Explore Lasithi: Off the beaten track in eastern Crete
With the cooler, autumn weather comes the perfect time to explore Lassithi and the great Cretan outdoors!
First stop is the incredibly Lassithi Plateau, a place of extreme historic significance to local Cretans. The plateau is famous for its white-sailed windmills, which have been used for over two centuries to irrigate the land. There were almost 10,000 of these windmills in the past, but now only a few remain. A fertile, and therefore important, area, the plateau has been the site of many land clearances and battles — most recently in WW2 when local resistance fighters used the surrounding peaks as hideouts from the Axis occupying forces. Close to the plateau is the so-called Cave of Zeus (the Diktaen Cave), a beautiful space filled with stalagmites and stalactites and, according the myth, the birthplace of the king of the gods.
If you can’t be tempted away from the beach for long, head instead to the archaeological site of Mochlos Island. This Minoan site can be reached by swimming from the opposite beach (be aware of the weather and currents) or by taking the little boat that sails across several times a day. It is thought that the islet was attached to the mainland in ancient times and archaeologists have uncovered remains dating from as early as 3100BC. The site is still being excavated, so be sure not to disturb anything!
Alternatively, visit the Sunken City of Olous in Elounda and explore the real-life Atlantis by swimming and snorkelling around the underwater remains of its ancient walls. The city-state of Olous was mentioned by Homor and was inhabited since at least the Minoan period — in its heyday it would have been one of the most powerful cities on the island. However, during the 7th century AD and the appearance of Arab pirates along the coast, the citizens of Olous withdrew to villages in the Cretan interior and their city fell prey to earthquakes and floods.
Take a blue bike or for longer rides car rentals can be organised through Minos Palace hotel’s partners — please contact us for more information.