’t recommend Lassithi enough. You’ll leave not just with photos, but with a rich, unforgettable experience that includes an intimate understanding of its history, culture, and crafts.
Final Thoughts on Our Unforgettable Journey
As we prepared to leave Lassithi, we couldn’t help but reflect on the multitude of experiences that had enriched our lives over just five days. This region of Crete turned out to be more than just a scenic getaway; it was a revelation of culture, tradition, and an age-old connection with the land and myths that shape it.
There’s something quite extraordinary about Lassithi that you can’t easily put into words. Perhaps it’s the blend of old and new, where ancient myths seamlessly coexist with vibrant modern-day culture. The windmills, once a lifeblood of the community, stand alongside bustling artisan workshops and local festivities that celebrate the fruits of the earth.
Moreover, we realized that the physical beauty of Lassithi—its picturesque landscapes, mesmerizing windmills, and azure waters—is really just the backdrop to its more intangible allure. It’s a place where mythological legends come to life, where each forest trail and mountain peak feels like a chapter from an epic tale. The myth of Zeus’s birth in the Dicteon Cave or the tales associated with the Plateau of Nissimos didn’t just feel like stories told to entertain; they felt like narratives woven into the very DNA of this land and its people.
So, if you’re looking for an experience that goes beyond the superficial allure of tourist destinations, we wholeheartedly recommend Lassithi. You won’t merely be a spectator; you’ll be a participant in a deeply enriching cultural exchange. It’s not just about visiting a place; it’s about becoming a part of its ongoing story. You’ll leave with more than just photos and souvenirs; you’ll leave with your soul imprinted by the weight of history, the beauty of nature, and the hands of craftsmen and craftswomen who have molded this incredible land.
And there you have it. Our journey through Lassithi was a soul-stirring experience, offering a richness and depth that exceeded all expectations. We’re already dreaming of our next adventure here, and we couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of uncovering even more of what makes this Cretan jewel so incredibly special.