The Lasithi Plateau lies at an altitude of 850 meters, in the middle of the Dikti mountains.
The shape of the Lasithi plateau is narrow from east to west, 10 km long and 4 to 5 km wide.
The plateau is watered by the melting snowcaps of the Dikti Mountains that form a natural fortification around the plateau.
Because of this, it was a center of resistance against the Venetians (who forbade living there for many years because of this) and against the Turkish. The surrounding high mountains make that you can enter the Plateau by two very good main roads, in the northwest through Ampelos’ Seli connecting Lasithi with Heraklion, and in the northeast Patera’s Selia, which connects it to Agios Nikolaos. There are some other roads up, 6 in total, but most are not suitable for normal cars. One of the small back roads up there was recently fully asphalted, passes through sleepy villages and small valleys with a ‘middle of nowhere’-feeling. When you reach the top of the pass, you get a full view of the entire plateau. From this road the view of the Plateau is the most beautiful I think (see the picture above).
The plateau’s rich soil has been cultivated since Minoan times. In the 17th century some 10000 windmills were built with white canvas sails, but today only a little remain. Only a few are still working, the rest is replaced by modern pumps. Tourism is a big part of the local economy, but vegetables and fruit trees are widely grown on the plateau. The plateau is still one of of the most fertile regions of Greece.
There is so much to see on the plateau, like the Diktean Cave (the birthplace of Zeus), Karfi (Minoan site), a folk museum in Agios Georgios, the church of the Holy Cross at Tzermiado and the famous Monastery of Panagia Kroustallenia in the village of Agios Konstantinos. And of course all the little villages around the plateau are worth a visit.