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Psiloritis – Offroad Tour with unique sites

A natural paradise with high peaks, beautiful mountain chains, fountains & rivers that offer bountiful water, forests & gorges full of life with caves-shelters of wild animals – the wildness of life and nature in the Psiloritis mountain area are composing a unique environmental set that one can rarely come across.
At the same time, the area is so close to the south Cretan coasts and the south road network makes access easy for visitors who are taken by surprise by the beauty of the Cretan landscape.
As in the whole island of Crete, here as well people wholeheartedly welcome visitors and offer their smiles, winning travelers’ hearts.

Our adventure Tour will lead us to the Plateau Kolita, to Skaronero, the highest spring of the Psiloritos, the Nida Plateau, and the Idean Cave, where Zeus was born.

We arrange a meeting in Magarikari with Antonis & Kostas, two brothers who organize individual excursions. They will guide the tour and show us many interesting details during the excursion.
We drive past Loxia through the beautiful pine forest high in the lonely mountain landscape. After the timberline, an unimaginable stone world of very special beauty awaits us. The air is clear and the view over the Messara and the Libyan Sea is breathtaking.

We make a stop at Antoni’s favorite tree before we continue the way up to 2000 meters, where we reach the plateau Kolita. Here we meet the mountain shepherd Kostas, who invites us with fantastic goat cheese and also gives us a look into a Mitato, a lodge of locally collected limestones put together without mortar to protect shepherds, and is also used for cheese making. We will come back here later, to enjoy the traditional food at the highest “tavern” of Crete.

From here we continue our tour on foot to the highest water spring, called Skaronero, where we fill our bottles with the very best & clearest water. The view is amazing, you are overlooking all of the South Coast and the offshore islands Paximadia & Gavdos.

While we walked to the spring, Antonis and Kostas got the cars and we follow the road towards the Nida Plateau with its famous Idean Cave (or Ideon Antron). It lies at an altitude of 1538 m on the western edge of the Nida plateau. It has no geological, but a mythological value.

According to the myth, Rhea saved her youngest son Zeus from Cronus and him brought to Ideon Andron, where the Kuretes warriors guarded him and drowned out the crying of little Zeus by dancing very fast, while their armor banged loudly. This dance is the ancestor of today’s Pentozalis, a traditional Cretan dance.

Excavations confirmed that the cave was the most important of Minoan Crete, King Minos is said to have risen to Ideon Andron every 9 years to pray to Zeus and receive new orders to get him.
70 meters from the entrance of the cave, the visitor can see the large carved rectangular altar used in the ancient ceremonies.

The delicious final of our tour is waiting for us, so we head back to the plateau Kolita, Where Kostas and his family are waiting for us with lots of delicious dishes.

Before sunset, we descend so that we can enjoy the incomparable view again and if you look up to the Psiloritis during the next days of your vacation, you will think of this special trip to the mountains of Crete.

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