Hiking in the Μinoan settlement of Karfi on the Lassithi Plateau

Family Experiences  | Ioannis Viskadouros

Enjoy the magnificent view as you pass the Minoan path to the Minoan settlement of Karfi at an altitude of 1140m and the collection of wild herbs through our guidance and instructions to make a drink in your home. At the end of the route we will be able to taste strawberries that we will cut from the cultivation of local farmers! Route suitable for all levels

The entrance of the Lassithi Plateau is defined as a meeting point, from there we will be transported by our vehicle to the Minoan path to the Minoan settlement of Karfi and the collection of wild herbs that you can through our instructions to make a drink in your places. path is passable moderate difficulty, making them suitable for beginners. After returning from the gorge we will pick strawberries from farmers’ crops that we can taste the quality immediately!

Karfi is a large rocky outcrop in the Selena of the Lassithi Mountains, with incredible views to the northern coast of Crete and the Lassithi Plateau, high above the Monastery of Kera Kardiotissi. At the top, at an altitude of 1141m, traces of a Minoan sanctuary have been found, as the open-air sanctuaries were called on the tops of the island where the Minoan pilgrims climbed to pay homage to their gods, which are often found in the mountains of Eastern Crete.

Next to this arid and inhospitable place, several Minoan refugees settled after the descent of the Dorians on the island to continue their life with their Minoan traditions (1200 BC). So, they built a small settlement on the northeastern outskirts of Karfi, in a place that is protected from the wind. However, the extreme winter weather conditions seem to have forced the inhabitants to look for a new place of residence in other areas in 1100 BC, just a century later.

John Pendlebury and the English School of Archeology carried out systematic excavations in 1930. Complexes of one-story houses and a large building that served as a sanctuary were found in the area. Clay figurines of a Minoan goddess with raised hands were found in the sanctuary. In general, the findings from the settlement are not rich, as the inhabitants left the area taking their belongings with them, unlike other archeological sites that were destroyed by an earthquake or fire. At a lower altitude, at the source Vitzilovrisi, traces of an archaic sanctuary were found.

Also in Karfi, several vaulted tombs have been located, many of them looted. The archaeologists came when the snow began to melt to locate the tombs. In areas where there are tombs, the snow melts faster, as the air below raises the temperature. In fact, it is said that a resident of the Lassithi Plateau, whose family now has a huge fortune, became very rich when he located a golden pig and its piglets in one of these tombs.

 The access to Karfi is worth, not so much for the archeological site itself, as for the beautiful route and the amazing view of the surrounding areas, but also to wonder what led so many people to retire to such an eerie place. Access is either by dirt road that starts near Kera and stops near Vitzilovrisi, or following the E4 path that starts from the church of Agia Ariadne on the plateau of Nisimos

From 90€
per adult

From 75€
per kid


4-5 hours


water, snack, guide, full food menu and transfer from the entrance of Lassithi Plateau, Mountaineering stick, waterproof if needed


Mountaineering stick, waterproof if needed


English, Greek


3 to 12



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