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Askifou Plateau

High in the White Mountains

Askifou Plateau Crete

Askifou Plateau  - Οροπέδιο Ασκύφου is a wide natural valley surrounded by the White Mountains in Chania Crete. Inside the plateau are the small villages of Kares, Ammoudari, Petres and Goni.

Visitors will find themselves on the plateau as they cross the White Mountains from Chania or Rethymnon on the way to Chora Sfakion, the southern beaches accessible by ferry and Frangokastello.

οροπέδιο Ασκύφου, CreteAskifou Plateau, Crete

On the Plateau

Askifou Plateau, Crete

On the plateau explore:

  • Kares
  • Ammoudari
  • Petres
  • Goni
  • Kastro Koules
  • Askifou War Museum
  • Taverna Askifou
  • Tsitsiridis Kafe Taverna
  • Tsitsiridis Cheese Shop
  • Agios Georgios Methystis Chapel
  • E4 European Walking Tracks

Whilst in the region, be sure to try the local speciality – Sfakian pies – these are made with the fresh, local mizithra cheese and lashings of mountain honey.

Hikers and walkers will find plenty of mountain paths including the European Walking Path E4, which passes by here.

This walking path crosses the whole of the island of Crete, from the west to the east, following a total of 320 km of local walking paths, covering some of the most scenic and remote parts of the island.

After visiting the plateau, head south to Imbros village at the edge of the gorge then travel by curvy mountain roads to Chora Sfakion, the distance from Kares to Chora Sfakion is 23 km.

Σφακιανή Πίτα - Sfakian Pie - like a yummy pancake with local honey

Askifou Plateau and the Mountains in Crete

Those more adventurous may wish to explore further to the plateau of Kallikratis and its small village. Perhaps visit with Babis and Janina at Wild Herbs of Crete (below). Call first because they might not be in that village at the time of your visit.

Wild Herbs of Crete, Kalikratis VillageWild Herbs of Crete - higher up on Kallikratis Plateau

Wild herbs of Crete - chamomileWild herbs of Crete - chamomile


There is plenty of hiking in and around the plateau:

  • There is a short walk of 5 km around the circuit of the plateau.
  • From the village of Ammoudari starts the E4 walking path to Katsiveli. The total track is 20 km and it is one of the hardest parts of the E4 route in Crete. This must be done by experienced walkers from May to September.
  • Also from Ammoudari starts the next section of the walk which is from Askifou to Imbros Gorge and to Kallikratis Plateau. This walk is 18 km and also care must be taken in these mountains.
  • From Ammoudari is an 8 km walk to the higher Niato plateau.
  • Bird watching, photography, mountain biking and rock climbing are all popular here

Imbros Gorge

South of Askifou Plateau is Imbros Gorge. This rocky canyon has a walking trail that is open all year round. Take around 2.5 hours to walk 8 km one way, starting in the village of Imbros and ending in the village of Komitades.

Imbros Gorge, explore an arch in stunning limestone, caves and cliffs on this 8km hike (image by Graeme Churchard)

Day Tour Experience

Imbros Gorge Experience

Imbros Gorge Hike - with an experienced guide drive across the White Mountains then take the hike to the Libyan Sea. During your descent you will see the extraordinary rock formations and famous locations such as the Stenada, Mesofarango, and Xepitira Arch. Relax and swim, enjoy a traditional Cretan lunch, then return by bus. 9-11 hours

4.5 / 5 | 20 Reviews


Panorama Askifou

Panorama Askifou is a villa located in the village of Kares on the plateau. With sweeping views over the plateau and the mountains and lovely comfortable accommodation. Here also is a local taverna where you can experience the Sfakian cuisine especially the Sfakian pies and fresh mountain cheeses. Choose from a studio room, double, triple or quadruple room. Here the Lentaris brothers will look after you.

Villa Askifou

Villa Askifou is located in Goni village and offers magical views across the valley. This traditional Cretan home will give you a real experience of the culture and history of the island whilst offering all modern comforts. This is a 6 bedroom villa sleeping 14 adults and 4 children.  Enjoy the private pool. Yianni will look after you.

Villa Skyphos is Askifou Plateau

Villa Skyphos in Petres village is modern and stylish with a pool and outdoor areas, again taking in the wide mountain and plateau views. The villa sleeps 6 adults and 2 children in 3 rooms. Angeliki speaks Greek, English and German and will show you wonderful hospitality.

Villa Archontiko Askifou Plateau

Villa Archontiko offers 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, sweeping views and a full kitchen including an outdoor BBQ and pizza oven. Welcoming 8 guests in comfort, the villa is near the village of Kares on Askifou Plateau, relax within walking distance of 3 tavernas.

Askifou Plateau

Askifou plateau covered in snow

Region of Chania

Samaria Gorge in the White Mountains of Crete

In the region of Chania, there is just so much nature to explore:

There are great beaches nearby to explore:

And further in the west of Chania, some extraordinary places:

Chania Town

Chania harbour looking to the White Mountains

Enjoy the Old Town of Chania on your way to Askifou - we recommend staying within the walls of the historic town to soak up the atmosphere.

While you are in Chania explore:

  • narrow lane ways
  • boutiques and studios
  • Old Venetian Harbour
  • Venetian Lighthouse
  • artesanal workshops
  • art galleries
  • Venetian Town Walls
  • museums
  • ancient sites such as Ancient Kydonia
  • Fort Firca and the Maritime Museum
  • Trimartiri Orthodox Cathedral
  • Chania Municipal Market
  • Museum of Archaeology
  • Restaurants, cafes and tavernas

Videos of Askifou

Thodoris Athitakis has shared his love of his village with these videos:

Jeannette shares some beautiful images of the mountains and the plateau here:

Getting Here

Take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Chania with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Airlines, with many flights available per day.

Or take a 9 hour overnight ferry from Pireaus port of Athens to Chania port.

The area can be reached by a comfortable drive 50 km from Chania town. Leaving Chania you pass through Vrysses then turn south. Visitors may arrive here on the way to Sfakia, Frangokastello or Loutro Crete, or perhaps Imbros Gorge.

More information on flights and ferries below.

Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.

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We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

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